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July 5 1954
(+ means you need both    ~ means same material    °° means stereo or binaural    ° means mono)
(SFS = Short False Start | FS = False Start | LFS or BD (Breakdown) = Long False Start | PB (Playback) or Complete = Complete Take)

SUN Studio - Memphis, Tennessee
Engineer : Sam Phillips

Musicians:    
Guitar: Elvis Presley  
Guitar: Scotty Moore  
Bass: Bill Black  

Harbor Lights
  July 5 1954 (Mon)
Take 1 Reh'sal
+FS
0:26 "1. Breakdowns" A Boy From Tupelo 2 (FTD)° (Tape Box #15)
Take 2 FS 0:06   A Boy From Tupelo 2 (FTD)°
Take 3 M 2:53 "2. Harbor Lights (Instruments)"
(EPA3 2742)
(OPA1 4193 - changed to 4191)
A Boy From Tupelo 1 (FTD)°~Elvis At Sun°~The Compete Elvis Presley
Masters 1 (Sony)°~The Early Years (Franklin Mint Complete Masters
Collection 28)°~Memphis Recording Service Volume 2°~Sunrise°
~A Legendary Performer Vol 2 (LP)° (With echo)~A Golden Celeb. 1°
~50's Box 1° (2:38)+A Boy From Tupelo 2 (FTD)°
Take 4 Complete 2:37 "3. Harbor Lights (2:27)" A Boy From Tupelo 2 (FTD)° (2:37)~Today Tomorrow & Forever 1° (2:29
- Listed as Take 3)
Take 5 FS 0:27 "4. __"_____"__ (Breakdowns)" A Boy From Tupelo 2 (FTD)°
Take 6 LFS 0:54   A Boy From Tupelo 2 (FTD)°
Take 7 Complete 2:24 "5. __"_____"__ (2:20) N.G.)" A Boy From Tupelo 2 (FTD)°
Take 8 LFS 0:25 "6. __"_____"__ (Breakdown)" A Boy From Tupelo 2 (FTD)°

I Love You Because
  July 5 1954 (Mon)
Take 1 FS 0:23 (Guitar intro) (OPA1 4192) A Boy From Tupelo 2 (FTD)°~Sunrise°~The Comp. Sun Sessions (LP)°
~Unsurpassed Masters 1-1° (Tape Box #13)
Take 2 Complete 3:28 (OPA1 4192) A Boy From Tupelo 2 (FTD)°~Elvis At Sun°~Sunrise°~The Complete Sun
Sessions (LP)°~(CD)°~Unsurpassed Masters 1-1°
Take 3 Complete 3:36 (Whistling intro - Used for Spliced RCA Master) (SPA1 4278) A Boy From Tupelo 2 (FTD)°~The Complete Sun Sessions (LP)°~(CD)°
~Unsurpassed Masters 1-1°
Take 4 FS 0:40 (SPA1 4279) A Boy From Tupelo 2 (FTD)°~The Complete Sun Sessions (LP)°
~Unsurpassed Masters 1-1°
Take 5 Complete 3:27 (Used for Spliced RCA Master)
(SPA1 4280)
A Boy From Tupelo 2 (FTD)°~The Complete Sun Sessions (LP)°~(CD)°
~Unsurpassed Masters 1-1°
       
Spliced M 2:40 Spliced from Takes 3 & 5
(G2WB 1086)
A Boy From Tupelo 1 (FTD)° (Track 6)+(Track 26)~Young Man With The
Big Beat 1 (Legacy)°~Elvis Presley (FTD)°~(DSD)°~Comp. Elvis Presley
Masters 1 (Sony)°~Country Roots (Franklin Mint Complete Masters
Collection 8)°~Memphis Recording Service Volume 2°~Complete Single
Collection 1°~Sunrise°~50's Box 1°

That's All Right
U-128
  July 5 1954 (Mon)
Take 1 FS 0:10 (OPA1 4849 - changed to 4193) A Boy From Tupelo 2 (FTD)°~That's All Right (CD Single)°~Platinum 1°
~Sunrise°~A Golden Celebration 1°~Complete Sun Sessions (LP)°~The
Sun Sessions (CD)°~Unsurpassed Masters 1-1° (Tape Box #13)
Take 2 FS 0:10 (OPA1 4849 - changed to 4193) A Boy From Tupelo 2 (FTD)°~That's All Right (CD Single)°~Platinum 1°
~Sunrise°~A Golden Celebration 1°~Complete Sun Sessions (LP)°~The
Sun Sessions (CD)°~Unsurpassed Masters 1-1°
Take 3 Complete 1:53 (OPA1 4849 - changed to 4193) A Boy From Tupelo 2 (FTD)°~That's All Right (CD Single)°~Platinum 1°
~Sunrise°~A Golden Celebration 1°~Complete Sun Sessions (LP)°~The
Sun Sessions (CD)°~Unsurpassed Masters 1-1°
Take 4 M 1:57 (F2WB 8040) (PPA1-2716 ) A Boy From Tupelo 1 (FTD)° (Track 24)~Elvis At Sun°~The Complete
Elvis Presley Masters 1 (Sony)°~Songs Of The Fifties (Franklin Mint
Complete Masters Collection 1)°~Elvis 75 - Good Rockin' Tonight 1
(Legacy)°~Elvis 75 CD3°~Complete Single Collection 1°~Sunrise°
~50's Box 1°~ROCK & ROLL - The Early Years° (AFM1-5463)+A Boy
From Tupelo 1 (FTD)° (Track 7)~Memphis Recording Service Volume 1°
(Without echo)+Memphis Recording Service Volume 1° (Vinyl)

Notes

RCA received tapes from Sam Phillips in December 1955, and where no tapes existed they used dubs from SUN singles for their 'Masters' (See below).

With the release by 'Follow That Dream' of the ultimate Sun collection - 'A Boy From Tupelo', we get the complete Harbor Lights session for the first time.

According to Steve Sholes' hand written notes the master should be Take 2, but since the tapes were rediscovered they have been re-analysed and each false start has now been associated a separate take, which now makes the master Take 3.

Harbor Lights as released on 'A Legendary Performer Volume 2' has added echo and it was issued a new matrix number (OPA1 4193) when released on 'A Golden Celebration'.

The RCA master of I Love You Because was spliced from takes 3 and 5 on January 20 1956 by producer Steve Sholes. Takes 3 and 5 are listed as tracks 2 and 4 of Sun Box #13. Take 1 is also on the same tape, but was probably ignored since it is a short false start.

Some versions of 'The Sun Sessions' CD contains take 3 (Whistling intro) instead of take 2 (Guitar intro) of I Love You Because as track 18.

In May 1985 a mono pop album was released entitled "ROCK & ROLL- The Early Years" (AFM1-5463).
The twelve selections all received "new" master matrix numbers from PPA1-2710 to PPA1-2721. The Elvis selection That's All Right on Side B, Track 1 was assigned PPA1-2716 (changed from F2WB-8040).

Thanks to Kurt Rokitta with regards to the change of matrix number for That's All Right.

In March of 2007, Sony decided to go through all of Elvis' masters. They retransferred everything and remastered all tracks including repairing as many clicks, pops, bad edits and dropouts as they could. They have used these newly mastered recordings on their new releases since 2007 including budget soundtracks, 'Legacy' releases, the 30 disc 'Complete Elvis Presley Masters' collection and the Franklin Mint package. These 2007 remasters were not used on FTD's 'A Boy From Tupelo', the masters were all remastered again from scratch on that set.

Elvis At Sun - Restoration (Courtesy of 'Master & Session')

Being an early take of an abandoned recording, from the first session on July 5, 1954, the opening track Harbor Lights is the weakest performance of Elvis' SUN recordings. Unexpectedly it also stands out as being one of the few recordings where the actual SUN master tape has been recovered. The most audible difference is that the out-of-place 1976 'Legendary Performer' echo is gone. The new straight transfer actually reveals Sam Phillips' own, more subtle use of locally miked tape echo. In this case, a delayed signal from Scotty's guitar is mixed with the live signal coming from all microphones. This leaves the vocal almost dry, but with a touch of leakage into Scotty's microphone. The result is a very full sound overall and a very natural sound of the vocals.

The above is best illustrated by comparison to the second track, thought to be from the same session but recorded dry using just one tape machine.

Recording of country ballad I Love You Because was abandoned after 5 "takes". RCA spliced "takes" 3 and 5 for their LP master in 1956, but the first complete attempt, "take" 2 is the only consistent full take without major errors and therefore appropriate to include on a genuine SUN collection like this. Here we get a very recent Sony transfer of the original SUN tape. The main characteristics seem to be in the 1-track head of the tape recorder picking up signal from the entire width of the tape. This also results in a high signal / noise ratio and may almost be interpreted as truncation of noise, since random noise is likely to vary along the width of the tape. Apart from that, neutral amplifiers and careful NAB tape curve calibration seems to characterize the Sony transfers. The technique is thus optimised for flat transfers of original album masters or anything else that was mastered for release in the first place. I Love You Because is a dry, flat recording and as much as the Sony transfer of theoretically is as good as it gets, some might find it sound a little hard compared to the full sound of Harbor Lights that actually was transferred by BMG. 

Sadly, the SUN master tape of That's All Right is lost forever. It was used to produce the original single in July 1954 and then once more in November 1955 when RCA transferred it. Since I Love You Because and That's All Right were recorded on a rehearsal or session that had failed so far, there either was no time for Sam to setup or rewind the slapback tape before recording to produce the characteristic SUN echo. (Only the latter would support Harbor Lights actually being the first recording)

The original R&B side of SUN 209 was dry, just as the outtake that survived on the same session reel as I Love You Because. To prepare it for re-release RCA added compression and an entirely different type of echo when SUN Box #2 was played back for the last time in November 1955. Nevertheless, the RCA tape copy that still exists, is by far the best remaining source in terms of signal. The only other option would have been to transfer an inferior source, a 50-year-old SUN 45 or 78 RPM. Something that couldn't be justified on a major release aimed at the general market now that a tape source does exist. Thankfully, That's All Right is the only alien on 'Elvis at SUN' and as such it is considered a slight improvement over what has been released before.


Session Logs
Recording Information
RCA SUN Transfers - December 1955
SUN Transfers - November 1955
Recording Information
RCA SUN Transfer - January 20 1956
SUN Transfer - January 20 1956
Tape Box
July 5 1954
July 5 1954

Steve Sholes' Written Notes
Harbor Lights
Harbour Lights
Steve Sholes' Written Notes
I Love You Because & That's All Right
I Love You Because & That's All Right
Sun Tapes
Tape Boxes 1 - 15
Sun Tapes


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