IN THE CAN : APRIL 1956
April 1, 1956 : CHARLIE FEATHERS has his only session for the
Meteor label in Memphis, which results in the single "Tongue Tied
Jill"/"Get With It" (Meteor 5032, June).
Musicians : Charlie Feathers (vocal, guitar ) ; Jerry Huffman (guitar) ;
Jody Chastain (bass). Supervised by Lester Bihari.
April 1, 1956 : More classic rockabilly is recorded on this day by
MAC CURTIS, in Dallas (Jim Beck Studio). "If I Had Me A Woman"/
"Just So You Call Me" becomes his first single (King 4927, May),
soon followed by "Grandaddy's Rockin'"/"Half Hearted Love" (King
Personnel : Mac Curtis (vocal, acoustic guitar ) ; Jimmy Galbraith
(lead guitar) ; Kenny Galbraith (bass) ; Bill Simmons (piano) ;
Bill Peck (drums). Produced by Ralph Bass and Bernie Pearlman.
April 1, 1956 : ONIE WHEELER is at Bradley Studio (then still called
Music City Recording) in Nashville, where he records his next single,
"Onie's Bop"/"I Wanna Hold My Baby" (Columbia 21523, June).
Personnel : Onie Wheeler (vocal, guitar) ; Grady Martin (guitar, fiddle) ;
Ray Edenton (guitar) ; Bob Foster (steel guitar) ; Ernie Newman (bass) ;
Buddy Harman (drums). Produced by Don Law.
Still on April 1, 1956 ( a Sunday !) : LITTLE WILLIE JOHN records four
tracks at the King Studio in Cincinnati. The original version of "Fever"
is coupled with "Letter From My Darling" for release on King 4935 in
June. "Drive Me Home" is originally an LP track and will be released
as a single (King 5539) in 1961. The fourth track, a first stab at "Will
the Sun Shine Tomorrow" is not released at all, but Willie will return
to the song in September.
Personnel : Ray Felder, Rufus Gore (tenor saxes) ; Jon Thomas (piano) ;
Bill Jennings (guitar) ; Edwyn Conley (bass) ; Edison Gore (drums).
April 2, 1956 : JOHNNY CASH records his first pop hit, "I Walk the
Line"/"Get Rhythm" (Sun 241, May 1). Also recorded are first attempts
at "Train Of Love" and "There You Go", to which Cash will return in
Personnel : Johnny Cash (vocals, acoustic guitar) ; Luther Perkins
(electric guitar) ; Marshall Grant (bass).
Produced by Sam Phillips at the Sun Studio in Memphis.
April 4. 1956 : LONNIE DONEGAN records "Stackalee", chosen for the EP
"Skiffle Sessions" (UK Nixa NJE 1017, May), together with three earlier
(January) recorded tracks.
Personnel :Lonnie Donegan (guitar) ; Chris Barber (bass) ; Dick Bishop
(vocals / guitar) ; Ron Bowden (drums).
Location : IBC Studios, London.
April 4, 1956 : ERNIE FREEMAN and his combo record material for their
next two singles. First issued is "Walking the Beat"/"Spring Fever"
(Imperial 5403, August), followed by "Flyin’ High"/"Return To Me"
(Imperial 5419) in November.
Personnel : Ernie Freeman (piano / leader) ; Irving Ashby (guitar) ;
Adolphus Alsbrook (bass) ; Plas Johnson (tenor sax) ; Raymond Martinez
The location is Los Angeles.
April 9, 1956 : Four-track session for AMOS MILBURN in Los Angeles.
"I Need Someone"/"French Fried Potatoes And Ketchup" is selected
for the next single (Aladdin 3320, April 26). "Juice, Juice, Juice"
becomes the B-side of the yet to record remake of "Chicken Shack Boogie"
(Aladdin 3332, August 2) and "I'll Be True" is first released on the LP
"13 Unreleased Masters" (Aladdin / Pathe Marconi 1546701) in 1983.
April 9, 1956 : GENE AND EUNICE (Gene Forrest and Eunice Levy) record
"Let's Get Together" in Los Angeles. Coupled with "I'm So In Love With
You" from a previous session (February 7, 1956), it gets a release on
Aladdin 3321 (May 22).
April 12, 1956 : WAYNE McGINNIS records his only release, "Rock, Roll
And Rhythm" c/w "Lonesome Rhythm Blues", at the Meteor Studio, 1794
Chelsea, Memphis, Tennessee. Release on Meteor 5035 at the end of June.
Musicians : Wayne McGinnis (vocal, guitar) ; Billy Joe Miller
(lead guitar) ; Curley Wilson (bass). Label credit goes to Wayne
McGinnis with the Swing Teens. Supervised by Lester Bihari.
April 12, 1956 : WERLY FAIRBURN does a session at the Jim Beck Studio
in Dallas. "Everybody's Rockin'"/"It's Heaven" is selected for single
release (Columbia 21528, June). The other two tracks, "I'm Jealous" and
"Old Mem'ries Come Back" remain unissued until the release of the Bear
Family CD "Everybody's Rockin'" (BCD 15578) in 1993.
Fairburn (vocals, guitar) is accompanied by : Tommy Tomlinson (guitar) ;
James Trammel (steel guitar) ; Fred Dawson (bass) ; Bill Peck (drums).
April 13, 1956 : CHUCK WILLIS has his first session for Atlantic, at
Capitol Studio in New York City. "It's Too Late"/"Kansas City Woman"
becomes his debut single for the label (Atlantic 1098, May). "There's
Got To Be A Way" gets a place - along with the other three tracks from
this session - on Chuck's LP "King Of the Stroll" (Atlantic LP 8018),
which is released just before his untimely death on April 10, 1958.
"My Life" is also released as a single (Atlantic 1192) in July 1958.
Musicians include : Gene Barge (tenor sax) ; Roy Gaines (guitar) ;
Eddie McMullen (Hawaiian guitar). Arranged and conducted by Jesse
Stone, produced by Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler.
Saturday, April 14, 1956 : ELVIS PRESLEY records only one song during
this month, "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" (RCA 6540, May 4) at
RCA Studios in Nashville.
Personnel : Elvis Presley (vocal / rhythm guitar) ; Scotty Moore
(lead guitar) ; Chet Atkins (guitar) ; Bill Black (bass) ; D.J. Fontana
(drums) ; Marvin Hughes (piano) ; Gordon Stoker, Ben and Brock Speer
(backing vocals). Produced by Steve Sholes.
April 14, 1956 : JACK EARLS records his only Sun release (during the
the 1950s at least) : "Slow Down"/"A Fool For Lovin' You" (Sun 240,
May 1), which is credited to Jack Earls and the Jimbos. Also recorded
are "If You Don't Mind" (first released on Sun Box 106, "The Rocking
Years" in 1987) and "Come Back Home" (unissued).
Personnel : Jack Earls (vocal, guitar) ; Wareren Gregory (guitar) ;
Johnny Black (bass) ; Danny Wahlquist (drums). Location : 706 Union
Avenue (Sun Studio), Memphis.
April 15, 1956 : First recording session for BARBARA PITTMAN, also
at the Sun Studio in Memphis. Of the three tracks recorded, "I Need A
Man" and "No Matter Who's To Blame" are selected for her first single
(Sun 253, September 24). A first stab at "Sentimental Fool" remains
unissued for decades.
Backing by Clyde Leoppard's Snearly Ranch Boys : Buddy Holobaugh
(guitar) ; Stan Kesler (steel guitar) ; Smokey Joe Baugh (piano) ; Hank
Byers (trumpet) ; Johnny Bernero (drums).
April 16, 1956 : At the age of 65, CARSON ROBISON records the single
"Rockin' And Rollin' With Grandmaw"/"Hand Me Down My Walking Cane"
(MGM 12266, June 1). Label credit reads Carson Robison and his Pleasant
Valley Boys. Location : Coastal Recording Co., New York City.
April 17, 1956 : THE JODIMARS record four tracks in New York City.
"Lotsa Love"/"Rattle My Bones" becomes their new single (Capitol 3436,
May). "Eat Your Heart Out, Annie" is released on Capitol 3512 in August
(c/w "Rattle Shakin’ Daddy", recorded one week later). "Crazy-Z" is first
released on the CD "Let’s All Rock Together" (Rockstar RSRCD 007) in 1994.
Personnel : Dick Richards (vocals) ; Charlie Hess (guitar) ; Marshal Lytle
(bass / vocals) ; Joey D’Ambrosio (tenor sax) ; Bob Simpson (piano) ; Jim
April 17, 1956 : BOBBY MITCHELL records four compositions by Dave
Bartholomew and Pearl King. "Goin' Round In Circles"/"I Try So Hard"
becomes his new single (Imperial 5392, June). "I've Got My Fingers
Crossed" comes out on Imperial 5412 in October and "How Long (Must
I Wait)" is first issued on Bobby's Bear Family 2-CD "I'm Gonna Be
A Wheel Someday" (BCD 15961) in 1997.
Personnel : Lee Allen (tenor sax) ; Red Tyler (baritone sax) ; Frank
Fields (bass) ; Justin Adams (guitar) ; Edward Frank (piano) ;
Charles 'Hungry' Williams (drums). Producer : Dave Bartholomew.
Location : Cosimo Recording Studio in New Orleans.
April 17, 1956 : at Webster Hall Sudio in New York City, LOUIS JORDAN
records "A Man Ain't A Man", "Texas Stew" and "Hard Head". It's his
final session for RCA's sublabel "X", and the tracks will finally be
released by Bear Family on the album "Rock And Roll Call" (BFX 15257,
Louis Jordan (vocal / alt sax) is backed by : Bob Mitchell (trumpet) ;
Reuben Phillips (alto sax) ; Seldon Powell (tenor sax) ; Heywood Henry
(baritone sax) ; Bert Payne (guitar) ; Lewis Albert Martin (bass) ;
Chester Lane (piano) ; Hinday Butts (drums). Vocal support by Dottie
Smith and produced by Herman Diaz Jr.
April 17-18, 1956 : In New York City, THE PLATTERS record ten tracks
for their first Mercury LP, simply titled "The Platters" (Mercury MG
20146). Four titles are also released as singles : "My Prayer"/
"Heaven On Earth" (Mercury 70893, June 6), "On My Word Of Honor"
(Mercury 71011, November 15) and "I'm Sorry" (Mercury 71032, January 30
1957). The other tracks are "Someone To Watch Over Me", "At Your
Back And Call", "Glory Of Love", "Have Mercy", "Bewitched, Bothered
And Bewildered" and "Remember When" (not the same version as the 1959
April 18, 1956 : The first Decca session by BILLY WARD and the Dominoes
yields four singles : "St. Therese of the Roses"/"Home Is Where You
Hang Your Heart" (Decca 29933, June), "Will You Remember"/"Come On,
Snake, Let's Crawl" (Decca 30043, August), "Half A Love"/"Evermore"
(Decca 30149, December) and "Rock, Plymouth Rock"/"'Til Kingdom Come"
(Decca 30199, March 1957).
April 19, 1956 : At Chicago's Chess Studio, CHUCK BERRY records his next
two singles. "Roll Over Beethoven"/"Drifting Heart" (Chess 1626) is
released in the second week of May and peaks at # 29 on the pop charts
and # 2 R&B. "Too Much Monkey Business"/"Brown-Eyed Handsome Man" (Chess
1635, September) fails to make the pop charts, but both sides are big
R&B hits, reaching # 4 and # 5 respectively.
Personnel : Chuck Berry (vocals / guitar) ; Johnnie Johnson (piano) ;
Willie Dixon (double bass) ; Leroy C. Davis (tenor sax) ; Vincent Pitts
(trumpet on "Roll Over Beethoven") ; Melvin Billups (drums).
April 19, 1956 : SONNY JAMES records his next single : "Twenty Feet
Of Muddy Water"/"All Mixed Up" (Capitol 3441, May) at the Jim Beck
Studio in Dallas.
Personnel : Sonny James (vocal, guitar) ; Paul Buskirk (electric
mandolin) ; possibly Paul Brawley (bass) ; possibly Bill Peck (drums) ;
Bill Simmons (piano). Produced by Ken Nelson.
April 19, 1956 : LLOYD PRICE is at Master Recorders in Hollywood
for a four-track session, produced by Art Rupe. Only "Country Boy
Rock" sees a release as a single (Specialty 578, June). "I'm Going
Back" is first released on the LP "The Original Recordings Of Lloyd
Price" (Specialty SP 2105, 1959) and "Heavy Dreams" and "Why"
on the LP "Lloyd Price : Personality Plus" (Specialty SP 2156, 1973).
Backing by : Lonnie Fowler (guitar) ; John Patton (piano ) ; Lawrence
Farrell, Prince Bouie, Jimmie Robinson and Marvin Warwick (saxes,
bass or drums).
April 19, 1956 : At the same studio, 13-year old BENN JOE ZEPPA
records the single "A Foolish Fool"/"Baby I Need (Ting-A-Ling"),
which is released on Specialty 577 in May. Label credit goes to Benn
Zeppa and the Zephyrs. Backing by Lloyd Price's band (see above),
minus the sax section. Produced by Art Rupe.
April 19-20, 1956 : LOUIS PRIMA records the LP "The Wildest" at the
Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas. Released on Capitol T 755 on October 1.
Originally, none of the tracks was released as a single. Holland was
probably the first country where "Buona Sera" came out on a single
(coupled with a remake of Prima's # 1 from 1944, "Oh Marie", also from
the LP) and its giant success there (4 months at # 1) was an incentive
for other countries to lift this track from the LP as well.
In the USA, "Buona Sera" was released on Capitol 3856 in December 1957.
The other album-tracks are "Just A Gigolo", "I Ain´t Got Nobody",
"Nothing´s Too Good For My Baby", "The Lip", "Body And Soul", "Basin
Street Blues", "When It´s Sleepy Time Down South", "Jump Jive And Wail",
"Night Train" and "You Rascal You".
Personnel : Louis Prima (vocals, trumpet) ; Sam Butera (sax, vocals) ;
Keely Smith (vocals) ; Jack Marshall (guitar) ; Amado Rodrigues (bass) ;
Bobby Morris (drums) ; Willie McCumber (piano) ; James "Little Red"
April 22, 1956 : PATSY CLINE arrives at Bradley Studio in Nashville
and records material for two (though far from subsequent) singles :
"Stop, Look And Listen"/"I've Loved And Lost Again" (Decca 29963,
July 8) and "Dear God"/"He Will Do For You" (Decca 30794, December 15,
Personnel : Harold Bradley (acoustic guitar) ; Grady Martin (electric
guitar) ; Don Helms (steel guitar) ; Owen Bradley (piano, producer) ;
Bob Moore (bass) ; Tommy Jackson (fiddle) ; Farris Coursey (drums).
April 24, 1956 : RONNIE SELF makes his debut as a recording artist.
Possibly four songs are laid down, but only "Pretty Bad Blues"/
"Three Hearts Later" see a single release (ABC Paramount 9714, June).
For "Sweet Love"/"Alone" a sequence-number may have been allocated
(ABC Paramount 9768), and even a release date (November 2) but until
now no one has found a copy and no tapes have survived!
Produced by Felton Jarvis in Nashville, Tennessee.
April 25, 1956 : JOE CLAY records five tracks at Bill Quinn's Gold Star
studio in Houston, TX. "Sixteen Chicks"/"Ducktail" is selected for single
release (Vik 0211, May). The other three tracks, "Doggone It", "Goodbye
Goodbye" and "Slipping Out And Sneaking In" are first released on the
Bear Family LP "Rockin' Rollin" High School, Vol. 5" (BFX 15113) in 1983.
The lead guitarist on these tracks is Hal Harris, other details unknown.
Produced by Herman Diaz.
April 25, 1956 : date of BOBBY HELMS' first recording session for Decca.
"Tennessee Rock 'n' Roll"/"I Don't Owe You Nothing" will soon be released
on a single (Decca 29947, May 28), while "I Need To Know Now" will stay on
the shelf until 1983, when it is selected for his album "Pop A Billy"
(US LP MCA 1557).
Personnel : Grady Martin, Hank Garland (guitars) ; Harold Bradley (rhythm
guitar) ; Bob Moore (bass) ; Owen Bradley (piano) ; Buddy Harman (drums).
Produced by Paul Cohen at Bradley Studio in Nashville.
April 25-26, 1956 : Spread over two days, JOHNNY CARROLL records
material for three singles : "Rock 'n' Roll Ruby"/"Tryin' To Get To You"
(Decca 29940, May 21), "Wild Wild Women"/"Corrine, Corrina" (Decca 29941,
May 28) and "Crazy, Crazy Lovin'"/"Hot Rock" (Decca 30013, August 20).
Personnel : Johnny Carroll (vocals, guitar) ; Grady Martin (electric
guitar) ; Harold Bradley (rhythm guitar) ; Owen Bradley (piano).
Again produced by Paul Cohen at Bradley Studio in Nashville.
April 27, 1956 : FARON YOUNG is the next artist to record at Bradley
Studio. It is a three-track session. "Sweet Dreams"/"Until I Met You"
is released in late May on Capitol 3443. Also recorded is a first version
of "I'm Gonna Live Some Before I Die", unissued until the release of the
Bear Family CD "Hi-Tone Poppa" (BCD 16801) in 2006. Faron will return
to the song in August.
Musicians : Hank Garland, Chet Atkins (electric guitars) ; Spider Wilson
(guitar) ; Buddy Emmons (steel guitar) ; probably Lightnin' Chance
(bass) ; Gordon Terry, Dale Potter (fiddles) ; Marvin Hughes (piano ) ;
Buddy Harman (drums). Produced by Ken Nelson.
April 30, 1956 : RAY CHARLES records four album tracks in New York City.
"Black Coffee" is released on the LP "The Great Ray Charles" in 1957
(Atlantic LP 1259) ; "Dawn Ray", "The Man I Love" and "Music, Music,
Music" are saved for release on the LP "The Genius After Hours" (Atlantic
LP 1359) in 1961.
Musicians : Ray Charles (vocals, piano) ; Oscar Pettiford (bass) ; Joe
April 1956, unknown date : JEAN CHAPEL records the single "Welcome To the
Club"/"I Won’t Be Rockin’ Tonight" at Music City Recording in Nashville.
It is first released on Sun 244 on May 15, then reissued on RCA 47-6681
Produced by Murray Nash.
(Probably) April 1956, unknown date : BILLY RILEY and his Little Green
Men record three tracks at the Fernwood Studio in Memphis : "Trouble
Bound", "Rock With Me Baby" and "Think Before You Go", supervised by
Slim Wallace and Jack Clement. Originally intended as the first Fernwood
single (101), the tapes were either leased or sold to Sam Phillips, who
released the first two tracks on Sun 245 (May 15). "Think Before You Go"
Personnel : Billy Riley (vocals, guitar) ; Roland Janes (guitar) ; Jimmy
Van Eaton (drums) ; J.W. Bruner (bass).
(Probably) April 1956, unknown date : THE COCHRAN BROTHERS (Hank and
Eddie, unrelated) are at Western Recorders in Hollywood where they lay
down four tracks. "Tired And Sleepy"/"Fool's Paradise" is issued on Ekko
3001 in May. The other two tracks, "Slow Down" and "Open the Door" are
first released on Rockstar LP 1006, "The Young Eddie Cochran" (UK) in
Musicians : Eddie Cochran (vocal, lead guitar) ; Hank Cochran (vocal,
guitar) ; Guybo Smith (stand-up bass) ; Les Taylor (electric piano) ;
Roy Harte (drums).
With thanks to Steve Walker and Henk Gorter.
Additions and corrections welcome.
In the can index