Fringe Review: Sun Rising: The songs that made Memphis

Fringe Review: Sun Rising: The songs that made Memphis

This is history from the early pages of rock and roll at Sun Records. Renown for recording artists like Elvis, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and a young Roy Orbison, it’s a fascinating story.

By

Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed 24 February 2017

Although this was originally billed as a cabaret show, moving it to the Dunstan Playhouse made it into more of a concert, but with an interesting theme. Apart from being amazing musicians, these guys impart a lot of history from the early pages of rock and roll at Sun Records. Renown for recording artists like Elvis, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and a young Roy Orbison, it’s a fascinating story.

It is clear from the delivery and banter on stage, these guys love what they do and their enjoyment is infectious. They talk of Sam Phillips, the founder of Sun Records with reverence, although they admit the mistakes he made (like selling Elvis’ contract for $35,000 to pay a law suit), but they credit him with finding and developing talent in the American South.

Narrated (for the most part) by David Cosma the story is interspersed with songs recorded at the famous studio. Cosma also takes lead vocals on some numbers, for example Elvis’ first recorded song My Happiness and the big hit That’s Alright. On other numbers he plays backup guitar and harmonica on Orange Blossom Special.

On lead guitar Adrian Whyte was playing some special solos and gave a great imitation of Johnny Cash on Cry, Cry, Cry and Hey Porter. He also helped with narration and backups. Adam Coad was terrific on drums and back up vocals, and showed a good voice in the number were they each took a verse.

On bass Trent McKenzie showed his skill, strumming and slapping the double bass and picking the electric bass in the later numbers. Damon Smith was a demon on the piano and certainly seemed to be channelling Jerry Lee Lewis in numbers like Great Balls of Fire, Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On and Mean Woman Blues. He also did a great copy of Carl Perkin’s version of Blue Suede Shoes.

Together they made sweet music for a very apperceive crowd. Hard not to tap you feet when the beat is so right! If you are interested in the music from this era, track them down and listen.

Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Twitter: @franeds

Rating out of 5: 5

Season ended

 

Hot News