Birth of The JB’s @ King Records

The two-volume King Labels recording sessions discography (i.e., “the red books“) compiled by Michael Ruppli with assistance from Bill Daniels, can be frustratingly incomplete, especially with regard to musician credits.  Although this reference source is a great starting point, scholars of James Brown funk are forced to do quite a bit of digging on their own in order to piece together a more complete history.

Your ears might tell you, for instance, that William “Bootsy” Collins played bass on “Licking Stick,” a song first released as a two-part King 45 in May, 1968.

James Brown & the Famous Flames     “Licking Stick (Pt. 1)”     1968

This classic funk bass riff, you might be startled to learn, was played by future Nashville session musician, Tim Drummond — one of six musicians who accompanied Mr. Brown on a Vietnam tour that same year.  “Licking Stick” would also be issued as a single track on 1969’s Say It Loud I’m Black And I’m Proud album.

Spain & Germany — 1968                               France — 1968       

Musician credits, however, are absent on the original gatefold LP release — a common occurrence with King.  This kind of information would not become more widely known until decades later, when these recordings were reissued on compact disc, with some of the better anthologies including detailed liner notes.

Say It Loud‘s barren back cover, information-wise

Bootsy first appears in Ruppli’s King Records discography — along with his brother Phelps “Catfish” Collins — as part of the studio backing band on an undated 1969 session (possibly July) for Hank Ballard‘s “Butter Your Popcorn:

“Butter Your Popcorn”     Hank Ballard     1969

According to Ruppli’s session notes —

Hank Ballard:  Vocals
Don Martin:  Drums
William Collins:  Bass
Phelps Collins:  Guitar
Clayton Garnell:  Piano
Robert McCallum:  Tenor Sax

“Butter Your Popcorn” was originally released as a 45 track only and not included on Ballard’s You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down LP released the previous year.  Subsequent reissue in the UK in 2008 would see the song included as a bonus track.  “Butter Your Popcorn” can also be found on Ace UK’s seminal anthology, King Funk.

“Butter Your Popcorn” test pressing

Sold at auction for $72 in 2012

 

What Ruppli doesn’t tell you, however, is that Bootsy, Catfish and the other members of The Pacesetters had been enlisted earlier to back Bill Doggett on what would be the A-side of a King 45 – “Honky Tonk Popcorn” – recorded on June 4, 1969 at (what is assumed to be) Cincinnati’s King Studios and released that same month:

“Honky Tonk Popcorn”     Bill Doggett     1969

As R.J. Smith writes in On the One, his biography of James Brown:

Henry Glover started hiring the band [i.e., The Pacesetters — Frank “Kash” Waddy (drums), Phillippé Wynne (vocals), Robert “Chopper” McCullough (saxophone), and Clayton “Chicken” Gunnels & Darryl “Hasaan” Jamison (trumpet)] on sessions, including an Arthur Prysock record and Bill Doggett’s contribution to popcornography, “Honky Tonk Popcorn.”

                US — Jun 1969                          King LP – art by Dan Quest

Check out this full-page ad in the September 6, 1969 edition of Billboard placed by Starday-King on behalf of James Brown’s then-current single “World (Pts. 1 & 2)” that also name-checks five other “red hot sizzling” King 45s, including both Hank Ballard’s “Butter Your Popcorn” and Bill Doggett’s “Honky Tonk Popcorn.”

R.J. Smith’s tip (thank you!) leads me to a May 13, 1969 session at Cincinnati’s King Studios for Arthur Prysock that lists no musician credits for the four songs recorded that day, all but one included on 1969’s Where the Soul Trees Grow album produced by Henry Glover, who also wrote the title track that kicks off the LP:

“Where the Soul Trees Grow”     Arthur Prysock     1969

Is that Bootsy and other members of The Pacesetters backing Arthur Prysock on  “Where the Soul Trees Grow“; “Soul Soliloquy” & “If I Were Young Again” [plus one unissued track “Let’s Talk Things Over“]?  “Soul Soliloquy” b/w “Soul Trees” (both, in fact, penned by Henry Glover) were released as a King single, with a promo 45 issued June 1969, according to 45Cat.  This album review from the November 22, 1969 edition of Billboard notes “Prysock’s move to the King label” and opines that this LP’s mix of “contemporary and standard songs demonstrates why he is one of the best singers around.”

Promo 45 — June 1969                                   King LP

Wait a second — there was another session that took place on June 16, 1969 at Cincinnati’s King Studios for the Arthur Prysock Soul Trees album. Ruppli’s session notes list 9 songs recorded that day (though no musician credits), with a re-worked uptempo “Fever” being one of the standout tracks.  Did members of The Pacesetters play on both session dates for the Arthur Prysock album?

“Fever”     Arthur Prysock     1969

Bootsy’s next entry in the Ruppli sessionography is one that somehow escaped the book’s index — an uncredited appearance that is a bit of an oddball situation.  That is, on page 427 you will find a listing for “More Mess on My Thing (Pt. 1 & 2)” by a group identified as The New Dapps but who we now know (thanks to these musician credits) to be The J.B.’s.  Ruppli indicates that a single — King 6271 — was issued, and yet, no evidence exists of any releases whatsoever by a group called The New Dapps.  Even stranger, check out this 45 Discography for King Records – 6000 Series and notice that the entry for King 6271 is a duplicate listing of its neighbor, 6272!

50 years later (this past November 29th, to be exact), “More Mess on My Thing” would finally be liberated, thanks to Now-Again Records, whose liner notes (by noted James Brown historian, Alan Leeds) indicate the recording to have been made at Cincinnati’s King Studios on July 2, 1969.  How exhilarating to hear Bootsy, through sheer determination and the ferocity of his playing, will the musicians – who initially drop out at the 4:40 mark – back into the performance (after James Brown counts the band in) for one final musical burst:

“More Mess on My Thing”     The JB’s     1969

Musician credits according to Discogs

Don JuanTigerMartin:  Drums
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
Robert “ChopperMcCollough:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
Ron Lenhoff:  Engineer
James Brown:  Composer (& Coach)

The remaining months of 1969 and into the first few months of the new decade would see various players occupy the bassist chair, including the aforementioned “Sweet” Charles Sherrill, as well as West Coast session musicians, Ray Brown and Bob West, plus various collaborations with Cincinnati-area musicians, including Lee Tucker of The Dee Felice Trio.

Bootsy next appears in Ruppli’s sessionography on the legendary “Sex Machine” session that took place April 25, 1970 at Starday-King’s Nashville studios.  This session yielded the “Sex Machine” recording released as a two-part King 45 in June 1970.  :

“Get Up I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine (part 1)”     James Brown     1970

“Get Up I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine (part 2)”     James Brown     1970

Musician credits According to Ruppli —

James Brown:  Vocals
JohnJaboStarks:  Drums
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
RobertChopperMcCullough:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
DarrylHassanJamison:  Trumpet

“Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine (Part 1)” — a #2 R&B hit that also peaked at #15 on the Pop chart on August 8, 1970 — enjoyed a chart run that lasted 9 weeks.

France — 1970                                           Spain — 1974

Germany — Aug 1970                                          Japan — Nov 1973

US – June 1970

May 20, 1970 found The J.B.’s making their first solo recording – “The Grunt” – at Cincinnati’s King Studios, a two-part 45 released on the heels of “Sex Machine” (and whose opening sounds would be famously sampled on “Rebel Without a Pause” by Public Enemy):

“The Grunt (Pts. 1 & 2)”     The J.B.’s     1970

Musician credits according to Discogs

FrankKashWaddy:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Congas
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Piano
Robert McCullough:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnels:  Trumpet
DarrylHasaanJamison:  Trumpet
James Brown:  Producer
Ron Lenhoff:  Engineer

Billboard, in its August 8, 1970 edition, would select “The Grunt” as part of that week’s Top 20 Soul Spotlights “predicted to reach the Top 20 of the Top Selling R&B Singles Chart.”

US 45 — July 1970                                      French B-side — 1972

That same May 20, 1970 Cincinnati session also produced a gospel recording by vocalist Kay Robinson, who enjoyed musical support from members of The J.B.’s on “The Lord Will Make a Way Somehow“:

“The Lord Will Make a Way Somehow (Pts. 1 & 2)”     Kay Robinson     1970

Musician credits according to Ruppli —

Kay Robinson:  Vocals & Piano
FrankKashWaddy:  Drums
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
James Brown:  Backing Vocals
Charles Bobbitt:  Backing Vocals
Faye Pridgon:  Backing Vocals

According to the bio on Discogs:

Dr. Kay Robinson currently lives in Columbus, Ohio, and started singing at the age of 18.  She recorded for King Records and James Brown Productions.  James Brown flew her down to Cincinnati from Dayton (she was living in Springfield) for recording sessions.  Her career with James Brown Productions ended when she wouldn’t record R&B songs.

     US promo — 1970                                    New pressing — 2006

The May 20, 1970 session at the King Studios also yielded a two-part James Brown track written by David Matthews — “The Drunk” — (on which Bootsy plays bass) that was issued on King subsidiary, Bethlehem.  According to Ruppli’s notes, Part Two ended up being issued as the B-side of “A Man Has to Go Back to the Crossroads,” with Part One locked away to this day in Polydor’s vaults.

“The Drunk”     James Brown      1970

Musician credits according to Discogs

WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
Kenny Poole:  Guitar
Frank Brown:  Trumpet
Jerry Conrad:  Trumpet
Marie Speziale:  Trumpet
Millard Dusenbury:  Trombone
Larry Dickson:  Baritone Sax
David Matthews:  Composer & Arranger

US — Jul 1970                                          Canada — 1970

The double-album set Sex Machine, meanwhile, combined studio tracks disguised to sound as stage recordings, along with actual live performances recorded in concert at Atlanta’s Bell Auditorium on October 1, 1969, with a large ensemble that featured three personnel on drums — Clyde Stubblefield, John “Jabo” Starks & Melvin Parker — plus a six-member horn section, and Charles Sherrill on bass, among others.

Ruppli’s sparse notes (no musician credits) indicate the three-song medley on side B to have been recorded in Cincinnati on July 23, 1970 (along with unissued versions of “The Boss” and “There Was a Time“) — musician credits for Sex Machine‘s medley (below) provided courtesy of this German pressing:

Bewildered” [part one]

I Got the Feelin’” [part two]

Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose” [part three]

Musician credits taken from Discogs

James Brown:  Vocals
Clyde Stubblefield [prob.]:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Congas
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
RobertChopperMcCullough:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
DarrylHassanJamison:  Trumpet

There Was a Time” (a.k.a., “I Got to Move“), from the July 23, 1970 Cincinnati session referenced above, found freedom 25 years later as track number five on a collection of 1970 James Brown recordings that feature members of The J.B.’s, Funk Power – 1970: A Brand New Thing:

“There Was a Time (I Got to Move)”     James Brown     1970

Musician credits according to Discogs

James Brown:  Vocals
JohnJaboStarks:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Congas
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
RobertChopperMcCollough:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnels:  Trumpet
DarrylHasaanJamison:  Trumpet
Ron Lenhoff:  Engineer
James Brown:  Producer & Songwriter

That same Cincinnati session also produced a version of “Sex Machine” that, according to Ruppli, is the nearly 11-minute version you hear kicking off side A of the Sex Machine LP released in September of that year.  Amusing to note that Augusta, GA and Cincinnati are the first two cities name-checked by Brown in his wide-ranging roll call of US cities prior to the song’s final bridge:

“Sex Machine” (extended LP version)     James Brown     1970

MUSICIAN CREDITS TAKEN FROM DISCOGS
[SAME Cincinnati SESSION AS “LIVE” MEDLEY]

James Brown:  Vocals
Bobby Byrd:  Vocals
Clyde Stubblefield [prob.]:  Drums
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
RobertChopperMcCullough:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
DarrylHassanJamison:  Trumpet

Sex Machine would peak at #29 on Billboard‘s Top 200 album chart [#4 R&B].

Brown’s next album Super Bad would give the King engineering team another opportunity to fashion a “live” album — via the superimposition of concert crowd sounds — from recordings produced at Starday-King’s studio facilities in both Cincinnati and Nashville.  “Super Bad,” the 9-minute opening title track recorded on June 30, 1970 in Nashville, is the album’s sole selection to feature The J.B.’s:

“Super Bad (Pts. 1-3)”     James Brown     1970

Musician credits According to Ruppli —

James Brown:  Vocals
JohnJaboStarks:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Conga
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
RobertChopperMcCullough:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
DarrylHassanJamison:  Trumpet

“Super Bad” — a #1 R&B hit for James Brown (#13 Pop, peak date Nov. 21, 1970) — would spend a total of 10 weeks on the chart.  The Super Bad album, meanwhile, would reach as high as #4 on Billboard’s R&B chart, #61 on the Pop chart.

Germany — 1970                                           France — 1970

Iran (unofficial) — Jan 1971

At that June 30, 1970 session, The J.B.’s also laid down two of their own recordings:  **When You Feel It, Grunt If You Can” (includes musical quotations from songs by Kool & the Gang, The Meters & Jimi Hendrix) and “I’ll Ze“:

“When You Feel It, Grunt If You Can” [12-minute edit]     The J.B.’s     1970

“I’ll Ze”     The J.B.’s     1970

Musician credits According to Ruppli —

James Brown:  Vocals
JohnJaboStarks:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Conga
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
RobertChopperMcCullough:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
DarrylHassanJamison:  Trumpet

NoteThese liner notes say that (1) Frank “Kash” Waddy played drums on “I’ll Ze” and (2) Clyde Stubblefield [possibly Frank “Kash” Waddy] played drums on “When You Feel It, Grunt If You Can.”

Also captured on tape at that June 30, 1970 Nashville session was a vocal tune by James Brown, with help from Bobby Byrd and backing by The J.B.’s, that was initially kept in the can — “Since You’ve Been Gone” — but has since been issued on such collections as 1988’s Motherlode and 1996’s Funk Power – 1970: A Brand New Thang:

“Since You’ve Been Gone”     James Brown     1970

Musician credits According to Discogs

James Brown:  Vocals
Bobby Byrd:  Vocals
Clyde Stubblefield:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Percussion
Bootsy Collins:  Bass
Catfish Collins:  Guitar

Ruppli’s session notes for “Since You’ve Been Gone” state “same band” as the personnel used for “Super Bad” — on which “Jabo” Starks served as the drummer, not Clyde Stubblefield — so I feel compelled to point out the discrepancy with the credits above.  Starks played drums on “When You Feel It, Grunt If You Can” & “I’ll Ze” – tracks all recorded the same day – so it stands to reason, perhaps, that he performed likewise on “Since You Been Gone.”

On September 10, 1970, The J.B.’s laid down the title track “These Are The J.B.’s.for what was intended to be their debut long-player:

“These Are The J.B.’s”     The J.B.’s     1970

Musician credits according to Discogs

Clyde Stubblefield:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Percussion
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
St. Clair Pinckney:  Flute & Baritone Saxophone
Robert McCullough:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnels:  Trumpet
DarrylHasaanJamison:  Trumpet
James Brown:  Producer
Ron Lenhoff:  Engineer

                US — Nov 1970                         Belgium (Rugby typeface) — 1971

Ruppli’s session notes indicate this recording to be part of King LP 1126, a four-song test pressing engineered by Ron Lenhoff (as previously noted) that would be shelved, once James Brown inked a new contract with Polydor, in favor of a more expansive ten-track debut album on James Brown’s People label in 1972  [By the way, that original four-song mix of These Are The J.B.’s finally saw daylight in 2014, thanks to Now-Again Records, with liner notes again by Alan Leeds — the previous year, someone had paid $1600 for a copy of the test pressing that allegedly came from the estate of Hal Neely (who directed operations for the merged Starday-King labels after Syd Nathan’s passing on behalf of new owner, Lin Broadcasting)].

$1600 test pressing (1971) for These Are the J.B.’s

Given that Myra Barnes (a.k.a., Vicki Anderson) made her recording of “Message From the Soul Sisters (Pt. 1 & 2)” at Cincinnati’s King Studios on September 10, 1970 — the same session where “These Are The J.B.’s” was recorded — it should come as no surprise to learn that The J.B.’s provided musical support:

“The Message From the Soul Sisters (Pts. 1 & 2)”     Myra Barnes     1970

Musician credits According to Discogs

Myra (“Vicki Anderson”) Barnes: Vocals
Clyde Stubblefield: Drums
WilliamBootsyCollins: Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins: Guitar
Bobby Byrd: Piano
St. Clair Pinckney: Baritone Sax
Robert McCollough: Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnells: Trumpet
DarrylHasaanJamison: Trumpet

October 1, 1970 would find The J.B.’s backing James Brown on a pair of recordings made at Bobby Smith Studios in Macon, Georgia, with one of the tracks (“We Need Liberation“) locked away in the vaults never having been issued, while the other — “Talkin’ Loud and Sayin’ Nothing” — was held back for release until January, 1972:

“Talkin’ Loud and Sayin’ Nothing”     James Brown     1970

Musician credits According to Discogs

James Brown:  Vocals
Bobby Byrd:  Vocals
Clyde Stubblefield:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Congas
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
HearlonCheeseMartin:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
St. Clair Pinckney:  Baritone Sax
RobertChopperMcCollough:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
DarrylHasaanJamison:  Trumpet

“Talkin’ Loud (and Sayin’ Nothing)” was a #1 R&B hit (#27 Pop) that would spend 7 weeks on the chart, having peaked on March 18, 1972.

Belgium — 1972                                     Germany — 1972

But wait!   One additional recording (not mentioned in the Ruppli discography) was made at that October 1, 1970 session — a J.B.’s instrumental named “The Wedge” that only saw freedom when issued as the second track on the More Mess On My Thing album released this past November:

“The Wedge”     The J.B.’s     1970

2019’s More Mess On My Thing album — mixed by Mario Caldato directly from the original multi-track masters — also features a 22-minute version of **When You Feel It, Grunt If You Can” (see credits below) recorded in Nashville on June 30, 1970:

“When You Feel It, Grunt If You Can” [complete take]     The J.B.’s     1970

Musician credits according to Discogs

Clyde Stubblefield:  Drums
FrankKashWaddy:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Congas
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
RobertChopperMcCollough:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
DarrylHassanJamison:  Trumpet
James Brown:  Vocals [i.e., “Right On!”s]
Ron Lenhoff:  Engineer
Written by = James Brown, with help** from a few friends:
[“Chicken Strut”] = Art Neville, George Porter, Jr., Joseph Modeliste & Leo Nocentelli
[“I Was Made to Love Her”] = Hank Cosby, Lula Hardaway, Stevie Wonder & Sylvia Moy
[“Let the Music Take Your Mind”] = Gene Redd + Kool & The Gang
[“Power of Soul”] = Jimi Hendrix
[“Something”] = George Harrison

The first week of November, 1970 would see two big King 45s committed to tape at Cincinnati’s King Studios.  Ruppli tells us that Vicki Anderson‘s response record to “Super Bad” (penned by James Brown ) — “Super Good (Pts. 1 & 2)” — was recorded on November 3rd, while Dave Thompson, in his Funk listening guide, confirms that “Bootsy Colllins-era JBs” are the backing band on this single, as Ruppli’s notes do not contain musician credits:

“Super Good (Pts. 1 & 2)”     Vicki Anderson     1970

Musician credits according to Discogs

Vicki Anderson:  Lead Vocals
James Brown:  Backing Vocals [Comments]
JohnJaboStarks:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Congas
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
HearlonCheeseMartin:  Guitar
Robert McCollough:  Tenor Sax
St. Clair Pinckney:  Baritone Sax
DarrylHasaanJamison:  Trumpet
JeroneJasaan SanfordMelson:  Trumpet

US — 1970                                              France — 1970

Nigeria — 197?

Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved (Pts. 1 & 2)” —  a #4 R&B (#34 Pop) hit that spent a total of 8 weeks on the charts, having peaked on February 6, 1971 — was also recorded in early November at King Studios:

“Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved”     James Brown     1970

Musician credits according to Discogs

James Brown:  Vocals
Bobby Byrd:  Vocals
Clyde Stubblefield:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Congas
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
HearlonCheeseMartin:  Guitar
RobertChopperMcCollough:  Tenor Sax
St. Clair Pinckney:  Baritone Sax
DarrylHasaanJamison:  Trumpet
Ron Lenhoff:  Engineer
James Brown:  Producer

Germany — Feb 1971                           Norway — Feb 1971

Ruppli’s session notes also identifies five tracks recorded at the King Studios on November 5, 1970 by James Brown (backed by a group of unnamed musicians) that remain unissued:  “All the King’s Men” (a name later used for Maceo Parker’s own band) and “I’ll Be There” (presumably, a version of that year’s big Jackson 5 hit), plus three recordings of no fixed title.  Could this Untitled Instrumental (taken from 1988’s Motherlode funk compilation) be one of those unnamed recordings from the session at the King Studios on November 5, 1970?

January 26, 1971 would find James Brown at Washington, DC’s Rodel Studios, with “Soul Power” being one of the key recordings captured that day.  Ruppli neglects to mention, however, that The J.B.’s provided musical support on these tracks:

“Soul Power”     James Brown     1971

Musician credits according to Discogs

James Brown:  Lead Vocals
Bobby Byrd:  Backing Vocals
JohnJaboStarks:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Congas
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
Bobby Roach:  Guitar
St. Clair Pinckney:  Tenor Sax
Fred Wesley:  Trombone
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
DarrylHasaanJamison:  Trumpet

“Soul Power” reached as high as #4 on the R&B chart (#29 Pop) and spent 9 weeks on the charts, having peaked on April 3, 1971.

Germany — Apr 1971                                     France — 1971

Iran (Unofficial) — 197?

Zero to 180 asked DC’s Dave Nuttycombe if he knew where Rodel Studios was once located, to which he typed forth this reply:

“{Rodel] was in Georgetown, off Wisconsin down by Key Bridge.  The “Ro” was Fritz Roland, perhaps the top cinematographer in town.  The studio did a lot of film post-production, back when DC was churning out industrial and government films.”

During the same January 26, 1971 session at DC’s Rodel Studios, Lyn Collins also recorded the A-side of her next single — “Wheels of Life” — which was then completed, according to this website, the following month on February 15, 1971 at Bobby Smith Studios in Macon, Georgia:

“Wheels of Life”     Lyn Collins     1971

Musician credits according to this website

Lyn Collins:  Vocals & Handclaps
James Brown:  Piano
Don JuanTigerMartin:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Tambourine
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
Bobby Roach:  Guitar
St. Clair Pinckney:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
DarrylHassanJamison:  Trumpet
Fred Wesley:  Trombone

US — 1971                                                 France — 1971

“Wheels of Life” was issued as the fourth single release on People – a subsidiary label for James Brown Productions that was active from 1971 through 1974 – as well as King.

Ruppli also informs us that Roberta Dubois – one of The Sisters of Righteous – recorded “Who Am I” on January 26, 1971 at DC’s Rodel Studios (with these same musicians, one presumes).  “Who Am I” would be selected as the A-side of King 6375.  Good luck, however, finding a copy.

US — 1971                                               Test Pressing

Tip of the hat to 45Cat contributor jukebox george, who points us to a 1995 Billboard review of the Bobby Byrd anthology Bobby Got Soul, in which it is revealed that James Brown, along with Roberta Dubois and Geneva “Gigi” Kinard of The Sisters of Righteous, provided vocal support on Byrd’s “I Need Help (I Can’t Do It Alone),” a Top 20 hit on the Soul Singles chart (that also hit #69 on the Pop chart in 1970).

Dubois was not the first King artist to record “Who Am I,” as this song makes several appearances in the Ruppli sessionography around this time, interestingly enough,  Ruppli’s notes for King master K13740 indicate that “Who Am I” attributed to King recording artist Leon Austin (who had taught James Brown “the right way to play piano,” according to biographer Don Rhodes) was “transferred to K13792” on September 10, 1970.  When you then skip to K13792 (an undated entry), you find the song “Who Am I” instead attributed to The Famous Flames — a King 45 released December, 1970.   James Brown would record his own unissued version the following month, shortly before Vicki Anderson then recorded her version of “Who Am I’ at the Cincinnati studios on January 21, 1971 that also never saw the light of day.

Which brings us to the final entry of The J.B.’s in volume one of the Ruppli “red books”:  King LP1137.  Go to Discogs and type the terms “King 1137” and you will encounter a lot of “noise” — but if you go back and add the word “Olympia,” notice that you pull up exactly one item for a triple-album test pressing of an unenhanced live performance of James Brown & The J.B.’s recorded March 8, 1971 at the Olympia Theatre in Paris that got shelved for 20 years, until the release of Polydor’s Love Power Peace CD in 1992, an edited mix of the concert.  In 2014, Sundazed performed a tremendous public service with their issue of a 3-LPtrifoldalbum that included the following statement:

This collection represents original stereo mixes, as overseen and approved by James Brown in 1971, of materials intended for a 3-LP set with uniquely titled discs:  “Love,” “Power,” and “Peace.”  Documentation shows that the sides would have been presented in then-common automatic record changer, with side one and side six appearing together, sides two and five, and three and four following suit [i.e., “auto-coupled“] to facilitate continuous play; we have honored that intention in this edition.  In the aftermath of both a change in labels and key members of the band departing just after these [eight-track] masters were completed, the project was not issued.  Although a CD edition of the album was issued by Polydor in 1992, it was not the complete show and was newly mixed.  This is the first time this storied slice of searing soul has been available exactly as James Brown envisioned.

Musician credits according to Discogs

James Brown:  Vocals
Bobby Byrd:  Vocals
John (Jabo) Starks:  Drums [Primary]
Don Juan (Tiger) Martin:  Drums [Secondary]
William (Bootsy) Collins:  Bass
Phelps (Catfish) Collins:  Guitar
Hearlon (Cheese) Martin:  Rhythm Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
St. Clair Pinckney:  Tenor Sax
Clayton (Chicken) Gunnells:  Trumpet
Darryl (Hassan) Jamison:  Trumpet
Fred Wesley:  Trombone
David Matthews:  Conductor [Horns And Strings]
Ron Lenhoff:  Engineer

      1971 King 3-LP test pressing                             Sundazed’s 3-LP set — 2014

To replicate concert, play 3-LP set “auto-coupled” on a Crosley Stack-o-Matic

Compared to the 1992 CD with 17 tracks, check out the three-LP Sundazed mix that has a total of 31 selections across six sides.  These three discs contain the entire Paris show with one notable exception — “Who Am I” recorded January 12 and April 12, 1971 at King Studios, Cincinnati, Ohio (with Kenny Poole on guitar).

Worth mentioning that on page 452 just a few pages near the end of Ruppli’s King sessionography, you will find an undated session on which The J.B.’s recorded two unissued songs, “My Brother” and “Texas Green.”

1972’s Get on the Good Foot album includes one recording with the Collins brothers — “The Whole World Needs Liberation” — that must be among their last recordings with James Brown:

“The World Need Liberation”     James Brown     1972

Musician credits according to Discogs

James Brown:  Vocals
Bobby Byrd:  Backing Vocals
Hal Neely:  Backing Vocals
Lois Wong:  Backing Vocals
Clyde Stubblefield:  Drums
Bootsy Collins:  Bass
Catfish Collins:  Guitar
H.B. Barnum:  Conductor

After their departure from the James Brown organization, Bootsy Phelps and Complete Strangers put out a single, “Fun In Your Thang (Pts. 1 & 2)”:

“Fun In Your Thang (Pt. 1)”    Bootsy Phelps and Complete Strangers    1972

Released in 1972 on General American, an independent label out of Columbia, Missouri (that was also based in Cincinnati), this 45 would be re-issued the following year on Cincinnati-based Philmore Sound:   Would love to know where this recording was made – possibly at King Studios?

1972 single                                                      1973 release

But check this out:  Mere months ago (August 23, 2019), Shake It Records — in collaboration with Bootsy Collins — remastered a number of classic 45 sides directly from the master tapes and produced The House Guests Meet The Complete Strangers and Bootsy, Phelps & Gary, a new 12-inch vinyl LP!  Shake It reports that the orange vinyl edition has already sold out, but black vinyl is still available.

From the liner notes —

A slab of Cincinnati hard funk slammers – most reissued (legally) for the first time! Post JB’s / Pre-P-funk outfits headed up by brothers Catfish & Bootsy Collins along with a Cincinnati who’s-who of top club players who could turn it out night after night after night in places like The Psychedelic Grave or The Round Up Club – that featured a caged bear in the club!

This selection, hand picked by Bootsy, highlights that youthful output under various names as The House GuestsThe Complete Strangers and Bootsy, Phelps & Gary. The monikers may have changed, but what they brought to the stage every night – leaving the club and audience devastated – never did.

A D D I T I O N A L     R E L A T E D     R E C O R D I N G S

Maceo and the Macks would incorporate new horn work (as well as audio excerpts from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s stirring “Mountaintop” speech) on a reinvigorated mix entitled “Soul Power ’74” that saw release in October 1973:

“Soul Power ’74”     Maceo and the Macks     rec. 1973

Musician credits according to Discogs

JohnJaboStarks:   Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Congas
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
Bobby Roach:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
Maceo Parker:  Alto Sax [Overdubbed]
St. Clair Pinckney:  Tenor Sax
St. Clair Pinckney:  Tenor Sax [Overdubbed]
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
DarrylHasaanJamison:  Trumpet
Ike Oakley:  Trumpet [Overdubbed]
JeroneJasaan SanfordMelson:  Trumpet [Overdubbed]
Fred Wesley:  Trombone

  US — Oct 1973                                        Netherlands — 1973

From poking around in Discogs, I have discovered that 1995’s Bobby Byrd anthology Bobby Got Soul includes two obscure 45 tracks, plus a pair of previously unreleased recordings that feature Bootsy, Catfish and The J.B.’s —

Also this recording that can be found on James Brown’s Funky People Volume 3 — “Doin’ the Doo” by Bobby Byrd Featuring The J.B.’s:

“Doing the Doo”     Bobby Byrd Featuring The J.B.’s     197?

Musician credits according to Discogs

Bobby Byrd:  Vocals & Songwriter
James Brown:  Backing Vocals
John “Jabo” Starks:  Drums
Johnny Griggs:  Percussion
WilliamBootsyCollins:  Bass
PhelpsCatfishCollins:  Guitar
HearlonCheeseMartin:  Guitar
St. Clair Pinckney:  Tenor Sax
ClaytonChickenGunnells:  Trumpet
DarrylHassanJamison:  Trumpet
Fred Wesley:  Trombone

Bootsy in far-left corner of inset photo on Byrd’s European LP cover

Bootsy Talks King History @ National Public Radio

November 1, 2017’s edition of NPR radio show “What’s Good With Stretch & Bobbito” features Bootsy Collins, who reflects on his experiences at Cincinnati’s King Records (starting at age 17), as well as the birth of the J.B.’s, among other things.

AUDIO LINK — click here 

[32-minute program = includes transcript]

 

For Optimal Experience:  Zero to 180 best viewed on a big screen – not smart phone

Trans-National Musical Exchange

Musical fight!   Compare the opening sequence of these two songs, and note how the second one (from 1972) closely mirrors the first one released the year before:

Music for Gong Gong” [1971]

 – vs. –

Horns of Paradise” [1972]

Music for Gong Gong” was selected as the A-side of the second UK single from Osibisa, a pioneering British Afro-pop group composed of Ghanaian, Nigerian, and  Caribbean musicians.  “Gong Gong” would also be included on Osibisa’s debut album, notable for its cover design by Roger Dean (of Yes fame).  This self-titled album, you might be surprised to learn, was produced by Tony Visconti (David Bowie, Badfinger, T. Rex) and engineered by Martin Rushent (Buzzcocks, Human League & Stranglers).

US debut 45 B-side (left) and German picture sleeve (right)

London’s Dub Vendor makes this musical provenance clear in its sales blurb for an original copy of the 7″ vinyl pressed in Jamaica on the Wind label — a steal at £13 (others have paid ten times as much and more):

Vin Gordon [trombone] as Trammy re-arranges Osibisa’s ‘Music For Gong Gong’ as “Horns Of Paradise” + cool rocksteady instrumental [i.e., “Something Tender” (a.k.a., “Grass Root(s)”) by the Techniques All Stars] on the flip.”

Was producer Winston Riley right to take sole songwriting credit?

Jamaica’s master trombonist (who also goes by “Trommie” and “Trummie”) has recorded numerous 45 sides (and a few LPs) under his own name, while a fair number of tracks during the early years were also released under the alias, Don Drummond, Jr.   An alumnus of the famed Alpha Boys School, Gordon – who played horns on 1978 Bob Marley & the Wailers album, Kaya – began his lengthy and illustrious recording career as a session musician in 1965 at Studio One.  It’s been said that 1967’s “Real Rock” by Studio One backing band, The Sound Dimension (featuring Vin Gordon) is the most popular reggae riddim of all time.  Also worth mentioning that during UK’s second wave ska revival, Gordon joined forces with MichaelBamiRose in an ensemble called The Ska-Ville, who recorded a track entitled “The Clash & The Specials Go(ne) To Jail” for 1980 LP Ska Fantastic From Rock Steady to Ska.

Due to MCA’s mighty worldwide reach, Osibisa’s first long-player enjoyed distribution in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Greece, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Netherlands, Yugoslavia, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, and Kenya, as well as the US and Canada.  When released as a single in Ghana in 1972, “Gong Gong” was designated (as in the US) the flip side — one of a handful or so of Osibisa singles issued on Ghana’s Capeside label in the 1970s.  Osibisa’s music would officially find release in Jamaica via 1976’s Ojah Awake album on the CavLip label, along with two single releases (1) “Dance the Body Music” b/w “Right Now” and (2) “Welcome Home” b/w “Do It Like It Is.”

The Guardian‘s Robin Denselow notes that in the 1970s, Osibisa “performed alongside the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd, and were the first African-Caribbean band to pioneer a bestselling fusion style that mixed west African highlife influences with jazz, rock, calypso and unashamed pop.”  Tragically, though, “no other band achieved such extraordinary success, in terms of hit singles and albums in the UK and US, and yet no other band fell so dramatically from fashion.”

1982’s 12-inch single — Don Drummond Jr & the Ska Stars

Rim shot of respect to the percussionist in Dubble Trubble for hipping me to this matter.

“Mrs. Fletcher”: New TV Theme?

Zero to 180 turns seven today, which means another opportunity to muddy the waters with the musical equivalent of home movies — it’s okay if you want to sit this one out.

Last December 12th’s dubious dub-inspired “Mrs. Fletcher” (you might recall) was a late-year release that got buried in the winter holiday onslaught.  And yet, what a curious coincidence to discover that HBO premiered a television series this past October that takes its name from Dubble Trubble‘s very own instrumental offering!

While it’s true that Tom Perrotta published his novel in 2017, this recording (given a fresh reworking mere months after its initial 2018 release) predates the HBO series and therefore deserves consideration for the show’s closing theme, which our legal team believes to be a good compromise.

Mrs. Fletcher” — HBO Funk Remix [by] Dubble Trubble

45 picture sleeve – Thailand

Mr. Perrotta is represented by Maria Massie of MMQLIT literary agency, who can be reached by email here, in case you think the show would be better served with this new closing theme.  Please emphasize that we heartily endorse Mrs. Fletcher‘s sponsors.

Zero to 180 Milestones:  Years 0-6
  • Inaugural Zero to 180 post that established a bona fide cross-cultural link between Cincinnati (via James Brown’s music recorded and distributed by King Records) and Kingston, Jamaica (i.e., Prince Buster’s rocksteady salute to Soul Brother Number One).
  • 1st anniversary piece that featured an exclusive “Howard Dean” remix of a delightful Sesame Street song about anger management (with a special rant about how WordPress’s peculiarities made me homicidal the moment I launched this blog).
  • 2nd anniversary piece that refused to acknowledge the milestone but instead celebrated the under-sung legacy of songwriter/session musician, Joe South – with a link to South’s first 45, a novelty tune that playfully laments Texas’s change in status as the nation’s largest state upon Alaska’s entry into the Union.
  • 3rd anniversary piece that revealed the depths to which Zero to 180 will sink in order to foist his own amateur recordings onto an unsuspecting and trusting populace.
  • 4th anniversary piece that formalized – as a public service – musical chord changes for an old (and tuneless) “hot potato” playground game called ‘The Wonderball.’
  • 5th anniversary piece that paid tribute to the Buchanan & Goodman “break-in” records that helped fuel (along with Mad Magazine) this young music fanatic’s appetite for satire.
  • 6th anniversary piece that introduced contemporary music product (dub-inspired pop fusion) — in direct violation of Zero to 180’s must-be-20-years-or-older policy.

Goldie & the Gingerbreads B-Side

One trivia bit from The Rolling Stone Rock Almanac that didn’t make it into Zero to 180’s big Summer Beach Read:

April 30, 1965:  The Kinks begin their first headlining UK tour, with The Yardbirds and Goldie and the Gingerbreads providing support.

I have always been curious about the ‘all-girl’ beat group with such a playful name, so a quick browse of their discography in 45Cat immediately drew me to this 1965 French EP with the arty and urbane cover photo:

There was something appealing about the song title “The Skip,” so I queued it up on YouTube and, what do you know — it’s a jaunty organ dance instrumental produced by Shel Talmy, of early Who and Kinks fame:

“The Skip”     Goldie and the Gingerbreads     1965

As the crawl text in the YouTube streaming audio clip above notes, “The Skip” began life as the B-side of a Decca single that was released April, 1965 in the UK, as well as the closing track on a French EP (noted above) issued by Decca France three months later.  Sadly, “The Skip” never graced any of their US singles, nor did it appear on an LP, as Goldie and the Gingerbreads’ recorded legacy consists solely of 45s — Billboard’s Chris Hutchins explains why in this report from London, one of the “Music Capitals of the World,” in the October 2, 1965 edition:

The successful all-girl American group Goldie and the Gingerbreads, based in Britain, is breaking up because the girls claim working together is not profitable.  They had a hit here [Top 30] earlier this year with “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat” on Decca.  Now Goldie is going solo, two of the others are hoping to form a new group and the fourth is returning to the U.S.

Chris Hutchins would subsequently report in Billboard‘s February 5, 1966 issue that “Immediate [Records] has signed Goldie, who previously led the U.S. all-girl group Goldie and the Gingerbreads who were signed to [UK-based] Decca.”

Fascinating to discover in the course of poking around that Goldie recorded the original version of Goffin & King’s “Goin’ Back” in 1966 prior to The Byrds’ better-known version released the following year as a Columbia 45 (and included on The Notorious Byrd Brothers).  Goldie’s version, heartbreakingly, was withdrawn from the marketplace at the insistence of the songwriters due to unauthorized lyric changes, thus paving the way for Dusty Springfield’s subsequent hit version, as detailed by Paul Howes in The Complete Dusty Springfield.

Use of “King’s English” [Going vs. Goin’] in UK song title

Au contraire, counters Goldie herself (in a comment you will find attached to the end of this piece):

“The Song ‘Going Back’ was not withdrawn, Goldie made a decision to withdraw it -Goldie did not like being questioned about lyric change, and asked Andrew L Oldham to withdraw it.
Reason being;
Dusty made a big to-do as to why the song was given to Goldie after she ( Dusty ) held on to the demo by Carole King for possible future recording of the song.  To make things worse, Dusty claimed I even changed a lyric …to which the response from Carol King was….I like what Goldie did.”

Genyusha Goldie Zelkowitz, who later become known as Genya Ravan, would sing in Ten Wheel Drive and make four solo albums between the years 1972-1979.  NPR Weekend Edition‘s feature piece from 2016 informs us that this pioneering musician (leader of the “first all-female rock band to be signed to a major label”) returned to the music world in recent years as a host of two radio shows — “Chicks and Broads,” featuring women artists and “Goldie’s Garage” showcasing new talent — on the Sirius/XM channel “Little Steven’s Garage Underground Garage.”

2016 would also see the reissue of “Going Back” as the B-side of a UK 7-inch, with the previously-unreleased “Could It Be” as the featured track [recorded in January, 1966 — link to 45 Cat record of EMIdisc acetate].

Worth noting that Goldie and the Gingerbread’s 1964 US debut 45 — “Skinny Vinnie” b/w “Chew Chew Fee Fi Fum” — also enjoyed release in Australia, though nowhere else, oddly.

Goldie:  Bandleader at 18

Prior to the formation of Goldie and the Gingerbreads, Goldie would join – and then subsequently assume leadership of – Coral recording artist, The Escorts, as evidenced by the evolution of the group’s name over the course of just three singlesThe Escorts vs. The Escorts FeaturingGoldievs. Goldie And The Escorts.

September, 1962                      March, 1963                        August, 1963

2005 Haaretz feature piece on Genya Ravan, a Polish-born Holocaust survivor who emigrated to the US in 1947, offers an astonishingly unfiltered biographical overview in which we learn —

  • Her first boyfriend was a Puerto Rican named Colorado who would be memorialized years later in a song she recorded with Lou Reed.
  • An impromptu “audition” for The Escorts earned Ravan an invitation to become lead singer by the group’s leader, none other than Richard Perry, future A-list record producer (Ringo Starr, Carly Simon, Harry Nilsson, Barbra Streisand).
  • Before signing to British label, Decca, Goldie and the Gingerbreads first inked a contract offered by Atlantic Records’ Ahmet Ertegun, who was suitably impressed with the group’s performance at NYC’s Peppermint Lounge.
  • Goldie and the Gingerbreads were barred from releasing “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat” in the US by the single’s producer, Alan Price, who is said to have taken the recording without permission.
  • At a live performance in 1972 while on tour with Sly & the Family Stone, one audience member in attendance with family, Muhammad Ali, impelled the show’s producer — in response to Ravan’s liberal use of the F-bomb — to dispatch the police, who ended up arresting her.

*Reminder:  This site viewed optimally on a full-screen computer, not a smart phone

Grandpa Jones & His Swingin’ Grandchildren’s Sole 45

Grandpa Jones‘ toe-tappin’ countrypolitan “Hip Cat’s Weddin’” is one of Zero to 180’s recent discoveries:

“Hip Cat’s Weddin'”    Grandpa Jones & His Swingin’ Grandchildren     Rec. Nov, 1960

Too little has been written about Boudleaux Bryant‘s clever composition and its fetching arrangement — virtually nothing, in fact.  “I Don’t Love Nobody” b/w “Hip Cat’s Weddin’” sadly would be Jones’s sole release with His Swingin’ Grandchildren.  Given the relatively small percentage of the world’s population that owns the original 45 or 1997’s 5-CD Everybody’s Grandpa anthology compiled by Germany’s Bear Family, how tragic that this sly send-up of hep cat culture has been essentially unheard for decades.

Cash Box gave this single a positive review in their November 26, 1960 edition:

Grandpa Jones (Monument 430)

(B-f) “I DON’T LOVE NOBODY”
(1:45) [G-J BMI — Arr. Jones]
The oldie is given a contagious
revamping by the lovable Grandpa and
with his “Swinging Grandchildren” he
gives it a rousing jubilation sendoff.
Has excellent spin value.

(B-f) “HIP CAT’S WEDDIN’”
(2:18) [Acuff-Rose BMI — Bryant]
This Boudeleaux Bryant ditty is
ideally suited for Jones’ comical
style.  It’s a bouncy blueser; rates
consideration.

B-side

Thanks once again to PragueFrank for providiing the musician credits on a session that also produced “These Hills”; “Billy Yank and Johnny Reb” and the unreleased “Goodbye Reb” — although I am puzzled by the recording date of 21 February 1961 which is months after the Cash Box review above.

  • Grandpa Jones:  Vocal/Guitar/Banjo
  • Harold Bradley:  Guitar
  • Ray Edenton:  Guitar
  • Hank Garland:  Guitar
  • Jerry Byrd:  Steel Guitar
  • Boots Randolph:  Sax
  • Floyd Cramer:  Piano
  • Buddy Harman:  Drums

YouTube’s sole audio clip of “Hip Cat’s Weddin'” (posted in 2017) has only been “viewed” a total of 209 times, as of November 7, 2019.  You and I can do something about that.  Gratitude to WFMU’s Michael Shelley for giving this song several spins on the air.

Note:  At this moment, a vendor on Ebay is selling this 45 for $14.99 (plus $4.53 S/H).

They Don’t Make Song Titles Like They Used To:
Grandpa Jones on King
(with streaming audio)

There’s a Grave in the Wave of the Ocean” — 1945

The Baldheaded End of the Broom” — 1948

You’ll Make Our Shack a Mansion” — 1949

Uncle Eph’s Got the Coon” — 1950

Jennie, Get Your Hoe Cakes Done” — 1951

The Value of Vinyl

In 2017, someone paid $300 outright for 1958’s Sings His Greatest Hits LP by Jones, who appeared on the very first King Records release (using an alias), along with Merle Travis.

Brown’s Ferry Four:  The Original Country Supergroup

As journalist/writer Bruce Eder points out in Discogs‘ miniature biographical portrait:

“Based on their lineup alone, Brown’s Ferry Four was a country supergroup from the get-go, with an original membership consisting of Grandpa Jones, the Delmore Brothers, and Merle Travis.  Though the group only existed for ten years, and almost never made any personal appearances or gave any concerts, they managed to become one of the most beloved country gospel groups through their radio broadcasts and the nearly four dozen sides they recorded for King Records between 1946 and 1952.”

King LP – 1963

George Barnes’ Halloween Guitar

George Barnes recorded a boss guitar instrumental – “Spooky” – that should be part of everyone’s Halloween soundtrack:

“Spooky”     George Barnes     1962

Billboard conferred three stars (“moderate sales potential) upon this B-side, as well as its A-side “Trainsville,” in their June 23, 1962 edition.  Exactly fifty years later, in 2012, someone would pay $126 for a copy of this record.

 Mercury promo/DJ 45

Link to Volume 1

I agree with 45Cat and (unwitting) Zero to 180 contributor, mickey rat, who declares George Barnes to be “an important but neglected figure in the development of American popular music” (not to mention, “one of the very first people to play electric guitar”).  Another 45Cat contributor, porcupine, notes the similarity between these two tracks and 1959’s Guitar: Twangy With a Beat album, recorded by Barnes using the nom de guerre, Dean Hightower (an alter ego solely on the ABC-Paramount label).

Dean Hightower:  The Back Story  [courtesy of Discogs]

Hi…I’m George Barnes’ daughter, and can tell you the history of this album.  It was a one-off for ABC-Paramount, who wanted to compete with Duane Eddy and — knowing my father could play anything, which he did as a NYC studio musician — asked him if he’d record something in that genre.  He didn’t want to associate his name with it, so took the pseudonym Dean Hightower as a joke.  The name’s a fake, but the stereo mix is real.  Some people love this album — but this is certainly not representative of his entire body of work!  I recently launched The George Barnes Legacy Collection, in case anyone here is interested in learning more about this jazz great and electric guitar pioneer:   https://georgebarneslegacy.com 

Cheers, Alexandra Barnes Leh

People have forked over considerable cash for George Barnes’ 1959 Country Jazz album, — as much as $250 and more.  But wait!  For just 1/10 of that amount, you can purchase the entire Country Jazz album remastered on compact disc, plus “rare selected tracks from the airchecks of Barnes’ early national radio performances on NBC’s Plantation Party.”   For those who prefer vinyl, Modern Harmonic has re-released Country Jazz in gatefold format that includes extended liner notes and images from the CD.

Rodney Gene Jr. plays “Hot Guitar Rag” from 1959’s Country Jazz album

What a kick in the pants to discover that YouTube does not yet have streaming audio available for Barnes’ debut 45 on Decca — “Hot Guitar Polka” (although you can hear its flip side “Clarinet Polka“, which was used as the theme song for Max Ferguson’s “Rawhide” Canadian radio program).   Fortunately, you can hear a great version of “Flintstones Theme” from the album Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, recorded live at Concord, California’s Willow Theater in 1977.

This Just In:  Zero to 180 has been informed by Alexandra Barnes Leh, producer of The George Barnes Legacy Collection, that a video for “Hot Guitar Polka” will be part of the promotional push for next year’s re-release of 1958’s Guitars By George! album.

1951 single release = Norway

Besides Country Jazz, the “George Barnes Quartet” recorded 1977’s Blues Going Up for the Concord Jazz label, as well as a series of lauded albums with cornetist, Ruby Braff.  Barnes’ obituary in the New York Times notes that this quartet made a “notable debut” at the 1973 Newport Jazz Festival, “winning most of the critical acclaim for the evening.”

Barnes and his Quartet first appeared on record as the backing band for Patti Page on “There’s A Man In My Life b/w “The First Time I Kissed You” – a 78 release from 1947 on the Mercury label.  The following year, the George Barnes Quartet would back Snooky Lanson on “Long After Tonight” b/w “Hearts Win, You Lose.”

Son of a gun — the label says “George Barnes Trio“!

In addition to his Quartet, Barnes has also fronted a 2nd Quartet (!), as well as Quintet, Sextet, OctetChorus and OrchestraGuitar Choir, and Gran Orquesta de Percusion, not to mention an orchestra jointly owned with bassist, Jack Lesberg.  Barnes also enjoyed renown as a Guitar Duo, first with Carl Kress, then with Bucky Pizzarelli (and his 7-string guitar) after Kress’s passing in 1965.  Did I mention that Barnes once led a Trio, who were mis-identified as a Quartet, even though it plainly says “Trioon the label?

“Organizing an octet of musicians from the Chicago Symphony, George created non-traditional jazz with the unusual instrumentation of electric guitar with clarinet, bass saxophone, English horn, oboe, flute, piccolo, piano, vibes, bass and drums.  The George Barnes Octet became a highly-acclaimed weekly feature on the ABC Radio Network.”   [excerpt from Art of Sound Gallery]

Audio LINK = “Baseball Baseball” (1954) – Barnes & his Quintet

George Barnes Album Covers on Parade

Grand Award — 1957

Decca — 1958

Mercury — 1960

Mercury — 1961/2

Mercury — recorded 1945

Mercury — 1962

Carney Records — 1963

Billboard‘s July 10, 1965 edition would include this “Pop Spotlight” review:

Two guitar wizards supplying all the music of a full orchestra.  The program is played to perfection, and includes much of the material Barnes and Kress performed at the White House Christmas Party last year.  With ease they segue from the mellow “Willow Weep for Me” to the sparkling “Girl Friend,” with a standard version of “Sentimental Journey” completing the bill. 

Ten Duets for Two Guitars — Kress & Barnes’ “Guitar Karaoke” LP – 1962

Note:  “On the even numbered tracks, there’s only the accompaniment played by C. Kress for ‘the home guitarist to join in.'”

Instructional LP – 1961

Collector’s note:  Highest prices paid for George Barnes vinyl?   Private label release of a “rare, impromptu” session of duets with pianist Ralph Sutton that have sold for $429 in 2015 and $371 in 2013.

Young Professional + Ubiquitous Session Guitarist

Q:  Do you have any idea how many recording dates you have played on?

A:  “Between 1951 and now, I have recorded 23 albums under my own name.  From 1953 to 1961, I recorded 61 albums with the Three Suns alone. From 1961 to the present, I have recorded with practically every bigname singing star from Frank Sinatra to Bing Crosby, Patti Page, and loads more.  It would be very difficult to find a singing star I haven’t recorded with.  They tell me down at the union, that I have recorded more than any other person in their contract file.  I don’t know how many recording dates I’ve done, but one day I intend to add them up.  I know the number is well into the thousands.”

“Georgie” Barnes — 1940

George Barnes:  King Records Alumnus

Zero to 180’s recent celebration of King’s jazz legacy points out that George Barnes played guitar for (who else) Earl Bostic on a Jan. 11, 1956 session that took place in NYC, with four songs recorded including “Bugle Call Rag”; “I Love You Truly” and “Cause You’re My Lover.”

Alexandra Barnes Lah notes:

“The George Barnes Estate receives no royalties from all of those European re-releases [mentioned above] … it’s a terrible and heartbreaking ripoff experienced by many American artists and their families.  But my relationship with Modern Harmonic is quite the opposite, for which I’m grateful.”

Bootleg EP – or – Just a Mirage?

It must have been the year before last when I was enjoying a madcap musical romp through Thailand and its wildly imaginative bootleg EP scene — 7-inch picture sleeves using filched images, with four songs often (but not always) by four different artists, produced in renegade fashion without regard for legal or copyright considerations [see “Oddball Beatles EPs Worldwide“].  It was early 2018, most likely, when I made that fateful decision to print out a decent quality scan of a bootleg EP that had made the curious call to bring together the bubblegum sounds of The Archies and 1910 Fruitgum Co. (plus early Dave Clark Five) with “agit-pop” from The Rolling Stones, “Street Fighting Man” — a song that was banned from radio (and whose provocative sleeve was immediately withdrawn) in 1968, a year in which assassination and rioting dominated headlines.

378×400 pixel version of image below

Coliseum = cheeky send-up of almighty Columbia Records (i.e., “Big Red“)

Track Listing

A1  “Street Fighting Man”   The Rolling Stones

A2  “Because”   The Dave Clark Five

B1  “Bang Shang-a-Lang”   The Archies

B2  “Goody Gum Drops”   1910 Fruitgum Co.

 

Don’t recall why I printed out this image in the first place, but here’s the weird thing —  Located this printout in my “scratch paper” pile and began to use it for correspondence, when the librarian in me prompted me to search the 45Cat database to affirm its existence but could no longer find it there … or anywhere else on the Internet!  This scanned image, therefore, is the world’s only proof of a bootleg EP from Thailand that was almost certainly released in 1968, possibly 1969.

Did I somehow dream up this EP release – Coliseum CLS 1080 – or was it, in fact, actually birthed?  45Cat allows users to easily browse a list of cataloged Coliseum releases, which has entries for two somewhat nearby catalog numbers, CLS 1087 (from 1969, we think) and CLS 1099 (released 1968, confusingly).

CLS 1087 = previously featured here          CLS 1099 = “Sugar Sugar” & friends

Evidence of Coliseum CLS 1080 EP’s existence:  If you Google the terms Coliseum + Archies + “CLS 1080” (as of October 10, 2019), Bill Rousell‘s music sales website will turn up in the search results, with a sales listing for this EP that names the four tracks in identical order.

Zero to 180, you might recall, had previously saluted The Archies five years ago in a piece that acknowledged 1968 to be a remarkably fertile time for truck driving country music.  The Rolling Stones (not to mention Stones sound-alike bands) have also been the focus of Zero to 180’s roving eye more than once over the years.

Rare UK picture sleeve, quickly withdrawn = sold for $17,100 in 2015!

Illicit Vinyl — No Laughing Matter

If the example of Thailand suits your warped sensibilities, you will also likely enjoy browsing the unauthorized vinyl output from the countries of MalaysiaIran & USSR.

           Decca US 451966                                  Decca Lookalike 45 = Malaysia

Furthermore, if you poke around 45Cat’s database in the section tagged asPoland,” you will quickly discover a vast underworld of “postcard discs” — sometimes plain, but often as not, “old-timey” renderings and travel scenes, as well as modernist art images, with one and sometimes two songs on a single-sided “sound postcard”!

All You Need Is Love” – The Beatles – Poland, 1967 = who knew?

Can you guess which early 60s instrumental hit (later covered by Sugar Hill Gang)?

Isn’t it obvious?  “Apache” by The Shadows = Polish postcard disc

 

King Records Trivia: Maxi-Tweets

Fun Facts & Trivia — Best Tweets from King Records Month 2018

As with the previous piece (“King’s Jazz Legacy“), it seems silly to keep all this rich history from last year’s King 75th Anniversary tucked away in a file attachment.  One year later, it has become increasingly obvious that this “once-tweeted” information would serve humanity to a much greater degree if likewise liberated and laid out clearly, without concern for limits on text or number of illustrations.  These original tweets have been richly supplemented for this updated version.

Modernist pavilion at Cincinnati’s Bellevue Park overlooking downtown

[Note:  streaming audio links indicated in bold blue ink]

King History Tweet #1

Mose Rager – who, along with Ike Everly (father of Phil & Don), taught Merle Travis the “claw picking” technique – played on a King recording session for Fairley Holden.   According to Dave Sax’s liner notes for Ace UK’s King Hillbilly Bop ‘n’ Boogie

Fairley’s new version [of “Keep Them Cold Icy Fingers Off Of Me“] for King (his third) sold well enough to warrant three more sessions during the year, including 12 songs cut in December [1947] before the [1948 recording] ban.  He was backed by Moon Mullican (with whom he also toured in Detroit) at his first two sessions, while Mose Rager and another guitarist are heard at the December date.  This and a session with Curly Fox & Texas Ruby, also for King, give us the only example of Rager’s work on record [emphasis mine].

Check out the instrumental intro from “Sweet Mama, Put Him in Low,” a song from Holden’s last session for King — those guitar lines must belong to Rager, right?  That same recording session also includes “You’ve Been a Bad Bad Little Girl“; “Oh, That Naggin’ Wife of Mine“; “It’ll Make a Change in Business” (guitar solo at 1:11); “Put Some Meat on Them Bones“; “Don’t Monkey Around With My Widder When I’m Gone” & “Long Long Dresses,” with the guitar work on these tracks bearing that classic “Travis-style” picking technique which came directly from Rager and Ike Everly.  By the way, thanks to PragueFrank for pointing out that Holden’s first session for King took place in February, 1947 at E.T. Herzog Recording Studio in Cincinnati.

With regard to Curly Fox and Texas Ruby, since they did two recording sessions for King (as indicated by Ruppli), I am unclear as to which of the 17 tracks feature Rager’s playing, since he only played on “a” recording session, as Sax states above.  However, if I were to be so bold, I suspect that Rager’s guitar work can be heard on the second King recording session that yielded “You Don’t Love Me” and four other songs — check out the “Travis-style” guitar break at the 1:48 mark.  If I’m correct, that means Rager can also be heard (at least, theoretically) on “Those Dreams Are Gone” (solo guitar at the 0:50 mark); “On the Banks of the Lonely River“; “Falling Leaf” & “You’ll Remember and Be Blue” — the last track only issued on Nashville Bandstand Vol. 2 — the same album that includes (as previously noted) Merle Travis’s lone King recording as a solo artist “What Will I Do” (likewise unavailable on YouTube, unfortunately).  Album also includes Moon Mullican’s “Too Many Irons in the Fire” (not on YouTube either) — song co-written by Erwin King, Henry Glover, “Lois Mann” [Syd Nathan] & Mullican.

A copy of Volume 1 sold for $26 in 2012

King History Tweet #2

Southwest ShuffleRich Kienzle‘s history of honky tonk, western swing, and country jazz pioneers, has a chapter about guitar great Roy Lanham (“Neither Fish Nor Fowl”), whose title pinpoints the musician’s unfortunate predicament, in that he was considered “too country for jazz” and “too jazz for country”!  Lanham (celebrated here previously) can be heard on Hank Penny‘s very first session for King in 1944 (recorded in a room above the Wurlitzer Music Store in Cincinnati) — four songs, including “Last Night“; “Tear Stains on Your Letter” & “Hope You’re Satisfied” (with Louis Innis on second guitar).

Roy Lanham on King

Lanham’s most famous session work for King in the label’s early years can be heard on such Delmore Brothers 78 sides as “Goin’ Back to the Blue Ridge Mountains“; “Boogie Woogie Baby“; “Freight Train Boogie” & “Shame on Me” — recorded at Herzog’s Studio in October, 1946 with Homer & Jethro.  One year later, Lanham would join forces with Merle Travis at Cincinnati’s King Studios to record eight songs, including “The Frozen Girl“; “Long Journey Home” & “You Can’t Do Wrong and Get By.”  October of 1949 would find Lanham recording his swansong with the Delmore Brothers “Trouble Ain’t Nothing But the Blues,” with Syd Nathan in the producer’s chair.

This 1958 LP sold for $300 in 2012

King History Tweet #3

Noted western swing bandleader Spade Cooley cut sessions for King Records “under vocalist Red Egner‘s name” according to Kevin Coffey’s liner notes in CD compilation Shuffle Town – Western Swing on King. Total of 8 songs recorded in late 1946 at Radio Recorders in Los Angeles and released as four 78s, [plus 2 unreleased tracks “You Didn’t Want Me (When You Had Me)” & “South of Old San Antone”] — most notably “You Never Miss the Water Till the Well Runs Dry” and “Swing Billy A-La-Mode” (group billed as ‘The California Cutups’), with Noel Boggs, in all likelihood (inferring from PragueFrank‘s session info) on steel guitar.

With Noel Boggs on steel, correct?

King History Tweet #4:
King Steel Guitar Trivia

(Pre-pedal) steel guitar legend Noel Boggs played on King sessions for both Hank Penny [1945 session in Pasadena, California with Merle Travis that yielded 12 songs including “Steel Guitar Stomp“; “Merle’s Buck Dance” & “I’m Counting the Days“] and Jimmie Widener (whose all-star band would include Jimmy Wyble, who later starred with jazz greats Benny Goodman and Red Norvo) on such tracks as “You Better Wake Up Babe” — recorded at Hollywood’s Universal Recorders on September 21, 1946 [SOURCE: Shuffle Town – Western Swing on King 1946-1950].

Western swing on DeLuxe

King History Tweet #5:
More Steel Guitar Trivia

Jimmie Widener’s “What a Line!” – produced/co-written by Merle Travis and released by King Records in 1946 – features stellar steel guitar work by EarlJoaquinMurphey.  According to the liner notes from Ace UK’s King Hillbilly Bop ‘n’ Boogie:

Jimmie Widener was born in Oklahoma in 1924, and his career included stints with the Spade Cooley, Bob Wills and Tex Williams bands – and also the 24 sides he recorded for King.  “What a Line!” was from his first session held at Universal Recorders, Hollywood on 25 March 1946 during the sessions that Merle Travis produced.  The song enjoyed a new lease of life in near rockabilly format when recorded by Carl Story for Columbia in 1955.  The all-star personnel featured Jimmie Widener (guitar), ShelbyTexAtchison (fiddle), Harold Hensley (fiddle), Joaquin Murphey (steel guitar), Charlie Morgan (guitar), George Bamby (accordion), Vic Davis (piano), and Shug Fisher (bass). 

Incredibly, streaming audio not yet available on YouTube

Kevin Coffey notes that “Widener had recently been playing tenor banjo with [Bob Wills backing band] the Texas Playboys and had sung ‘How Can It Be Wrong’ with Wills at a recording session less than two weeks before these September 18-23 [1946] King [Hollywood] sessions began” in the liner notes to the Shuffle Town King western swing anthology.  With regard to those September, 1946 sessions at Universal Recorders —

“Syd and his King Records hit Hollywood with all the force of an earthquake,” journalist C. Phil Henderson enthused soon after in his Tophand magazine – and over the next month, at Hollywood’s Universal Recorders, Nathan waxed a hundred-plus sides on Widener, Penny, Red Egner, Tex Atchison and others.”

King History Tweet #6:
(Still) More Steel Guitar Trivia

Paul Howard and His Arkansas Cotton Pickers recorded their first session for King in Cincinnati on January, 26, 1949 with Bob Wills alumnus Billy Bowman on steel guitar (plus Red Perkins on vocals, Jabbo Arrington on guitar, two fiddlers in Red Harper and  “Julliard-trained” Roddy Bristol, and pianist Harold Horner).  This session also marked the recording debut (so says Kevin Coffey) of A-team Nashville session bassist, Bob Moore, father of R. Stevie Moore (“Godfather of Home Recording“) – four songs including “Texas Boogie” and “Torn Between True Love and Desire.”

Scratchy 78s – audio above not pristine

King History Tweet #7:
King Gospel

Queen, King’s short-lived subsidiary (1945-1947) devoted to black artists, featured mostly rhythm and blues recordings but also included a fair amount of gospel music, primarily Wings Over Jordan.  This 10-inch EP from 1946, with three songs per side, appears to be the only non-78 release on the Queen label — includes “Old Ship of Zion“; “When You Come Out of the Wilderness“; “Take Me to the Water“; & “Deep River.”

King History Tweet #8

Mabel Smith, a.k.a., Big Maybelle, with backing support from Hot Lips Page and His Orchestra, did three recording sessions for King in late 1947, with at least two of them taking place at Cincinnati’s King Studios.  Three King 78s would be the net result:  (a) “Sad and Disappointed Jill” b/w “Bad Dream Blues“; (b) “Indian Giver” b/w “Too Tight Mama“; (c) “Little Miss Muffet” b/w “Don’t Try to Fool Me.”   This French compilation from 2004 includes all of her King 78 sides, plus two unissued tracks:  “Foolin’ Blues” and “Dirty Deal Blues.”

Mabel “Big Maybelle” Smith recorded 8 sides for King

King History Tweet #9

King artists “ZebbTurner and “Cow BoyCopas enjoyed a split EP release in Denmark on the Vogue label in the early 1950s that includes Turner’s 1951 breakout hit “Chew Tobacco Rag” and Copas’s 1947 version of “Tennessee Waltz.”  Copas, in fact, had tried to buy “Tennessee Waltz” on a song-scouting expedition for Syd Nathan in a classic capitalist tale recounted by music historian Darren Blase (of Shake It Records) for his excellent piece “The Lonesome Ballad of Cowboy Copas” published in the August 1, 2013 edition of Cincinnati Magazine.

That’s Zeb with two B’s – Danish EP

King History Tweet #10

Federal – the King subsidiary label established for Ralph Bass to produce R & B artists – nevertheless had a Federal Hillbilly Series.  According to the liner notes in Ace UK’s King Hillbilly Bop ‘n’ Boogie, “only two hillbilly artists actually recorded new sessions specifically earmarked for Federal.”  One of those artists, Tommy Scott, recorded the hobo train classic “Rockin’ and Rollin’” at Cincinnati’s King Studios on January 4, 1951 with a backing band that included Hank Williams‘ one-time steel guitarist Jerry Byrd and (future Nashville session fiddler emeritus) Tommy Jackson — who both backed Williams on “Lovesick Blues” (recorded at Herzog’s in 1948), along with Louis Innis and Zeke Turner.

Hillbilly bop on Federal

King History Tweet #11
Train Songs on King

You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy a good train song, and one of the best collections I’ve heard is an anthology of mostly obscure 45s called Choo Choo Bop (issued by German label, Buffalo Bop). The tenth track – Larry Harvey’s “Rolling Home” – is one of my faves, and happens to be a King classic from 1957 that will have you singing the refrain in no time.  The person who posted this YouTube clip points out that “Rolling Home” is an update of “Fast Moving Night Train” (written by Rudy Toombs, sung by Grandpa Jones) that unfortunately is not available on YouTube.

“Rolling Home”     Larry Harvey     1957

According to Discogs:

Larry Harvey was a Canadian country singer originally from Newfoundland.  Moved to Toronto where he saw some success and then later to Nashville.  He was one of the inaugural members of the Country Music Association in 1956.  After a dispute with his record company King Records over Newfoundland distribution he left his contract.  He was unable to keep food on his family’s table, so he returned to Ontario and worked in a factory, then later started a small business.  Subject of the 2008 documentary “Paper Promises” by his son Shane Harvey.

In addition to the obvious (e.g., Tiny Bradshaw’s “Train Kept a Rollin’“), here are four other King train songs worth investigating:

String band and rhythm section set up a strong beat and keep it driving right thru as the Jones gal hands the tune a growling chant.

King “bio disc”

Clever story novelty about an engineer with a slow freight train receives a lively performance by Newman.  Tune is melodic with a boogie beat.  Could grab loot.  A good kiddie disc, too.

Penned by Boudleaux Bryant, who (co-)authored many Everly Bros. hits

[Bob Newman, it must be said, also recorded the truck-driving classic “Hauling Freight” (from the pen of Henry Glover), as celebrated in Zero to 180’s piece from 2016.]

King EP – 1961

King History Tweet #12:
King Gospel

Billboard‘s May 3, 1952 edition reported that a Shenandoah, Iowa disk jockey held a contest, asking listeners to guess the names of King recording artists, The Harlan County Four, who had just released their version of “The Atomic Telephone” — a gospel song co-written by Henry Glover, Syd Nathan & Eddie Smith.  Raise your hand if you know the secret identities behind the Harlan County Four — answer is in this Zero to 180 piece.

Co-written by Eddie Smith – artist/arranger, and later, chief engineer at King

King History Tweet #13

Famed folk duo Sonny Terry (harmonica) and Brownie McGhee (guitar) played on a single recording session for King — supporting singer and Piedmont country blues guitarist, Ralph Willis — that was recorded in NYC on January 14, 1953.  Four sides, including “Hop On Down the Line“; “Do Right” & “Door Bell Blues.”

King History Tweet #14

Petula Clark on King Records?  It’s true!  Clark’s 1954 UK hit “The Little Shoemaker” was issued that same year in the US and Canada on King.  10 years before Clark would win the 1964 Grammy for Best Rock & Roll Recording (over “A Hard Day’s Night”).  Billboard‘s review in the July 17, 1954 edition:

“King 1371 – If this side had come out some weeks ago it could easily have pulled a good part of the action on the tune.  Petula Clark warbles the opus with a smile in her voice and she’s backed wonderfully by the large ork.  Disk, an English import, could still garner loot if exploited.”

King History Tweet #15

Rudy (pre-Dolemite) Moore first recorded for King in December of 1955, a session that yielded four songs:  “The Buggy Ride“; “Ring a-Ling Dong“; “I’m Mad With You“; and “My Little Angel.”  Moore’s second and final King recording session – June 1, 1956 – netted four more tracks:  “Let Me Come Home“; “I’ll Be Home to See You Tomorrow“; and “Robbie Dobbie.”

Rudy (Ray) Moore = four Federal 45s

King History Tweet #16

Mr. Nashville Sound himself, Chet Atkins, played bass on Fuller Todd’s “Proud Lady” – according to Rob Finnis in his liner notes to Ace UK’s King Rockabilly – when session bassist, Bob Moore, had not yet arrived at RCA Nashville, where the song (co-written by Louis Innis) was recorded on March 25, 1957.

Chet Atkins on a King rockabilly that is not yet available on YouTube

King History Tweet #17

Keyboardist DaveBabyCortez — who would later have instrumental hits with “The Happy Organ” (1959) and “Rinky Dink” (1962) — played on two King recording sessions:

Wha’da ya know? co-written by Henry Glover

Flip side co-authored by Henry Glover & Rudy Toombs

King History Tweet #18

King Records would issue over a dozen Trini Lopez single releases beginning in 1958 and ending into 1966, though none would chart, sadly.  Check out this classic slice of rockabilly bop “Yes You Do” — Lopez’s debut single for King — that was recorded December, 1958 in Dallas.

Australian 45 (“A King recording from U.S.A.”) – 1964

King History Tweet #19

Cliff Davis & The Turbo Jets recorded four songs in Chicago for King subsidiary label Federal in 1958 – including “So Sassy” and “Far East Cha Cha Cha” – and then four more on May 22, 1959: “Let It Roll (Pts. 1 & 2)” “Rock and Reel” and “Back Mountain Rock.”  Saxophonist, as well as songwriter and arranger, Davis would record one single for Okeh after leaving King.

German 45 – 1962

King History Tweet #20

Bruce Channel (whose harmonica player, Delbert McClinton, gave John Lennon a few tips on the instrument back in 1962 when The Beatles opened for Channel) recorded exactly four songs for King in a single 1959 Forth Worth, TX recording session that yielded two 45s. Of the four sides reviewed by Billboard, “Boy! This Stuff Kills Me” would get the most enthusiastic ink:

“Cat digs music, as he intros drums, twangy guitars and honking tenor.  He shouts the tale over a driving ork and combo assist.”

That combo assist, by the way, would be Marvin Montgomery and His Orchestra — this track also available on Ace UK compilation, King Rock ‘n’ Roll.

King History Tweet #21

One recording that remains unheard in the King vaults is Buck Floyd‘s “The U-2 Flight” – recorded in Cincinnati on October 17, 1960 in response to the major international incident that had taken place five months earlier on May 1st.  There are no images of Floyd’s lone King 45 [“I’m Gonna Show You All Someday” b/w “No Love for Me“] on the web.  The attached photo is of Ernest Burgess “Buck” Floyd of Carrollton, Kentucky (in Carroll County), born April 1, 1933.  Could this Korean War veteran be the same Buck Floyd, who once recorded at the King Studios?  Buck Floyd’s King 45 — recorded with Kenny Sowder & the Grand River Boys — was reviewed in Billboard‘s Jan 9, 1961 issue [B-side:  “Heartfelt vocalizing by Floyd on moving weeper”] and rated “three stars” (i.e., “good sales potential”).  Obituary for Ernest ‘Buck’ Floyd.

Ernest ‘Buck’ Floyd = King recording artist?

King History Tweet #22:
King Gospel

If you need sanctified sounds for your Sunday morning, consider giving this 1960 King album by the Bible Way Church of GodLet the Church Roll On — a spin.  Billboard‘s review from the Dec 26, 1960 edition:

“These spirituals have been recorded during church service by the Bible Way Church of God Choir in Cincinnati.  Performances are impassioned and capture the true gospel spirit.”

 King History Tweet #23

Besides Petula Clark, King would serve as US distributor for other leased EMI recordings, such as 1961’s “spy” guitar number with a “popcorn” beat “The Swinging Gypsies” by Tony Osbourne — selected by Billboard as a Special Merit Single for the week of Oct. 23, 1961.  Says the reviewer:

“A listenable instrumental featuring a hoked up piano sound against a big ork backing.  The side is set in a breezy rock tempo.  Could win spins.”

Would sound great on an instrumental mix with The Shadows, Duane Eddy, etc.

That same year, King would also lease “Black Stockings” b/w “Get Lost Jack Frost” by The John Barry Seven from EMI, both crisp guitar instrumentals — sadly, no visual evidence of this King 45 exists on the web (link to 45Cat catalog record).

King History Tweet #24

Reno & Smiley recorded a sarcastic slice of rockabilly (or is it mockabilly?) in King’s Cincinnati studios on April 24, 1961 — “Just Doing Rock and Roll” — under the fake name Chick and His Hot RodsBillboard‘s September 11, 1961 edition would rate this single release three stars (i.e., “moderate sales potential”).

Rock ‘n’ roll gets Punk’d

King History Tweet #25

Ray Bell was part of an elite group of artists that helped revive King’s Queen subsidiary label between the years 1961-1962.  45Cat contributor formula (-CH2-CHI)n would post this concise appraisal of Bell’s lone 45 release “Blues Tavern” b/w “Loveless Island.”

A Side: “Blues Tavern” – nice country honky tonk sound with fiddle from ’61.

King History Tweet #26

In 1961, Audio Lab gathered up Rocky Bill Ford‘s sudsy lament of a most tuneful sort — “Beer Drinking Blues” (originally released 1950 on Gilt-Edge, a label distributed by King) — along with eleven other songs for an LP that you would be hard pressed to find today.  Ford’s composition would get a nice makeover in 1969 by Eddie Noack, thanks to some driving piano and soulful dobro lines — link to Noack’s version of “Beer Drinking Blues.”

Rare album on Audio Lab, King’s “budget” subsidiary label

King History Tweet #27

Columbus, Ohio’s King Pharoah & the Egyptians recorded a single session for Federal Records in March, 1961 that yielded the 45 “Shimmy Sham” b/w “By the Candle Lite.” Billboard‘s Apr 17, 1961 edition would rate the 45 as having “moderate sales potential” and include this review:

A-side: “This is about the women in the tropic land who look so grand.  It’s a slow persistent rocker by the boys in solid bluesy r&b fashion. Good sound & catchy beat.”
B-side: “A slow, slow rockaballad done for fair results by the boys.”

King History Tweet #28:
Truck Driving Songs

Compare/contrast (1) Coleman Wilson’s original acoustic version of classic truck driving tale “Radar Blues” with (2) Swanee Caldwell’s full-band version recorded in Cincinnati on July 15, 1963.

Coleman Wilson’s A-side “Passing Zone Blues” peaked at #23 in Billboard‘s Country chart the week of Aug. 23, 1961.  Amusing to scan all the 45 releases of Dave Dudley, one of the “kings” of truck driving songs, and notice that King would reach into their back catalog and reissue in August of 1963 one of Dudley’s King rockabilly 45s in the wake of “Six Days on the Road” – the runaway hit released in April of that year.

Case study in truck-driving classics:  “Radar Blues”

King History Tweet #29:
Obscure Instrumental Awaiting Rediscovery

Double Whammy” by The Whammies – a driving sax and organ instrumental guaranteed to fill the dance floor – is actually the B-side of the group’s one and only 45.  The one YouTube audio clip for this song has only 545 “views” as of October 16, 2018 [one year later, that total has nudged up to 599 plays] — be the first on your block to hear this winner of a track!  The A-side “Walk Walk” was written by one of the West Coast’s in-demand session guitarists — René Hall (of “Twitchy” fame) — whose first King recording session (for Wynonie Harris) goes all the way back to Dec. 17, 1947 (“Your Money Don’t Mean a Thing” – with Dexter Gordon).  Hall’s guitar can be heard on a number of hits recorded in Los Angeles, including “La Bamba” (electric baritone guitar), and his arrangements include Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Going to Come.”

both sides “leased” – c. June, 1962

King History Tweet #30

Sonny Thompson, who co-wrote “Had You Told It Like It Was (It Wouldn’t Be Like It Is)” for Albert King, laid down some “popcorn jazz” on August 14, 1962 at King’s Cincinnati studio on a pair of tracks that were released as a Bethlehem 45:  “Loco Limbo” b/w “Just a Little Bit of Soul.”  Thompson is part of an ‘elite’ group that had a special publishing arrangement with Syd Nathan. 45Cat contributor “mickey rat” explains:

“For years I’ve wondered who was involved in Boblo Music.  I’ve always had it listed with that clutch of half a dozen imprints that Syd Nathan of King Records shared with his favourite producers (e.g. Men-Lo = Fred Mendelsohn & Syd Nathan and Son-Lo = Sonny Thompson & Syd Nathan, where the “Lo” bit was short for Nathan’s flagship publishing imprint Lois Music).”

Longer quote can be found in Zero to 180 piece – “Bethlehem Records: Post-Syd

Published by “Son-lo”

King History Tweet #31

Blues guitar legend Albert King did, in fact, set foot inside King’s Cincinnati studio on April 17, 1963 – two songs recorded:  “This Funny Feeling” (sadly, as it says on the 45 label:  a “vocal with band and vocal group” that features a sax [!] solo) and “Had You Told It Like It Was (It Wouldn’t Be Like It Is),” another vocal sans guitar.  Both songs are included on 1963 King LP, The Big Blues.

Fortunately, this King album does feature King’s distinctive guitar playing

King History Tweet #32:
King Kiddie Pop!

Whip out “The Bunny Hop” by The Delteens – recorded at King on March 12, 1963 – at your next preschool party or Kindergarten playdate.  “The Bunny Hop” (the B-side) merited three stars in Billboard‘s March 30, 1963 edition, while the Delteens take on that kiddie standard “The Hokey Pokey” earned the group an additional star!

King History Tweet #33

BillyCrashCraddock had recorded for almighty Columbia Records, prior to a short tenure with King Records that yielded three 45 releases – all in the year 1964 – from a single 12-song recording session at the Cincinnati studios on June 15, 1964, including “My Baby’s Got Flat Feet.”  Important to note that two of Craddock’s three A-sides were written by Henry Glover (just for fun:  scroll these 19 pages of search results on 45Cat to see how many 45 sides were written, produced and/or arranged by Glover).  The other six tracks would be rounded up for Craddock’s lone King LP – which includes “Talk to Me Talk to Me” (a Little Willie John 45 on King, originally) and the album’s title track “I’m Tore Up” (1956 Federal single written by Ike Turner and Ralph Bass).

Penned by Henry Glover (with assistance from “Lois Mann”)

King History Tweet #34:
The Cincinnati-Kingston Connection

One year following Prince Buster‘s rocksteady salute to “The Cincinnati Kid” (a.k.a., James Brown), King Records – ironically, perhaps – licensed a song from Prince Buster himself [“Ten Commandments (From Woman to Man)”] for release in the United States in 1967, with a Byron Lee track [“Papa Jack“] on the flip side.  45Cat notes, “Different vocal to the track released on RCA Victor 47-9114.”  Zero to 180’s related piece from 2014.

“Buster and East Productions”

King History Tweet #35

Keyboardist/arranger/studio musician, Richard Tee, arranged one recording session in New York City on April Fool’s Day, 1969, for soul vocal group, The Manhattans, who ended up releasing two albums on (revived) King subsidiary, DeLuxe, before joining forces with “Big Red” – Columbia Records.  Four songs recorded and released on two DeLuxe 45s — “The Picture Becomes Quite Clear” b/w “Oh Lord, I Wish I Could Sleep” -and- “Gonna Take a Lot to Bring Me Back” b/w “Give Him Up.”

King History Tweet #36:
Final Recording Session for Bethlehem?

Remember The Saloonatics from the Zero to 180 piece that questioned whether this was one of the last original sessions at Cincinnati’s King Studios for the Bethlehem subsidiary label?  Azie Mortimer‘s 1971 album, Feeling of Jazz, was actually one of the last 1969 recording sessions for Bethlehem listed in Ruppli’s King Records sessionography, with musician credits that include such notable jazz musicians as Jerome Richardson, Milt Hinton, Snooky Young, Jimmy ClevelandQuentin Jackson, Phil Woods, Les SpannWillie Rodriguez, and Mercer Ellington (arranger & conductor).  In 2014, the album was issued on CD (in Japan) for the first time.  Mortimer’s earlier singles are available on YouTube, but no streaming audio yet from this Bethlehem LP.

King History Tweet #37:
Last of the Licensing

Two long-playing recordings were licensed from EMI in 1972.  These two albums, King LPs 1140 and 1141, belong to the same artist:  Manuel (“pseudonym for Geoff Love‘s easy listening Latin themed recordings”) And His Music of the Mountains.  One of the albums, Manuel and the Music of the Movies, enjoyed a US release, while the other King LP, Cascade, appears to have been issued in the UK only — is that really true?

Hard to believe this is a King release — logo in upper left corner

King History Tweet #38

1973’s On Broadway album by The Coasters kicks off with the original “pre-Monkees” version of “D.W. Washburn” that was recorded “a few months before” the mop tops’ 1968 single though not released until after, so says Both Sides Now Publications [The Coasters’ version was recorded on Halloween 1967, according to this Wikipedia page].  Album also includes hotly reworked versions of “Love Potion Number 9” and “Cool Jerk” in a Latin boogaloo vein, plus newer compositions, such as “Soul Pad“; “Talkin’ About a Woman” & “Everybody’s Woman.”  Half the songs on the album are written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who were co-owners of Starday-King at that time (but not for much longer, sadly).

1973 LP cover – part of the “new social awareness”

King History Tweet #39:
Final King & Federal 45s

With respect to the question of what was the final King 45, I thought it might be great sad fun to simply list all the King single releases from 1973 in order by catalog numberNote that some catalog numbers are missing in the sequence below (e.g., 45-6411) — hoping that music scholars and vinyl collectors find any and all remaining King 45 releases from 1973 not represented in this list:

ARTIST NAME                A-SIDE  +  B-SIDE              CATALOG #

Allison          "Love Grow Cold" + "Born to Be a Lover"    45-6406

Patterson Twins  "Ever Got You Back" + "Got Some Problems"  45-6407

Earl Gaines      "Pillow Stays Wet" + "Don't Deceive Me"    45-6408

Willy Wiley      "Push and Shove" + "Just Be Glad"          45-6409

Rufus Watkins    "Wake Me Shake Me (No Sleep) Pts. 1 & 2"   45-6410

Sylvester Boyd   "Don't Want Nobody" + "Can't Go On Livin'" 45-6412

Eddie James      "Been Down So Long" + "Livin' w/o You"     45-6413

Fireside Singers "Live By His Word" + "Run On"              45-6417

Kastle           "Gettin' Down (w/ Hoss)" + "Why Don't You" 45-6418

Charles Brown    "For Good Times" + "Lonesome & Driftin'"   45-6420

Our Bro's Keeper "The Harlem Clown" + "Gonna Keep You Warm" 45-6421

Patterson Twins  "Back in Love Again" + "Come to Me"        45-6422

B-side of final King 45 (prior to the label’s sale in 1973)?

Similarly, I thought we could take masochistic pleasure in listing all the Federal 7-inch releases from 1971-1973 in order by catalog number to determine which was the final release, prior to the sale of Starday-King to Moe Lytle and Gusto Records in 1973 (Gusto, it has been said, “is believed to maintain one of the largest independently owned collection of record masters”).  As with the list above, I spy a couple missing catalog numbers (#12564 & #12565) — are there any 45 releases from these final years unaccounted for?

ARTIST NAME                A-SIDE + B-SIDE                CATALOG #

Mickey Murray    "People Are Together" + "Fat Girl"        45-12560

James Duncan     "Please Johnny" + "Stand Up & Get Funky"  45-12561

Clarence Murray  "Please Accept My Love" + "Book of Love"  45-12562

Bobby Leeds      "No Sign of Love" + "Yesterday's Rain"    45-12563

Gloria Walker    "Papa's Got the Wagon" + "Precious Love"  45-12566

Thomas Bailey    "Wish I Was Back" + "Percy's Place"       45-12567

Stratoliners     "What Do You Want w/ Love" + "Your Love"  45-12568

Gloria Walker    "Love Is In the Air" + "Them Changes"     45-12569

Gloria Walker    "When My Baby Cries" + "Gift of Love"     45-12570

Mickey Murray    "Can't Tell You" + "Nothing We Can Do"    45-12571

James K-Nine     "Counting Tear Drops" + "Live It Up"      45-12572

Toby King        "Mr. Tuff Stuff" + "For the Good Times"   45-12573

Final Federal 45 (we think) = Toby King Clavinet funk from 1973

NoteZero to 180 piece from last November attempts to identify the last DeLuxe 45.

King History Tweet #40:
King Funk & Soul

Fans of James Brown funk will want to track down a series of five LPs – Nothing But Funk, all (but one) JB productions – with each volume distinct and thoughtfully selected.  Click on the links below to review the extensive musician credits for each and every track.

Volume One = “12 JB Produced Funk Instrumentals 1967-1977

Volume Two = “11 Selections of Rare JB Funkiness From 1967-1977

Volume Three = “11 Selections of James Brown Rarities From 1963-1973

Volume Four = “11 James Brown Produced Rarities From 1963-1975

Volume Five = “10 JB Produced Funky Selections From 1965 to 1976

Bootsy & Catfish Collins + Robert ‘Chicken’ Gunnels & Robert ‘Chopper’ McCollough

TIP!  Vol. 2 features “Fun In Your Thang” by Bootsey Phelps & Complete Strangers

Nothing But Funk – Volume One

1968 King LP Nothing But Soul

French and German Counterparts on Polydor = 1968

Artist Profile in Miniature

Texas blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter Roy Gaines – a contemporary of Johnny Copeland with whom he was acquainted – had backed his hero T-Bone Walker by the time he was 14.  After moving to Los Angeles, Gaines served as a backing musician on recordings for Bobby Bland, Junior Parker and Big Mama Thornton in 1955.  In the 1960s, he played guitar on sessions for the Everly Brothers, the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Bobby Darin & Gladys Knight.  Gaines would finally release his first solo album in 1982, Gainelining.  Three years later, Gaines played one of the jook joint musicians in the film, The Color Purple (link to musician credits on the soundtrack album), 2009’s big band album Tuxedo Blues would include “Miss Celie’s Blues” which Gaines had performed in The Color Purple.

“Mr. Guitar” (as he was billed in 1956) would release two 45s for King subsidiary label, DeLuxe the following year – “Annabelle” b/w “Night Beat” + “Isabella” b/w “Gainesville” – the latter tune being one of his signature guitar statements.  Gaines signed with RCA in 1958, and later in the 1960s would release singles for MCA subsidiary UNI and (pre-Arista) Bell Records, on which he recorded underappreciated “northern soul crossover” original, “Make It Easy.”

Quite a few Roy Gaines forty-fives have sold for 3 figures at auction

Cincinnati Celebrities on King

  • Cincinnati television and radio personality, Bob Braun, was a King recording artist!  Bob’s first 45 for King was a duet with another Cincinnati TV star, Dottie Mack – “Loaded with Love” b/w “My Baby Dearest Darling” – that was recorded on Sept. 28, 1954 at King Studios.  Bob’s next (and final) King 45 – “All My Love” b/w “Broken Hearted” – was actually leased in 1959 from another label.  Braun would also record for Cincinnati’s Fraternity label. as well as Decca, United Artists, and KY indie, Boone.  More intriguing, though, is the “rock & roll” single that Braun issued early in his career, in contrast to his clean-cut image.  Music scholars are still debating whether “Rock and Roll Country Girl” was recorded in 1954, the same year Elvis cut his legendary sessions at Sun.  A cataloger’s note on Discogs says, “release date from internet sources and is unconfirmed.”  Picture sleeve for 1973 Christmas single (on QCA) shows that Braun also recorded at Rusty York‘s Jewel Recording Studios in Mt. Healthy.

Bob Braun’s 1st King single was a 78 written by Lucky Millinder & Henry Glover

1973 Christmas single on the QCA label

  • After playing baseball with Babe Ruth for the Yankees in the 1920s, Waite Hoyt transitioned successfully in the 1940s to a career in broadcasting, as the Cincinnati Reds’ play-by-play voice for 24 years and Burger Beer pitchman.
    Hoyt gained fame for entertaining radio audiences during rain delays, sharing anecdotes and telling vivid stories from his days on the field.  In 1963, King put together an album of these stories called The Best of Waite Hoyt in the Rain.

1963 LP on King-distributed Personality Records

  • Song-and-dance man and whimsical late-night television personality, Bob Shreve — with backing support from The Dee Felice Trio (celebrated in the previous piece) — would go into Cincinnati’s King Studios on four occasions between February and March of 1970 to record enough material for his lone King LP, Good Ole’ Bob Doing His Thing.  A fair number of recordings remain “in the can,” according to Ruppli, such as “When I Take My Sugar To Tea“; “Just One of Those Songs“; “Do You Ever Think of Me” and “Raindrops” plus eight more songs whose titles are “unknown.”

1970 King LP – “A James Brown Production”

Rare King — At Auction

Among the pricier items that came up in my search for rare King vinyl via Popsike:

The winner goes to a 45 that is considered to be “the Holy Grail of soul records and with good reason,” as this copy sold in 2016 is said to be “the second copy known to exist and by the far the finest example” of Junior McCants‘ second and final 7-inch (promo) release — “Try Me For Your New Love”  Total price paid:  $17,100!

“Try Me For Your New Love” by Junior McCants = 1967

Close behind in second place is … the same 45!  With a starting bid at $10, twenty-five bids later the final bid would reach $15,099 in 2008 for the Junior McCants 45 above.

Third-highest price paid for rare King vinyl is this “deep groove” copy of Roland Kirk’s debut album, Triple Threat (recently celebrated) in “near mint” condition — sold in 2015.  Total price:  $6886

In similar fashion, fourth-highest is a repeat winner — in this case, Roland Kirk’s debut album, sold in 2007 for $2878 [while others would sell for $2130 in 2005; for $1750 in 2009; and $1260 in 2015].

Other King-related vinyl that has sold in the four-figure range:

  • This “ultra rare” Lonnie Johnson LP – packed with 12 songs per side and released by King in 1966 — sold in 2015 for $1250.

King-related vinyl that has sold in the three-figure range:

  • Someone coughed up $811 in 2009 for a John Lee Hooker/Sticks McGhee split LP Highway of Blues on King’s “budget” subsidiary label, Audio Lab.

  • With a total of 8 bids submitted, this “very rare” 1954 Roy Brown EP eventually fetched $691 in 2011.

Starday-King:
Vintage Advertising

Starday-King ad from the April 25, 1970 edition of Billboard

In the groove = Extreme close-up of artist roster

King Records History MeetsGeorge Michael?!

In the course of putting together a Spotify birthday playlist for my wife, I took a detour to find another George Michael song to substitute for “Faith” and pulled up what I thought was the promo video for “Waiting For That Day,” but was actually a behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of his 1990 album Listen Without Prejudice – Volume 1.  King Records history fans, can you figure out which James Brown drum sample was used as the rhythm track for that song? Go ahead and hazard a guess (hint: Clyde Stubblefield) — you’re probably right!  Answer can be found in this video clip:

George Michael in the studio with master tape of “Waiting For That Day” – 1990

Clyde Austin Stubblefield (April 18, 1943 – February 18, 2017)

Clyde Stubblefield Remembered

Last Word…

Final paragraph in Dave Marsh‘s state-of-the-music essay in Rolling Stone‘s 1979 year-end issue:

Summary List of Zero to 180 Pieces Created for King Records Month 2018

= Phillip Paul:  The Pulse of King

= “Chew Tobacco Rag” Done R&B

= King’s ‘Country Done R&B’ LP

= King’s Classic Yodeling 78:  Carolina Cotton

= On the Cusp of the New Rock Sound

= “Atomic Telephone”:  King 78

= King Cash-In Surf LP #1

= King Cash-In Surf LP #2

= Jazz Misrepresented As Surf?

= El Pauling and the Royalton

= Bethlehem Records:  Post-Syd

= 1969:  Bethlehem’s Last Session?

= King’s Budget Subsidiary Label

= The JB’s Debut:  Polydor Not King

= Ann Jones & Her “All-Girl” Band

= Albert Washington’s Psych Funk

= Ruth Wallis:  King/DeLuxe Artist

= King Truck Driver Bluegrass 45

= Milt B’s “Mod Popcorn R&B”

= Mickey Murray LP II:  Released?

= Lonnie Mack at King Records

= Merle Kilgore on Starday-King

= Bobby Smith’s King Productions

= Coldwater Army on S-K’s Agape

= Wild Goose:  King Hard Rock ’71?

= Boot:  King Hard Rock ’72

= Lord Thunder:  Final Deluxe 45

*Reminder:  This site viewed optimally on a full-screen computer, not a smart phone

King’s Jazz Legacy: Maxi-Tweets

I am liberating a special series of “maxi-tweets” tied to King Records‘ lesser known jazz legacy – part of 2018’s King 75th Birthday Celebration – that were otherwise buried in a PDF file attachment.  The following research was conducted primarily by scanning the index of Ruppli‘s 2-volume King recording session discography for the names of jazz musicians and noting which recording sessions featured their work.  For this updated piece, I have probed more deeply in order to add a few new items into the mix.

In the course of compiling this information, it dawned on me that the use of jazz musicians on popular (or “dance”) recordings by King Records was also famously done at Motown, not to mention standard operating procedure (i.e., ‘Wrecking Crew’) at the West Coast studios in and around Los Angeles.  Jazz musicians bring, as has been demonstrated, a deep musicality as well as versatility to recording sessions aimed at the popular market.

[Notestreaming audio links indicated in bold blue ink]

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #1

Bassist Keter Betts – who spurred Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd to record the breakthrough 1962 ‘Jazz Samba‘ album that introduced bossa nova to America and the world – played on a handful of Earl Bostic sessions, including his big hit “Flamingo,” as well as flip side “Sleep” (all sessions in NYC except one Cincinnati session on August 2, 1949).  NY Times Aug. 22, 2005 obituary for Betts acknowledges that “his first job of note was with the popular rhythm and-blues saxophonist Earl Bostic in 1949.”

French 78 – 1954

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #2

25-year-old John Coltrane played tenor sax – on what must be among his earliest recordings – for Earl Bostic on two 1952 recording sessions in New York and Los Angeles that included such songs as “Moonglow” and “Ain’t Misbehavin’” (with William Keter Betts), as indicated on the UK 78 release below.

“John Coltaine” = musical misspelling

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #3

Cat Anderson, long-time trumpeter for Duke Ellington, and Connie Kay, drummer for Modern Jazz Quartet (et al.), backed Wynonie Harris on “I Feel That Old Age Coming On” paired with “Grandma Plays the Numbers” – recorded in Linden, New Jersey on Dec. 9, 1948 for King Records.

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #4

Long-time Duke Ellington bandmates, Johnny Hodges (alto sax) and Russell Procope (tenor sax) played a recording session at Cincinnati’s King Studios for Ivory Joe Hunter on July 15, 1949 – 5 songs in all, including “Please Don’t Cry Anymore” and “I Got Your Water On.”

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #5

Composer/arranger Neal (‘Batman’) Hefti played trumpet for the Chubby Jackson Sextet on an early King session recorded in Chicago on July 1, 1944 that yielded four songs (including “Bass Face”) released as a pair of 78s on King subsidiary label Queen and later sold as a King EP.  Hefti would later arrange Elliot Lawrence and His Orchestra’s version of “Sixty Minute Man” on which Zoot Sims played tenor sax (and Cowboy Copas served as one of the backing vocalists).

King EP – 1954

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #6

Jabberwockian jazzmeister and hipster supreme Slim Gaillard (& His Boogiereeners) recorded a dozen sides for King/Queen in September, 1945 in Los Angeles, including Slim’s theme song “Vout Orenee” plus “Nightmare Boogie”; “Harlem Hunch”; and “Voot Boogie.”

Rare King EP

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #7

Dexter Gordon laid down some tenor sax for Wynonie Harris at a NYC recording session for King Records on December 16, 1947 that yielded “Your Money Don’t Mean a Thing” plus three unreleased tracks.

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #8

Pianist Wynton Kelly played on a pair of Cincinnati King recording sessions in 1949 for EddieCleanheadVinson, with EddieLockjawDavis, among others = eight songs in all including “Ashes On My Pillow” and “I’m Weak But Willing.”

1959 LP – expect to pay 3 figures at auction

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #9a

Jazz drumming legend Jo Jones recorded a couple sessions for King Records, including a Cincinnati session on August 16, 1949 for EddieLockjawDavis, as part of (pre-organ) Bill Doggett Trio =  two songs, “Mountain Oysters” (written by Henry Glover) and “Huckle Boogie” (ditto).

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #9b

Count Basie drummer Jo Jones would also back Mabel Scott on “Baseball Boogie,” a sly sports metaphor recorded for King in New York City on March 25, 1950.

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #10

Jazz pianist, arranger, and composer Mary Lou Williams recorded a pair of sessions for King, both in New York City, and both with drummer Denzil Best, guitarist Mundell Lowe, and bassist George Duvivier.  Trumpeter Idrees Sulieman accompanied Williams at her first session on March 18, 1949 which produced four songs:  “Tisherome“; “Knowledge“; “Oo-Bla-Dee” & “Shorty Boo.”  Williams’ second session on January 3, 1950 yielded four more tracks:  “Bye Bye Blues” and “Moonglow” (with Williams on organ); ‘Willow Weep for Me” & “I’m in the Mood for Love.”

“autographed” King EP – 1954

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #11

1951 King Jazz History Four-Way

  • Jazz pioneer and long-time NPR (“Piano Jazz“) host, Marian McPartland, would have exactly one encounter with King Records:  NYC session March 15, 1951,  resulting in 4 songs [“Flamingo“; “It’s Delovely“; “Liebestraum No. 3“; “Four Brothers“] that enjoyed release in the US, UK, and France.  In additional to two 78 releases, Federal issued the playfully-titled EP, Progressive Piano with Cello, Harp, Bass and Drums in 1954, while these same songs would be issued in the UK four years later under the title of the Cole Porter track, It’s Delovely.

                           1954 FEDERAL EP                            1951 FRENCH 78 – ART DECO LETTERING

marian-mcpartland-federal-king-ep-aamarian-mcpartland-swing-king-78-aa

  • Vocalist Lee Richardson recorded a session in Linden, New Jersey for DeLuxe on February 26, 1951 that featured drummer (and future bandleader) Art Blakey on four songs, including “Just Call My Name” & “As Time Goes By.”

  • Charles Mingus (bass) and Billy Taylor (piano) backed Melvin Moore (the “blues shouter“) on a NYC session for King recorded December 18, 1951 – four songs recorded, including rare 45 “Possessed” b/w “Hold Me Kiss Me Squeeze Me.”  Mingus would also record under his own name for Bethlehem prior to Syd Nathan’s purchase of the label in 1960.

Trivia = Someone paid $96 in 2017 for this King 45.

Someone paid $435 in 2013 for this 45

Review – March 8, 1952 edition of Cashbox

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #12

Al Sears – saxophonist, bandleader, and Duke Ellington alumnus – recorded a single NYC session for King with his orchestra on September 21, 1951 that netted eight songs packaged into two EPs and four 78s – including “Baltimore Bounce” and “Now Ride the D Train” (not to mention the curiously-titled “Marshall Plan“).

Caution:  Back cover of Sears’ second UK EP from 1958 indicates “controversy” over whether Johnny Hodges played alto sax (as Ruppli says) on these sessions. UK liner notes:

When these titles were originally released some years ago controversy existed over the identity of the alto soloist on ‘Steady Eddie’; some critics maintained that it was Hodges himself. In fact it is the similarly-styled Charlie Holmes, a boyhood friend of Hodges and an important mainstay of the Chick Webb, Luis Russell, and Louis Armstrong bands during the nineteen-thirties.”

This other UK EP, also from 1958, alternately characterizes the situation thusly —

It is this band, with alto saxist Charlie Holmes substituting for the contractually debarred Hodges, which may be heard on the enclosed record.”

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #13

Drummer Philly Joe Jones – three years before joining Miles Davis for a series of albums – would back (Bull) Moose Jackson on a NYC session for King on Feb. 6, 1952 = four songs including “Nosey Joe”; “Bearcat Blues” & “Sad.”

Imagine that = Leiber & Stoller wrote “Nosey Joe”!

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #14

Drummer (and future bandleader) Chico Hamilton played on a total of four recording sessions in Los Angeles for King/Federal: (1) Russell Jacquet & His Bopper Band [“Bongo Blues”] on Mar. 18, 1949; Marion Abernathy [Ee-Tid-Ee-Dee”] on Mar. 26, 1949; Red Callender Sextet [“Poinciana”] c. 1950; and The Platters on Sept. 28, 1954
[“Voo-Vee-Ah-Bee”].

UK EP – 1955

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #15

Count Basie vocalist JimmyMr. Five by FiveRushing recorded two sessions in NYC for King:  Oct. 5, 1951 (four songs, including “Hi-O-Sylvester”) and Sept. 25, 1952 (four songs, including “Where Were You”).  These recordings would be released in the UK on Ember & Parlophone, and in France on Vogue.

UK EP – 1958

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #16

Trumpeter and orchestra leader Erskine Hawkins recorded three sessions for King = (a) four songs in NYC on December 6, 1951, including  “Down Home Jump” plus Henry Glover’s “Lost Time,” as well as steel guitar classic “Steel Guitar Rag“; (b) four more in NYC on September 25, 1952, including “Fair Weather Friend” and “New Gin Mill Special“; and (c) one final Cincinnati session on September 17, 1953 that yielded four tracks, including “Function at the Junction” and “My Baby Please.”

French 78

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #17

EarlFathaHines (piano) and His Orchestra (with Bennie Green, trombone) recorded a 1953 King session in New York City for Sugar Ray Robinson = three songs including “Knock Him Down Whiskey.”  Two of these songs, by the way, would be included on a French EP that also featured a pair of tracks from none other than Mickey Rooney (“Alimony Blues“)!

Without any further adieu, 1958 French EP

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #18

Cecil Young and His Progressive Quartet (previously celebrated here) recorded two separate sessions plus three live performances for King between 1951-1953 (including one King Studios visit on December 7, 1953) — audio links to “Who Parked the Car“; “That Old Black Magic” & “Yes Sir! That’s My Baby.”

1956 King LP – reissued in 1959 on Audio Lab

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #19

Gerald Wilson Orchestra’s early 1954 Los Angeles sessions for Federal and King – including “Mambo Mexicana” – would be reissued five years later on an Audio Lab LP entitled Big Band Modern, a reminder of the mambo mania that had gripped the nation at the time this song was released.  Based on available discographical information, these 1954 recordings appear to be among the earliest in a career that would span well into the new century, as NPR’s 2011 piece “The Gerald Wilson Orchestra:  A Living Legacy” affirms.  Wilson, as it turns out, is one of many famous jazz musicians who “did time” in Earl Bostic’s band — in this case, one of four trumpeters who played on a December 4, 1958 Los Angeles recording session (six tracks, including “My Reverie” and “All the Things You Are“).

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #20

NobleThin ManWatts – hailed by Alligator Records as “one of the early rock superstars” and one of the “greatest exponents of that honking tenor style” – recorded a session at Cincinnati’s King Studios with Tiny Bradshaw’s Orchestra on Sept. 1, 1954, joined by Rufus Gore, also on tenor sax, and “Fas’ FootPhilip Paul on drums (profiled here in 2018), among others.  Four instrumentals recorded at this session, including “Stack of Dollars” & “Cat Fruit” (co-written by Watts).  The following month Noble Watts recorded two songs with his quintet (including organist Wild Bill Davis and guitarist Floyd Smith) in New York City for DeLuxe – “Pig Ears & Rice” b/w “Mashing Potatoes.”

Noble Watts & Philip Paul played on all 4 tracks = 1955 EP

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #21

Saxophonist Plas (‘Pink Panther Theme‘) Johnson played tenor sax on a session for Sugar Pie & Hank backed by the Preston Love Orchestra, with Ernie Freeman (piano) and Red Callender (bass) in Los Angeles on March 17, 1955 — four songs recorded, including “Please Be True“; “Boom Diddy Wawa Baby” & “A Man Going Crazy.”

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #22

Jazz pianist and composer Dick Hyman (who accompanied Charlie Parker on his only television appearance in 1952) played a single recording session for Bubber Johnson in New York City on December 22, 1955, along with Al Caiola on guitar and Ruth Berman on harp, among others — four songs recorded (none of them available yet on YouTube):  “Keep a Light in the Window for Me“; “I Lost Track of Everything“; “My One Desire” & “A Wonderful Thing Happens.”

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #23

Roland Kirk’s debut album Triple Threat — recorded November 9, 1956 in NYC — was released on King.  Discogs has this mini history:

“The debut album by jazz multi-instrumentalist Roland Kirk, originally released on King, re-released in US in 1976 on Bethlehem Records as Rahsaan Roland Kirk – Early Roots and in UK on Affinity.  The original album received limited distribution and only became widely known after the Bethlehem Records re-issue, a few years prior to Kirk’s death”

Check out opening track “Roland’s Theme

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #24

A number of notable jazz musicians did King recording sessions for Earl Bostic, including drummer Earl Palmer [“Anvil Chorus” & “Southern Fried”]; drummer Jimmy Cobb [“Flamingo” & “Sleep”]; pianists Luis Rivera [“Memories”], Jaki Byard [“Blip Boogie”] & Sir Charles Thompson [“Dark Eyes”]; organist RichardGrooveHolmes [“Telestar Drive”]; tenor saxophonists Stanley Turrentine [“What, No Pearls”] & Benny Golson [“Cherry Bean”]; alto saxophonist Benny Carter [“Dream”]; trumpeter RichardBlueMitchell [“Jungle Drums”]; guitarists Rene Hall [“La Cucaracha”], George Barnes [“Bugle Call Rag”] & Al Casey [“Serenade”]; bassist Johnny Pate [“Feeling Cool”], and, of course, the aforementioned Keter Betts [“Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams”] and John Coltrane [“Moonglow”] – subject of King jazz tweets #1 & 2, respectively.

King EP – 1956

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #25

Tenor saxophonist Benny Golson played on four recording sessions for bandleader and alto saxophonist Earl Bostic:

Benny Golson was also one of two tenor saxophonists on a Oct. 17, 1951 session at Cincinnati’s King Studios for Moose Jackson that netted “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “I Never Loved Anyone But You,” plus one unissued track, “”I’ve Had a Hard Way to Go.”

UK EP – 1957

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #26

Bassist Milt Hinton (“dean of jazz bassists”) played a handful of sessions for King on behalf of Little Willie John [“Home at Last” – 1955], Big John Greer [“Record Hop”- 1956], and Teddy Humphries [“What Makes You So Tough” – 1959].  Milt Hinton would also release one album for Bethlehem as a recording artist – 1955’s East Coast Jazz/5 – three years before Syd Nathan became co-owner of the label.

Penned by Henry Glover & Peaked at #16 in the R&B charts – March, 1959

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #27

I have a soft spot for EddieLockjawDavis‘s arrangement of Gershwin’s “Foggy Day” (recorded in Cincinnati on August 16, 1955) which also happens to be the lead-off track of a 4-song EP released in the UK in 1956.  Here in the US, however, “Foggy Day” appears to have been a B-side – and part of a 12-track album entitled Modern Jazz Expressions that also enjoyed release in France and Denmark.

UK EP – 1956

The Eddie Davis Trio and Doc Bagby’s 1955 recordings for King were done in Cincinnati, while 1956-1958 releases for King and Bethlehem were recorded in NYC.

classic 1950s modernist covers = 1957 LP + its 1959 reissue

King would also release Davis’s …Uptown LP in 1958 [with half these tracks providing an album side for 1959’s A Battle of Saxes LP with Charlie Ventura] — audio link to “The Happy Whistler.”

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #28

Organist Doc Bagby — who has recorded for Okeh and Epic, in addition to playing on Eddie Davis’s Modern Jazz Expressions album (et al.) — was also a King recording artist in his own right.  Two 1955 Cincinnati sessions with EddieLockjawDavis (tenor sax), Clifford Bush (guitar), and Charlie Rice (drums) would yield six songs (plus one unissued track, “Call Me Darling, Call Me Sweetheart, Call Me Dear”) that would comprise side one of King LP Battle of the Organs — Luis Rivera and Doc Bagby.  King would also issue two singles from these sessions, including “Grinding” b/w “Hayride” (co-written by Henry Glover), while Odeon France would issue an EP (below).

French EP

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #29

Fania All-Star percussionist Ray Barretto played on a King recording session for Bill Doggett in NYC on February 12, 1957 – three songs including “Chloe.”  Barretto would also play conga on two NYC King recording dates for EddieLockjawDavis (Jan./Feb. 1957) that yielded eight songs. including the King 45 “Sheila” b/w “Say What,” as well as the LP Jazz With a Beat.

I never tire of looking at this album cover

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #30

Guitarist Kenny Burrell – whose Blue Note debut LP would be released 1956 – did session work in 1957 for King and DeLuxe on behalf of Wynonie Harris [“Big Old Country Fool”], Little Willie John [“Dinner Date”] & Annie Laurie [“Hold On To What You Got”].  Burrell would also do King sessions in 1958 for Bubber Johnson [“Finger Tips”], Little Willie John [“Let’s Rock While the Rockin’s Good” – George Barnes also on guitar], Jimmy Scott [“Somehow”], HaroldShortyBaker [“’S Wonderful” – check out the intro], and James Brown and the Famous Flames [“Try Me”].

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #31

Drummer/singer/bandleader Roy Milton (and His Orchestra) recorded four tracks on October 17, 1956 at Cincinnati’s King Studios (one of them “Bam-a-Lam” unissued) = “You’re Gonna Suffer“; “Succotash“; and “One Zippy Zam.”  Milton’s next session for King would take place in Los Angeles February 27, 1957, with two songs recorded — “I’m Grateful” and “Skid Row” — while his final session would be captured at King Studios on July 2, 1957 = “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu“; “Brand New Thrill“; “R.M. Blues“; and “Jeep’s Blues.”

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #32

Jerome Richardson – who began his professional career in Lionel Hampton’s band at age 14 – played flute and tenor sax on a King recording session for vocalist Etta Jones on April 18, 1957 in New York City (with Bill Jennings on guitar) = four songs recorded: “When I Fall in Love“; “S’posin’”; “Mountain Greenery” and “People Will Say We’re in Love.”

Richardson’s flute work is featured on this track

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #33

Jazz/gospel singer Lorez Alexandria recorded an album-length tribute to Lester Young at an ‘intimate’ Chicago club on November 6 & 13, 1957 that was issued by both King and Federal in 1958 as Lorez Sings Pres = link to the opening song, “Fine and Dandy.”

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #34

The Johnny Pate Quintet (featuring Bennie Druss on flute) would infuse the blues with a jazz sound and sensibility on “Swinging Shepherd Blues” — recorded in Chicago on Nov. 29, 1957 for Federal — along with three other tracks [“The Elder“; “Easy Does It” & “Five O’Clock Whistle“] that enjoyed overseas distribution.

Released on Parlophone in Australia & New Zealand (plus UK)

Bill Doggett would also make great use of the flute in a jazz setting, with his arrangement of Tiny Bradshaw’s “Soft” (previously celebrated here).

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #35

Vocalist Jimmy Scott recorded four sessions for King, all in New York City = (a) two songs recorded on July 26, 1957 (Kenny Burrell, guitar) — “When Day Is Done” & “Home“; (b) two songs recorded on October 2, 1957 — “What Sin” & “Somewhere Down the Line“; (c) four songs recorded on April 3, 1958, including “Don’t Be Misled“; (d) four songs recorded on September 6, 1958 (Kenny Burrell, guitar), including “Somehow” and “Please.”

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #36

Jazz drummer and bandleader Cozy Cole [with his Septet – George Kelly (tenor sax), Gene Redd (vibes), John Thomas (piano), John Faire & Fred Jordan (guitar) and Edwyn Conley (bass)] would record for King thrice — (a) in Cincinnati on June 18 & 19, 1959 (12 songs, including “Cozy’s Mambo” and “Ha-Ha Cha Cha“); (b) in New York City on May 17, 1960 — “Red Ball” and “Cozy’s Corner” plus 2 unissued; (c) and a final Cincinnati session May 26, 1959 (7 songs, including “Blop Up”; “Blop Down”; “Pogo Hop” & “D’Mitri“).  In the wake of 1962’s Jazz Samba smash hit album, King would update “Cozy’s Mambo” by slapping on a new title – “Cozy and Bossa” – and issuing as a Bethlehem 45 in 1963.

French EP – 1959

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #37

Howard Roberts (guitar), Ernie Freeman (piano), and EdSharkeyHall (drums) played on a Los Angeles King recording session for JohnnyGuitarWatson on July 21, 1961, with four songs recorded = one original, “Cuttin’ In” + three standards (“Nearness of You“; “Posin’“; and George & Ira Gershwin’s “Embraceble You”).  Check out the modernist sleeve design below of the 1962 French EP that includes “Cuttin’ In.”

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #38

King session drummer emeritus Philip Paul threatens to steal the show in Milt Buckner’s blistering jazz organ instrumental version of “Fever” – recorded with Gene Redd on vibraphone and Bill Willis on bass at Cincinnati’s King Studios on March 5, 1963.  The New World of Milt Buckner (reissued in Japan in 2013) would also include five more tracks recorded at King Studios on November 26, 1962 [see related Zero to 180 piece]. Audio link to “Why Don’t You Do Right.”

Bethlehem LP – 1963

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #39

Hank Marr’s classic jazz organ instrumental “Greasy Spoon” – recorded at King’s Cincinnati studios on June 26, 1963 – was later used as the title track for a 1969 compilation LP issued on the King label with the groovy cover below.

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #40

Bill Doggett’s “mod jazz” take on “Twenty Five Miles” — Edwin Starr’s rewrite, essentially, of Wilson Pickett’s “Mojo Mamma” (penned by Bert Berns and Jerry Wexler) — was, according to Ruppli, recorded at a special 1969 session in Detroit (Motown, one can only presume) with the organist backed by a “studio band” and the producer role served by none other than Berry Gordy!

“25 Miles” = 2nd track on this 1969 King LP co-produced by James Brown

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #41

James Brown organized a special Los Angeles recording session on November 10, 1969 in which Oliver Nelson did the arrangements, while Brown enjoyed backing from the Louis Bellson Orchestra, featuring legendary bassist Ray Brown, as well as Ernie Watts, Buddy Collette, Chuck Finley, Jimmy Cleveland, Maceo Parker, and Cincinnati’s own, Frank Vincent, among others — 12 songs recorded, but only 11 included on 1970s Soul on Top LP (“There Was a Time” from this session unissued) — check out kick-off track “That’s My Desire.”

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #42:
Cincinnati Jazz

Cincinnati‘s own local jazz talent has appeared on King and its subsidiary labels:

  • Frank Vincent: played piano as part of The Dee Felice Trio on several sessions at Cincinnati’s King Studio in late 1968 and early 1969 for James Brown‘s Gettin’ Down To It album — audio links to “Willow Weep for Me“; “Time After Time“; “It Had to Be You” & “Cold Sweat.”  A few other tracks recorded for this album remain in the vaults:  “The Shadow of Your Smile”; “Unwind” & “The Weight” [!]

Vincent also played piano on “I’m Not Demanding (Pt. 1 & 2)” & “The Man in the Glass (Pt. 1)” for Brown’s 1970 LP It’s a New Day – Let a Man Come In, as well as the aforementioned Soul on Top sessions with the Louis Bellson Orchestra.

  • The Dee Felice Trio [Frank Vincent (piano), Lee Tucker (bass) & Dee Felice (drums)] were King recording artists whose work would be issued on Bethlehem — if you have never before seen the cover of their 1969 debut album, In Heat, prepare to be dazzled:

Audio links to “Uncle“; “There Was a Time“; & “Wichita Lineman.”  Worth noting the number of songs the trio has recorded in Cincinnati that remain unissued in the vaults: 10 songs recorded ca. September, 1968 (including “Light My Fire”; “Crickets Sing for Anna Maria” and “Summer in the City”), plus 5 songs recorded on December 21, 1968 (including “Day In, Day Out”; “Gone with the Wind” & “You Came a Long Way from St. Louis”).  Dee Felice, as a solo artist (with unknown musicians, though likely affiliated with James Brown) recorded a total of 9 songs on three successive days (December 10-12, 1969) that all remain unissued, including “Double Funky”; “Cold Sweat”; “Get Ready”; “Ode to Billie Joe” & “A Different Shade of Colors.”

“Oh Happy Day” on the flip side

  • James Brown arranged a recording session at King’s Cincinnati studios on February 17, 1969 that featured a number of notable Cincinnati musicians, including Kenny Poole (guitar), Jimmy McGary (tenor sax), Carmen DeLeone, Jr. (vibes), David Matthews (trombone), WilliamBeau DollarBowman (drums), Frank Vincent (piano), Lee Tucker (bass) & Dee Felice (percussion) – five songs recorded but only two released, including Brown’s arrangement of Burt Bacharach & Bob Hilliard’s“Any Day Now” (included on 1969’s It’s a Mother LP).

Belgium 45 – 1973

Jimmy McGary plays flute on 1971 German A-side arranged by David Matthews

Kenny Poole & Bootsy on a JB B-side written by David Matthews

Asch & Setser on a 1968 South African B-side

King Records Jazz Legacy Tweet #43:
Tribute to Bethlehem Records

In 1958, Syd Nathan became part owner of jazz label, Bethlehem Records, as has been noted.  When one examines Ruppli’s 2-volume recording sessionography, it becomes clear that by 1958, Bethlehem’s most vital days had already passed, as by the early 1960s, Nathan would significantly pull back on recording new jazz material in favor of issuing the label’s back catalog.  Nevertheless, this 1958-1961 period would see some notable recording sessions for Bethlehem take place primarily in New York City —

Bethlehem would also release On Campus — Ivy League Jazz Concert, recorded live at Yale University in 1960, with Zoot Sims (tenor sax), Sam Most (flute), Dave McKenna (piano), Jimmy Raney (guitar), Bill Crow (double bass) & Ed Shaughnessy (drums).  Audio links to “Whippenpoof Song“; “Yale Bird“; “Riffitude” & “Nigerian Walk.”

  • Tony Ortega‘s album (with the unforgettable cover), Jazz for Young Moderns, featuring Art Farmer (trumpet, 6-10); Ray Starling (trumpet & mellophone 1-5); Jimmy Cleveland (trombone); Jim Buffington (French horn); Ray Tricarico (bassoon); Ortega (alto & tenor sax, clarinet & flute); John Hafer (tenor sax & bass clarinet); Jay Cameron (baritone sax); Dick Wetmore (violin); Bobby Timmons (piano); Ahmed Abdul-Malik, bass) & Ed Thigpen (drums) — recorded in late 1958/early 1959.  Audio links to “Bat Man Blues“; “Cinderella’s Curfew“; “Four to Four” & “No Fi.”

  • Frank Minion‘s (Teddy Charles-produced) LP, The Soft Land of Make Believe, recorded in 1959, with backing from Bill EvansJimmy JonesTommy Flanagan (piano). Roland Alexander (tenor sax), Kenny Burrell (guitar), George TuckerJoe BenjaminPaul Chambers (bass) & Dannie RichmondEd ThigpenJimmy Cobb (drums).  Audio links to “Introduction to Black Opium Street” & (vocal version of) “So What.”

The year before, Bethlehem had released Minion’s debut album, futuristically titled The Forward Sound of Frank Minion – Sound Stylings of 1970 [!] — audio link to “Watermelon.”

  • Mal Waldron Trio‘s 1960 Left Alone album dedicated to Billie Holiday, with Julian Euell (bass), and Al Dreares (drums), features Jackie McLean (alto sax)  — produced by Teddy Charles.  Audio links to “Left Alone“; “Catwalk” & “Minor Pulsation.”

  • Vocalist Betty Blake recorded 1961’s Sings in a Tender Mood with instrumental backing from Mal Waldron (piano), Teddy Charles (vibraphone), Zoot SimsRoland Alexander (tenor sax), Marcus Belgrave (trumpet), Kenny Burrell (guitar), Addision FarmerEustis Guilemet (bass) & Ed ShaughnessyCharles Persip (drums).  Audio links to “Moon and Sand“; “Blue Fool“; “Trouble Is a Man” & “Let There Be Love.”

Ruppli also notes a September 20, 1961 recording session in Los Angeles for Brown, whose backing band included Johnny ‘GuitarWatson.

  • Charles Persip & the Jazz Statesmen‘s self-titled (Teddy Charles-produced) LP recorded on April 2, 1960, with Freddie HubbardMarcus Belgrave (trumpet), Roland Alexander (tenor sax), Ronald Matthews (piano), Ron Carter (bass) & Persip (drums).  Audio links to “Sevens“; “Soul March“; “The Song Is You” & “Right Down Front.”

  • Howard McGhee‘s LP, Dusty Blue (released 1960 in the UK, 1961 in the US), featuring Bennie Green (trombone), Roland Alexander (tenor sax & flute), Pepper Adams (baritone sax), Tommy Flanagan (piano), Ron Carter (bass) & Walter Bolden (drums).  Audio links to “Dusty Blue“; “Sleep Talk“; “Cottage for Sale” & “I Concentrate on You.”

  • Donald Byrd and Pepper Adams‘ 1961 LP, Motor City Scene, featuring Tommy Flanagan (piano), Kenny Burrell (guitar), Paul Chambers (bass), and “Hey” Lewis (drums).  Audio links to “Stardust“; “Philson” & “Trio.”

  • Bennie Green‘s 1961 LP, Hornful of Sound, with Jimmy Forrest (tenor sax), Lem Davis (alto sax), Mal Waldron (piano), Skip Hall (organ), Tommy Lopez (congas), Wyatt Ruther (bass), and Art Taylor (drums).  Audio links to “Summertime“; “Groove One” & “Dee Dee.”

  • Booker Ervin‘s (Teddy Charles-produced) The Book Cooks LP, featuring Ervin and Zoot Sims (tenor saxes), Tommy Turrentine (trumpet), Tommy Flanagan (piano), George Tucker (bass) & Dannie Richmond (drums).  Audio links to “The Book Cooks“; “The Blue Book“; “Git It” & “Largo” — released 1961.

  • Azie Mortimer would record a string of singles for various labels, including Epic and RCA, in the run up to her debut album, Feeling of Jazz, on Bethlehem – recorded in 1969 but not released until 1971 (though reissued in 2014 in Japan).  Mortimer would enjoy a backing band that included Jimmy Cleveland & Quentin Jackson (trombones), Jerome Richardson (tenor sax), Phil Woods (alto sax & clarinet), Les Spann (guitar), Milt Hinton (bass), Willie Rodriguez (percussion) & Charlie Persip (drums) among others, with Mercer Ellington as arranger and conductor.

  • … and the aforementioned Australian Jazz Quintet in a piece from last year’s King Records Month celebration, “Jazz Misrepresented As Surf?

Huge debt of gratitude to Jazz Discography Project for Bethlehem Records info!

King Records Jazz TriviaFor Your Eyes Only

Stan GetzZoot Sims, Al Cohn, and Gerry Mulligan were among the musicians in Gene Roland’s Boppers (accompanied by the Chubby Jackson rhythm section) who recorded a “rehearsal” in New York City on May 17, 1949 — “Sid’s Swing Symphony”; “Oh Them Saxophones”; “Blues” & “Sid’s Swing Symphony” — 67 minutes of music recorded for DeLuxe by the bandleader, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and long-time Stan Kenton collaborator that remain unissued in King’s vault.

King Records Jazz Legacy = Rare Vinyl Alert

One of the earliest recordings by trombonist Al Grey (previously celebrated in a musical tribute to grits) took place at the Cincinnati studios on October 1, 1954 — “Speak To Me (In My Dreams Tonight)” b/w “Goofa Nut” (B-side instrumental) — these two songs comprising a 78 that is VERY hard to find.  Writing credits reveal Henry Glover to have had a hand in both compositions.

King Records Jazz Legacy = Genius Sighting

THIS JUST IN!  Ray Charles, incredibly, has a bona fide King connection, thanks to a single 78 release at a very early point in his recording career on Rockin’, a King subsidiary — “Walkin’ and Talkin’ to Myself” b/w “I’m Wonderin’ and Wonderin’.”  Note that at least one of the sides was published by Lois, Syd Nathan’s publishing firm.  The fact that this 78 is not listed in either Discogs or 45Cat tells you how rare it is — and yet, someone acquired a copy in 2009 for just $31 (while someone else picked up an acetate 45 for, ironically, $78).  Both tracks were recorded in Miami in 1952, as well as two unissued tracks “Jumpin’ the Blues” and “Blue Rhumba.”  Ruppli adds that both 78 recordings were “also issued on Crown LP5303, Strand LP1086, Crown LP5418, Musicdisc CV964 [France], Visadisc VI245 [France & Israel] & Guest Star LP1901.”

King Records Jazz Legacy = King Kontroversy

Ruppli’s King recording notes says that the Paris backing band used by Babs Gonzales on 1953 King single “Still Wailin’” b/w “Shuckin’ and Jivin’” included Dizzy Gillespie  “possibly.”  Judge for yourself:  Is that Dizzy on trumpet?  Wynton Marsalis might settle this question.

*Tip of the hat to Brian Powers, who organized a jazz-related lecture at Cincinnati Public Library’s Main Branch on Sept. 24, 2016 in support of King Records Month:

Formula X-9:  King Records and Jazz

Although more known for R&B and Country music, King Records did make a mark in the field of Jazz. The label recorded many jazz artists, while King’s production staff preferred to use jazz musicians to play on King’s R&B releases. In the 1950s, Syd Nathan purchased Gus Wildi’s jazz label, Bethlehem. Jazz had a great influence on James Brown’s music recorded at King. Music historian Uncle Dave Lewis will give a talk that will cover the salient points of this melting pot of influences and how King managed to have an impact in the history of jazz without producing any top 100 jazz albums.

Jamil Nasser: Jazz in Russia

Penny Von Eschen’s Satchmo Blows Up the World — notes Muneer Nasser in 2017’s Upright Bass:  The Musical Life and Legacy of Jamil Nasser (in the chapter entitled ‘Getting the Soviets to Swing’) — “reinforces the myth that [Benny Goodman] introduced jazz to the Soviet Union”:

Benny Goodman became the first jazz musician to tour the Soviet Union for the State Department, making thirty appearances in six Soviet cities for May 28 through July 8, 1962.

Factually true but misleading, since The New York Jazz Quartet — pianist Oscar Dennard, trumpeter Idrees Sulieman, drummer EarlBusterSmith, and bassist Jamil Nasser (née George Joyner) — had performed in Moscow two years previously in July, 1960 “at clubs, private parties, and official functions.”  In fact, the year prior – in June, 1959 – The Mitchell-Ruff Duo, had “played and taught at conservatories in Leningrad, Moscow, Kiev, Yalta, Sochi, and Riga,” notes Nasser.

However, would you be stunned to learn that the first African American jazz band, according to Nasser, was Benny Payton’s Jazz Kings featuring Sidney Bechet three decades prior in 1926?  Sam Wooding, adds Nasser, toured Russia that same year, “with a mixed band, which included African-American musicians” (i.e., a European musical revue known as The Chocolate Kiddies).

The Washington Post‘s Richard Harrington — in his June 14, 1987 piece, “Into the Swing of Soviet Jazz” — would likewise attempt to clarify the historical record with regard to the under-recognized role of American jazz musicians in Russia as cultural ambassadors outside the purview of the US government:

Lest it be thought that American jazz tours were a product of the cultural exchanges of the ’60s, [Steve] Boulay [label owner, East Wind Trade Associates] points out that clarinetist Sidney Bechet and singer Ma Rainey, among others, toured Russia back in the ’20s.  ‘A lot of American jazz bands went over there.  They weren’t getting recognition in the United States so they went to Paris, and it was a natural jumping off point to exploring the continent.’

Jamil Nasser recalls the intense media interest following the New York Jazz Quartet’s 1960 Russian visit:

Seymour Krawitz, a young press agent Bill Doll had trained, called Dave Garroway and got us on The Today Show, The Tonight Show, an appearance on What’s My Line.  We were Hot.

But that wasn’t why we had gone to the Soviet Union.  We had gone, I suppose, mostly because it was there.  We wanted the experience of visiting a foreign country that had been sealed tight to American modernism.  And it all worked out beyond our wildest dreams.  We had given some Russians an ‘Opening’ to a part of our culture they had known nothing about — to the music that had been invented in America and had evolved in amazing ways over the years.  That we were the first jazz ambassadors to the Soviet Union since the 1920’s — well, that was our gift to them.

Five years prior, the United States government had seen the wisdom of deploying some of its top jazz musicians (Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington) as cultural ambassadors worldwide — thanks to the lobbying efforts of Adam Clayton Powell, who had just returned from the world’s first Afro-Asian Conference and had come to view “black culture, in particular jazz, as the best way to intervene in the Cold War cultural conflict, to win over the kind of hearts and minds of the countries in Africa and Asia,” as noted in the 2018 PBS documentary film, The Jazz Ambassadors.

Time Magazine‘s Billy Perrigo, in his December 22, 2017 piece “How the U.S. Used Jazz as a Cold War Secret Weapon,” provides some historical context —

The State Department had first realized jazz’s potential as a cold war weapon just three years before the Brubeck family found themselves in Poland [in 1958].  ‘In that moment, the US and the USSR both saw themselves as models for developing nations,’ says Penny Von Eschen, a professor at Cornell and an expert on the jazz ambassador program.  ‘They were in fierce competition to win the hearts and minds of the world.’  Adam Clayton Powell Jr., a congressman with close ties to the jazz community, first suggested sending jazz musicians around the world on state-sponsored tours in 1955.  No time was wasted, and by 1956 the first jazz ambassador, Dizzy Gillespie, was blowing America’s horn in the Balkans and the Middle East.  ‘America’s secret weapon is a blue note in a minor key,’ proclaimed the New York Times.

Jamil Nasser:
A Chronological Discography
Based on Muneer Nasser’s research from Upright Bass

[Note:  streaming audio links indicated in bold blue ink]

  • Phineas Newborn Jr.Phineas’ Rainbow [RCA LP]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – “Philly” Joe Jones
Piano – Phineas Newborn Jr.
Guitar – Calvin Newborn

Note:  Recorded and released in 1956

Linkstreaming audio of entire album.

  • Phineas Newborn Jr.While My Lady Sleeps [RCA LP]

Note:  Recorded and released in 1957.

Linkstreaming audio of the title track.

  • Hank Mobley — Curtain Call [Blue Note LP]

https://www.zeroto180.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Hank-Mobley-LP-Japan-1984-aa.jpg

Note:  Album recorded on August 18, 1957 with Sonny Clark, Kenny Dorham, Jimmy Rowser, George Joyner & Art Taylor, though not released until 1984.

Linkstreaming audio of the title track

  • Red Garland — Soul Junction -and- All Mornin’ Long [LPs on Prestige]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – Arthur Taylor
Piano – Red Garland
Tenor Saxophone – John Coltrane
Trumpet – Donald Byrd
Recorded By – Rudy Van Gelder

NoteSoul Junction recorded the same day as All Mornin’ Long – Nov. 15, 1957 – yet the latter album released 1958, while the former album in 1960.

Link:  streaming audio of Soul Junction [entire LP].+ All Mornin’ Long [entire LP]

  • Red Garland — High Pressure [Prestige LP]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – Arthur Taylor
Piano – Red Garland
Tenor Saxophone – John Coltrane
Trumpet – Donald Byrd
Recorded By – Rudy Van Gelder

NoteHigh Pressure recorded Dec. 13, 1957 but not released until 1961.

Linkstreaming audio of entire album.

  • Red Garland — Dig It [Prestige LP]

Bass – George Joyner & Paul Chambers
Drums – Arthur Taylor
Piano – Red Garland
Tenor Saxophone – John Coltrane
Trumpet – Donald Byrd
Recorded By – Rudy Van Gelder

NoteDig It recorded Mar. 22, 1957; Dec. 13, 1957 & Feb. 2, 1958 but not released until 1962.

Linkstreaming audio of “Billie’s Bounce

  • Lou DonaldsonLou Takes Off [Blue Note LP]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – Art Taylor
Alto Saxophone – Lou Donaldson
Piano – Sonny Clark
Trombone – Curtis Fuller
Trumpet – Donald Byrd

Note:  Album recorded December 15, 1957 — released 1958.

Linkstreaming audio of “Sputnik

  • Gene Ammons All Stars — The Big SoundGroove Blues [LPs on Prestige]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – Art Taylor
Alto Sax – John Coltrane
Baritone Sax – Pepper Adams
Flute – Jerome Richardson
Piano – Mal Waldron
Tenor Sax – Gene Ammons & Paul Quinichette

Note:  The Big Sound and Groove Blues were both recorded on Jan. 3, 1958; former album released 1958, while the latter not released until 1961.

Link:  streaming audio of The Big Sound [entire LP].+ Groove Blues [entire LP]

  • Herbie Mann — Just Wailin’ [Prestige LP]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – Arthur Taylor
Flute – Herbie Mann
Tenor Saxophone – Charlie Rouse
Guitar – Kenny Burrell
Piano – Mal Waldron
Recorded By – Rudy Van Gelder

Note:  Album recorded February 14, 1958 — released 1958.

Linkstreaming audio of entire album.

  • Phineas Newborn Jr.Fabulous Phineas [RCA LP]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – Denzil Best
Piano – Phineas Newborn Jr.
Guitar – Calvin Newborn

Note:  Album recorded Mar. 28 & Apr. 3, 1958 — released 1958.

Linkstreaming audio of “No Moon at All

  • Evans Bradshaw — Look Out [Riverside LP]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – “Philly” Joe Jones
Piano – Evans Bradshaw

Note:  Album recorded June 9, 1958 — released 1958.

Linkstreaming audio of “The Prophet

  • Randy Weston — New Faces at Newport [Metrojazz/MGM LP]

Bass – George Joyner & John Neves
Drums – G.T.Hogan & Jimmy Zitano
Piano – Randy Weston & Ray Santisi
Vibraphone – Lem Winchester

Note:  Recorded live at Newport Jazz Festival July 5, 1958 — released 1958.

  • Red Garland Trio + Ray Barretto — Rojo [Prestige LP]

Bass – George Joyner
Congas – Ray Barretto
Drums – Charlie Persip
Piano – Red Garland
Recorded By – Rudy Van Gelder

Note:  Recorded August 22, 1958 — released 1961.

Linkstreaming audio of “Ralph J Gleason Blues

  • Randy Weston — Little Niles [United Artists LP]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – Charlie Persip
Piano, Written-By – Randy Weston
Trombone & Arranger – Melba Liston
Tenor Saxophone – Johnny Griffin
Trumpet – Idrees Sulieman & Ray Copeland
Liner Notes – Langston Hughes

Note:  Recorded October, 1958 — released 1959.

Linkstreaming audio of the title track

  • Melba ListonMelba and Her Bones [Metrojazz/MGM LP]

Bass – George Joyner & George Tucker
Drums – Charlie Persip & Frank Dunlop
Guitar – Kenny Burrell
Piano – Ray Bryant
Trombone – Al Grey, Bennie Green, Benny Powell, Frank Rehak, Jimmy Cleveland & Melba Liston
Trombone & Tuba – Slide Hampton

Note:  Recorded December, 1958 — released 1959.

Linkstreaming audio of the entire album

  • Lionel Hampton — Golden Vibes — [Columbia LP]

Bass – George Joyner & John Mixon
Drums – Bill Hogan
Guitar – Bill Mackel
Piano – Oscar Dennard
Reeds – Andrew McGhee, Robert Plater, Edward Pazant, Lonnie Shaw & Leon Zachery
Vibraphone – Lionel Hampton

Note:  Released 1959.

Linkstreaming audio of “Round Midnight

  • Lester Young — Lester Young in Paris [Verve LP]

Double Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Kenny Clarke
Guitar – Jimmy Gourley
Piano – René Urtreger
Tenor Saxophone – Lester Young

Note:  Recorded March 4, 1959 at the Hoche Studio, Paris — released 1960.

  • Oscar Dennard — Legendary Oscar Dennard [Somethin’ Else Classics CD]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – Buster Smith
Piano – Oscar Dennard
Trumpet – Idrees Sulieman

Note:  All selections recorded July 1958 in Tangier — recorded at Radio Tangier International Studio with Ampex Tape Recorder, one Altec condenser microphone.  Eventually released 1989. on compact disc by Japanese label, Somethin’ Else.

  • Idrees Sulieman Quartet Featuring Oscar Dennard — The 4 American Jazz Men in Tangier [Sunnyside 2-CD set]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Buster Smith
Piano – Oscar Dennard
Trumpet – Idrees Sulieman

Note:  Tracks 1 to 7 recorded July 1958 in Tangier at Radio Tangier International Studio with Ampex Tape Recorder and 1 Altec condensor microphone.
Tracks 8 to 13 recorded in March or April, 1959 in New York (allegedly at Quincy Jones’s apartment).

Note:  Tracks 1 to 7 previously released as The Legendary Oscar Dennard — double disc set released 2017.

  • Flavio Ambrosetti — “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing” [Enja CD]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – Buster Smith
Alto Saxophone – Flavio Ambrosetti
Trumpet – Raymond Court
Piano – George Gruntz

Note:  Track recorded at Switzerland’s RSI Lugano, Studio 2, January 19, 1962 — released in 1996 on German 2-CD Flavio Amborsetti anthology, Anniversary.

Linkstreaming audio of “It Don’t Mean a Thing

  • Buddy Collette — The Polyhedric Buddy Collette [Music Records LP]

Note:  Tracks recorded March, 1961 — released in 1961 (only in Italy) and reissued several times since, most recently 2015.

Note:  “Published in 1961 by Music of Walter and Ernest Guertler, this LP is a
must-witness the meeting of one of the most prestigious soloists Americans
visiting Italy, with jazz musicians of our house, supported by a flawless
Dusko Gojkoviv, of Slavic origin” [musician credits, click here].

Linkstreaming audio of “Blues for Nicola

  • Eric DolphyThe Berlin Concerts [Inner City LP]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – Buster Smith
Piano – Pepsi Auer
Trumpet – Benny Bailey
Alto Saxophone, Bass Clarinet & Flute – Eric Dolphy

Note:  Recorded August 30th 1961 at Funkturm Exhibition Hall, Berlin — all other titles recorded at Club ‘Jazz-Saloon’, Berlin; first released 1978, with numerous other releases worldwide.

Linkstreaming audio of the entire album

  • Franco Cerri — International Jazz Meeting [Columbia Italy LP]

Bass – George Joyner & K.T. Geier
Drums – Buster Smith & Eberard Stengel
Guitar & Bass – Franco Cerri
Piano – George Gruntz
Alto Saxophone – Flavio Ambrosetti
Tenor & Soprano Saxophone – Barney Wilen

Note:  Italian release only — first issued 1961, reissued 2009 [“A vinyl reissue of a VERY RARE European jazz album! Only 1,000 copies pressed!”].

  • George Joyner Quartet — George Joyner Quartet [Cetra EP]

Bass – George Joyner
Drums – Mondini
Alto Sax & Flute – Pelzer
Piano – Lama

Note:  Italian EP release only — issued 1961.

  • Lilian TerryFour of Us 45 [Italian 45]

Note:  “Recorded in Milan, on December, 1961 together with the first volume.  The singer [Lilian Terry] on two exciting jazz tunes in English, still accompanied by the Swiss George Gruntz on piano and by the two Americans, George Joyner on double bass and Buster Smith on drums” — released 1962 in Italy on CGD.

  • Ahmad Jamal — Naked City Theme [Argo/Chess LP]

Bass – Jamil Sulieman
Drums – Chuck Lampkin
Piano – Ahmad Jamal

Note:  Recorded at San Francisco’s Jazz Workshop on June 26-28 1964 — released 1964,

Linkstreaming audio of “One for Miles

  • Ahmad JamalRoar of the Greasepaint Smell of the Crowd [Argo/Chess LP]

Bass – Jamil S. Nasser
Drums – Chuck Lampkin
Piano – Ahmad Jamal
Engineer – Tommy Nola

Note:  Recorded at Nola Penthouse Studio, New York City, on Feb. 24 & 25, 1965 -released 1965.

Link:  streaming audio of “It Isn’t Enough

  • Ahmad JamalExtensions [Argo/Chess]

Bass – Jamil S. Nasser
Drums – Vernel Fournier
Piano – Ahmad Jamal
Engineer – Tommy Nola

Note:  Recorded at Nola Penthouse Studio, New York City, on May 18-20, 1965 -released 1965.

Link:  streaming audio of the title track

  • Ahmad JamalRhapsody [Cadet/Chess]

Bass – Jamil S. Nasser
Drums – Vernel Fournier
Piano – Ahmad Jamal
Engineer – Tommy Nola

Note:  On four tracks, the trio is accompanied by a fifteen-piece orchestra of violins, violas and cellos — title reads Ahmad Jamal With Strings – Rhapsody.

Note:  Recorded Dec. 15-17, 1965 at Nola Studios, NYC — released 1966.

Link:  streaming audio of “This Could Be the Start of Something

  • Ahmad JamalHeatwave [Cadet/Chess LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano – Ahmad Jamal

Note:  Recorded August 1966 at Edgewood Recording Studio, Washington DC — released 1966.

Link:  streaming audio of the title track

  • Ahmad Jamal — Cry Young [Cadet/Chess LP]

Bass – Jamil S. Nasser
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano, Arranged By [Trio, Vocals] – Ahmad Jamal
Score [Vocal Scoring] – Hale Smith
Vocals [Ensemble] – The Howard Roberts Chorale

Note:  Recorded at Fine Recording Studios, New York City, June 12 & 13, 1967 — released 1967.

Note:  Album reached #19 on Billboard’s Best-Selling Jazz Albums chart in 1967 — includes Jamil Nasser composition, “Tropical Breeze.”

Linkstreaming audio of the entire album

  • Ahmad JamalThe Bright, The Blue, and the Beautiful [Cadet/Chess LP]

Bass – Jamil Sulieman
Drums – Frank Grant
Piano – Ahmad Jamal
Choir – The Howard A. Roberts Chorale*
Conductor – Hale Smith

Note:  Recorded February 12 & 13, 1968 at Fine Recording Studios, New York — Released 1968.

Link:  streaming audio of “By Myself

  • Ahmad Jamal — Tranquility [ABC Records LP]

Bass – Jamil Sulieman
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano – Ahmad Jamal
Producer – Bob Thiele

Note:  Released in 1968 — remixed for quadrophonic sound in 1973.

Link:  streaming audio of the title track

  • Ahmad JamalAt the Top:  Poinciana Revisited [Impulse!/ABC LP]

Bass – Jamil Sulieman
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano & Producer – Ahmad Jamal

Note:  Johnny Pate, associate producer — liner notes by Ralph J. Gleason; released 1968.

Link:  streaming audio of “Have You Met Miss Jones

  • The Ahmad Jamal Trio — The Awakening [Impulse!/ABC LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano – Ahmad Jamal

Note:  Recorded at Plaza Sound Studios, New York City on Feb. 2-3, 1970 — released 1970.

Linkstreaming audio of the entire album

  • Ahmad JamalFreeflight [Impulse!/ABC LP]

Bass – Jamil Sulieman
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano & Fender Rhodes – Ahmad Jamal

Note:  Recorded in performance July 17, 1971 at the Montreux Jazz Festival – released 1971.

NoteBillboard review from Mar. 4, 1972 edition:  “‘Poinciana’ impresses you from the first with its dramatic, pop-appeal power, but Jamal scores on all cuts.  A very excellent album.”

Link:  streaming audio of “Manhattan Reflections

  • Ahmad JamalOutertimeinnerspace [Impulse!/ABC LP]

Bass – Jamil Sulieman
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano & Fender Rhodes – Ahmad Jamal

Note:  Recorded in performance July 17, 1971 at the Montreux Jazz Festival – released 1972.

Link:  streaming audio of “Extensions

  • Ahmad JamalJamalca [20th Century Fox LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser & Richard Evans
Drums – Brian Grice & Frank Gant
Vocals – Charles Colbert, Jimmy Spink, Marilyn Haywood, Morra Stewart & Vivian Haywood (Harreel)
Piano & Fender Rhodes – Ahmad Jamal
Arranger & Conductor – Richard Evans

Note:  Recorded at Chicago’s P.S. Recording Studios — released in 1974  [Inaugural album for 20th Century Fox by Ahmad Jamal, the label’s only jazz artist].

Link:  streaming audio of “Theme from M*A*S*H

  • Ahmad Jamal — Jamal Plays Jamal [20th Century Fox LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Frank Gant
Congas – Azzedin Weston
Piano & Fender Rhodes – Ahmad Jamal

Note:  Recorded at Generation Sound Studios, New York City — released 1974.

Linkstreaming audio of the entire album

  • Ahmad Jamal — Genetic Walk [20th Century Fox LP]

Note:  Jamil Nasser plays bass on “Chaser” — album released 1980.

Link:  streaming audio of “Chaser

  • Al Haig & Jimmy Raney — Strings Attached [Choice LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Frank Gant
Guitar – Jimmy Raney
Piano – Al Haig

Note:  Recorded at Macdonald Studio in Sea Cliff, NY — released 1975.

Link:  streaming audio of “Enigma

  • Al Haig — Interplay [Seabreeze Records LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Piano – Al Haig

Note:  Recorded on Nov. 16, 1976 at United/Western Studio in Hollywood, California — released 1976.

  • Al HaigSerendipity [Interplay Records LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Jimmy Wormworth
Piano – Al Haig

Note:  Recorded Feb. 18, 1977 at RCA Recording Studio in New York City — released 1977.

Link:  streaming audio of “All Blues

  • Al Haig — Portrait of Bud Powell [Interplay LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano – Al Haig

Note:  Recorded July 11, 1977 at RCA Recording Studios, NYC — released 1978 in US and Japan.

Link:  streaming audio of “Celia

  • Al Haig — Reminiscence [Progressive Records LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano – Al Haig

Note:  Recorded July 22, 1977 at Downtown Sound Studio in New York City — released 1977 in Japan; 1990 in US and Canada as Ornithology, with a couple song substitutions.

Link:  streaming audio of “Bluebird

  • Al Haig Trio — Enigma [Jazz Ball Records LP]

Note:  Recorded November 2, 1977 — released 2009 in Europe.

Link:  streaming audio of “Woody ‘n You

  • Louis Smith Quintet — Just Friends [Steeple Chase LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Ray Mosca
Piano – Harold Mabern
Tenor Saxophone – George Coleman
Trumpet & Flugelhorn – Louis Smith

Note:  Recorded March 19, 1978 — released 1978 in Denmark and Japan.

Link:  streaming audio of “I Remember Clifford

  • Cybill Shepherd — Vanilla [Peabody LP]

Note:  Recorded at Phillips Recording in Memphis, Tennessee — released 1979.

  • Al Haig — Expressly Ellington [Spotlite LP]\

Note:  Recorded Saturday, October 14th, 1978 — released 1979 in the UK.

Link:  streaming audio of “Just Squeeze Me

  • Al Haig Trio — Un Poco Loco [Spotlite LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Tony Mann
Piano – Al Haig
Liner Notes – Hiroki Sugita

Note:  “Unreleased recordings done in 1978 in London. This is the first release in the world” — released 1999 by Spotlite, Japanese label.

Link:  streaming audio of “Confirmation

  • Mari NakamotoSomething Blue [Zen Label LP]

Acoustic Bass – Jamil Nasser
Alto Saxophone – Frank Strozier
Drums – Louis Haynes
Electric Guitar – Joe Beck
Electric Piano – Barry Miles
Flute – Frank Strozier
Piano – Harold Mabern
Vocals – Mari Nakamoto

Note:  Recorded, editede & mixed at London’s Olympic Sound Studios on 14 May 1979 — released 1980 in Japan.

  • Harold MabernPisces Calling [Trident LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Walter Bolden
Piano – Harold Mabern

Note:  Released 1980.

Link:  streaming audio of the title track

  • Al HaigPlays the Music of Jerome Kern [Inner City Records LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Piano – Al Haig

Note:  Recorded at Downtown Sound, NYC — liner Notes by Leonard Feather; released 1980.

Link:  streaming audio of “The Way You Look Tonight

  • Red Garland — Wee Small Hours [FullHouse Records]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Jimmy Cobb
Piano – Red Garland
Alto Saxophone – Lou Donaldson

Note:  Recorded and/or released February 5, 1980 in Japan.

Link:  streaming audio of “My Romance

  • Lou Donaldson w/ Red Garland Trio — Fine and Dandy [LDR Digital LP]

Acoustic Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Jimmy Cobb
Alto Saxophone – Lou Donaldson
Piano – Red Garland

Note:  “Recording at The Koseinenkin Hall on 6th Feb. 1980” — released 1980 in Japan.

  • Lee Willhite — First Venture [Tampa Records LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano – Harold Mabern
Alto Saxophone – George Coleman
Vocals – Lee Willhite

Note:  Recorded October 22, 1981 — released 1982.

Link:  streaming audio of “The World Is a Ghetto

  • The Red Garland Trio — Misty Red [Baystate LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano – Red Garland

Note:  Recorded April 12-13, 1982 — first released 1983 in Japan.

Link:  streaming audio of “If I Were a Bell

  • Eddie HeywoodNow [Lyn LP]

NoteReleased [1982].

  • Kay Boyd — First Slice [Spotlight LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Frank Gant
Piano – Harold Mabern
Alto Sax – George Coleman
Vocals – Kay Boyd

Note:   Recorded At Quadrasonic Sound Systems, New York City.

Note:  Album issued in the UK only — released 1983.

  • George Coleman — Manhattan Panorama [Theresa Records LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Idris Muhammad
Piano – Harold Mabern
Alto & Tenor Saxophones – George Coleman

Note:  Released 1985 in the US and Germany.

Link:  streaming audio of “New York Suite

  • Randy Weston — Portraits of Thelonious Monk:  Well You Needn’t [Verve LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Idris Muhammad
Percussion – Eric Asante
Piano – Randy Weston

Note:  “Digitally recorded June 3 1989 at Studio Ferber, Paris France” — released 1989. (Netherlands) and 1990 (US and France).

Link:  streaming audio of the title track

  • Randy Weston — Portraits of Duke Ellington:  Caravan [Verve LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Percussion – Eric Asante & Idris Muhammad
Piano – Randy Weston

Note:  “Digitally recorded on June 4, 1989 at Studios Ferber, Paris, France” — released 1990 in the US and Netherlands.

Link:  streaming audio of “Caravan

  • Randy Weston — Self Portraits:  The Last Day [Verve LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Idris Muhammad
Percussion – Eric Asante
Piano – Randy Weston

Note:  Recorded June 5, 1989 at Studios Ferber, Paris — released 1990 in France, US, Japan, and the Netherlands.

Link:  streaming audio of “The Last Day

  • Lewis Keel — Coming Out Swinging [Muse LP]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Leroy Williams
Guitar – Jimmy Ponder
Piano – Harold Mabern
Alto Saxophone – Lewis Keel

Note:  Recorded August 9, 1990 — released 1992.

  • Randy WestonThe Spirits of Our Ancestors [Verve 2-CD set]

Musicians on “African Sunrise”:

Bass – Jamil Nasser & Alex Blake
Drums – Idris Muhammad
Percussion – Azzedin Weston & Big Black
Alto Saxophone – Talib Kibwe
Tenor Saxophone – Billy Harper & Dewey Redman
Trombone – Benny Powell
Trumpet – Dizzy Gillespie & Idrees Sulieman
Arranger – Melba Liston
Piano & Composer – Randy Weston

Note:  Jamil Nasser is on the left channel, Alex Blake is on the right channel.

Note:  Recorded on May 20, 21 & 22, 1991 at BMG Studios in New York City — released 1992 in the US and France.

Link:  streaming audio of “African Sunrise

  • James Williams (et al.) — Memphis Convention [DWI CD]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Tony Reedus
Guitar – Calvin Newborn
Piano – Charles Thomas, Donald Brown, Harold Mabern & Mulgrew Miller
Piano, Organ & Production – James Williams
Alto Saxophone – Lewis Keel
Alto and Tenor Saxophones, Clarinet & Flute – Bill Easley
Tenor Saxophone – George Coleman & Herman Green
Trumpet & Flugelhorn – Bill Mobley

Note:  “1992 session of five Memphis piano greats organized by James Williams” – released 1993 in Japan.

  • Randy Weston & Melba Liston — Volcano Blues [Antilles/Verve CD]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Charlie Persip
Percussion – Neil Clarke & Obo Addy
Guitar – Ted Dunbar
Guest Guitar – Johnny Copeland
Tenor Saxophone – Teddy Edwards
Trombone – Benny Powell
Trumpet – Wallace Roney
Alto Saxophone – Talib Kibwe
Baritone Saxophone – Hamiet Bluiett
Arranger & Director – Melba Liston
Piano – Randy Weston

Note:  Recorded at BMG Studios, NYC — released 1993.

Link:  streaming audio of the entire album

  • Ahmad Jamal — The Essence Part 1 [Verve CD]

Bass – James Cammack & Jamil Nasser
Drums – Idris Muhammad
Percussion – Manolo Badrena
Piano – Ahmad Jamal

Note:  “Recorded on October 30-31, 1994 at Studio Marcadet, Paris, La Plaine St Denis, France and on February 6-7, 1995 at Clinton Studio, New-York City” — released 1995.

Link:  streaming audio of “The Essence

  • Ahmad JamalBig Byrd (The Essence Part 2) [Verve CD]

Bass – James Cammack & Jamil Nasser
Drums – Idris Muhammad
Percussion – Manolo Badrena
Trumpet – Donald Byrd
Violin – Joe Kennedy, Jr.
Piano – Ahmad Jamal

Note:  “Recorded on October 30-31, 1994 at Studio Marcadet, Paris, La Plaine St Denis, France and on February 6-7, 1995 at Clinton Studio, New-York City” — released 1996 in the UK and Europe.

Link:  streaming audio of “Lament

  • George Coleman QuartetI Could Write a Book [Telarc CD]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Billy Higgins
Piano – Harold Mabern
Saxophone – George Coleman

Note:  Recorded in Clinton Recording Studio A, New York City, January 8-9, 1998 — released 1998.

  • Calvin NewbornUp City!  [Yellow Dog CD]

Contrabass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Tom Lonardo & Tony Reedus
Organ – Tony Thomas
Piano – Charles Thomas
Tenor Saxophone & Flute – Bill Easley
Trumpet, Flugelhorn & Arranging – Bill Mobley
Guitar & Production – Calvin Newborn

Note:  Recorded at Ardent and Avatar Studios — “originally issued as Omnivarious Music OMCD 001, 1998” [reissued in 2005].

Link:  streaming audio of the title track

  • Hideaki Yoshioka — Moment to Moment [Venus Records CD]

Bass – Jamil Nasser
Drums – Jimmy Cobb
Piano – Hideaki Yoshioka
Engineered, mixed & mastered by – Rudy Van Gelder

Note:  Issued 2001 in Japan.

Link:  streaming audio of “Don’t Take Your Love From Me

  • Ahmad Jamal — Picture Perfect [Birdology/Warner Music CD]

Bass – James Cammack & Jamil Nasser
Drums – Idris Muhammad
Violin – Mark Cargill
Special Guest Vocals – Dr. O.C. Smith
Piano – Ahmad Jamal

Note:  Recorded at Millbrook Sound Sounds, Millbrook, NY — released 2000 in Europe.

  • Ned Otter — The Secrets Inside [Two and Four Recording Company CD]

Note:  Released 2002.