Sunrise On The Blues: Sun Records Curated By Record Store Day – Vol. 7

Various Artists

ORG Music, 2020

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/28/2020

This is a very limited release record culled from the legendary Sun Record Company catalog for 2020's Record Store Day. While Sam Phillips' Sun label might be best known for jump-starting the careers of names like Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, at the onset, the imprint was known for rhythm and blues. This legacy is highlighted here by 14 different artists, some of whom acquired worldwide fame. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Howlin' Wolf starts the record right with his inimitable vocals alongside lively harmonica and proficient drums with the powerful groove of  “Everybody's In The Mood.” Little Junior's Blue Flames follows with a sax and string-friendly display of timeless blues qualities on “Mystery Train.”

Other Side A highlights include Boyd Gilmore's stunning vocal performance alongside Earl Hooker's exceptional guitar solos on “Goin' On Down The Line,” while Lost John Hunter & His Blind Bats deliver a key friendly and raw performance on “Cool Down Mama.”

Sleepy John Estes starts Side B with the harmonica acrobatics and soulful, country-influenced “Policy Man Blues,” and this authenticity continues to the incredible guitar playing on the album standout, “Cotton Crop Blues,” where grit and power meet at a very exciting intersection.

Late listen standouts include the acoustic doo-wop stylings of the Prisonaires' cover of Louis Jordan's “That Chick's Too Young to Fry,” and Pat Hare's fantastic distorted guitar on the fuzzed-out “I'm Gonna Murder My Baby” (which he wasn't kidding about, as he ended up shooting and killing his girlfriend not too many years after he recorded this).

Sam Phillips certainly had an ear for timeless music, as these tunes recorded in the '50s sound just as relative and urgent today. Only 4000 copies of this compilation exist, and if you're able to track one down, consider yourself lucky, because the blues just doesn't get much better than this.

Rating: A-

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