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Lot 30: Sun Record Co. Check Written to Douglas Poindexter on November 16, 1954 - Also Signed by Sam Phillips
29 October 2016
Memphis, TN, USALive Auction
From a New York State Collection
Doug Poindexter had a fleeting musical career that just happened to coincide with the very birth of rock 'n' roll. "Doug Poindexter and the Starlight Wranglers" was a promising hillbilly band in 1953 and 1954, whose members included Scotty Moore and Bill Black. After being signed to Sun Records, Doug and his Wranglers recorded two of their hillbilly numbers in May of 1954, and some have credited these upbeat, somewhat rockabilly sessions with informing the style that Scotty Moore would, only weeks later, bring to the seminal recording of "That's All Right" with Elvis Presley and Bill Black. Poindexter would leave the music industry by the end of 1954, but prior to that, Elvis played a number of shows with the Wranglers at local Memphis clubs. It is quite possible, as some have speculated, that Poindexter also sat in on a number of Elvis recording sessions at Sun during that period. That idea makes the offered Sun Record Co., Inc. check for $8.00 written to "Douglas Poindexter" on November 16, 1954, and signed by Sam Phillips, all the more interesting. There is no memo referencing that the payment was for a session, but the check (no. 836) is the very next one in sequence after the three checks written to Elvis, Scotty and Bill on the very same day for the November 15th session during which they recorded "I'm Left, You're Right, My Baby's Gone." Those three checks are being offered as another lot in this auction.
Did Poindexter sit in on the session, or perhaps just help with the arrangement? Did Sam leave off the memo because Poindexter had already left the musician's union and was technically on his way into the insurance business? We may never know, but Sam Phillips was compensating him for something on that very day, and most likely handing Doug this check at the same time he was handing Elvis, Scotty and Bill their checks. Regardless, the offered artifact presents the juxtaposed signatures of one of the most important figures in rock 'n' roll history and, perhaps, one of the most obscure. Accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.
Condition Report: The check shows normal signs of wear including bank stampings and cancellation punch holes. It has been very well preserved. Near Mint condition.