The Wheelgrinders at Sun Studios, Part 1

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On Monday Sept 5th we entered the hallowed studio in Memphis, Tennessee where Rock ‘n’ Roll was born. Under the watchful eyes of Elvis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis we recorded four songs…two original Wheelgrinders numbers “Torqueflite Baby” and “Betty Lou’s Got A New Tattoo” and two covers Leadbelly’s “Goodnight Irene” and Junior Thompson’s “Mama’s Little Baby”, a song originally recorded on the Memphis record label Meteor in 1956.

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Silhouetted against a legendary backdrop of neon.

 

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Taking a break between takes on a balmy Memphis evening.

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“X” marks the spot. This is the exact spot where Elvis stood on the night of July 5th 1954 and recorded “That’s All Right” with Scotty Moore and Bill Black. Greg was set up on this spot for the Wheelgrinders session and sang through a 1950s RCA 77-D microphone. He played his 1955 Gretsch DuoJet for all four songs.

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With Elvis keeping a watchful eye on the proceedings we gave it our all in the studio. It still hasn’t sunk in with any of us that we were actually there recording in the shadow of rockabilly giants.

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Caroline played one of the Sun house uprights, a 1940s Kay strung with gut strings. It sounded phenomenal in her hands.

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Stuart, with ace Sun session drummer and one of Billy Lee Riley’s ‘Little Green Men’ J.M. Van Eaton over his shoulder, played the same Ludwig kit that Larry Mullen used on the tracks recorded at Sun by U2 for their “Rattle and Hum” album. Stuart’s expression pretty much tells the story of how awestruck we all were to be recording at Sun.


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