Carl Perkins Tracks Hailed as Game Changers for Rock 'n' Roll History
Selmer, Tennessee—In 2009 Arts in McNairy’s cultural heritage committee began the painstaking process of sorting through recordings made by Stanton Littlejohn at his Eastview, Tennessee home between 1947 and 1957. Dozen’s of fragile acetate (lacquer) discs recovered from the families of Mr. Littlejohn and the artists who recorded for him were subsequently digitized with the assistance of the Center for Popular Music at MTSU and the financial backing of the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Folklife Program. Several outstanding programs grew out of the Littlejohn project. A CD release, The Littlejohn Sessions Vol 1, and a short film, Homegrown: Music in McNairy, were well received locally, and the AiM preservation team received recognition by the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress for their efforts.
Now, ten years after the first Littlejohn preservation activities, comes the biggest news to date. Bear Family Records, the legendary German label specializing in recovering and reissuing historically significant American roots music recordings, will release Discovering Carl Perkins in October 2019. Four Littlejohn tracks featuring Perkins will be paired with selections from his unreleased Sun Records material to provide an eyeopening retrospective of the rockabilly icon’s earliest creative leanings. “These recordings confirm what Carl Perkins always said about his music,” said Shawn Pitts, leader of AiM’s original preservation team and coproducer for the Bear Family release. “They clearly demonstrate that he had an electrifying rockabilly sound years before he arrived at Sun Records. He didn’t have to have it coaxed out of him by Sam Phillips, rockabilly came as naturally to Perkins as breathing, and these recordings force us to seriously rethink some music history.”
A limited quantity of the 10 inch LPs which includes unpublished photos and an insert booklet detailing the history of the recordings will be available locally, online at Bear Family Records following the European release October 6, 2019, and on Amazon after November 8, 2019. Contact Bear Family producers Shawn Pitts ([email protected] ) and Hank Davis ([email protected]) for interviews.