Sam Phillips & Sun Studios and Opinions on Adele

Sam Phillips

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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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.

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.

No Strings Attached 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.

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