In 1956, Sonny Burgess & the Pacers were just one of many rockin’ acts seeking to follow in the footsteps of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash. Under the guidance of producer Sam Phillips, they brought a new sound rumbling forth from the tiny Sun Records studio in Memphis, Tennessee. The mixture of hillbilly and blues that became known as rockabilly would smash genre walls and change the sound of pop music around the world.
While many made the pilgrimage to Memphis, few succeeded in actually having a record released on the eye-popping and ear-opening Sun Records label. Arkansas native Sonny Burgess was one of the privileged few when his double-sided raucous rockabilly blast, “We Wanna Boogie”/”Red Headed Woman,” hit the record racks and jukeboxes in September 1956. A huge regional hit, it was a perfect snapshot of the band that many regarded as one the wildest and most dynamic acts to ever blaze a trail through the honky tonks and dive bars of West Tennessee, Arkansas and the surrounding states. Their four follow-up singles on Sun also provided ample confirmation of their rock’n’roll pioneer pedigree.
Sixty years later, Sonny Burgess and the Legendary Pacers are still rockin’ the house with their energetic rockabilly, rhythm and blues sound on Ain’t Got No Home, their new release on Muddy Roots Records. The big 12-inch record contains a dozen classic tunes drawn from their six decades of wild live shows and performances at rockabilly festivals around the world.
Considered one of the most R&B-influenced of the original crop of rockabilly cats, Burgess delivers his unique interpretations of 11 classic R&B, country and rock’n’roll tunes. Stand-outs include Larry Williams’ runaway rocker “Slow Down,” a tasty country-fried take on soul shaker “Mustang Sally,” a slice of boppin’ boogie with Louis Jordan’s “Caldonia,” and a rip-roaring rockabilly run-through of Merle Haggard’s “Okie from Muskogee.”
The album also features “Tiger Rose.” Written for Burgess by Bruce Springsteen, this rockabilly rampage features Springsteen on guitar along with E Street Band bassist Gary Tallent and famed session drummer Roy Husky, Jr. supplying the rhythm. “Tiger Rose” originally appeared on Sonny Burgess’ 1996 self-titled album for Rounder Records, and is now making its vinyl debut.
Ain’t Got No Home was recorded at the Raney Recording Studios in Drasco, Arkansas. Owned by Zyndall Raney, the son of famed hillbilly harmonica player Wayne Raney (“Blues Stay Away from Me” and “Why Don’t You Haul Off and Love Me”), the studio has long been a favorite for Arkansas musicians with its roots reaching all the way back to the Sun Records era of the late 1950s.
Sonny Burgess and the Legendary Pacers’ Ain’t Got No Home is available directly from Muddy Roots Records and fine independent record retailers around the world.
Itunes release date 11/15/2016.
Vinyl with download card in stock now HERE