FIRST SUN AWARDS PRESENTED DURING ROCKABILLY FEST 2002
special event occurred Thursday, August 8, 2002, with a special banquet highlighting the
Golden Anniversary of Sun Records.
Attended by many
notables in Memphis music plus fans from around the world, the banquet was highlighted by
the presentations of the Sun Awards by Shelby Singleton and the Sam-Sun Award
presented by Sam Phillips.
Shelby Singleton, who
designed the special medallions and crystal awards highlighted with the recipients
names and the Sun logo, used the evening to recognize a diversity of individuals who had
contributed to rockabilly and early rock-and-roll.
Henry Harrison of
Jackson, Tennessee was the first Sun Award recipient, presented to honor Harrisons
work in founding the International Rock-A-Billy Hall of Fame in Jackson and his extensive
work in promoting the three successive Rockabilly Fests in Jackson.
Billy Poore was
honored for his efforts to preserve the history of rockabilly through his articles and
performers selected by Shelby Singleton for honor included Ace Cannon (who worked many of
the early Sun sessions), Wanda Jackson (Queen of Rockabilly), drummers W. S.
Holland and D. J. Fontana and performers Narvel Felts and Sonny Burgess. (Burgess made a specific point of thanking the
members of the legendary Pacers.)
Singleton brought Sam
Phillips to the stage by presenting Phillips his own special version of the Sun Awards.
Phillips then capped the evening by presenting the newly-designed first-ever Sam-Sun
Award to Carl Perkins. Receiving the award
was Carls son, Stan.
briefly about his fathers leaving Sun records for Columbia and later Decca where his
music got lost with many people attempting to influence or set directions for
Carl that did not work.
Stan paid tribute to
his father and Sam Phillips in comments that noted it was at Sun Records where Blue
Suede Shoes happened for Carl and if there was to have been another Blue Suede
Shoes for Carl Perkins it would have been at Sun Records where artists
creativity was recognized and given freedom to find its expression.
Mayor Charles Farmer
opened the Golden Anniversary of Sun Records banquet with a special welcome from the city
of Jackson. Other evening special moments
included the music performances of Sonny Burgess and the Pacers, Ace Cannon, Stan Perkins,
W. S. Holland and many more.
Bobby Joe Swilley took
the stage the perform Go Cat Go Carl Perkins, the Jackson, Tennessee highlight
song from his most recent CD.
Also included in the
evening were the official presentations welcoming members of the International
Rock-A-Billy Hall of Fame in Jackson (See separate article).
JOE MELSON INDUCTED
INTERNATIONAL ROCK-A-BILLY HALL OF FAME
Songwriter Joe Melson (Only the Lonely), known for his work with Roy Orbison,
became the most recent inductee to the International Rock-A-Billy Hall of Fame in Jackson. The induction came during the Golden Anniversary
of Sun Records banquet at Jacksons Garden Plaza Hotel.
In addition to the
presentation by the Halls Henry Harrison, John Lomax, III, of BMI was on hand to
highlight Joe Melsons work.. Noted was
the fact that recordings of Melsons songs had received over 15 million confirmed
airplays in the United States alone.
Melson in his comments
noted not only special career moments and the evolution of the Roy Orbison sound, but also
the emotional attachment with people. Melson
said that when he loved and expressed it in music the audience did too, sharing those life
moments and emotions. And when our heart
broke their hearts did too, either by sharing their own heartbreak in our music or feeling
our heartbreak through our the songs.
A new special section
of the International Rock-A-Billy Hall of Fame on Church Street in downtown Jackson
showcases the career of Joe Melson.
HALL OF FAME NIGHT
FOR THE COMETS, SONNY BURGESS AND
THE PACERS, WINK MARTINDALE AND ALEX WARD
actual Hall of Fame certificates were presented in Jackson, August 8, to some special
members of the International Rock-A-Billy Hall of Fame
original Comets were on hand to mark their 50th Anniversary. Though one member had worked with Bill Haley in
the 1940s, the Comets that hit with Rock Around the Clock and much more,
came together in 1952.
They are still
performing actively with the oldest member still on stage and touring at age 81. One goal is to have a show marking his 100th
birthday. We are gonna rock till we
Also receiving their
official certificates marking their Hall of Fame presence were Sonny Burgess and the
legendary Pacers. Sonny still describes the
Pacers as second to none, the best show band in rockabilly history.
DJ and career
television personality Wink Martindale was recognized for his music contributions through
WHBQ radio and television and throughout a career that includes Music of Your Life
work on radio today.
Also inducted into the
Hall of Fame was radio personality Alex Ward of Memphis. Ward broadcasts rockabilly
NEW ALBUMS BEING
From West Tennessee to
Nashville to New York City there are new albums featuring rockabilly being released.
Sam Phillips and
Shelby Singleton just returned to Tennessee from New York City where they attended
multiple events announcing a new BMG Heritage label release marking Sun Records 50th
Phillips and BMG selected 44 songs out of the over 8,000 Sun catalog for inclusion in the
special commemorative CD. The selections will
cover Sun from its beginning as primarily a black artists label through all its
A West Tennessee
rockabilly CD has just been released by The 10-0-C Band.
Composed of David
Pulse, Don McAlpin, Clint Pulse, Keith Sasser, Phillip Taylor and former Carl Perkins
keyboard man Lee McAlpin, The 10-0-C Band has put together Cats A-Rockin.
This CD has the band
covering twelve rockabilly and early rock-and-roll classics from Nadine to
Rockin Pneumonia to Matchbox.
Nashville, Glen Edwards Wild Oats Records has been in the studio with Frank Andy
Starr. Edwards team has been working
with Starr on a brand new CD coming out soon on Wild Oats Records.
Steve Haggard is
producing the CD with Randall Merryman handling the engineering.
While a host of
Nashville pickers are working the session a real highlight promises to be some duet work
with Starr and Gail Lloyd of Gail and the Trickers. (www.wildoatsrecords.com)
Also in the works is a
full Andy Starr documentary.