Almanac Music: ‘The Complete Million Dollar Jam Session’


Sometimes something pops across your screen that totally blows you away.

And that happened a few days ago.


Signed photo (except for Elvis) in Johnny Cash Museum Nashville TX
Image taken by Col Ritchie


I came across the jam session at Sun Studio, ‘The Complete Million Dollar Jam Session’, featuring Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash, and I could not believe I had not heard this recording before, though I was aware of the infamous session. I can probably account for this by acknowledging I was not a big fan of these performers though I appreciate their position and role in the history of popular music.



A post came up on my Facebook page with a link to a Spotify playlist. Lying in bed I casually flicked across and started playing the playlist. I was both moved and amazed by what I heard. Here were four of the greatest musicians of all time at the beginning of their careers having a jam in the studio, and thankfully the tape was rolling! The quality of the performance and in particular the quality of the sound recording both were amazing especially considering the primitive nature of recording equipment of the time. Obviously the tapes have been cleaned up but the raw sound and the spontaneity of the performances are magical and music lovers are forever grateful someone turned the tapes on.


Col doing his best Elvis impersonation using Elvis’s microphone at Sun Studio
Image: Col Ritchie


The microphone  Image: Col Ritchie


The studio where it all happened
Image: Col Ritchie


It is only in the past ten years or so I have gained a greater appreciation of their legacy which I put down to my overseas travel and visiting places such as Memphis and Sun Studio, and other places of musical significance. Standing in front of the microphone Elvis sang into while on a tour of Sun Studio was an unforgettable experience acknowledging you were standing in a space that Elvis had occupied.



If you haven’t heard these recordings before, do yourself a favour and have a listen.



More from Col Ritchie can be read Here


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About Colin Ritchie

Retired teacher who enjoys following the Bombers, listening to music especially Bob Dylan, reading, and swimming.


  1. Great stuff. Made me think of Bob Dylan & The Band’s basement tapes in Big Pink 1967. Million Dollar Bash. Accidental genius?

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