A slew of Third Man merchandise will be on sale this weekend, starting Saturday, May 25th and lasting through Monday, May 27th. Head to our online store or our Nashville store when you take a break from barbecuing to get the nicest possible price on our Turntables, Record Cleaning Kit, Headphones, Auxillary Cable, and 45 Box. Here's wishing you a great long weekend from Third Man.
Always eager to share with the public unsung and unheralded music from Detroit, Third Man Records is ecstatic to announce the release of works by two seminal bands from the area.
While ROCKFIRE FUNK EXPRESS never released any music while they were officially a band, in 1973 they recorded a two-song single at United Sound Systems, a legendary Detroit studio that recorded everyone from John Coltrane, John Lee Hooker, the MC5 and countless others. The a-side "People Save the World" is a propulsive, socially-conscious, exercise in primitive funk rock. The b-side shares its title with the band's name and is a breezy, easy-going instrumental, weirdly at odds with its name. These songs have sat in the can for over 40 years and were all-but-forgotten until the band that RockFire later morphed into, Death, became a cause-celebre in the punk community as early progenitors of the style with the 2009 release (comprised of recordings made in 1974) ...For the Whole World to See. In conjunction with the release of the stellar A Band Called Death documentary film Third Man is finally unleashing these songs on the funk-thirsty public. The Hackney Brothers David, Dannis and Bobby are finally getting their due.
Watch the trailer for A Band Called Death below:
THE UNDERWEAR HEADS were long-rumored to have been a made-up band. Evidence of their existence over the past 30 plus years had been reliant upon a picture sleeve for a single that never came with a record. Due to the copycat nature of punk collectors' want lists, the legend of the U-Heads extended far-and-wide as "the sleeve without a record." Truth of the matter is that vinyl was pressed for the release, but due to a manufacturing error all copies were defective and were unceremoniously sent to the garbage dump while some sleeves managed to slip out into the wild. Third Man was able to track down band member John Crenshaw (brother of esteemed Michigan-born songwriter Marshall Crenshaw) who instantly claimed he'd not heard someone utter the band's name since 1983. Bandmates Nick Canterucci, Gary Lyshak and Bruno Borroni were conferenced in, an early-generation master was located in Australia and the world is finally privileged to hear the Tangmania EP. The six-songs on this self-recorded 7" run the gamut from silly drum machine punk, outre experimental tape manipulation and art rock spaciousness.
Tri-colors for RockFire will be available at UHF Records in Royal Oak, Michigan on June 8th at 1pm. The sale will coincide with an autograph session with Death leading up to their performance at the Orion Music Festival the following day.
Tri-colors for the Underwear Heads will be available at Third Man Records' Nashville storefront on Wednesday May 29th at 10am.
The Rolling Record Store is hitting the road and heading West to Memphis on Tuesday, 5/28 to begin a five-day run, the first three of which it will be stocked with SUN RAY™ editions of our first three Sun Records Reissue series releases.
The following two days, find the Rolling Record Store in St. Louis and Kansas City in support of Pokey LaFarge's record release. We will be stocked with a batch of Pokey's limited edition records for each of these stops. Feast your eyes on the CRYSTAL CLEAR VINYL WITH BLUE STREAKS...
5.31 St. Louis, MO @ Vintage Vinyl 2-7pm - 50 Pokey LaFarge Exclusives
See you on the road, and don't forget to follow the Rolling Record Store on Twitter for last-minute updates and additional stops.
In 1952 a record label started in a bustling Tennessee town. They were fond of acoustic tile, storefronts, the color yellow, the owner producing recording sessions and music that generally moved people. Their output couldn't be pigeonholed to any one genre. They released everything....country, rock and roll, gospel, bluegrass, rockabilly, blues. If there's an American musical form that came to fruition in the early 20th century, bet your bottom dollar that some outstanding examples of it were recorded and released by SUN RECORDS.
Sixty-one years later, Third Man Records, in a similarly-bustling Tennessee town and believing in many of the same ideas mentioned above, has entered into partnership with the legendary Sun Records to reissue titles from their catalog on the format they were best known... 45rpm 7" singles.
The initial three releases highlight three disparate, yet engaging releases from the Sun catalog.
Originally released in 1953, "Bear Cat" by RUFUS THOMAS is as certifiable a primitive R'n'B smoker that's ever existed. Complete with the inimitable Joe Hill Louis on guitar, the future "Funky Chicken" Thomas gives his male-perspective answer record to Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog." In the process, the legal powers behind "Hound Dog" writers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller won a lawsuit claiming "Bear Cat" infringed on the duo's copyright. Ever since the writing credits have been Leiber/Stoller, but what has not changed is the unbeatable groove that moves the song. "Bear Cat" is as fresh today as it was when it was originally released sixty years ago.
Also released in 1953, "Just Walking in the Rain" by THE PRISONAIRES was Sun's first certifiable hit. Penned Johnny Bragg and Robert Riley, both inmates at Tennessee State Prison, the solemn, haunting doo wop vibes were enough to garner the group, all incarcerated inmates, frequent day passes out of prison walls to perform across the state...including numerous engagements at the governor's mansion. The vocal prowess and good behavior on day trips would be enough for most group members to be pardoned by the governor. Elvis Presley often said the Prisonaires were his favorite vocal group and even covered "Just Walking in the Rain" on occasion. The proof is in the pudding on this one.
Released in 1956, "Get Rhythm" is an upbeat number by JOHNNY CASH with positive lyrics speaking of a happy shoe-shine boy. While the song is classic, inimitable Cash, it would quickly become overshadowed by its b-side, "I Walk the Line." A peculiar song that changes key between each verse and has no chorus, "I Walk the Line" would become the song Cash is best known for, a tale of pledged fidelity with lyrical undertones implying even deeper meaning. Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song at #30 in their 2004 list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.
Each release remains faithful to its original issue on Sun, replicating the classic logo and label design coupled with a striking Sun company sleeve that dutifully employs the rooster Sam Philips lamented losing as labels switched from 78's to 45's.
This will be an ongoing partnership between Sun and Third Man and future releases are already in the works. Pre-orders for all three initial releases on black vinyl (available for purchase individually or as part of a bundle) begin today, with an official release date of May 21st.
The limited edition versions of these singles will be an eye-catching yellow and black configuration we're lovingly calling SUN RAY™ vinyl. They will be limited to 150 copies per title. 100 copies of each of the limited versions will be sold from the Rolling Record store on May 28, 29, and 30th. The 28th we will sell the lmtd Johnny Cash single at Sun Records in Memphis TN, 29th will be Rufus Thomas at Please and Thank You in Louisville KY, and on the 30th we will sell The Prisonaires Sun Ray at Luna Records in Indianapolis. As always 50 copies of each limited edition record will go in random mail orders for the standard edition vinyl through the Third Man website. Please stay tuned to the Rolling Record Store Twitter account for updates on these sales.