with Memphis Vic

Back in 1951, Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats recorded “Rocket 88” at Sun Studios with song composer Ike Turner on keyboards. One of their amps was broken, which led to the guitar sounding distorted. This song is almost universally known as the first rock and roll song, leading the studio to claim status as the birthplace of rock & roll. The studio recorded many of rock’s earliest pioneers including Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Charlie Feathers, Ray Harris, Warren Smith, Charlie Rich, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Victor Bernabe, a tour guide at Sun Studios, would be able to tell you this story. Tour guides at the legendary Memphis studio are revered as local musicologists and guide visitors on over 600,000 tours a year.

Additionally, Bernable, who is better known by his DJ name Memphis Vic, likes to spin records on his Tectonics turntable system with a Pioneer mixer. He is originally from California and loves collecting records, hitting as many  flea markets as possible just to buy vinyl. We wanted to share with you the records that this local music historian recordmends.

1. Bud Deckelman and The Daydreamers – “Daydreamin'”

First, is this Meteor record by Bud Deckelman “Daydreamin.” Technically it is a country song—a country slow song, one of the many that were recorded at Meteor Records, which  was a recording studio here in Memphis from 1956 to 1960 . A lot of the artists that auditioned for Sam Phillips in Sun Studios—which was technically Memphis Recording Service back then—went to Meteor Records.

It was also called  “Sun Rejects Studio” so that’s one of the reasons—more of a historical reason—why I like this record, and it is a pretty cool slow tune you can bob your head to.

2. Big Joe Turner – Greatest Hits

Personally for me, and for a lot of people, this was one of the originators of rock ‘n’ roll. You know he was a major influence of Elvis Presley—Johnny Burnette from the rock ‘n’ roll trio here. Technically he was rock ‘n’ roll in my opinion; that is why I like Big Joe Turner. Elvis Presley covered “Shake, Rattle and Roll” from this vinyl record. Also “Flip, Flop, and Fly,” and numerous artists have covered his music, like Bill Haley and the Comets, Ike Turner, and all that good stuff.

3. Dick Dale and His Del-Tones – Singles Collection 61-65

This is more of a personal choice. I like his music—I am originally from California, and so is Dick Dale. On the record is a Beach Scene from the ’60s. He was a major icon in the ’60s as far as surf  music. It was about surfing the beach, and it had a little nice guitar twang to his music.

Other than that, he was an independent person; he never wanted to sign with a major record label. He liked to produce, run his own merchandise, and put out his own music.

Photo and reporting by Ashli Blow.

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