Page 3 — Smoochy with the Sun Rhythm Section









This is the cover of their album “Old Time Rock 'N Roll.”

Jerry Lee is pictured on the lower left.


The Sun Rhythm Section was made up of down-home veterans of the 1950s Memphis music scene associated with Sun Record Company. The Sun Rhythm Section was formed in 1986 to participate in the Tennessee program at the Smithsonian Festival of American Folk Life. They toured America Europe on several occasions, celebrating their roots of rock sound.


The group consisted of Sonny Burgess, who was known for his Sun recordings “Red Headed Woman” and “We Wanna Boogie.” Paul Burlison played guitar for the Rock-N-Roll Trio.  Silver-haired Marcus Van Story was the foxy grandpa of the group, singing and playing rhythm guitar, harmonica, and standup bass. Mild-mannered bassman Stan Kessler has actually been involved in making some of the more explosive music to come out of Sun Studios. He wrote five songs for Elvis. Pianist and singer Jerry Lee “Smoochy” Smith has been credited with being instrumental in creating the Memphis Pumping Piano sound. He was a member of the Mar-Keys and was a cowriter on their 1961 hit “Last Night.” D. J. Fontana (who replaced Jimmy Van Eaton) is the man who kept the beat for Elvis during much of his early and midcareer, playing on dozens of hits and personal appearances. They were all session players on the Sun Record label. The group no longer exists.




Pictured above in 1991, left to right:

Paul Burlison, D. J. Fontana, Stan Kesler, Marcus Vanstory, Smoochy Smith, and Sonny Burgess

Smoochy is on the lower left.






Sun Rhythm Section performing at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Top left: Sonny Burgess, D. J. Fontana, Jerry Lee “Smoochy” Smith, Paul Burlison

Bottom left: Marcus VanStory, Al Cocorochio, and Stan Kessler




The Sun Rhythm Section

performing at the famous Bal Tabarin in Downham, Bromley, Kent, England

May 11, 1989



The next group of pictures were also made on this trip to England, at a performance in the village of Hemsby on the east coast of England 130 miles from London. Hemsby Rock'n'Roll Weekenders are a 5-day major music event taking place twice a year in May and October. Hemsby is known as the world's first and only Rock'n'Roll village, a real trip back to the 1950's. Hemsby also boasts the biggest fifties marketplace for clothes, records, and furniture, which is a major attraction of the event.


Many original American Rock 'n' Roll stars from the 50's have made their European debuts at Hemsby. Performers such as La Vern Baker, Andy Anderson, Rudy 'Tutti' Grayzell, Don and Dewey, The Sun Rhythm Section, Tracey Pendarvis, The Collins Kids, Richard Berry, Curtis Gordon, Vernon Taylor, Chan Romero, Ruth Brown, Pat Cupp, Jack Earls, Hardrock Gunter and Mickey Lee Lane. Hemsby is the only place in Europe where you can see the original American Doowop groups.

May 12–15, 1989

Hemsby, England




All Photo Gallery Pages


Page 1: Photo Gallery—The Early Years


Page 2 Jerry Lee with the Mar-Keys


Page 3: Jerry Lee with the Sun Rhythm Section


Page 4: Jerry Lee—Miscellaneous


Page 5: Jerry Lee today



Southern Music Studio