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Excitement captured

The Sun Records Collection
The Sun Records Collection
By various artists

Rhino Records: 1994

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This review first appeared in the October 7, 1994 issue of the North County Blade-Citizen (now North County Times).

Of all the independent music labels through history, none had a more profound, lasting impact on American music than Sun Records, the Memphis studio and label owned by Sam Phillips. In fact, you could take Phillips' most famous discovery, Elvis Presley, out of the equation and you'd still have the single most influential label in the history of American music.

Would the blues have been the same if B.B. King and Howlin' Wolf hadn't made their impact on the music? How much poorer would R&B have been without Ike Turner, house pianist and arranger at Sun? Or Rufus Thomas? And would modern country be what it is without Johnny Cash? Throw in rockabilly and rock stars Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis, and you have an artist roster that many major labels never equaled.

The songs on this three-CD, 3 1/2-hour collection include such icons as Presley's "That's All Right," Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues and "I Walk the Line," Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes," Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire" and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" and Junior Parker's "Mystery Train."

The mid-1950s was an exciting time, with rock 'n' roll emerging from the cross-pollination of country and blues, and the artists featured here were an integral part of that excitement.