Third Man Records, the Nashville-based label and vinyl manufactory founded by Jack White, announced today a partnership with another Nashville-based label, Sun Records, in order to reissue the iconic label's vast catalog of classic, influential American music.
Third Man will be reissuing Sun's catalog on 45 RPM 7" singles, the dominant format during the period in which Sun held sway. The first reissues to come out of the partnership will be three early singles from Rufus Thomas ("Bear Cat" b/w "Walking in the Rain," released in 1953), The Prisonaires ("Baby Please" b/w "Just Walkin' in the Rain," released in 1953) and Johnny Cash ("Get Rhythm" b/w "I Walk the Line," released in 1956).
In keeping with Third Man's practice of producing visually striking, but severely limited, runs of its records, 150 copies of each of the first three Sun reissues will be produced on yellow-and-black drip vinyl, which the label writes it is "lovingly calling sun-ray vinyl." Pre-orders for all three initial releases on black vinyl (available for purchase individually or as part of a bundle) begin today, with an official release date of May 21st. These will also be available from Third Man's infamous "Rolling Record Store" on May 28, 29 and 30 in Memphis, Louisville and Indianapolis, respectively. (Those interested in keeping up with the Rolling Store can do so here.) As well, 50 random pre-orders will be filled with the limited versions instead of standard black.
Founded in Memphis in 1952 by Sam Philips, Sun Records took advantage of the rich and eclectic music scene of Memphis at the time, not limiting itself to one genre but supporting whatever Philips thought would move peoples' feet. As Sun's website states: "In one form or another, Sun recorded them all." The Sun Records catalog includes music from legends ike Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Conway Twitty, among many others.
No doubt, Third Man's reissue campaign will eventually include them all.