Various Artists

Best of Sun Records, Vol. 1 [Pazzazz]

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The legend and legacy of Sam Phillips' little Memphis record label called Sun is a storied and enduring one, and justly so, since some of the most vital and important tracks of country and rock & roll were issued on Sun Records in the 1950s and early '60s, and it is virtually impossible to imagine the landscape of modern pop music had these records somehow not been issued. This little collection has some monster sides, including Rufus Thomas' "Bear Cat" (a ragged, funky variation on "Hound Dog"), the elegant "Mystery Train" by Junior Parker, Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line" (perhaps his archetypal song), Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire," and a pair of Carl Perkins gems, the immortal "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Matchbox," a wonderful reworking of an old Blind Lemon Jefferson blues 78. There are many Sun anthologies on the market, some of which go deeper into the catalog, but for the casual listener looking for the musical equivalent of the Big Bang, this compilation shows how the fuse was lit.

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