From the author of the critically acclaimed Elvis Presley biography: Last Train to Memphis brings us the life of Sam Phillips, the visionary genius who singlehandedly steered the revolutionary path of Sun Records.
The music that he shaped in his tiny Memphis studio with artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, Ike Turner, Howlin' Wolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, introduced a sound that had never been heard before. He brought forth a singular mix of black and white voices passionately proclaiming the vitality of the American vernacular tradition while at the same time declaring, once and for all, a new, integrated musical day.
With extensive interviews and firsthand personal observations extending over a 25-year period with Phillips, along with wide-ranging interviews with nearly all the legendary Sun Records artists, Guralnick gives us an ardent, unrestrained portrait of an American original as compelling in his own right as Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, or Thomas Edison.
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by Peter Guralnick
by Wil Haygood
by R.J. Smith
by Peter Manseau
by Peter Blauner
by Peter Gadol
by Peter Robinson
by Peter Matthiessen
by Peter Krass
by Peter Meineck
by Peter Birkenhead
"Narrator Kevin Stillwell deftly tells the story of Memphis legend Sam Phillips--the man who discovered Elvis Presley. Millions lay claim to having "invented" rock and roll, but, judging by this fascinating bio, Phillips has a stronger case than most. Recording both black and white artists simultaneously, Phillips and his tiny label, Sun, exemplified the whole notion of crossover. Long after Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and the other Sun legends left for greener pastures, Phillips remained a vital part of the Memphis scene--despite growing increasingly paranoid and eccentric--as this book's unwieldy second half makes clear. Stillwell doesn't try to imitate Phillips's presumed drawl, but he does project the laconic quality typical of a Southern gentleman, although his sleek enunciation suggests a cool refinement that's more New York than Memphis. J.S.H. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine"
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