Rayburn Anthony Biography
Rayburn was born and raised in Humboldt, Tennessee which is just outside Jackson. His birthday is 23rd May 1937. One of eight children, he picked up his guitar playing from his elder brother Bob who played in a local band. As young Rayburn got more proficient, Bob would take him along and he started playing rhythm guitar in the band. As they mainly did instrumental numbers whenever they got asked for a particular song, Rayburn would then step up and sing. One of the places he used to sing was a local club, The Pineridge that opened late and so the local musicians would drop by after their own gigs or when they got back in town. WS Holland who lived in Jackson and who played drums on Carl Perkin’s “Blue Suede Shoes” and all his other Sun and early Columbia recordings was taking a break from the road and working with another local singer Carl Mann. WS saw Rayburn in the local clubs and took him along to Sun Records where he sat down at a keyboard and sang a few songs for Sam. Rayburn thought it was just to let Sam hear his voice and that they would later set up with the full band, but Sam signed him off that solo audition.
Rayburn never cut all out rockabilly at Sun, as by the end of 1959, the commercial music world was changing but his “Hambone” featuring, as did all his Sun cuts, Eddie Bush on guitar, is a much underrated cut. His “There’s No Tomorrow” is a minor classic too. He put out three singles on Sun all released on Bear Family and Sam Phillips actually called in an outside producer Vinnie Trout to get Rayburn a commercial sound.
They were all set to send him to St. Louis to plug his single of, “St. Louis Blues”, but the payola scandal hit and this plan was cancelled. In all, Rayburn cut about 14 tracks at Sun. Some are still unreleased and he has in his possession a Sun cut that wasn’t even listed when someone tried to inventory all the Sun tapes. This cut even has strings as Sam was trying to get with the times, but Eddie Bush has a great solo too.
His three singles on Sun were “St. Louis Blues”, “there’s No Tomorrow” and “Big Dream.” Rayburn tells a story of how one day he was having trouble getting the feel of a particular ballad and Sam told him to imagine singing it to a beautiful blond. Still having trouble, Sam called time out and some time later, came back with a blond who he sat beside Rayburn who says, “It just made me more nervous.”
He also remembers meeting Elvis when he would drop by the Sun studio to say hi. He also met Scotty Moore in Memphis and this would prove invaluable when he made his next career move.