MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (2/25/13) - If you attended the Sun Legends Revisited concert last Saturday night, you may have felt as if you were in a time machine that took you back to the 50's. And back to the 60's. And back to the 70's.
Artists from as far away as Australia and as close as a few miles down the road in Central City, came together to honor and pay tribute to the legends that recorded their music at the infamous Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee.
Local singer/songwriter/musician, Roy Kyle, sent a song he had written right after the passing of Roy Orbison to Marty Penrose, a Roy Orbison tribute artist that lives in Australia. Since that time, Kyle and Penrose have become friends and Penrose recently finished recording an album of original songs in the Orbison style. Kyle's song, “Lonely Blue Dreams” is included on this CD. Penrose tours Australia with Johnny Memphis, an Elvis Presley tribute artist.
Penrose and Memphis decided to make a trip to the United States and while they were here, they planned the tribute concert with Kyle, who also invited Johnny Cash tribute artist, Frank Hamilton of Murray, Ky.
Both Penrose and Memphis had visited the United States before, playing concerts in Las Vegas and Los Angeles but had never visited Kentucky. Before coming to Muhlenberg County, Penrose and Memphis visited Nashville and Memphis. Penrose said they visited Graceland and Beale Street but the highlight in Memphis was recording a song at Sun Records Studio. “It was magic, standing on the exact spot where Elvis stood and recording exactly where Elvis recorded his early songs,” said Penrose. Memphis agreed that the visit to Sun Records was a dream come true and he enjoyed Graceland but added that he was pleasantly surprised to find in Nashville, a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens. Memphis is originally from Greece but currently lives in Australia.
The Saturday night concert kicked off with Roy Kyle and Nightlife performing songs by Carl Perkins, including “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Turn Around” to an audience of over 250 people.
Frank Hamilton took the stage as The Man In Black, Johnny Cash. Dressed in all black, Hamilton talked, sang and raised his guitar the same way Cash did. The audience was treated to such hits as “Man In Black”, “One Piece At A Time” and “I Walk The Line.” Johnny Cash was part of the Million Dollar Quartet, along with Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. Franklin slowed things down with a tribute to Merle Travis, singing “Sixteen Tons,” and “Way Down In The Mine.”
Kyle then took to the keyboards and paid tribute to Charlie Rich by singing “The Most Beautiful Girl” and “A Little Bit O' You”.
Marty Penrose entered the stage area dressed in black, wearing dark sunglasses and talking in his native tongue. As “The Big O”, Penrose entertained the audience with such hits as “You Got It,” “Crying,” “In Dreams” and concluded with the ever popular “Pretty Woman.” Penrose and Kyle sang “Lonely Blue Dreams,” written by Kyle.
Kyle continued the concert by singing “Whole Lot of Shaking Going On” and “Great Balls Of Fire” honoring The Killer, Jerry Lee Lewis.
The next singer needed no introduction. Kyle announced, “Ladies and Gentlemen....The King!” Johnny Memphis came on stage dressed as Elvis in his early years, black slacks, collared shirt and a white sport coat. Memphis sang some of Elvis' early hits, including "Little Sister” and "All Shook Up."
All three artists came back to the stage to join Kyle and Nightlife for a grand finale singing “Will The Circle Be Unbroken.”
Kyle tells SurfKY that this show and getting to meet Marty after all these years has been one of the biggest highlights of his musical career. “These guys from Australia are great, you couldn't ask for nicer fellas,” Kyle said. He goes on to say, “Frank was great as usual. We have worked together a few times in the past and he always does an outstanding job.”
Kyle has been playing music for over 33 years and is currently working on another upcoming tribute show to be held in May. SurfKY will release details soon.
Photos provided by Leigh Douglas
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