Beginnings of the Things by Dominique Wall
Inpress magazine
6 March 2013


Here come the Sons by Wes Taylor
Sydney TAFE Media
23 May 2013


Sons of Sun Review by John Shand
Sydney Morning Herald
20 April 2015



Tonight in the Studio theatre at the Sydney Opera House I experienced a show that sent shivers through me on more than a few occasions. My friend Murray Cook invited me along to the six-man show Sons Of Sun, which will also play there on Saturday night – with seats available.

When mainstream America was listening to How Much Is That Doggie In The Window? Memphis and the southern states of U.S. were listening to the sounds of Sun – the small record label operated out of 706 Uniion Avenue in Memphis by the entrepreneurial Sam Phillips.

Even before Phillips came upon the white man who could sing like a black and thus change music forever with Elvis Presley, he had recorded Jackie Brenton’s Rocket 88 (a strong contender for the first true rock’n’roll single) and the brooding, menacing, Chester/Burnett/Howlin’ Wolf (who was snatched from him by Chess in Chicago). But with Elvis, Sam had a brief but glorious empire that included Carl Perkins, JR Cash, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and Warren Smith.

With John Kennedy (of the 80s bands JFK & the Cuban Crisis and Love Gone Wrong) switching almost effortlessly between the vocals of those legends, and his sidekicks Murray Cook and Paul Scott, the Sun sound came alive in all its chilling glory. Only about three songs did not come out of Sun (Heartbreak Hotel, Mess of Blues and American Trilogy, and some gospel songs that Elvis cut for RCA). The rest tell us about the crucible of creativity that Sun and Memphis was throughout the 50s. You could close your eyes and be absorbed by one of the most fertile sound sources that ever existed.

Sam is portrayed, with all his brilliance, insight and flaws by Matt Charleston, with Ben Maclaine as the narrator and Victoria Beck as Marion Kesiker, the secretary at Sun who nagged Phillips into hearing the young truck driver who would change his life (and pretty much everybody else’s).

It’s a lean show, with Kennedy shining so brightly throughout. Get along tomorrow (Saturday) night, you won’t be sorry.