Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Wow. Sonny Burgess died back in July and I'm just now finding out (via the latest issue of Mojo). Considering I'm looking at music sites and blogs just about every day, I'm shocked that I hadn't heard. He was 88, but he was still active, co-hosting a radio show and, as of this past May, had live shows booked into this month. Apparently in July he took a fall and never entirely recovered. Because his death wasn't widely reported in the press, it seems apparent that his body of work has been sorely overlooked. So, even though I just posted the following blab in May, I find it necessary to push his stuff in your face again. Really, even if he had only recorded the A side of his first 45, it would still put him in the Wildman Rockers Hall of Fame. So here's the recycled text and three songs, the first two being the A and B side of his Sun debut.

Every once in a while, it occurs to me that there is someone who has slipped through the cracks, even after a couple thousand posts. That's what the bruise on my forehead tells me. Yesterday it occurred to me that there has not been one mention of Sonny Burgess, an early Sun artist who had one of the wildest rock 'n' roll records ever released. That's right. I said it. Check "We Wanna Boogie", it's just nuts. The first thing you'll note is the presence of a trumpet. Unusual for any rockabilly record, even more unusual on a Sun product. While the singing is pretty crazy, somewhere between Ray Campi and the Legendary Stardust Cowboy, there are solos that need to be heard. First the piano, then the trumpet. After one more verse, a manic guitar solo with the drummer just bashing the hell out of what sounds like a kit made out of cardboard. Then one more verse of increasingly crazed vocals and after Burgess hits the last three words sounding like he's eating the microphone, the end. Two and a half minutes of absolutely abandon.

Though the band wanted to do another take, Sam Phillips insisted the first take was a keeper, later saying "...they had a sound like I've never heard. Maybe Sonny's sound was too raw; I don't know- but I'll tell you this. They were pure rock and roll." This from the man that was the first to record some of the greatest rockers of all time.


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