What an exciting time to be a rockabilly guy! Outside of the music scene, the most we get is maybe a cheaply done horror movie that goes straight to DVD. Or in some cases the beautifully made and equally historically inaccurate Walk the Line (that spawned a million pompadours). But now in 2017, we have been given something different and big! An 8 part miniseries on cable about Sam Phillips’ Sun Records. I’m going to try to write about this without sounding like a snob. But present it as a lover of film. Lets see if I can handle doing this.
For those of you not in America HERE is a link to watch it for free. Go check it out before they pull if off the net for copyright reasons.
The episode is set in early 50’s south. Sam Phillips takes his family to Memphis. They are immediately scared by a club full of black people listening to music. This is where we are introduced to radio disc jokey Dewey Phillips, who has the best line of the entire episode “fug it”. He talks about starting a recording studio (I wonder where?). Later Sam records with a country band performing “In the Jailhouse Now” where he sulks. Doesn’t seem to like the genre he’s producing. Even though it’s a complete classic. He wants something different (yes yes we get it, he wants to do “black music” and not call it “black music”, we get it. You’re one of the 5 people in the this show that isn’t racist).
We get introduced to two of the members of the Million Dollar quartet in the this episode. Elvis Presley (played by Drake Milligan who looks like a Jonas Brother attempting to impersonate Elvis), and Johnny Cash (played by Kevin Fonteyne who seems to be doing his best Joaquin Phoenix impersonation). We notice that both have similarities. Both have loving mothers. Both are raised southern christians (LIKE ME!). And both look too much alike for me. I’m sorry but I had to wait for them to talk to figure out who I was watching. And could this version of Elvis please stop singing slow songs. It just doesn’t …move me.
Another thing in common that I learned in the first episode is that apparently all fathers in the 50s were complete dicks. Elvis’s dad comes off like a drunk douche bag. And Cash’s father is a racist douche that brings back the character from “Walk the Line” as well as the parody from “Walk Hard”. I’m sorry, the introduction to his father is very well made but I couldn’t help but get flash backs to “the wrong kid died!”.
Billy Gardell from TV’s Mike & Molly plays Col Tom Parker. He does the role of a man who would sell “I Hate Elvis” buttons to make money off the people who hate him to a T. I’m looking forward to seeing more of him the next two months.
I’m not going to spoil the rest of the episode (THERE IS SEX AT SOME POINT, HOT SWEATY 1950s AMERICAN SEX!). I know there is a lot of inaccuracies in it. They really like to drive certain points (THERE ARE MORE RACIST PEOPLE I DIDN’T WRITE ABOUT). For those like me you’ll love the aesthetics, the clothing, and the cars. I’m not going to say the hair, because no one’s hair looked legit but that is besides the point. The acting was good. The dialogue can get a bit cheesy and but does get your attention. The music was great (that wasn’t a ballad from an Elvis impersonator). I can’t wait for the introduction of Jerry Lee Lewis next week. And hopefully see Carl Perkins soon. Even though he is not mentioned in any of the advertisements. Like the one below. You know who Carl Perkins is? Right? King of rockabilly. The guy that wrote “Blue Suede Shoes”!
I recommend watching with an open mind. If it was 100% on point it would probably make for a boring show. You know that is the truth. That was my review. What did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments. I’ll see you next week when I review episode 2. While you are here go LIKE the Official Rockabilly Nerd Facebook page HERE. Also check out reviews for other episodes CMT’s Sun Records Ep.2 reviewCMT’s Sun Records Ep 3 reviewCMT’s Sun Records Ep 4 reviewCMT’s Sun Records Ep5 ReviewCMT’s Sun Records Ep 6 review
And as always, please stop talking about your car!