Thursday, December 17, 2020

Carl Mann and Albert Griffiths RIP

One of the last of the surviving Sun artists, Carl Mann, has died aged 78. He first recorded for the Jaxson label in Jackson, Tennessee, in 1957 and arrived at Sun having been discovered by W S 'Fluke' Holland, Carl Perkins' drummer. Many of Sam Phillips stable of acts had already left by this time but he had great success with a rockabilly version of 'Mona Lisa', which competed with another version by Conway Twitty. He followed it up with 'Pretend'. which was also successful, and 'South of the Border'. He was drafted into the US Army in 1964 and his recording career stalled. He recorded one single for Monument and moved towards country music, having a minor hit in 1976 with 'Twilight Time'. He returned to rockabilly after signing with the Dutch Rockhouse label and had two albums released - 'Gonna Rock and Roll Tonight' and 'Rockabilly Country'. I saw Carl at one of the Sun showcases at Viva Las Vegas in 2018 when he came across strongly on 'Ubangi Stomp', 'I'm Coming Home' and 'Mona Lisa' plus a duet with Miss Ruby Ann on 'Baby I Don't Care'.
Another death is that of reggae artist Albert Griffiths, founder of the Gladiators. The B side of the Ethiopians' 'Train To Skaville' in 1966, 'You Are The Girl', was actually by Albert and when the Gladiators were formed two years later they had success with 'Hello Carol', produced by Coxsone Dodd. They recorded with various producers and other releases included 'Kicks', 'The Train Is Coming' and 'Bongo Red' among others. They were signed by Virgin in 1976 and several albums were released, including 'Trenchtown Mix, 'Proverbial Reggae' and 'Country Living'.

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