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Sun Records Collection
Various Artists
Sun Records Collection
Genres: Country, Blues, Special Interest, Pop, R&B, Rock
  •  Track Listings (23) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (25) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (26) - Disc #3

Sun Records and Elvis Presley will always be linked in the minds of music lovers, but Sam Phillips's storied label had a rich history before the arrival of the hillbilly cat (it all started July 5, 1954, with "That's All R...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Various Artists
Title: Sun Records Collection
Members Wishing: 5
Total Copies: 0
Label: Rhino / Wea
Original Release Date: 9/20/1994
Release Date: 9/20/1994
Album Type: Box set
Genres: Country, Blues, Special Interest, Pop, R&B, Rock
Styles: Roadhouse Country, Classic Country, Chicago Blues, Delta Blues, Traditional Blues, Regional Blues, Memphis Blues, Detroit Blues, Electric Blues, Modern Blues, Jump Blues, Harmonica Blues, Oldies, By Decade, 1950s, Soul, Oldies & Retro
Number of Discs: 3
SwapaCD Credits: 3
UPC: 081227178024

Sun Records and Elvis Presley will always be linked in the minds of music lovers, but Sam Phillips's storied label had a rich history before the arrival of the hillbilly cat (it all started July 5, 1954, with "That's All Right") and it continued to flourish after Phillips sold Presley's contract to RCA in late '55. Rhino's three-disc label anthology naturally hinges on Presley's recordings, swinging back to the gutbucket blues Phillips loved and forward to the rockabilly and country that became the foundation of the Sun sound in the late '50s. We Record Anything was Sun's motto, but Phillips had a finely honed ear for music that was authentic, energetic, and direct, an aesthetic that embraced everyone from Howlin' Wolf and B.B. King to Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash to Charlie Rich and Roy Orbison. The stable's leading lights are all represented in this package, but there's great fun to be had discovering the lesser-known likes of the Prisonaires, Sonny Burgess, and Billy Lee Riley. A 34-page booklet that includes an interview with Phillips rounds out this overview of what is arguably the most important imprint in rock & roll history. --Steven Stolder

CD Reviews

The Definitive Sun Records Anthology.
S.D. Peters ( | Arlington, VA | 07/02/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Sam C. Phillips' Sun Records was the first powerhouse independent label in the fifty-year history of Rock & Roll. Its catalogue, performed by rough-edged musicians who turned out consistently innovative material and several Top Ten hits, has been the subject of many exhaustive reissues, and Rhino Records' The Sun Records Collection is the most thorough "overview" package of the innovative label to date. From Bear Cat to Lonely Weekends, Rhino's 3-CD box set collects the best trend-setting and chart-topping hits released by Sun and Phillips International, the lesser-known but equally influential records (like Sonny Burgess' Red Headed Woman), and a generous selection of material recorded at 706 Union Ave. before it became the Sun Studio (Jackie Brenston's Rocket `88 and Howlin' Wolf's Moanin' at Midnight, both issued originally on Chess, are here.) The set divides its material into three comprehensive profiles of Sun's major phases. Disc 1 covers the early years (1950-54) of Blues and Country recordings, with featured recordings by B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf and Doug Poindexter, as well as the "A" side of the only single issued on The Phillips label, Joe Hill Louis' Gotta Let You Go. Disc 2 moves into the Rockabilly Era (1954-56), and features many of the recordings that made the label famous, among them Elvis' That's All Right, Carl Perkins' Blue Suede Shoes and Johnny Cash's I Walk The Line. Disc 3, which features the best Sun recordings of Jerry Lee Lewis and the Phillips International hits by Bill Justis, Carl Mann and Charlie Rich (the "undubbed" master of Lonely Weekends is worth the price of the set!), takes Sun retrospective into its final years (1957-68), when the music it helped shaped began to topple its trend-setting status.Unlike the "complete" collections issued by other labels, which allow the listener to follow the rise and fall of Sun, The Sun Records Collection highlights the definitive music that shaped the future of Rock & Roll. The dedicated Sunophile may still want to he! ar every Sun recording that's available, but Rhino's set is the best way to hear every Sun recording that changed the face of modern music."
Good Rockin' In Memphis!
C. Hawkins | 04/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This great little three CD set is a real gem for folks looking to learn about the incredible history of producer Sam Phillips and his Sun Records label. Phillips opened his first little studio in Memphis in the early 50's & soon discovered the likes of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Howlin' Wolf, Roy Orbison, BB King, and Charlie Rich. The gritty honesty of these recordings is testament to Phillips' genius at eliciting magic from his artists. As a producer he was looking for performances that were 'real' and was not particularly interested in anything calculated & slick. As a result he was responsible for a body of truly genuine music that changed things forever. Just ask The Beatles. Although three discs can't begin to cover the wealth of music Phillips produced, this set is a fine overview of the Sun label's rich history. Several diverse genres are represented including blues, rock n roll, rockabilly, country, gospel, and even a couple of novelty songs. Turn this stuff up and get ready for an incredible journey."
The hot, the cool and the birth of rock & roll
R. Nelson | Fredericksburg, VA | 07/27/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"The Sun Records Collection

All in all, an enjoyable 3 disc set for those who like classic rockabilly, blues, country and early rock and roll. I will say that the remastering is not flawless, and a lot of the hissing, clicks and pops from the old tapes are still there. It adds character to the recording, yes, but it also sounds like ass on a good stereo. However, that is not true of every track and overall the remastered versions are cleaner. The breakdown disc by disc is as follows.

Disc 1 is mostly a blues disc with some spirituals and boogie woogie piano numbers. Notable artists are Howlin Wolf, BB King and Rufus Thomas. Fairly enjoyable if you dig on that sound. The gospel songs really stand out, especially "There's a Man in Jerusalem" by the Southern Jubilee Singers. This a capella song has outstanding harmony and the remastering brings out the bass vocals nicely. Blues highlights are "I'm Gonna Murder My Baby" by Pat Hare mainly because it's a pretty disturbing tune. Also, "Rocket 88" by Jackie Brenston is a hot song, bridging the gap between blues and early rock and roll.

The second disc kicks off the rock era, with Elvis' first song "That's All Right" starting things right. This disc is from the golden era of Sun, with songs from Elvis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins. Some highlight tunes are "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee" by Malcolm Yelvington, which I like because it is an odd rockabilly tune that reminds me of Screaming Jay Hawkins. Also, "Red Hot" by Billy "The Kid" Emerson is worth a mention because it's a decent little song that is covered by another Sun artist on the 3rd disc, and this version is about 8000% better than the cover by Billy Lee Riley. Other notable songs are Johnny Cash's first hit, "Cry Cry Cry," as well as his additional hits with the Tennessee Two "I Walk The Line" and Folsom Prison Blues." However, the show stopper on this album is the original "Blue Suede Shoes" by Carl Perkins.

Three starts out with another Sun superstar, Jerry Lee Lewis. Honestly, Jerry owns this disc with 8 tracks out of 26. Notables are his hits "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On," "Breathless" and "Great Balls of Fire," the last being close to a theme song for Jerry. One of the more interesting tracks is the gospel song "Down By The Riverside" as it is performed by the "Million Dollar Quartet" of Carl Perkins, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash. There are some interesting articles out there on the irony of that myth. Also interesting is Jerry Lee Lewis' cover of Hank Williams' "You Win Again." Its follows the lines of the original, but has some added vocals and such that make it a rock ballad. It also has the creepiest song in the world, "Right Behind You Baby" by Ray Smith, which is also apparently the first recorded song about stalking a woman.