Sam Phillips

Sam Phillips & Sun Studios and Opinions on Adele

From his studio in Memphis, Sun Records founder Sam Phillips was the first to record Elvis Presley, Howlin' Wolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, and more. Music writer Peter Guralnick joins host Jim and Greg for a discussion about the pioneering rock ‘n’ roll producer. Then Jim and Greg review the new record-setting album from British singer Adele.

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Music News

"All the squares, go home!" Cynthia Robinson, famed trumpeter for Sly and the Family Stone, has passed away at the age of 71 from cancer. Robinson, a former guest on Sound Opinions, moved from flute to clarinet before ultimately becoming one of the great trumpet players in rock. She was childhood friends with Sly Stone and co-founded Sly and the Stoners with him in the mid-'60s. That band would become Sly and the Family Stone, scoring huge hits like "Dance to the Music," "Everyday People," and "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)". According to Greg, not only was the band groundbreaking musically in its mix of rock, funk, and soul, but he also credits its biracial co-ed makeup for embodying the counterculture better than any other band. As tribute to the great Cynthia Robinson, they play "Underdog," an early horn feature from 1967.

interview

Peter Guralnick on Sam Phillips & Sun Studios

Samphillipsbook Peter Guralnick has written extensively about American music for decades including a two-part biography on Elvis Presley, the biography Searching for Robert Johnson and an acclaimed trilogy on American roots music. Now he's back with a comprehensive look at Sam Phillips called The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll: How One Man Discoverd Howlin' Wolf, Ike Turner, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley and How His Tiny Label Sun Records of Memphis, Revolutionized the World. If Sam Phillips, Sun Studios or Sun Records are new names to you, Peter wants to take you back to 1950s and 60s for what many historians call the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. Sun was home to black and white artists of the era who were merging genres like country, gospel, and R&B in ways unthinkable at the time. And that kind of freedom of spirit and enthusiasm, in addition to the idea that everybody has a song to sing, were the tenants of the Sun sound, even more than sonic hallmarks like "slapback echo."

review2525 available on iTunes

Adele 25

Pop powerhouse Adele recently made her highly anticipated return to music with her third album 25. In typical Adele fashion, she ended up selling almost 3.4 million copies of 25 in one week, breaking a previous record held by NSYNC's 2000 album No Strings Attached. Something else noteworthy about this new record is that is was produced by the biggest names in music, with songs by Ryan Tedder, Max Martin, Greg Kurstin and Bruno Mars. Greg has to admit that he is disappointed with the album. While he enjoyed songs like "Million Years" and "Miss You," he thought Adele could have challenged herself more. Greg isn‘t hearing any new terrain being mined, and even though Adele has moved on in real life from that infamous relationship, musically she’s still "living in 21 land." He gives 25 a Try It. Jim is far more incensed because he was a big fan of Adele's first album, 19. The lyrics are beneath her. And without more interesting, unique songs, he has to say Trash It.

JimGreg

Featured Songs

  1. Sly & the Family Stone, Dance to the Music, Dance to the Music, Epic, 1968
  2. Sly & the Family Stone, Underdog, A Whole New Thing, Epic, 1967
  3. Roy Orbison & Teen Kings, Ooby Dooby, Ooby Dooby / Go! Go! Go!, Sun, 1956
  4. Kelley Pace, Aaron Brown, Joe Green, Matthew Johnson, Paul Hayes, Holy Babe, Negro Religious Songs And Services, Library of Congress, 1942
  5. Joe Hill Louis, Gotta Let You Go, Gotta Let You Go / Boogie in the Park, Phillips, 1950
  6. Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats, Rocket ‘88’, Rocket“88”/ Come Back Where You Belong, Chess, 1951
  7. Elvis Presley & The Blue Moon Boys, Milkcow Blues Boogie, You're a Heartbreaker / Milkcow Blues Boogie, Sun, 1955
  8. The Howlin' Wolf, How Many More Years, Moanin' at Midnight / How Many More Years, Chess, 1951
  9. Rufus Thomas, Bear Cat, Bear Cat / Walking in the Rain, Sun, 1953
  10. Johnny Cash, Brakeman's Blues (Incomplete), All Aboard the Blue Train, Sun, 1962
  11. Elvis Presley, I Love You Because, Elvis Presley, Sony Legacy, 1956
  12. Elvis Presley, That's All Right, That's All Right / Blue Moon of Kentucky, Sun, 1954
  13. Jerry Lee Lewis, Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On, Whole Lot of Shakin‘ Going On / It’ll Be Me, Sun, 1957
  14. Jerry Lee Lewis, Great Balls of Fire, Great Balls of Fire / You Win Again, Sun, 1957
  15. The Howlin' Wolf, Moanin' at Midnight, Moanin' at Midnight / How Many More Years, Chess, 1951
  16. Elvis Presley, Mystery Train, I Forgot to Remember to Forget / Mystery Train, Sun, 1955
  17. Johnny Cash, Folsom Prison Blues, Folsom Prison Blues / So Doggone Lonesome, Sun, 1955
  18. Johnny Cash, Folsom Prison Blues, At Folsom Prison, Columbia, 1968
  19. Little Milton, Lookin' For My Baby, Lookin' For My Baby / Homesick For My Baby, Sun, 1955
  20. Adele, When We Were Young, 25, XL, 2015
  21. Adele, Million Years Ago, 25, XL, 2015
  22. Braids, Taste, Deep in the Iris, Arbutus, 2015
  23. Ozzie Nelson & Rose Ann Stevens, Miss Johnson Phoned Again Today, I'm Nobody's Baby / Miss Johnson Phoned Again Today, Bluebird, 1940
  24. Kurt Cobain, The Yodel Song, Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings, Universal, 2015
  25. Kurt Vile, Lost My Head There, b‘lieve i’m goin down…, Matador, 2015
  26. Doug Carn, Jihad, Revelation, Black Jazz, 1973
  27. Silver Apples, Oscillations, Silver Apples, Kapp, 1968

Footnotes

soundopinions.org Cynthia Robinson on Sound Opinions nytimes.com Cynthia Robinson obit soundopinions.org Psychedelic Soul on Sound Opinions soundopinions.org Great Family Bands on Sound Opinions adele.com Adele