Various Artists

Sun Records: Ultimate Blues Collection

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AllMusic Review by

Although Sam Phillips' Sun Records is generally remembered as the rockabilly label that launched the recording career of one Elvis Presley, as well as the careers of Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis, there is a whole lot more to the story than that. Phillips recorded a good deal of straight blues in his studio, and that patented slap-back, room echo feel that permeates his more rockabilly fare is well in evidence on the blues tracks that are collected here in this three-disc, 75-track set. This is exciting stuff, with an intangible freshness to the sound that is still very much in evidence all these years later. Among the many highlights are Rufus Thomas' answer to Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog," the derivative but oh so infectious "Bear Cat," Frank Frost's classic "Jelly Roll King," a marvelous version of "Sweet Home Chicago" by Honeyboy Edwards, as well as several sides from one-man bands Joe Hill Louis ("Keep Your Arms Around Me," "She May Be Yours (But She Comes to See Me Sometime)") and Doctor Ross ("Come Back Baby," "Chicago Breakdown," "Juke Box Boogie"). A delight from start to finish, this decently priced collection is a must for serious modern blues fans as well as essential listening for anyone interested in one of the key labels in the history of American pop music.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 02:42
2 02:44
3 03:00
4 02:52
5 02:57
6 02:50
7 02:45
8 02:32
9 03:06
10 02:26
11 02:38
12 02:50
13 03:00
14 02:21
15 02:56
16 03:00
17 02:35
18 03:11
19 02:36
20 02:28
21 02:54
22 02:38
23 02:49
24 02:51
25 02:29

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 03:02
2 02:43
3 02:46
4 02:11
5 02:26
6 02:17
7 03:00
8 02:45
9 02:37
10 03:09
11 02:14
12 02:57
13 02:34
14 02:25
15 02:37
16 02:25
17 02:52
18
02:17
19 02:48
20 02:35
21
02:50
22 02:10
23 03:16
24 02:41
25 02:41

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 02:58
2 02:49
3 02:31
4 03:15
5 02:54
6 02:43
7 02:43
8 03:03
9 02:59
10 02:18
11 02:48
12 02:33
13 03:00
14 03:10
15 02:19
16 02:35
17 02:33
18 02:44
19
02:31
20 02:44
21 02:42
22 02:10
23 02:38
24 02:38
25 01:58
blue highlight denotes track pick