DEAR JERRY: I really enjoyed the two-hour Biography on Sam Phillips, which ran last month on A&E cable TV. Now I am told there is another special in the works about Phillips and the history of Sun Records in Memphis.
Have you heard about such a program? If so, when will it air and on which channel?
Mack Gaudette, Paducah, Ky.
DEAR MACK: Though no title has yet been announced, I can provide many of the details of the new show you mention.
Like the A&E Biography, this will also be a two-hour production. Instead of being biographical in nature, this show will be a 50th anniversary musical tribute to Sam Phillips and his Sun label.
Since virtually every consequential pop, rock, country, and blues artist of the second half of the 20th century credits Sun as the era's most important independent label, finding big name talent is no problem.
Tentatively scheduled to appear are: Elton John, Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Robert Plant, Brian Setzer, Chris Isaak, Jeff Beck, Chrissie Hynde, Aerosmith, and Mark Knopfler. Others, we're told, are being added.
In one anticipated scene, Sir Paul McCartney reenacts the July 1954 Sun session that produced the very first Elvis recording, “That's All Right.” The former Beatle is accompanied by the lead guitar artistry of Scotty Moore, who played on the Presley session. Though Elvis used no drums on the original track, his drummer who signed on in 1955 D.J. Fontana will join McCartney and Moore. (Some news stories and publicity pieces mistakenly report that both Fontana and Moore are on the original Sun recording. It is actually Scotty Moore and Bill Black that round out the trio.)
We do not yet know if they will have someone recreate the standup bass performance of Bill Black. Besides a VHS video, probably available from PBS, a soundtrack album will be issued by Atlantic Records.
As of this writing, no air date has been announced, though it will be a PBS American Masters presentation sometime next month.
As we near December, try contacting your local PBS affiliate for more specifics, or pay a visit to the PBS web site.
DEAR JERRY: Reading your column recently reminded me of a personal favorite song from either 1960 or '61. It was played repeatedly on an old Seeburg juke box at our local drive-in restaurant.
Then I was about 16, and in love with life, music, and, of course, boys. I can only remember a few lines (“saw a crazy chick walkin' down the street,” etc.), but I'm sure the title is “Daddy Cool.”
I would love to hear it again, after all these years. But I need all the details, which is where you come in. Please fill in the blanks.
Shirley Mack, New Port Richey, Fla. DEAR SHIRLEY: You are right about the title, it is “Daddy Cool.”
As for who's version you heard at the drive-in, I believe there are two possibilities.
Most likely, since it became a charted hit in 1957, is the one by the Rays that is the flip side of their million-selling “Silhouettes” (Cameo 117).
That this disc would still be on juke boxes in 1960 and '61 is very likely. Because it is such a classic, finding one now should not be too difficult. Expect to pay $25.00 to $35.00 for a near-mint copy.
There is, however, one other release of “Daddy Cool” that must be considered. It is by Guy “Daddy Cool” Darrell, and it came out in January 1961 smack dab in the middle of the time frame you recall.
Why “Daddy Cool” Darrell's “Daddy Cool” would be on a juke box is unclear, since it did not become a hit to any degree. This one can be had for $10.00 to $15.00.
There is a chance Darrell's is the tune you heard, but I'm betting it's the one by the Rays.
IZ ZAT SO? In November 1957, “Silhouettes,” by the Rays, made it as high as No. 3 on the Billboard and Cash Box charts; however, the Rays had no follow-up Top 40 hits whatsoever.
Just three months later (February 1958), “Get a Job,” by a group named the Silhouettes, hit No. 1, and they never had another hit record.
Coincidence? Oh, I suppose.