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No that are really the basis of me. First of all in response to the question why and what happened in Memphis with me was something that started many years before that and Florence Alabama. Lauderdale County on the Tennessee River and what we call the bend of the river which is about the only farmland in an Alabama north west Alabama. And I was living through the depression of the 30s and I was gosh in 1030 and the crash of 29 and I was like six seven years and we went through 10 years up until World War 2. And so cotton was five cents a pound and we lived and we were tenant farmers ourselves and then we had black farmers on farms with us that were working and so happened my
dad he loved the soul. And but when cotton got to be five cents a pan and we all were very hungry and we all look forward to hog killing time. And I want to tell you something. I found out in this way that it's the truth of the matter is that if you can smell shipments cooking you would never eat them but if you can let somebody cook away across the way chickens taste good and you'd be surprised what effect the lack of having the things that we dreamed about I guess did for say emotionally what a foundation. As we look back upon it now that it built for the creativity. Of war are we all about. We don't have a hell of a lot of food even on the farm. We certainly don't have much money that goes for our black Our negro
friends. That goes for us. There is a certain camaraderie that came about during those days and as a child. I was all I was and I would say more ears than I was. The way people said thing in those days seemed to have such a curve of how they felt it. It gave an almost instant insight into that individual and his or her or their surroundings and what they were confronted with each morning when they would wake up and what they were confronted with when they would hit whatever type of bed or palate that they had for the floor. Now
people may not think this is how really important to music. I Got News For You. It is saying your letter lay the most important ingredient and to create a kitty. When mankind is confronted with the things that I sold that I could recognize as a child seven eight nine ten eleven years old and recognize that the elements that were going on that was completely out of our hands so far as a depression and what we could do about it. That made an impression not only on Sam Phillips. Of which it made a mammoth impression on me and I'm not sure that I absolutely knew it at the time but it made a
mammoth impression on the whole field of civilization. He especially in the south we know we had bad times in the north we know we had it all over the country we had a worldwide depression but that depression is caused a home to you who or it happens to you. And that's very important. Ours happen do happen where people. I had some way we were able and smart and as a matter of fact brilliant enough to not let love get away not let it get away when things were I mean hell I'm talking about rough. Now I'm not talking about going without a meal of two. I'm talking about man I mean a solid meal gravy
made out of fat cooked and some flour and then eat that with some biscuits and that if it was hot that was a good meal. That was a good meal. I don't know that I'll hit exactly when but the essence of these things. Basically all of the fundamentals by which man is made up then how does a person that is frustrated. How do they vent their frustrations. How do they do something to relieve the pressures that are brought on psychologically.
In addition maybe to physically from not having the things you want. So I found in a hurry that my black friends in the cotton patches. They turn to music. I mean music that came from their soul that they made up as they were pickin. Some of it had been in the family probably for generations. On the other hand on being a small kid my sister had two sisters older than me and I had four brothers and they would have these parties about once every two months and they would be around dances and square dances and what you did you would go to these homes and they take out all the living room furniture and put it in the yard of rain in and on the porch it was and I would go and sit in the corner and you'd have these amateur people that worked every day
with I mean hands I mean you know a blacksmith and they wouldn't change in a time it was changing a wheel on a leg. And these people could play music. Now why is that. I mean that was a release there is no question in my mind about it. It was as much a part of developing the personality of what we are all about with regard to music and what releases our spirits and what is a part of our individual psychological makeup as anything in the world. As a child Observateur that I never knew whether I would ever have any party and music. But I did see that this did afford something great for people. I became later on as a young man in the sixth grade at Gilbert school in Florence Alabama after I had moved from Oakland a little burg in Lauderdale County same county of Florence. I became interested
in the band and of course we all we had was a little marching type of man in this sort of thing in the sixth grade and so. I started playing the drums in the band. Now this. This just sounds like it. Yeah. It might be believable might not be believable. I never thought I was quote unquote musically inclined I knew I enjoyed it and I was to a great extent fascinated by it. Now let me tell you that I did Juno. Now Mr. brew was the band director in Florence Alabama and the city schools there. And we all had class lessons and none of us poor folks could afford private lessons. But he told me I was one of the most natural born rhythm people that he'd ever taught. Now I find that came from certain influences. I mean
I don't know that it was in my family I don't know of any my family being great musicians or you know like that. So it had to be outside influence.
Rock and Roll
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Interview with Sam Phillips [Part 1 of 6]
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Interview with Sam Phillips [Part 1 of 6]
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producer; rock and roll; Sun Records; Phillips, Sam, 1923-2003
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Interviewee2: Phillips, Sam
Publisher: Funded by a grant from the GRAMMY Foundation.
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Identifier: d69d4d692112544c0486b2aebfd6db02f2e62d6a (ArtesiaDAM UOI_ID)
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Color: Color
Duration: 00:06:05
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Chicago: “Rock and Roll; Interview with Sam Phillips [Part 1 of 6],” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 4, 2023,
MLA: “Rock and Roll; Interview with Sam Phillips [Part 1 of 6].” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 4, 2023. <>.
APA: Rock and Roll; Interview with Sam Phillips [Part 1 of 6]. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from