When Sam Phillips founded Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1950 he created one of the most influential recording labels in history, almost singlehandedly bringing the rhythm and blues of African Americans into the living rooms of middle-America, and thence the world.
And along the way Sam signed up some of the most important performers of all-time including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Howlin’ Wolf, Roy Orbison, Junior Parker and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Now, inspired by this pantheon of hits and musicians, Melbourne blues legend, Louis King, of Liars Klub fame and award-winning ska, soul, RnB and blues vocalist Pat Powell (Patou) have put together, for this year’s FRINGEWORLD, a show that hails and rejoices in the music of the Sun Records era.
Downstairs at His Maj, the perfect setting for the show, with its atmospheric take on a 1960’s cabaret club, King burst onto stage with a rollicking rendition of That’s Alright (Mama) before moving onto a medley of Presley and Cash, including Ring of Fire, complete with the exuberant brass accompaniment.
Then it was time for Patou to join the fun with a Little Walter number, My Baby Don’t Stand No Cheatin’, and we then journeyed through hit after hit from the Sun Records catalogue, and from those artists they influenced. What a journey.
But all too soon, with the sounds of the Killer’s greatest hit still ringing in our ears it was over. Great balls of fire, indeed.
King’s perfectly pitched blues voice, Patou’s immersion in the soul of African American music, a wonderful backing band of piano, drums, guitar, harmonica and slap bass, combined for a show that just should not be missed.
Exciting, electric, exhilarating, energetic, but most of all entertaining.