Marion Keisker - did she record the first disks?

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Marion Keisker - did she record the first disks?

Postby Act01 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:02 pm

I'm doing some research on Marion Keisker and looking for some evidence that she could have been the one who recorded Elvis's first acetate ("My Happiness") and possibly the second ("I'll Never Stand in Your Way"). The main question is: Is there any proof (for or against) that she could use the disk lathe? Did her or Sam ever say so in an interview? Are there any other artists who saw her doing it? If the lobby was full the day Elvis came in to record, do we know who else recorded that day? Thanks!


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Re: Marion Keisker - did she record the first disks?

Postby cadillac-elvis » Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:25 pm

She stated in an interview that she taped Elvis' songs, because she wanted Sam to hear what Elvis sounded like.
If Sam was there, there was no reason to tape the songs.
She also stated in an interview that she was not there the day Elvis came to do his second disc.
Her memories of those events have always rang true with me, and they make sense.
Sam's memory wasn't quite as good as hers.


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Re: Marion Keisker - did she record the first disks?

Postby Act01 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 4:12 am

cadillac-elvis wrote:Her memories of those events have always rang true with me, and they make sense.
Sam's memory wasn't quite as good as hers.

Everything you said sounds right to me, too. Sam didn't claim to do the recording until 1979 where as she started saying it in 1955 but it's still ultimately her word/memory against his. I think Marion's case would be stronger if undoubtedly part of her job duties was recording artists/sessions that Sam didn't want to do (or wasn't around to do). But as far as I know, no one has ever backed her up on that part of the story. There has to be one artist or musician who saw her working in the studio... The story is always about her as the secretary or office assistant.


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Re: Marion Keisker - did she record the first disks?

Postby cadillac-elvis » Sun Jun 24, 2018 4:37 am

Act01 wrote:
cadillac-elvis wrote:Her memories of those events have always rang true with me, and they make sense.
Sam's memory wasn't quite as good as hers.

Everything you said sounds right to me, too. Sam didn't claim to do the recording until 1979 where as she started saying it in 1955 but it's still ultimately her word/memory against his. I think Marion's case would be stronger if undoubtedly part of her job duties was recording artists/sessions that Sam didn't want to do (or wasn't around to do). But as far as I know, no one has ever backed her up on that part of the story. There has to be one artist or musician who saw her working in the studio... The story is always about her as the secretary or office assistant.


What part of her story doesn't sound like it's truthful? I find her to be very truthful.
It's probably not that difficult to operate the record cutter.
the machine probably does all the work.
You throw a blank disc in there, and hit the start button, signal the singer, the records get cut, and pops out a record.

Easy peazy.

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Re: Marion Keisker - did she record the first disks?

Postby John » Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:41 am

Act01 wrote:
cadillac-elvis wrote:Her memories of those events have always rang true with me, and they make sense.
Sam's memory wasn't quite as good as hers.

Everything you said sounds right to me, too. Sam didn't claim to do the recording until 1979 where as she started saying it in 1955 but it's still ultimately her word/memory against his. I think Marion's case would be stronger if undoubtedly part of her job duties was recording artists/sessions that Sam didn't want to do (or wasn't around to do). But as far as I know, no one has ever backed her up on that part of the story. There has to be one artist or musician who saw her working in the studio... The story is always about her as the secretary or office assistant.

I'm pretty sure Elvis said it somewhere. If memory serves me right, it was in an army interview, but I'm not 100% on that, but I know he gives her credit on an interview.


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Re: Marion Keisker - did she record the first disks?

Postby jbgude » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:05 pm

I too, give Marion credit for the initial recording. Even Elvis seemed to think so. if you watch/listen to the part on " Elvis Sails" ? he mentions Marion and says if it was not for her, he would not be where he was that day.So she was obviously more than just a secretary to him.
Sam does not remember many things, and there are other non- Elvis Videos available for e.g. where Ike Turner recounts to Sam what happened when they were recording " Rocket 88".
AS far as Sam Phillips not recognising Elvis' voice on " My Happiness", we have to remember he was not an Elvis fan, and had probably never seriously listened to Elvis' records outside of the SUN studio.

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Re: Marion Keisker - did she record the first disks?

Postby Mister Moon » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:42 pm

To begin with, Marion Keisker was a far more cultured and cultivated person than Sam Phillips. That simple fact would account quite a bit towards explaining their respective attitudes regarding their roles, and merits, in Elvis' early years.

Also, prior to joining Phillips, Marion had worked for years at WREC radio in Memphis, where she would no doubt have become familiar with all kinds of audio gear.

It wasn't for nothing that Phillips hired her as his right hand at the Memphis Recording Service, later to expand into Sun and other affilated labels. Phillips wasn't going to be there in person 24 hours a day, so he needed somebody to run the everyday matters in an efficient way, and Marion was the ideal person for the job.

There's certainly more than one documented instance (vintage articles based on interviews with Elvis) where Presley explicitly credits Keisker as being the one who had a direct participation in those early professional ventures. Sorry, but I don't have them at hand right now.

Whatever the case, what's truly inexcusable is the fact that the recent, pompous, HBO Elvis documentary doean't even mention Keisker, and even dares using a 1956 photo of Phillips, Presley and Keisker in front of 706 Union in cropped format, so as to leave Keisker out - the same trick was used by Guralnick for his recent Phillips hagiography sorry, biography). Those are insults, not just to Keisker's memory, but also to fans, and to historical truth.


***********

There are not many photos of Keisker in her younger days. Doing a bit of googling, I found this beautiful extract from a Southwestern University, later to become Rhodes (Memphis) yearbook :



Marion Rhodes College.jpg






And here's the glorious photo showing Phillips, Presley and Keisker at 706. Somebody send Guralnick, Landau and Zimny a copy :



560923 Sam Marion b.jpg
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Re: Marion Keisker - did she record the first disks?

Postby Jukebox » Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:31 pm

Mister Moon wrote: . . . what's truly inexcusable is the fact that the recent, pompous, HBO Elvis documentary doesn't even mention Keisker, and even dares using a 1956 photo of Phillips, Presley and Keisker in front of 706 Union in cropped format, so as to leave Keisker out - the same trick was used by Guralnick for his recent Phillips hagiography sorry, biography). Those are insults, not just to Keisker's memory, but also to fans, and to historical truth.

Very well stated, Mister Moon. Thank you!
I'm happy to be an Elvis fan! 8-)


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Re: Marion Keisker - did she record the first disks?

Postby Act01 » Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:07 am

cadillac-elvis wrote:
Act01 wrote:
cadillac-elvis wrote:What part of her story doesn't sound like it's truthful? I find her to be very truthful.
It's probably not that difficult to operate the record cutter.
the machine probably does all the work.
You throw a blank disc in there, and hit the start button, signal the singer, the records get cut, and pops out a record.

Easy peazy.


Her story sounds 100% truthful but at the end of the day it's still her word against his. And Elvis saying "I owe my career to this woman" doesn't say anything about her technical ability. I believe her - but again, why is there zero proof in existence that she operated this machinery other than her own word?

I've actually heard that Rek-O-Vek machine is not that easy to use - which implies that SAM probably trained her on it. If he trained her, it was likely with the intention of having her do recordings. I can't imagine Sam would have put her in a session with any important client so likely she was working with the people who came off the street (like an 18 year old Elvis). So, why has no one ever come forward to say, "Yeah, Marion did my demo?"


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Re: Marion Keisker - did she record the first disks?

Postby Act01 » Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:12 am

John wrote:
Act01 wrote:
cadillac-elvis wrote:I'm pretty sure Elvis said it somewhere. If memory serves me right, it was in an army interview, but I'm not 100% on that, but I know he gives her credit on an interview.

You may be thinking of the press conference in Germany in 1960 when she was a Air Force Captain. He said to her, "I don't know whether to kiss you or salute you" and she said, "In that order." She was reprimanded for "overfamiliarity with a non-com" and Elvis stood up for her saying, "we wouldn't be having this press conference if it weren't for this woman."

He introduced Marion to Priscilla Presley at an event in Memphis years later saying he owed his career to her. So, there's no doubt in my mind they knew each other, Marion pushed to get him in the studio, etc. But again that's not the part of her story I'm researching cause all of that is very well documented... I'm trying to find out more about her technical ability. Someone had to see her in the control room at some point.

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Re: Marion Keisker - did she record the first disks?

Postby Mojo Filter » Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:48 am

Mister Moon wrote:To begin with, Marion Keisker was a far more cultured and cultivated person than Sam Phillips. That simple fact would account quite a bit towards explaining their respective attitudes regarding their roles, and merits, in Elvis' early years.

Also, prior to joining Phillips, Marion had worked for years at WREC radio in Memphis, where she would no doubt have become familiar with all kinds of audio gear.

It wasn't for nothing that Phillips hired her as his right hand at the Memphis Recording Service, later to expand into Sun and other affilated labels. Phillips wasn't going to be there in person 24 hours a day, so he needed somebody to run the everyday matters in an efficient way, and Marion was the ideal person for the job.

There's certainly more than one documented instance (vintage articles based on interviews with Elvis) where Presley explicitly credits Keisker as being the one who had a direct participation in those early professional ventures. Sorry, but I don't have them at hand right now.

Whatever the case, what's truly inexcusable is the fact that the recent, pompous, HBO Elvis documentary doean't even mention Keisker, and even dares using a 1956 photo of Phillips, Presley and Keisker in front of 706 Union in cropped format, so as to leave Keisker out - the same trick was used by Guralnick for his recent Phillips hagiography sorry, biography). Those are insults, not just to Keisker's memory, but also to fans, and to historical truth.


***********

There are not many photos of Keisker in her younger days. Doing a bit of googling, I found this beautiful extract from a Southwestern University, later to become Rhodes (Memphis) yearbook :



Marion Rhodes College.jpg





And here's the glorious photo showing Phillips, Presley and Keisker at 706. Somebody send Guralnick, Landau and Zimny a copy :



560923 Sam Marion b.jpg

Excellent summary. My thoughts too.

I do love that photo of Elvis, Sam and Marion.

It's probably the only photo we'll ever see of the two most important people in his career together. Thank God the photographer was there to capture three iconic people beaming with joy.

Their happiness really shows here: Sam's studio was taking off in a big way with million selling hits, discovering artists that were later to become world famous, releasing endless classics. The studio was at its peak. Elvis was lapping it up with the success of his career by the time this photo was taken - the money was rolling in, his dream of being an actor was becoming true. Marion was there to witness it all, and she was certainly pleased for both of them, and here all three of them are rejoicing every minute of it. The moment couldn't have been any better when that photo was taken.
she's well acquainted with a touch of the velvet hand, like a lizard on a window pane


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Re: Marion Keisker - did she record the first disks?

Postby cadillac-elvis » Mon Jun 25, 2018 3:52 pm

Mister Moon wrote:To begin with, Marion Keisker was a far more cultured and cultivated person than Sam Phillips. That simple fact would account quite a bit towards explaining their respective attitudes regarding their roles, and merits, in Elvis' early years.

Also, prior to joining Phillips, Marion had worked for years at WREC radio in Memphis, where she would no doubt have become familiar with all kinds of audio gear.

It wasn't for nothing that Phillips hired her as his right hand at the Memphis Recording Service, later to expand into Sun and other affilated labels. Phillips wasn't going to be there in person 24 hours a day, so he needed somebody to run the everyday matters in an efficient way, and Marion was the ideal person for the job.

There's certainly more than one documented instance (vintage articles based on interviews with Elvis) where Presley explicitly credits Keisker as being the one who had a direct participation in those early professional ventures. Sorry, but I don't have them at hand right now.

Whatever the case, what's truly inexcusable is the fact that the recent, pompous, HBO Elvis documentary doean't even mention Keisker, and even dares using a 1956 photo of Phillips, Presley and Keisker in front of 706 Union in cropped format, so as to leave Keisker out - the same trick was used by Guralnick for his recent Phillips hagiography sorry, biography). Those are insults, not just to Keisker's memory, but also to fans, and to historical truth.


***********

There are not many photos of Keisker in her younger days. Doing a bit of googling, I found this beautiful extract from a Southwestern University, later to become Rhodes (Memphis) yearbook :



Marion Rhodes College.jpg





And here's the glorious photo showing Phillips, Presley and Keisker at 706. Somebody send Guralnick, Landau and Zimny a copy :



560923 Sam Marion b.jpg


Isn't there a less cropped version, with Ed Leek in there? lol

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Re: Marion Keisker - did she record the first disks?

Postby Mister Moon » Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:04 pm

cadillac-elvis wrote:
Mister Moon wrote:And here's the glorious photo showing Phillips, Presley and Keisker at 706. Somebody send Guralnick, Landau and Zimny a copy.

Isn't there a less cropped version, with Ed Leek in there? lol


Probably yes, but I've yet to see it ! :)

I recently stumbled upon this one somewhere online, and posted it here. Apparently, it has also been used later in lesser Elvis forums :



560923 alt.jpg




And I can't resist posting again this fabulous photo of Marion at her Sun desk, approximately around the same time the above photo was taken. Behind her we can see Sun promotional photos of Johnny Cash, Warren Smith and Roy Orbison :



Marion.jpg
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Re: Marion Keisker - did she record the first disks?

Postby Jukebox » Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:37 pm

Act01 wrote: I'm trying to find out more about her technical ability. Someone had to see her in the control room at some point.

Jerry Lee Lewis perhaps?... after all, he's the "last man standing".
I'm happy to be an Elvis fan! 8-)

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Re: Marion Keisker - did she record the first disks?

Postby Mister Moon » Mon Jun 25, 2018 5:21 pm

Jukebox wrote:
Act01 wrote: I'm trying to find out more about her technical ability. Someone had to see her in the control room at some point.

Jerry Lee Lewis perhaps?... after all, he's the "last man standing".


Drummers Jimmy Van Eaton and W. S. Holland, who also coincided with Keisker at 706, are still around too, and they would be more accessible than Jerry Lee.

Marion left Sun circa September 1957. See this older topic :

Marion Keisker - "From Sun to Blue Yonder" - 1957
http://www.theelvisforum-phoenix.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2778


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