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.

Summer Beach Read – Fun Fluff

Breezy, offbeat, trashy, yet intermittently illuminating – and just in time:  Zero to 180’s curated highlights from 1983’s Rolling Stone Rock Almanac humbly serves as your Summer Beach Read!  These carefully selected bits of humor and offbeat information have been lavished with picture sleeves from around the world, streaming audio, and tons of hyperlinks that deepen and extend the history [with all King Records references noted in red ink].  This sideways overview of the first 25 years of popular music from the original rock & roll era (1954-1979) is intended as a pleasant summertime diversion, whether lounging poolside or seaside:

1954

January 18, 1954:  In what Billboard later terms “a move to capture the Negro market for potential advertisers,” New York City radio station WMGM signs Noble Sissle, the so-called Mayor of Harlem, as a Monday-through-Saturday disc jockey.  Sissle, an actor and composer, is best known for collaborating with Eubie Blake on “I’m Just Wild About Harry,” “Love Will Find a Way,” the Broadway musical Shuffle Along and another musical, Chocolate Dandies.

April 14, 1954:  [King Records] The Midnighters have their first hit since changing their name from The Royals with the sexually explicit – and later quite controversial – “Work With Me Annie.”  The first single of the so-called Annie trilogy, “Work With Me Annie” was written by lead singer Hank Ballard and featured the straightforward lines “Annie please don’t cheat/Give me all my meat.”

The Royals – vs. – The Midnighters

April 30, 1954:  The Music Performance Trust Fund reports to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) that record sales in 1953 reached an all-time high of $205 million.  The market is divided among 78 rpm discs (which account for fifty-two percent of all sales), 45 rpm discs (twenty-eight percent), and the relatively new category, LPs (twenty percent).

June 5, 1954:  Major record labels will supply radio station disk jockeys with 45 rpm rather than popular 78 rpm singles beginning next month, Billboard reports.  Although 45 rpm discs have been available since 1949, the industry has never adopted the small disc as the standard for singles.  The change, which is cited as a “money-saving move,” will prove to be the subject of great debate and controversy over the next few months.

July 15, 1954:  The Treniers, a black vocal group, record “Say Hey (the Willie Mays Song)” for Columbia Records’ Okeh subsidiary in New York City.  The song, which also features the voice of New York Giants center fielder Willie Mays himself, is recorded under the direction of twenty-one-year-old Quincy Jones.

September 11, 1954:  A survey of the National Ballroom Operators Association reveals that business is down fifty-four percent compared to the first half of 1953.  Musicians and ballroom operators complain that “record hop” dances, which are cheaper and treat audiences to the most popular recorded versions of the tunes, account for the drop in attendance.

December 11, 1954:  Billboard predicts that 78 rpm discs “may fade into oblivion” because of the popularity of the smaller 45s.

1955

February 26, 1955:  For the first time since their introduction in 1949, 45 rpm discs are outselling the old standard, the 78, Billboard reports.  Another change in the industry is also noted.  On some New York City jukeboxes, it now costs ten cents instead of five cents to play a record.

February 26, 1955:  Lavern Baker appeals to Congress, in a letter to Michigan Representative Charles Diggs, Jr., to revise the Copyright Act of 1909 so that recording artists can be protected against “note-for-note copying” of previously recorded R&B tunes and arrangements by white (i.e., pop) artists and arrangers.  Baker’s R&B hit “Tweedle Dee” was covered by Georgia Gibbs and Vicki Young, both of these versions – at least theoretically – have deprived the original artists of the royalties they might have received if there had been no competing version.

French EP – 1958

June 29, 1955:  Count Basie‘s “Every Day” enters the R&B chart.  With his use of riffing, of loose, stripped-down arrangements and hard-hitting, four-to-the-bar rhythms, pianist and bandleader Basie has been an important — though mostly unrecognized — influence on rock & roll.

Australia – 1955

July 25, 1955:  The Collins Kids, Larry, 10, and Lorrie, 13, sign to Columbia.  A rockabilly act, the brother-and-sister duo will have several country hits, including “Mercy,” “Whistle Bait” and “Rock Boppin’ Baby” but never enter the pop chart.  Larry will later write Helen Reddy‘s 1973 Number One hit, “Delta Dawn.”

Australia – 1958

September 3, 1955:  Billboard reports that independent record manufacturers are continuing to expand at an unprecedented rate, despite publicized marketing efforts on the part of majors to check the growth of independents.  The latter grossed $20 million in 1954, with the larger labels — Modern, Chess, Savoy, Peacock, Jubilee, Aladdin and Specialty — leading in sales.

September 17, 1955:  Capitol Records releases a Les Paul single, “Magic Melody, Part Two” that it claims is the shortest song ever released — it consists of two notes.  Paul decided to make the recording after Capitol had received complaints from disc jockeys about Paul’s “Magic Melody.”  It seems that “Magic Melody” ended with the familiar “shave and a haircut, two bits” musical phrase – minus the last two notes – the “two bits,” which “Magic Melody, Part Two” supplies.

One second in duration = world’s shortest commercial recording?

October 29, 1955:  [King Records] R&B and soul singer Joe Tex‘s debut, “Davy, You Upset My Home” (and “answer” record to the concurrent Davy Crockett trend), backed with “Come In This House,” is released by King Records.

December 17, 1955:  [King Records] With “Only You” at #2, The Platters‘ “The Great Pretender” enters the R&B chart at #13.  [NOTE:  According to 45Cat, “Only You” was released on Mercury (June, 1955) as well as on King subsidiary, Federal (November, 1955).

1956

February 22, 1956: [King Records] Billboard reviews James Brown‘s debut record, “Please Please Please” — “A dynamic, religious fervor runs through the pleading solo here.  Brown and the Famous Flames group let off plenty of steam.”

1959 King EP

July 14, 1956:  Columbia reactivates its “race record” label, Okeh, as an R&B label.  Among the R&B stars who record for Okeh are Smiley Lewis, The Marquees, and a Teenagers-style vocal group called The Schoolboys.  In its previous incarnation, the label included Big Maybelle and Johnnie Ray on its roster.

July 14, 1956:  It’s correct, but it’s not right—a trade ad for Bo Diddley‘s “Who Do You Love” reads “Whom Do You Love.”  [Link to PDF version of Billboard‘s July 21, 1956 edition — see ad at the top of page 46.]

August 18, 1956: [King Records] Little Willie John‘s original version of “Fever” enters the pop chart at #24.  The song, which will later be a smash hit for The McCoys and Peggy Lee, was a Number One R&B in the spring.

1958 King EP888888888888888888888

August 25, 1956:  The Coney Island Kids‘ “We Want a Rock & Roll President” is released on Josie Records.  Among their nominees for the nation’s top position are Bo Diddley, Elvis Presley, Bill Haley and Pat Boone [see “follow-up” King history piece from the JFK era].

1957

January 1, 1957:  “Cool for Cats,” a British rock & roll television show, premieres on BBC.

May 27, 1957:  Mercury Records releases Swinging Guitar, an album by Jorgen Ingmann.  The LP contains Ingmann’s rockabilly instrumental hit “Apache,” whose reverberating lead guitar will be emulated by future guitarists, from Duane Eddy to Hank Marvin of The Shadows, to Matthew Ashman of Bow Wow Wow.

June 3, 1957:  RCA Victor releases a single “Butterfingers,” backed with “Fingertips,” by Cool Dip (born Kuldip Singh), a rockabilly singer from India [NOTE:  Discographies from 45Cat & Discogs, plus profile of “The Crooner from Kashmir” from the South Asian American Digital Archive].

July 27, 1957:  The Bobbettes‘ first release and only Top Forty single, “Mr. Lee,” enters the pop chart.  The song is about the trio’s high-school principal.  Three years and zero hits later, they will record a follow-up tune, “I Shot Mr. Lee.”

December 15, 1957:  Sammy Davis, Jr., initiates a Westinghouse syndicated radio talk show a “round-table” discussion of rock & roll; his guests are Columbia Records executive Mitch Miller and MGM Records president Arnold Maxim.  When Davis and Miller blast rock & roll as “the comic books of music,” Maxim takes an opposing viewpoint and says, “I don’t see any end to rock & roll in the near future.”  To which Davis replies, “I might commit suicide.”  A week later, Davis still will be alive — and releasing a cover of the rockabilly standard “I’m Comin’ Home” [co-written by Bob Crewe].

1958

January 1, 1958:  Gibson patents its “Flying V” electric guitar.  The design will become a favorite of many rock guitarists and the trademark instrument of bluesman Albert King.

March 9, 1958:  As the three-day First Annual Pop Disc Jockey Convention in Kansas City, Missouri, comes to an end, the most outspoken message delivered to radio station owners, managers and program directors is that disc jockeys are opposed to the Top Forty format, which they see as “restrictive,” dull,” “unimaginative” and designed to “de-activate them as personalities by confining their duties to impersonal intros to the same top-selling records every station plays.”

July 15, 1958:  During Senate hearings on the music industry, American Guild of Authors and Composers counsel John Schulman plays The Coasters‘ “Yakety Yak,” citing it as an offender in the alleged “cheapening of American music” by rock & roll, against which Schulman seeks legislation.  The hearings had resulted from suits between the two biggest music licensing organizations, ASCAP and BMI.

1966 EP – Sweden

November 11, 1958: [King Records] Hank Ballard and the Midnighters record the original “Twist” in King Studios, Cincinnati, Ohio.

1959 King EP

1959

January 19, 1959:  A Billboard article on the general easing of TV and radio censorship of pop songs notes one exception, and it’s an instrumental — Link Wray‘s hit “Rumble” is still considered unplayable by some authorities because its title connotes teen-gang violence (the accuracy of this suspicion was later confirmed when Wray revealed that the title came from an incident where The Wraymen had to play the instrumental onstage in order to distract participants in a gang “rumble”).  When Wray and his Wraymen recently appeared on “American Bandstand” to perform “Rumble,” Dick Clark was forbidden to mention the title, so he simply said, “and now, here’s Link Wray” as an introduction.

Germany – 1958                                             Australia – 1958

March 20, 1959:  Dolly Parton‘s first record, “Puppy Love,” is released on Gold Band Records.  Billboard‘s capsule review notes, “She sounds about twelve years old.”  Dolly is thirteen.  [NOTE:  Check out the prices paid for an original 45].

October 19, 1959:  Tommy Facenda‘s “High School, U.S.A.” enters the pop chart at #97.  One of the more novel novelty discs of all time, it is released in dozens of different versions, mentioning different high schools for different cities.

November 1, 1959:  The Spacemen‘s “The Clouds” enters the R&B chart at #24.  Their only chart entry ever, it will eventually become an R&B Number One and will remain on the R&B chart for eighteen weeks.

New Zealand – 1959

December 14, 1959:  A report by the Ohio State University Research Center state that though rock & roll is the overwhelming favorite of fourteen-to-eighteen-year-olds, more adults aged nineteen to seventy list it as their least favorite form of music.

1960

January 9, 1960:  Emile Ford and the Checkmates, a British group of Bahamian immigrants, becomes the first homeland black act to top the British charts when “What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?” hits Number One.  It will be the only such success for Ford.

1960 EP – Denmark

February 6, 1960:  Jesse Belvin, an important figure in West Coast R&B during the Fifties, dies in an automobile accident in Los Angeles at age twenty.  Belvin had his first R&B hit, “Dream Girl,” as half of Jesse and Marvin in 1953.  On his own, he had hits with “Goodnight My Love” in 1956 and with “Funny” and “Guess Who” in 1959.  He also sang as a member of such doo-wop groups as The Cliques, The Sharptones, Three Dots and a Dash, and The Sheiks.  He made his biggest impact, however, as the co-author of “Earth Angel,” The Penguins‘ doo-wop classic of 1954.

New Zealand – 1960

April 4, 1960:  Billboard reports that RCA Victor Records will release all pop singles simultaneously in mono and stereo — the first record company to do so.  Elvis Presley‘s first post-army single, “Stuck on You,” is RCA’s first mono-stereo release.

July 21, 1960:  British teen idol Cliff Richard‘s “Please Don’t Tease” is knocked out of the Number One spot on the UK pop chart by “Apache” by his backing band, The Shadows (the song was originally recorded by Jorge Ingmann).

1960 EP – France

September 4, 1960:  The Flamingos‘ “Mio Amore” enters the R&B chart, where it will peak at #27.  It will be the doo-wop quintet’s last hit until 1966, when they will return to the R&B Top Thirty with “The Boogaloo Party.”  The Flamingos, who formed in Chicago in 1952, are best known for [1959’s] “I Only Have Eyes For You.”

Australia – 1960

November 21, 1960:  “Twang” guitarist Duane Eddy and producer Lee Hazlewood have parted company after three successful years, Billboard reports.  Hazlewood, a former Phoenix, Arizona disc jockey, has had almost as much to do with creating Eddy’s distinctive sound as the guitarist himself:  He and Eddy cowrote most of Eddy’s material, including the hits “Rebel Rouser,” “Forty Miles of Bad Road” and “Because They’re Young,” and it was Hazlewood who suggested that the guitarist play his leads on the bass instead of the treble strings and who applied the essential reverb.

1961

January 24, 1961:  Le Palais des Sports, Paris, is the site of the first French International Rock & Roll Festival.  The headliners are Bobby Rydell, representing the USA, Little Tony of Italy, Emile Ford of Great Britain, and French stars Johnny HallidayFrankie Jordan, and Les Chausettes Noires.

April 24, 1961:  Bob Dylan makes his recording debut, playing harmonica on the title track of Harry Belafonte‘s Midnight Special album, for which he is paid fifty dollars.

Credits affirm that Dylan really did blow harp on this LP

May 11, 1961:  Soviet bandleader and musicologist Alexander Utyosov, writing in the East Berlin Freie Walt, contends that “what some people now call ‘Dixieland’ music was played for many years in Odessa in our Socialist Motherland before it was called to life in New Orleans.”

May 21, 1961:  “Every Beat of My Heart” enters the Hot 100 in two versions — one on the Fury label by Gladys Knight, the other on the Vee Jay label by The Pips.  They are not the same recording, but are rendered by the same act, victims of a contract dispute.  The Vee Jay single will be the more successful, rising to #6 on the pop chart and Number One on the R&B chart.  Gladys Knight and the Pips, whose first hits these are, will eventually sign to Motown’s Soul label.

September 23, 1961:  Minit Records releases “I Cried My Last Tear” by New Orleans R&B singer Ernie K-Doe (né Ernest Kador), but his only big hit will be the novelty song “Mother-in-Law,” which made Number One earlier this year.  “I Cried My Last Tear” will rise as high as #69 in the pop chart, and K-Doe will have two more minor hits in the next several months.

Composed by “Naomi Neville” = i.e., Allen Toussaint

November 6, 1961:  Minit Records releases the rock & roll anthem, “It Will Stand” by The Showmen, whose lead singer, General Johnson, will resurface in early 1970 as the distinctive scatting and hiccuping lead voice on Chairmen of the Board‘s soul hit “Give Me Just a Little More Time” [NOTE:  “It Will Stand” was used as a bumper theme between ad breaks for 1979’s ABC-TV’s rock docHeroes of Rock and Roll“].

Netherlands – 1962

1962

February 10, 1962:  The instrumental “Soul Twist” is released on Enjoy Records.  The record features saxophonist King Curtis, who provided the raunchy, honking tenor sax breaks in such Coasters classics as “Charlie Brown” and “Yakety Yak.”  The record will eventually reach #17 on the pop chart.

April 7, 1962: [King RecordsJames Brown‘s predominantly instrumental “Night Train,” based on an earlier instrumental hit by ex-Count Basie saxophonist Jimmy Forrest, is released on King Records.  It will reach #35 on the pop chart and #11 on the R&B chart.

UK – 1962

July 12, 1962:  The Rolling Stones make their performing debut at the Marquee Club in London.  The group, according to a handbill publicizing the event, is composed of vocalist Mick Jagger, guitarists Keith Richards and Elmo Lewis, bassist Dick Taylor, pianist Stu and drummer Mick Avery.  Future Kinks drummer Avory’s name is misspelled.  Stu is Ian Stewart, who will remain the Stones’ unofficial pianist.  Dick Taylor will soon leave the group to form The Pretty Things.  Elmo Lewis is actually Brian Jones.

October 24, 1962: [King RecordsJames Brown records Live at the Apollo, Volume 1 at the landmark theater in Harlem, New York City.  The album will sell over a million copies — an unprecedented feat for an R&B album — and will later earn a reputation for being one of the finest concert albums ever made [NOTE:  NPR piece about a “missinglive album at the Apollo from 1972 that had been unearthed in 2016].

King EP – 1963

December 22, 1962:  The Tornadoes‘ “Telstar” becomes the first record by a British group to top the American pop chart.  The song was inspired by the launching of the Telstar commu-satellite in July.  It is the only significant American hit for the organ-dominated instrumental group, although such follow-up recordings as “Globetrotter,” “Robot” and “The Ice Cream Man” make the British Top Twenty in the coming year.

EP – Portugal                                         EP – France

1963

January 5, 1963:  “As it stands today, there’s virtually no difference between rock & roll, pop and rhythm & blues,” Leonard Chess, cofounder of Chess Records, tells Billboard.  “The music has completely overlapped.”

February 25, 1963:  Vee Jay Records, the small Chicago-based label, releases the first Beatles record in the USA, “Please Please Me” backed with “Ask Me Why.”  In spite of “Please Please Me” being a smash hit in England, virtually no one notices it in America (perhaps because Vee Jay credits the record to “The Beattles“).

May 15, 1963:  “Sukiyaki” by Kyu Sakamoto hits Number One on the pop American chart — the first Japanese song to do so.  Sakamoto has been a singing star in Japan for five years, with fifteen hit singles and half as many hit albums to his credit.  “Sukiyaki,” under its original title, “Ue O Mui Te Aruko,” was a huge Japanese hit before Capitol Records released it in the US, changing the title to one of the few Japanese words Americans would recognize.  In spite of the record’s success, it will prove to be Sakamoto’s only US hit.

Norway – 1963

August 24, 1963:  Little Stevie Wonder is the first artist to make the Number One position on the pop singles chart, the pop albums chart, and the R&B singles chart at one time.  In fact, no one before him has made the pop-singles and the pop-albums charts simultaneously, let alone the R&B singles chart, too.  Wonder’s wonders are The Twelve-Year-Old Genius and one selection from that live album “Fingertips, Part Two.”

September 16, 1963:  The Beatles‘ “She Loves You” backed with “I’ll Get You” is released in the US on the small, independent, New York-based Swan label, as Capitol Records — EMI’s American affiliate — has refused it, just as it refused “Please Please Me” and “From Me to You.”  Currently Number One in Britain, “She Loves You” will be ignored in America until early 1964, when it bounds to Number One here, too [NOTE:  See related Zero to 180 history piece about Seymour Stein + other Beatle writings].

1964

February 1, 1964:  Cameo-Parkway Records releases The Swans‘ “The Boy With the Beatle Hair,” and Capitol releases Donna Lynn‘s “My Boyfriend Got a Beatle Haircut.” [NOTE:  More Beatle novelty items here.]

March 2, 1964:  Columbia Records is suddenly inundated with requests for heavyweight boxing champ Cassius Clay‘s album I Am the Greatest, released in September 1963 but now in great demand after Clay’s defeat of Sonny Liston on February 25.  Columbia expects to sell 500,000 copies.  Says Clay:  “I’m better and prettier than Chubby Checker” [NOTE:  Check out Zero to 180’s “Ali: The People’s Choice“].

Sweden – 1964

May 14, 1964:  The “blue beat” dance craze has taken hold in Cleveland and Detroit in the wake of Millie Small‘s chart-climbing hit “My Boy Lollipop.”  According to Billboard, the song that is based on Jamaican prereggae ska music, is a smash in Britain.  Within one week, Atlantic Records president Ahmet Ertegun and engineer Tom Dowd will fly to Jamaica and return with forty newly recorded sides by ska acts like The Blues BustersStranger ColeThe Maytals and others [NOTE:  And yet, only 12 sides issued on 1964 LP Jamaica Ska, Atlantic’s lone long-playing album].

Netherlands – 1964

May 30, 1964:  The Jamaican Government , in cooperation with Atlantic Records, announces that it will send six dancers to demonstrate the ska at New Jersey’s Palisades Amusement Park in June.  The Jamaican government will later send artists like Jimmy Cliff and Byron Lee and the Dragonaires to the New York World’s Fair in the summer of 1964.

June 20, 1964:  “Mixed Up Shook Up Girl,” by Patty and the Emblems (on Herald Records), enters the Hot 100.  It will eventually reach #37 and will be covered in a hit version in the late Seventies by New York band Mink DeVille.

Note the disparity in songwriting credits = original 45 vs. Mink DeVille LP

September 5, 1964:  “Mercy Mercy” by Don Covay and the Goodtimers enters the Hot 100.  It will eventually reach #35 and will be one of the biggest hits for Memphis soul singer and composer Covay under his own name in the Sixties.  In 1968, Covay’s song “Chain of Fools” will become a smash hit in a version sung by Aretha Franklin, and will win her a Grammy for Best Rhythm and Blues Performance.

UK – 1964

November 28, 1964:  Soul singer Betty Everett enters the Hot 100 for the fourth time in her career with “Getting Mighty Crowded,” which will remain on the chart for six weeks, eventually reaching #65.  The song was written by Van McCoy, at the time a house composer/arranger for Everett’s label, Vee Jay; he would go on to become a prime mover of the disco movement in the Seventies with such hits as “The Hustle.”  “Getting Mighty Crowded” would be covered by Elvis Costello in the late Seventies.

1965 EP – Spain

1965

January 1, 1965:  England’s New Musical Express reports that the US government, for undisclosed reasons, has denied working visas to British rock bands.  This means the cancellation of tours by groups like The Nashville TeensThe Zombies and The Hullaballoos, who are already in New York with DJ Murray the K of New York’s WMCA.

February 5, 1965:  Screaming Jay Hawkins begins his first British tour.  He tells the NME, “I want to meet this guy Screaming Lord Sutch” — referring to the British rock singer who took both his name and flamboyant stage act from Hawkins.

March 6, 1965:  Memphis gospel and soul singer Solomon Burke enters the pop and R&B charts with the single that will be his biggest hit on both charts, “Got to Get You Off My Mind,” which will peak at pop #22 and be an R&B Number One.

Spain – 1967

April 19, 1965:  The film The T.A.M.I. [Teen-Age Music International] Show — featuring James BrownThe Rolling StonesThe SupremesThe Beach BoysThe Four TopsMarvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles — opens in London under the title Teenage Command Performance.  The film, partially financed by Phil Spector, will become one of the most popular documentaries of the rock era.

July 17, 1965: [King RecordsJames Brown‘s “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” enters the R&B and pop charts.  It will hit R&B Number One — Brown’s first single to do so since “Try Me” in 1958 — and reach pop #8, Brown’s first to break the pop Top Ten.  In the next ten years, Brown will have fifteen more R&B Number Ones and five more pop Top Tens (but no Number Ones), earning the indefatigable singer/dancer such epithets as “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business,” “Soul Brother Number One,” “Mr. Dynamite,” “The Godfather of Soul” and “Minister of the New, New Superheavy Funk.”

Germany – 1965

September 4, 1965:  The Who have their equipment van stolen outside the Battersea Dogs Home in England while they are inside the Home buying a guard dog.

November 13, 1965 [King RecordsJames Brown‘s “I Got You (I Feel Good) enters both the pop and R&B charts.  The song will reach Number One R&B and #3 pop, and will become one of the Godfather of Soul‘s most enduring and most readily identifiable classics.

New Zealand – 1966

1966

January 8, 1966:  The final episode of “Shindig!” featuring The Kinks (“I Gotta Move“) and The Who (“I Can’t Explain“), is broadcast on ABC-TV.  The show had premiered in September 1964 and from 1965 had aired twice weekly, on Thursday and Saturday evenings.

February 14, 1966:  The New York Times reports on The Moppets, an all-girl rock band formed by four Mount Holyoke College students, and notes other groups at other women’s schools.

May 7, 1966:  Del Shannon, who had big hits in 1961 with “Runaway” and “Hats Off to Larry,” enters the Hot 100 for the sixteenth and last time with “The Big Hurt” which in its two weeks on the chart will peak at #94.  Little will be heard from Shannon again until 1981, when he has a Top Forty hit was “Sea of Love,” produced by Tom Petty [NOTE:  See Zero to 180 piece about Shannon’s “lost” album of 1967].

1967 EP – Brazil

October 22, 1966:  The Beach Boys release their classic single “Good Vibrations” on Capitol Records.  The song, featuring inspired use of the sci-fi movie sound-effects instrument the theremin, is the most expensive production for a single up to this time [NOTE: See recent Zero to 180 history piece aboutserious pop“].

Norway – 1966

December 23, 1966:  BBC-TV broadcasts “Ready Steady Go!” for the last time after more than three years in which the weekly show was Britain’s most popular pop-music television program.  The special guests for the farewell show are The Who.

1967

January 1, 1967:  Country music star Moon Mullican dies at age fifty-eight of natural causes at his Tennessee home.  Though he never had any pop hits, Mullican’s two-fingered “hillbilly boogie” piano style made him arguably the first white boogie-woogie pianist and a definite influence on the pounding piano style of Jerry Lee Lewis  [NOTE:  Zero to 180’s tribute piece to King recording artist, Moon Mullican].

February 23, 1967:  Jamaican ska singer and producer Prince Buster‘s “Al Capone” becomes the first Jamaican record to enter the UK pop chart (Millie Small‘s “My Boy Lollipop,” which had earlier kicked off the ska boom, was recorded in London). The song will later be covered under the title “Gangsters” by British two-tone ska-rock band The Specials in the late Seventies.

1967 EP – France

June 23, 1967:  Arthur Conley receives a gold record for “Sweet Soul Music,” his first hit.  The song — a rewrite of Sam Cooke‘s “Yeah Man” — is a tribute to the current soul music explosion and names Otis Redding, (Conley’s mentor), James BrownWilson PickettLou Rawls and Sam and Dave.  “Sweet Soul Music” did equally well on both the pop and R&B charts in May.

Germany – 1967

July 1, 1967:  After almost ten years together, The Parliaments make both their pop and R&B chart debuts with “(I Wanna) Testify,” which will reach #20 pop and #3 R&B.  Following this initial success, The Parliaments, under the leadership of vocalist, songwriter and producer George Clinton, will modify their name to Parliament and expand their ranks to include an instrumental section, Funkadelic, which will also make its own Clinton-directed records.  In the Seventies, Parliament-Funkadelic and other permutations, such as Bootsy’s Rubber BandThe Brides of FunkensteinThe Horny Horns, and Parlet, will epitomize the street-smart spaced-out jumble of rhythm & blues and acid rock called funk.  Their slogan:  “Funk for its own sake.”

October 7, 1967:  South African émigré singer Miriam Makeba makes her pop and R&B chart debut with “Pata Pata,” which will peak at #12 pop and #7 R&B.  Makeba – who came to America under the auspices of Harry Belafonte in 1960 and was married to South African trumpeter Hugh Maskela (“Grazing in the Grass“) before returning to Africa as the wife of American black nationalist Stokely Carmichael – sings this dance song in English and in her native Xhosa language.

Italy – 1967

November 2, 1967:  The five members of The Move and their manager, Tony Secunda, appear in a London court for hearings on a suit filed against them by British Prime Minister Harold Wilson.  The subject of the suit is a picture postcard The Move used to promote their single “Flowers in the Rain.”  It depicts the prime minister nude in bed.  The court will later decide in Wilson’s favor, fine The Move and confiscate all remaining copies of the offending postcard.

Postcard image courtesy of Popsike

December 20, 1967:  The First Czechoslovak National Festival of Rock Music opens for two days in Prague.  Featured among the performing bands is The Primitives, who will later be known as The Plastic People of the Universe.

1968

January 11, 1968:  The Daily Mirror of London reports that Jimi Hendrix has moved into the London townhouse that George Frederick Handel is believed to have composed Water Music and The Messiah over 200 years earlier.  Hendrix assures the Mirror that he, too, will compose in the Handel house and “not let the tradition down.”

May 8, 1968:  Buddah Records books New York’s Carnegie Hall for a promotional concert at which the entire Buddah roster — eight groups, including The 1910 Fruitgum CompanyThe Ohio ExpressThe Lemon Pipers and other leading purveyors of bubblegum pop — combines to form the forty-six-strong Kasenetz-Katz Singing Orchestral Circus, which follows up its Carnegie Hall triumph with a hit single, “Quick Joey Small

Australia – 1968

July 18, 1968:  South African emigré Hugh Masekela claims his only gold record, with an instrumental single, “Grazin’ in the Grass” (later given a hit vocal treatment by The Friends of Distinction).

Netherlands – 1968

November 1, 1968:  George Harrison becomes the first Beatle to issue a solo album when he releases Wonderwall Music, the soundtrack to the film Wonderwall on Apple.

1969 EP on Playtape

November 2, 1968:  The four-day Czechoslovakian International Beat Festival, to be headlined by The Soul Men from Bratislava, is canceled by Soviet invasion authorities.

1969

January 11, 1969:  Album-cover nudity hits the bubblegum genre as Buddah Records Vice President and General Manager Neil Bogart designs a cover featuring a photo of six nude women for the bubblegum greatest hits LP, The Naked Truth.  Bogart claims the nudes on the cover depict “what life is really all about,” and represent “the freedom of expression common to music today and the new attitude toward living.”

Rare Israeli Pressing = according to Popsike

January 29, 1969:  “The Bosstown Sound” hype reaches Newsweek, which reports on such Boston phenomena as The Ultimate SpinachEarth Opera, and Phluph, and the clubs where these bands may be experienced — The Psychedelic Supermarket, The Catacombs, and The Boston Tea Party.  The article quotes one Peter Wolf of The Hallucinations (later of The J. Geils Band):  “Kids wandered around Boston for years saying, ‘Something’s got to happen in this town,’ but nothing happened and they left.  Now I get calls saying, ‘We’re coming back to Boston.  Something’s happening there.'”

June 29, 1969:  Shorty Long, the Detroit soul singer who recorded the original version ofDevil with a Blue Dress On” (later made famous by Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels), drowns at age twenty-nine when his boat capsizes off Sandwich Island, Ontario, Canada.  Long’s hits include “Function at the Junction” and “Here Comes the Judge.”

UK – 1966

September 22, 1969:  A new weekly prime-time rock-oriented show, “The Music Scene,” debuts on ABC.  In its one-year run, the forty-five minute show, conducted by comedian David Steinberg, features such stars as James BrownCrosby, Stills, Nash & YoungJanis JoplinSly and the Family StoneStevie WonderIssac HayesTom Jones, and Cass Elliott [NOTE:  Not to mention Johnny Cash, in this colorful filmed segment that features overheated summer classic “Blistered”].

David Steinberg with Groucho Marx

October 3, 1969:  Legendary bluesman NehemiahSkip” James dies of cancer in Philadelphia at age sixty-seven.  His best-known song wasI’m So Glad,” which Cream covered in 1967.

1970

January 31, 1970:  England’s biggest reggae stars — Desmond DekkerMax RomeoJimmy CliffThe UpsettersThe Pioneers, and Harry J’s All-Stars — kick off a package tour of England at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

March 18, 1970:  British label Immediate Records (whose roster included The Small Faces), founded by former Rolling Stones manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, goes out of business.

April 17, 1970:  Johnny Cash performs at the White House at the invitation of President Richard M. Nixon but refuses to oblige the president by singing “Welfare Cadillac” or “Okie from Muskogee,” which are not his songs; he does, however, comply with an executive request for his Number One hit, “A Boy Named Sue.”

June 25, 1970:  KRLA-FM in Pasadena, California, drops its long-running series of gen-minute daily comedy routines by The Credibility Gap, a hip satirical outfit, explaining that “Humor is no longer funny in today’s society.”

July 12, 1970:  South Dakota judge S.K. Hicks, who claims to be the inspiration for Johnny Cash‘s hit single “A Boy Named Sue,” receives autographed records and photos from Cash.

August 4, 1970:  The Medicine Ball Caravan, featuring The Grateful Dead and hippie scene people like Wavy Gravy (Hugh Romney) of the Hog Farm, becomes rock’s first and last movable festival as it leaves San Francisco on a cross-country trek, pulling seven tie-dyed tepees along with it.  The caravan will eventually reach the United Kingdom, document itself with an album, and its own rock band, Stoneground, will emerge from it.

September 28, 1970:  A unique new music show debuts on Hollywood TV station KCET, Channel 28.  “Boboquivari” (a Hopi Indian word for the neck of an hourglass, “the place where time begins”) presents rock, pop, folk and other performers in an informal, intimate studio setting — but with no host, no format and no lip-synching.  The first shows feature Tim BuckleyRamblin’ Jack ElliottRoberta Flack and Freddie King. [NOTE:  TV Guide provides summary listing for each episode].

December 12, 1970:  Rock critic John Mendelsohn‘s band, Christopher Milk, arouses the ire of Doug Weston, owner of the Troubadour club in Los Angeles.  At a Monday night audition there, the band’s lead singer, Mr. Twister, wreaks havoc by pouring hot wax all over himself, biting audience members, overturning tables and spilling drinks in customer’s laps.

1971 EP

1971

January 10, 1971:  Making a rare appearance, Bob Dylan accompanies country star Earl Scruggs on “East Virginia Blues” and “Nashville Skyline Rag” for a public television documentary.  The latter of the two is later released as part of an LP titled Earl Scruggs — His Family and His Friends.

February 8, 1971:  Bob Dylan‘s one-hour-long documentary film, Eat the Document, is screened at New York’s Academy of Music (later known as the Palladium).  Much of the footage is from Dylan’s 1966 UK tour with The Band, filmed by D.A. Pennebaker, who also did Dylan’s Don’t Look Back.  Performances shown include “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” and other classics.  But the film is fragmentary and difficult for most in the audience to latch onto.  Eat the Document is not shown on TV as the reclusive star had hoped for, until ten years later.

April 28, 1971:  Barbra Streisand gets a gold album for Stoney End, one of her rare forays into rock music [NOTE:  Separate from her foray into experimental pop].  That album, along with 1969’s What About Today? featured material by such writers as John LennonRandy NewmanPaul Simon, and Carole King.  At twenty-eight, Streisand seems intent on changing her image (“The Jeaning of Barbra Streisand” is how Rolling Stone titles a 1971 piece on the singer), and even takes to lighting joints onstage in Las Vegas.

ONLY in Mexico is Barbra’s ‘Stoney End’ album entitled ‘Soul’!

June 6, 1971:  John Lennon and Yoko Ono appear on stage for the first time since 1969, joining Frank Zappa for a jam at the Fillmore East.  Says Lennon of the encounter:  “I expected sort of a grubby maniac with naked women all over the place.  The first thing I said was, ‘Wow, you look so different. You look great!'”  Zappa had his own preconceptions, too.  The first thing he said, recounts Lennon, was, “You look clean, too.”

September 18, 1971:  The unusual pairing of Hungarian jazz guitarist Gabor Szabo and soul singer Bobby Womack enters the soul chart with “Breezin’,” a song written by session guitarist Phil Upchurch that will be a #63 pop hit in an instrumental version by jazz guitarist George Benson in 1976.  The Szabo-Womack version of “Breezin,” however, will only hit #43 on the soul chart.

1972 – Netherlands

December 11, 1971:  Godfather of Soul James Brown has his thirty-second album released this week.  Revolution of the Mind, subtitled Live at the Apollo 3 and released by Polydor Records, opens with a song whose title only James Brown could have come up with:  “It’s A New Day So Let A Man Come In And Do The Popcorn” [NOTE:  Song birthed from two earlier 45 releases on King Records].

Feb. 1970                                                    Oct. 1969

December 28, 1971:  Keith Moon emcees a concert for one of his favorite acts, Fifties revivalists Sha Na Na.

1972

March 27, 1972:  Elvis Presley records what will be his last major hit, “Burning Love,” which reaches #2 in October.  The song was originally recorded by blues singer Arthur Alexander.

Japan – 1972

April 24, 1972:  One of John Lennon‘s most controversial singles, “Woman Is the N*gger of the World,” is released.  The song goes to #57, despite the fact that virtually every radio station in the country refuses to play it.

August 12, 1972:  The Festival of Hope — the first rock festival used to raise funds for an established charity — gets underway at Roosevelt Raceway in Garden City, New York.  The concerts are sponsored by the Nassau Society of Crippled Children and Adults, and features appearances by many rock and soul acts, including The Jefferson AirplaneStephen StillsJames BrownSha Na Na and many others.

September 8, 1972:  John Sinclair organizes the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival.  What makes the festival different from all others, boasts the noted political activist, is that “it’s gonna be a real people’s festival — produced by freaks and for the community.”  And he actually pulls it off, with a bill including Dr. JohnMuddy WatersHowlin’ WolfBonnie RaittSun RaJunior WalkerFreddie KingOtis RushLuther Allison, and Bobby Blue” Bland.

September 9, 1972:  England’s BBC-TV premieres “The Old Grey Whistle Test,” a rock & roll program that will serve as a showcase for rock talent.

November 4, 1972:  London gets its first permanent rock & roll theater, the 3,000-plus capacity Rainbow Theatre.  With its art-deco decor, the forty-one-year-old building (originally called the Finsbury Park Astoria) becomes one of England’s most popular venues.  The Who are the inaugural act, playing three consecutive nights.

November 24, 1972:  ABC-TV premieres its late-night rock show “In Concert,” produced by the man who gave you The MonkeesDon Kirshner.  The first show, taped earlier at Long Island’s Hofstra University, stars Alice CooperChuck BerryBlood, Sweat & Tears, Poco, and The Allmans (then with the late Berry Oakley).  Kirshner will later leave “In Concert” and begin his own “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert.”

1973

February 1, 1973:  Island Records’ Chris Blackwell announces to Rolling Stone that he is founding Mango Records, a label dedicated to molding reggae artists.  “I think that reggae has a chance of breaking in America,” Blackwell predicts, although he adds that he sees its audience being “musicians and professional people more than kids, who won’t quite understand.”

February 11, 1973:  Jazz drummer Elvin Jones plays a pair of benefits in Sacramento, California, to raise funds to help rebuild Hanoi’s Bach Mai Hospital, which had been destroyed by US bombers last Christmas.

July 29, 1973:  Led Zeppelin, in the middle of a highly successful US tour, are the victims of one of the largest cash thefts ever pulled off in New York City, as $180,000 is pilfered from the group’s deposit box at the Drake Hotel.  The money mostly represents cash receipts from the first two of three Madison Square Garden shows.  Police have dusted for fingerprints and are investigating the crime.

August 2, 1973:  Who is Jobraith?  According to Rolling Stone, impresario Jerry Brandt has announced that bids to sign his new artist must start at $1 million.  Just what does Jobriath do?  Sings and plays piano, for starters, but he’s also designed his own stage act, which includes a replica of the Empire State Building that turns into a penis as the star sheds his King Kong suit and slips into something more comfortable.  Jobriath also plans to be filmed playing piano in the Mojave Desert during an upcoming solar eclipse.

Japan – 1974

September 9, 1973:  Todd Rundgren keeps his promise and records 1,000 voices in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park for the left track of his song “Sons of 1984“; he had recorded over 5,000 fans in New York’s Central Park on the right track.  But the open-air recording session ends in a rumble, as police move in to arrest a twenty-one-year-old man for allegedly peddling cannabis, and a melee erupts.  Eleven persons are arrested.

September 26, 1973:  The Dutch instrumental group Focus receives a Gold record for Focus 3, which comes on the heels of their lone hit, “Hocus Pocus.”  The song is notable for its lead “vocals,”

Italy – 1973

1974

March 28, 1974:  The Raspberries have split in two.  Rolling Stone reports that the rhythm section of Jim Bonfanti and Dave Smalley have left and have formed a band called Dynamite.  Original members Eric Carmen and Wally Bryson, meanwhile, plan to continue, and have added drummer Mike McBride and bassist Scott McCarl.

April 8, 1974:  “Bennie and the Jets” turns gold, no doubt pleasing Elton John.  But what makes John even happier is that the tune becomes a major hit on the R&B chart, as well.

Colossal Musical Misspelling!
New Zealand – 1974

May 10, 1974:  New Jersey funk band Kool and the Gang‘s Wild and Peaceful album, their seventh in five years, goes gold.  The album features three top-selling singles:  “Jungle Boogie” (#4 on the pop chart), “Hollywood Swinging” (#6) and “Funky Stuff” (#29).  Originally a jazz-oriented band, Kool and the Gang began moving toward R&B in the early Seventies, and by the time of Wild and Peaceful had perfected a protodisco style in which “party” vocal chants and staccato horn fills sparred over a stark, heavy, metronomic funk rhythm.

Germany – 1973

May 23, 1974:  According to Rolling Stone, two would-be promoters, George T. McGinis and Archie McIntosh, are indicted on federal mail-fraud charges in connection with a mail-order ticket offering for an “Elten John” concert, to be held June 8.  That’s Elten spelled with an e, mind you, not an o, as the real Elton spells it.  Authorities confiscate about $11,000 in checks and money orders as evidence.

November 7, 1974:  Rolling Stone reports that Ted Nugent has won the National Squirrel-Shooting Archery Contest by picking off a squirrel at 150 yards.  Nugent also wiped out twenty-seven more of the small mammals with a handgun during the three-day event.

1975

January 11, 1975:  Shirley and Company‘s “Shame, Shame, Shame” enters both the pop and R&B charts.  After sixteen weeks on the pop chart, it will reach #12, and after seven weeks on the R&B chart, it will hit Number One on March 1.  The Shirley of Shirley and Company is Shirley Goodman, who, as half of the New Orleans duo Shirley and Lee, scored such hits as “Let the Good Times Roll” in the late Fifties.  Shirley and Company will have only one more hit, “Cry Cry Cry,” which will reach #91 in the summer of 1975.

Italy – 1975

Excuse the typo above

 

February 1, 1975:  Down by the JettyDr. Feelgood‘s first record, is put out by United Artists in England.  The band, headlining in England over Kokomo and Chilli Willi on the Naughty Rhythms tour, is perhaps the missing link between pub rock and punk; its hard-edged, almost brutal R&B sound and throwback stance presages much of what emerges in England over the new two years.

February 21, 1975:  John Entwistle begins the only solo tour by a Who member in Sacramento, California.  The quiet bassist and his band, Ox (after his own nickname), play for five weeks in the States, with mixed results:  Entwistle later complains the tour cost him a fortune and that he hates guitarist Robert Johnson.  It is his last public solo endeavor for over six years.

February 22, 1975:  The second single from John Lennon‘s Walls and Bridges album, “#9 Dream,” peaks at — of course — #9 on the charts.

France – 1975

May 10, 1975:  Stevie Wonder plays before 125,000 people at the Washington Monument as part of Human Kindness Day, for which he is the honoree.  Despite initial reservations as to whether the focus of his involvement might detract from the event’s impact, Wonder and his group, Wonderlove, perform for over an hour.

September 12, 1975:  Hard rock band Slade‘s attempt at rock moviemaking, Flame, opens in St. Louis.  The band, as popular in its native UK as it is overlooked in the US, stars as a prepackaged Sixties band.  But despite the concurrent release of Flame, the book, and Flame, the soundtrack, the venture falls far short of capturing the American interest.

“From the forthcoming film” – Spain

September 19, 1975:  Dickie Goodman, master of the novelty “break-in” record—where excerpts from current hits are used to flesh out what, in Goodman’s case, is inevitably some sort of parody of current events or fads—earns his only gold record, for “Mr. Jaws,” currently on its way to #4 on the pop chart.  Goodman had many other such hits, including “The Touchables” (1961), “Ben Crazy” (1962), “Batman and His Grandmother” (1966), “On Campus” and “Luna Trip” [moon landing-themed] (1969), “Watergrate” (1973), “Energy Crisis ’74” and “Mr. President” (1974).  Before going solo, Goodman had scored several other “break-in” novelty hits as half of a duo with Bill Buchanan.  The first of their duo hits, 1956’s “Flying Saucer,” was also the first “break-in” record and sparked controversy among the composers and publishers whose songs had been excerpted.

November 18, 1975:  Rock & roll and prime-time television meet again, under the usual inane circumstances, when Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen appear on an episode ofPolice Woman.”  The band, playing a rock group named The Chromium Skateboard, and the Commander deliver twenty-two speaking lines.  The best line actually comes from an assistant director, who outlines some professional camera behavior for the group:  “Please, try not to stare at Angie’s [assets].”

November 22, 1975:  British soul singer Pete Wingfield‘s only US chart entry “Eighteen with a Bullet,” reaches—inevitably— #18 on the chart, with a bullet [NOTE:  Actually, Billboard indicates peak chart position to be #15 on November 29, 1975].

UK – 1975

1976

January 30, 1976:  Texas “songster” Mance Lipscomb dies of natural causes at age eighty in his Navasota, Texas home.  Popularly thought of as a country bluesman, Lipscomb used the term songster to describe himself and to differentiate himself from bluesmen, and with good reason:  he was more of a minstrel than anything else, and played not only blues but ballads, reels, jigs, breakdowns, drags, shouts, jubilees, spirituals and more.  In fact, perhaps no other single performer embodied as many aspects of the Afro-American folk-music tradition as Lipscomb.  He performed locally in Texas all his life, but did not record until 1960, when he was discovered by Chris Strachwitz of the Arhoolie label, for whom he recorded several well-received albums.

March 13, 1976:  Philadelphia soul vocal trio The O’Jays enter the charts with the double-sided hit “Living for the Weekend” backed with “Stairway to Heaven” (not to be confused with the Led Zeppelin classic), which will go on to become on the three R&B Number One hits for the group this year.  The other two are “Message in Our Music” and “Darlin’ Darlin’ Baby” [NOTE:  O’Jays’ first two 45s as The Ascots issued on King].

Japan – 1976

May 3, 1976:  Paul Simon organizes a benefit show at Madison Square Garden for the financially troubled New York Public Library.  Phoebe SnowJimmy Cliff, and the Brecker Brothers pitch in for the concert, which nets over $30,000 for the institution.

June 19, 1976:  Reggae stars Bob Marley and the Wailers enter the pop chart with what will become their first US hit, “Roots Rock Reggae,” which will peak at #37.

Netherlands – 1976

August 21, 1976:  The self-titled album by New York disco-sophisticates Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band enters the LP chart.  The album features their only hit singles, “I’ll Play the Fool” (which will reach #80 in late 1976) and “Cherchez La Femme” (which will hit #27 early in 1977).  The group will become a great favorite of critics enamored of their cosmopolitan blend of disco, pop, Latin and big-band swing (what the band members themselves termed “mulatto music”).  But they will never be very commercially successful, and will disband after two more albums, though they will occasionally reunite in the early Eighties for New York City concerts.  Savannah Band members August Darnell and “Sugar Coated” Andy Hernandez will later go on to form Kid Creole and the Coconuts, a more tropical version of the Savannah Band that will find more commercial success than the Dr. Buzzard unit.  Hernandez will then leave Kid Creole to go solo as the rap act Coati Mundi.

Belgium – 1977

December 28, 1976: Blues guitar giant [and King recording artist] Freddie King (no relation to those other blues guitar giants, Albert and B.B. King) dies of hepatitis at age forty-two in Dallas, Texas.  King’s fleet-fingered guitar work on such songs as “Hideaway” was highly influential on Eric Clapton, among many others, and King recorded two albums, Burglar and Freddie King (1934-1976), with British sessionmen.

UK – 1965

1977

January 29, 1977:  United Artists releases The Stranglers‘ first single, “(Get a) Grip (on Yourself)” backed with “London Lady,” in Britain.  Formed as a London pub-rock-band in 1975, The Stranglers have more recently won the allegiance of the punk movement; their vinyl debut, therefore, is considered one of the earliest punk records.

1977 EP – US

3-D specs not included

March 11, 1977:  The Slits makes their stage debut, opening for The Clash at the Roxy in London.  The first all-female punk group, The Slits will have to bear the double curse of their sex and their style, which takes the concept of enlightened amateurism to an extreme.  Accompanying The Clash on their White Riot tour of the UK after having played only three gigs, The Slits will respond to charges of incompetence by inviting members of the audience on stage to play while the four women take to the floor to dance.

April 8, 1977:  The Damned‘s performance at New York City’s CBGB makes the first appearance of a British punk group in America.

June 24, 1977:  Harvest/EMI Records releases the first punk compilation album, Live at the Roxy.  The set includes concert numbers by The BuzzcocksEaterJohnny MopedX-Ray SpexThe AdvertsSlaughter and the DogsThe Unwanted and Wire, recorded at London’s preeminent punk club.

July 13, 1977:  A city-wide power outage in New York City brings Boz Scaggs‘ Avery Fisher Hall concert to a premature end.  But at the Bottom Line, NRBQ, taping flashlights to their microphone stands, transform their concert into an acoustic set.

August 27, 1977:  A picnic at Levon Helm‘s home in Woodstock, New York, provides the occasion for the formation of The RCO All-Stars, with drummer Helm, pianist, Mac Dr. John” Rebennack, guitarist Steve Cropper, bassist Donald Dunn and harmonica player Paul Butterfield.  Helm’s former colleague in The Band, Robbie Robertson, is also at the picnic, but declines to join the group, which will set off on its first tour in the fall [see related story about RCO All Stars & King’s Henry Glover].

September 23, 1977:  British CBS releases The Clash‘s “Complete Control” backed with “City of the Dead.”  The single was recorded this summer in Kingston, Jamaica, with Lee Scratch‘ Perry, the legenday reggae producer, at the board.  Perry had introduced himself to The Clash after hearing their version ofPolice and Thieves,” a song he had written and produced for Junior Murvin.  This meeting of punk and reggae will be the inspiration for Perry’s next collaboration with Bob Marley:  “Punky Reggae Party,” which will be a British Top Ten single for Bob Marley & the Wailers in December.

Spain – 1978

November 26, 1977:  French “Euro-disco” unit Le Pamle-mousse enter the soul singles chart with “Le Spank,” a glossy, mechanized reworking of a classic James Brown riff, which will peak at #13 in its nineteen weeks on the chart.

1978

March 22, 1978:  The Rutles‘ All You Need Is Cash, an affectionate satire of The Beatles, airs on NBC-TV.  The Rutles are played by Eric Idle, of British comedy troupe Monty Python’s Flying Circus; ex-Beach Boy Ricky Fataar; ex-Bonzo Dog Band member Neil Innes; and John Halsey (who’s worked with Roy Harper and Patto, among others).  Paul Simon and Mick Jagger make cameo appearances as themselves.  George Harrison appears as an interviewer.  Among the songs featured:  “Cheese and Onions,” “Ouch!” and “I Must Be in Love.”

Japan – 1978

April 3, 1978:  Blues guitar giant B.B. King joins famed defense lawyer F. Lee Bailey for a rap session and concert for inmates at Norfolk Prison in Boston, Massachusetts, as part of their ongoing duties as co-chairmen of FAIRR (Foundation for the Advancement of Inmate Rehabilitation and Recreation).  Portions of the Norfolk concert are shot by ABC-TV for inclusion on a subsequent episode of “Good Morning America.”

August 9, 1978:  Blues legend Muddy Waters performs at a White House picnic for President Jimmy Carter.

October 18, 1978:  The film Rockers, produced and directed by Greek Theodoras Bafoloukos, premieres in Kingston, Jamaica.  This reggae feature, with a plot similar to the well-known reggae cult film The Harder They Come with Jimmy Cliff, stars reggae session drummer Leroy Horsemouth” Wallace; he plays himself, taking on a crime syndicate that threatens the welfare and lifestyle of Kingston’s reggae musicians.  The film also features such reggae stars as Winston Burning Spear” RodneyJacobKiller” MillerGregory IsaacsThe Mighty DiamondsBig YouthRobbie ShakespeareDillingerJack RubyRichard Dirty HarryHallRas Michael and the Sons of Negus as themselves.  The film’s soundtrack also features the music of Prince HammerPeter ToshThe Heptones and others.  It will not be shown in the US until 1980, when it will enjoy a brief but well-received fun.

UK – 1979

November 18, 1978:  Critically-acclaimed British funk-pop band Hot Chocolate make one of their rare entries into the US soul charts with “Every 1’s a Winner,” which in its eighteen weeks on the chart will peak at #7.

Sweden – 1978

December 16, 1978:  Parliament, part of George Clinton‘s subversive-message funk empire, enters the soul LP chart with Motor-Booty Affair.  The album, which yields the hit single “Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop),” Number One for four weeks starting January 20, 1979, will rise to #2 on the chart.  It caps off a highly successful year for Clinton, who has already had two Number One singles with Parliament’s “Flashlight” (Number One for three weeks starting March 4) and Funkadelic‘s “One Nation Under a Groove” (Number One for six weeks starting September 30), and a Number One soul LP in Funkadelic’s One Nation Under a Groove (Number One for four weeks starting October 28).

Germany – 1978

December 16, 1978:  James Brown makes his third and last soul singles chart entry of the year with the title cut of his latest album, “For Goodness Sakes, Look At Those Cakes.”  The bawdy ode to one variety of girl-watching will peak at #52.

1979

January 8, 1979:  Canadian rock band Rush are named the country’s official “Ambassadors of Music” by the Canadian government.

February 7, 1979:  Stephen Stills becomes the first rock performer to record on digital equipment in Los Angeles’ Record Plant Studio.  However, his digital material is never released, and Ry Cooder will become the first rock performer to release a digitally recorded record [1979’s Bop Till You Drop, presumably].

March 2, 1979:  Havana Jam, the first jointly sponsored US-Cuban music event in twenty years, begins three days of performances today.  Featured artists include Billy Joel, Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge, and Tom Scott and the L.A. Express.  CBS Records will later release an album documenting the festival.

March 9, 1979:  ABC-TV shows the rock documentary, Heroes of Rock & Roll, narrated by Jeff Bridges and featuring clips of Buddy HollyElvis PresleyChuck BerryBob DylanThe BeatlesThe Rolling StonesElvis Costello and other rock greats, as well as the first film ever seen of Bruce Springsteen in performance (an excerpt fromRosalita“).

August 23, 1979:  Brooklyn declares this “Peter Tosh Day,” awarding the reggae star an honorary citation as he tours the borough’s Jamaican neighborhoods.

October 6, 1979:  Funk band Fatback enter the soul chart with “King Tim III (Personality Jock),” which will peak at #26 in its eleven weeks on the chart, and which will later be seen by many observers as a seminal pre-rap song.

November 3, 1979:  Guyana-born British reggae-funk-rocker Eddy Grant enters the US soul chart for the only time this decade with “Walking on Sunshiine,” which will only reach #86 in just three weeks on the chart.  The song will later be an international funk hit in a 1982 cover version by Brooklyn-based Rockers Revenge.  Grant himself – a former member of late-Sixties interracial British teenybopper band The Equals — will reemerge triumphant in 1983 with the hit singles “Electric Avenue” and “I Don’t Wanna Dance” and the hit album Killer on the Rampage.

France – 1979

December 3, 1979:  Eleven fans are trampled to death in the rush to gain admittance for general or festival (unreserved) seating to The Who‘s concert this evening at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum.  As is typical in festival-seating concerts, thousands of fans had arrived early for the show, all hoping to get into the Coliseum as quickly as possible to get the best seats they could.  Since they could be admitted through only two doors, a crushing human bottleneck formed; the eleven people died when the doors were finally opened and the mob stampeded for the doors.  Coroner’s reports ruled that the eleven died from “suffocation due to accidental mob stampede.”  The mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, will cancel The Who’s concert scheduled there in two days.  Multiple suits will be filed by the families of the deceased against the city of Cincinnati, Riverfront Coliseum, The Who, and the Cincinnati concert’s promoters, Electric Factory (run by Larry Magid, who in the late Sixties ran one of the first East Coast rock ballrooms, Philadelphia’s Electric Factory).  Festival seating itself will be almost universally blamed for the tragedy (except by Walter Cronkite, who on tonight’s “CBS Evening News” blames it on “a drug-crazed mob of kids“), but festival seating will continue to be used in concerts around the country.

Final Trivia

December 31, 1982:  One of New York City’s longest-running rock clubs, Max’s Kansas City, closes.  Recently a haven of punk rock bands, Max’s had been the watering hole for Andy Warhol‘s coterie, including The Velvet Underground, in the late Sixties.  Here, the Velvets, The New York Dolls and many other important rock bands made their reputations.  Devo made its first sensational New York stage debut, introduced by David Bowie, at Max’s in 1976.  And it was at Max’s that the young, unknown Bruce Springsteen played solo acoustic sets in the early Seventies, opening for The Wailers.

1973 ad – courtesy of Midnight Raver

Early Wailers: Pre-Island Years

Thanks to the local public library, I am no longer the same person I once was after reading Roger Steffens‘ comprehensive and thoughtfully organized oral history of Bob Marley and, by extension, The Wailers, from their earliest days.  Halfway through the book I felt compelled to take notes about a number of the more obscure early Wailers tracks.

What got me off the couch was the reminder that Johnny Nash, Arthur Jenkins, and Danny Sims (i.e., the JAD production team, featured late last December) brought in top NYC session players to “sweeten” the tracks for American ears – including Bernard Purdie (subject of a recent King history piece).  However, when you check the credits on disc one (1968) of the three-disc JAD box set, it says musicians “probably include” Eric Gale, Bernard Purdie, et al.  If not Purdie on tracks 1 through 14, asks Zero to 180, then what other drummer?   Check out “Love” – a surprisingly tender ballad from the Wailer with the most militant reputation – and decide whether Bernard Purdie provides the drum part on this JAD production from 1968:

“Love”     The Wailers     1968

Speaking of Peter Tosh, Steffens notes that the original Studio One ska version of “Maga Dog” includes little-known female Wailer, Cherry Green:

“Maga Dog”     The Wailers (backed by The Skatalites)    1965

Cherry Green can also be heard on “Lonesome Feeling,” as well as “There She Goes” – The Wailers backed by The Mighty Vikingsa rare 45 from 1964.

JAMAICA’S NO. 1 BAND
(Photo courtesy of Discogs)

It Hurts to Be Alone” features vocalist, Junior Braithwaite, another early member.  Check out the opening guitar line and instrumental solo break – who else could it be?  Answer:  Ernest Ranglin.

“It Hurts To Be Alone”     The Wailers     1964

Bunny Wailer affirms that “It Hurts to Be Alone” — a “smash” when performed live in the early days – was a song directly inspired by Curtis Mayfield‘s “I’m So Proud,” as recorded by The Impressions:

“I’m So Proud”     The Impressions     1964

Beverley Kelso, another member from the earliest days [who can be heard on early hit, “Simmer Down“], tells The Jamaica Observer in 2012 that she provided harmony on the original recording of “It Hurts To Be Alone“.  This song, notes Steffens — “the group’s first ballad to make a big impression” (get it?) — was written by “the teenaged Junior Braithwaite and recorded on August 28, 1964, the day before he left the island for Chicago” to join his family in the States.

Kelso sang on Wailers recordings sessions throughout 1964 and into the beginning of 1965 — including “Habits” from the group’s sixth recording session in mid-July 1964:

“Habits”     The Wailers     1965

Dreamland” (Steffens points out) is not a Bunny Wailer original but rather an adaptation of a relatively obscure A-side – “My Dream Island” by El Tempos – that had been suggested to the group by Studio One owner, Coxson(e) Dodd:

As Discogs notes:

Originally (but never officially credited on Wailers-related records), it was an adaptation of a song “My Dream Island” by El Tempos on a Vee Jay Records 7-inch (VJ 580, 1963).  Composed by AlBunkJohnson, lead singer of El Tempos.

Constantine “Dream” (a.k.a., ”Vision”) Walker – Rita (Anderson) Marley’s cousin – filled in for Bob when he was in Delaware and can be heard on “Sunday Morning”; “Let Him Go”; “Rock Sweet Rock”; “Dancing Shoes”; “I Need You”; “I Stand Predominate” (←fast forward to 24:51); and “I’m the Toughest”:

“I’m the Toughest”     The Wailers     1966

Wailers in the JA Pop Charts:  What Constitutes a “Hit”

Steffens states (on pgs. 56-7) that in 1965, “the Wailers had the number one [“Simmer Down”], two [“It Hurts To Be Alone“], three [“Rude Boy“], five [“Jailhouse“], and seven [“Put It On“] songs in the Top Ten at once.”  Earlier in the book, Dodd helps give some context as to what constitutes a “hit”:  “When ‘Simmer Down’ come out, in those days, anything from five thousand was a hit.  I would say twenty thousand would be a strong hit.”  Steffens adds, “At the height of the success of ‘Simmer Down’ it kept four pressing plants going and sold a reported eighty thousand copies on an island with only about two million inhabitants.”

During their early years, The Wailers were a pretty volatile live act, you might be surprised to know, as Bunny Wailer makes clear:

Our first appearance was at the Palace.  Wailers were hot.  When we hit the stage it was just fire … When we came on, half the people left their seats and were down almost to the edge of the stage, ’cause Wailers were like gymnastics.  Flickings and splits and snap falls.  All Wailers split.  We did stuff where Bob would take me and throw me in the air and we’d split.  Bob would kneel down, I would go over his back — splits.  Peter would come there and bounce us like rubber balls, just comin’ up and goin’ down like that.  I would run to him, he catches me, and as my belly cross his arm he just flicks and split.

Bunny says that at the last show before Bob left for Delaware, it was a first-ever concert in the National Stadium, and the moment that made the crowd lose control happened during one particular Bob ballad, “I’m Still Waiting“:

We had a little plan for “I’m Still Waiting” where when Bob said ‘my feet’, his feet just feel from under him, and we caught him before him hit the ground and just bring him back on mic.

“I’m Still Waiting”     The Wailers & Soul Brothers Orchestra     1965

Steffens also notes that “Rasta Shook Them Up” — a Peter Tosh song recorded just a few days after Haile Selassie’s historic 1966 visit to Jamaica – is “the Wailers’ first record specifically mentioning Selassie” (and a 45 that does well at auction):

“Rasta Shook Them Up”     The Wailers     1966

Freedom Time” – 1966 song of liberation from Dodd, despite being recorded at Studio One with The Soul Brothers is the first Wail‘n’ Soul’m 45 b/w “Bend Down Low” (Bunny says it sold something like 50,000 copies):

Check out the loping rocksteady version of “Stepping Razor” from 1967 — augmented by heavy hand drums (note the flubbed chord by the band just seconds before fading):

More Nyabinghi hand drums on Tosh/Wailers “Burial (below) the flip side to “Pound Get a Blow,” almost certainly recorded during the time Bob was in Delaware (where part of his time was spent sweeping floors at the opulent Hotel Du Pont in Wilmington) –- great piano on this killer rocksteady Wail’n Soul’m 45 release from 1968:

Hotel Du Pont:  Where Jeff Nold once imbibed

Musical blooper:  bassist accidentally plays opening note too early (or does he?)

Wail’n Soul’m 45s (Thanks to Discogs)

Other Wailers Rarities

Jamaica 45 — 2003                                          Pre-release — 1969

Glad to be reminded that the ill-named Best of the Wailers album that was recorded at Leslie Kong’s studio (and released August, 1971) was intended as reggae’s first “concept” album — a “thematically structured collection of songs,” explain the liner notes to JAD’s 3-disc box set, “geared to the idea of giving themselves a pep talk:  we’re back in the business, we’re not afraid, and we’re moving forward to new heights, and the past be damned.”

  • A more appropriate album title, asserts Bunny Wailer, would’ve been “Cheer Up”:

“Cheer Up”     The Wailers     1970

Carlton + Family Man = “Hippy Boys”:  Trivia

Bunny Lee produced the first recording session to feature Carlton and Family Man on a song (“Bangarang” by Stranger Cole & Lester Sterling) “that marked the transition from rocksteady to reggae” (see earlier sidebar re:  “first reggae song“):

“Bangarang”     Lester Sterling & Stranger Cole     1968

Two songs recorded for Catch a Fire that got reissued in recent years as bonus tracks:

Three recorded for the Burnin album similarly released as bonus tracks on reissues:

Netherlands 45 — 1973                                       Pre-release — 1971

‘Sangie’ Davis Gets a Co-Write

According to Roger Steffens:

Survival featured a song written by [Anthony] Sangie Davis called ‘Wake Up and Live‘ … Sangie was given credit on the original Survival cover for co-writing ‘Wake Up and Live.’  He received a small payment upon the album’s release in 1979, but nothing since.  His name has been removed from the credits on all subsequent pressings.”

“In late summer of 2006, Sangie and reggae great JosephCultureHill visited the Reggae Archives.  Davis, who had been a staff producer at [Bob Marley’s studio] Tuff Gong, revealed that he was the composer of the unreleased gems “Babylon Feel This One,” a dub-plate commissioned for the Twelve Tribes Sound System, and “She Used to Call Me Dada.”

“She Used to Call Me Dada”      Bob Marley & the Wailers

“Babylon Feel This One”     Bob Marley & the Wailers

Roger Steffens Weighs In on the King Records Legacy!

Zero to 180 is delighted to report that Roger Steffens himself was kind enough to check out this history piece on the early Wailers recordings and respond to my query about Bernard Purdie and the King Records legacy:

“As far as Mr. Purdie’s contributions to the catalog, I don’t think there’s anything I could add to what is in Leroy Pierson and my Bob Marley and the Wailers:  The Definitive Discography.  (If you don’t have this book, it’s indispensable to your work, and still available on Amazon.)  I wouldn’t trust Danny [Sims]’s memory on any specific tracks, but Purdie himself has acknowledged being on several.  We acknowledge specifically “Nice Time”; “Soul Almighty” & “Bend Down Low,” and you can check the discog book for many others too.

In 1956, after my graduation from grade school in suburban NJ, my dad was transferred to Cincinnati.  We lived in North Norwood and I started high school at Purcell, working six afternoons a week delivering 356 copies of the Post and Times-Star.  I went back to Cincy many times in the ’60s and ’70s while reading poetry in the schools.  Saw REO Speedwagon in ’70 at the Ludlow Garage.  Have very fond memories of the city.

I have dinner every Tuesday night with a bunch of aging musos, and a frequent guest of late has been Seymour Stein.  He also moved from NY to Cincy in 1956, and we were born in the same hospital in Brooklyn, three months apart (he’s older).  Stein’s autobiography, Siren Song, is a great read, with much about his time as a youth mentored by the King Records head.”

Trojan Records History Highlights

It always helps to have streaming audio within arm’s reach to make music history more of a ‘multimedia’ experience.

From reading Young Gifted and Black:  The Story of Trojan Records by Michael de Koningh & Laurence Cane-Honeysett, for example, I have picked up a number of helpful listening tips and historical revelations, such as this one:

The Cincinnati-Kingston Connection (Continues)

King Records makes an appearance early in the book when the authors recount the rise of Duke Reid, owner of Treasure Isle, one of the top Jamaican labels in the 1960s:

“In the early ’50s, Reid’s wife, Lucille, won a substantial lottery prize, which she invested in their future by buying a business, an off-license called the Treasure Isle Liquor Store, which was located in the same run-down ghetto area that the Duke had patrolled [as a police officer] for a decade.  The store was such a success that, in 1958, they relocated to larger premises at 33 Bond Street.

It was normal practice around Kingston for shopkeepers and bar owners to play recorded music to attract customers.  Not to be outdone, Reid rigged up a 78 rpm record player in the shop, with a speaker outside the front door, and discovered a formula for increasing his turnover.  Nothing drew in the music-hungry local people like a Wynonie Harris record rocking out through the speaker and carrying right across the street.”

The First Trojan Record

The authors identify the very first Trojan 45 release on page 32 — nevertheless, from the comfort of your computer, you can pull up the titles of the A and B sides of TR-001 yourself in three easy steps:

  1. Go to Discogs
  2. Pull up the main entry for Trojan Records
  3. Click on the column near the top of the screen marked Year (so as to put this set of records in chronological order)

Observe the very first item listed — “Judge Sympathy” by Duke Reid [& His All-Stars] b/w “Never to Be Mine” by Roland Alphonso — with a release date, 28 July 1967, that coincides with the label’s founding by Lee Gopthal and Chris Blackwell.

“Judge Sympathy”     Duke Reid All-Stars     1967

A classic tale of a rude boy getting his comeuppance -or not- in court.”

It is highly improbable, of course, that producer Duke Reid appears on this recording but rather, as YouTube contributor rudeboy6000 states, “Alton Ellis and John Holt are probable guest voices [ref.: Trojan Records].”

click on all song titles below for streaming audio >

The Obligatory Beatles Reference

Two years after its founding, the Trojan organization would expand operations in 1969:

“Another significant move in that year was the appointment of St. Kitts-born Joe Sinclair.  Joe had been with the Musicland shop at 23 Ridley Road since 1965 … and had elevated the premises to be the number-one retail outlet of the chain.  He was rewarded with an appointment as the manager of Trojan Records.

Joe was an accomplished keyboard player and, as well as being responsible for the day-to-day running of the office, moved into playing on and producing records.  He founded the Grape label in late 1969 as a ‘take on Apple‘ and started to record UK-based group The Rudies on crunching skinhead-friendly numbers like the revamped ‘Guns of Navarone‘.  Some of their records were covers of other artists’ tunes, such as ‘Shanghai‘, which was similar to the Lloyd Charmers original, already released by Pama.

The Obligatory Stones Reference

Reggae at the reception — the authors explain:

“As reggae gained a firm hold in the charts and minds of Mr. Average Record Buyer, the stars of rock took notice, including The Rolling Stones, who had championed black music since their early days.  Under the headline ‘Rudies Play at Mick Jagger‘s Wedding‘, the 10 June 1971 issue of US magazine Rolling Stone reported, ‘At the slightly seedy Cafe des Arts, where the reception was held, a local band opened the show and flopped.  Next came The Rudies, a thumping reggae group big in their own scene in Britain.  They lifted up plenty of souls ready for a set by Terry Reid and his band.”

Depends What You Mean By “Exclusive”

Part of the UK reggae industry’s colorful history includes a bit of “double dealing”:

“The other problem that confronted [Joe] Sinclair, and that had caused headaches far back for Chris Blackwell, was the [Jamaican] producers’ philosophy of getting as much mileage out of a record as possible.  Sometimes Trojan were offered a brand-new recording from Jamaica; they would buy the master tape from the producer and issue it on one of their labels.  Pama would have gone through a mirror-image situation with the same producer, who would have two or three copies of his ‘exclusive’, which he would proceed to sell to rival companies before jetting back to the sunshine with a maximum profit.

Sometimes two rival companies’ labels would release a record almost simultaneously — such as Marley‘s “Lively Up Yourself“, which appeared on Trojan’s Green Door imprint and Pama’s Punch label — or, if one unfortunate owner saw it already out on the street, they would just shelve their release.  Trojan Records own a considerable number of recordings that they have never released due to this problem, and one can conjecture that the other labels active at the time also had a box of unuseable master tapes.”

This inter-label rivalry (according to Wikipedia – please don’t hit me) “had been fuelled by Bunny Lee’s earlier licensing of Derrick Morgan’s ‘Seven Letters‘ to both Pama and Trojan.”

Musical fight:  Trojan vs. Pama

Both singles released in 1969 – on (Trojan-owned) Jackpot & (Pama-owned) Crab

JA’s Omnipresent Engineer 

Syd Bucknor, audio engineer emeritus, receives a musical salute on page 55:

“The engineer at Harry Johnson‘s session at Dynamic Studios on the day that ‘Young, Gifted And Black‘ was recorded was Sid Bucknor.  A first cousin to ClementCoxsonDodd, Bucknor started his recording career at Studio One in around 1963.  He was with Lee Perry when the youthful Wailers first auditioned for the studio and was impressed by their sound.  History vindicates his opinion.

Sid estimates that, by the end of the decade, his hand was present in around 70 per cent of all the recordings coming from the small island, so great was the demand for his talents as a freelance producer and engineer.  He estimates that the average number of recordings he would undertake in a normal day was a staggering 12.  He never had to look for work as his reputation preceded him and most producers looked to him to turn a song into a hit.

As a professional engineer and producer at Dynamic Studios (after leaving Studio One and his freelance career), he recorded work for, among others, Bunny Lee, Harry Mudie, Alvin ‘GG’ Ranglin and Leslie Kong.  He was the engineer on Johnny Nash’s smash ‘I Can See Clearly Now‘, engineered the formative DJ work of producer Keith Hudson with Big Youth on ‘Ace 90 Skank‘ and worked on the first three Marley Island albums.  He also remixed both Duke Reid’s and Coxson’s work at various times to give ‘a more up-to-date sound’.

Sadly, much of Sid’s work has been unrecognised, and it is only now that account has been taken of his vast input to Jamaican music.  He recalls that, in the reggae heyday of the start of the ’70s, ‘I would be asked to do two mixes of a tune, one for Jamaica and a lighter one for the UK as a new burgeoning market for their products and their need to retune the sound accordingly.”

Clyde McPhatter and the Trojan Connection

One original era vocal legend, tragically, was not able to hang on for the roots rock revival scene that began to take shape in the early 1970s — Rob Bell recounts:

‘Here’s one artist probably no one in the world knows had a Trojan connection – Clyde McPhatter, lead singer of the Drifters in the early ’50s, who then branched out to a solo career by around 1955 or ’56.  Huge influence on R&B – you can listen to thousands of R&B or doo-wop recordings from the ’50s and hear Clyde’s influence.  Enormous.

‘He was in London for awhile around 1971 [the master index shows that Clyde recorded in 1970 for Trojan], down on his luck.  I don’t know how he showed up at Trojan, but he did.  We cut a session with him and The Rudies, with ex-Pioneer Sydney Crooks as producer.  Four tunes, assigned Song Bird matrices.  Somewhere around SB 1027 to 1032 A and B, as far as I can recall … For some reason, Graham [Walker] and Lee [Gopthal] hated him, and I remember having to tell Clyde that we had no bread for him on the one occasion that I met him.

‘It is not a moment that I recall with relish.  He seemed like a nice man and was certainly a singer for whom I had a very high regard.  As far as I know, these titles have never been issued.’

Actually, one single ‘Denver‘ would be issued on the “pop-slanted” B&C label in September of 1969 — a nicely arranged piece of pop soul (penned by Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham) that would be one of the last releases from the legendary vocalist, who succumbed to alcoholism in 1972 at the age of 39.

UK release in 1969  +  Picture sleeve for Spain – 1970

I Roy vs. U Roy vs. Hugh Roy

Forget what you learned in school:  U before I, except after Roy.  Rob Bell explains:

“I myself was responsible for one cock-up, and that was calling toaster U Roy on his early UK releases Hugh Roy.  As you know, Jamaicans tend to drop Hs, and to add them sometimes, viz Marley’s line in ‘Trench Town Rock‘, ‘an ‘ungry man is a hangry man’.

So little old middle-class Rob Bell, one of whose tasks it was to prepare label copy, very carefully typed ‘Hugh Roy’ on the copy for those releases … As I did all the label copy for at least two years, I am sure I am responsible for many cock-ups!  However, in my defence, I took the details from the Jamaican label, or got the info from the producer — both sources being, of course, absolutely infallible!

(If it’s any consolation to Rob, the toaster’s debut LP, Version Galore, was issued by Duke Reid in Jamaica in a sleeve proclaiming the artist to be I-Roy!)”

Front Cover with “I Roy” misprint = issued in JA

Note the seamless edit in repress version

(Trojan’s) Tighten Up vs. (Pama’s) Straighten Up

Traditionally, Jamaica has been a singles market.  In Britain, as the authors note —

“Island had tried out the long-playing format as early as 1963, with albums by their top signings such as Derrick Morgan’s Forward March (et al.)”

Original 1963 LP might set you back three figures at auction

Rob Bell picks up the story:

“Full-price ska/reggae albums sold in minute quantities.  The Tighten Up series did sell well, but that was because they consisted of compilations of singles that had already sold very well indeed.  Trojan wanted to piggyback other titles … hence the ambitious TTL reissue project.”

Tighten Up‘s first volume featured primarily previously-released Trojan 45s and was given the TTL “budget” designation (“though no one now can recall what these initials stood for”).  The authors further explain —

“Priced at just 14/6d – the cost of two singles – this album moved units, and its first pressing on the original all-orange Trojan label sold out quickly.  It was repressed with a slightly altered sleeve design using the new orange-and-white label design, which was introduced in 1969 …”

Tighten Up Volume Two appeared quickly afterwards and was not only much more up to date in its tracks; it was also a sizzling selection of recordings … Tighten Up Volume Two was Trojan’s all-time best-selling album and would remain available for many years, such was its enduring popularity.  It even score in the pop album charts, the entry rules for which were promptly revised to exclude budget records!”

Tighten Up Volume 3, issued in 1970, took the pretty girl off the sleeve and on to the bedroom wall with a splendid double-album-sized poster nestled in a die-cut sleeve.  The young lady peeped through the central hole and, when the poster was opened out, revealed the titles of all the album’s tracks painted on her finely toned body.  It may have been a gimmick, but because of the poster Tighten Up Volume 3 became legendary in every school classroom and extremely popular on the skinheads’ walls.”

Here’s a link to the track listing for Tighten Up Volume 4 — six songs per LP side.

With respect to Pama’s competing series of budget-priced oldies — Straighten UpLloyd Bradley, in 2000’s Bass Culture:  When Reggae Was King, would simply say that the “sleeves were tacky enough to make Trojan’s lewd efforts look classy.”

Volume 1 – track listing                       Volume 2 – track listing

Volume 3 – track listing                        Volume 4 – track listing

Trojan:  The Marcel Rodd/Dave Hendley Era

Trojan’s reliance on “strings reggae” would hurt the label during the 1970s, as reggae audiences gravitated toward a heavier roots sound as the decade progressed.  The label would have liquidity issues in the mid-1970s and find itself under new ownership:  Marcel Rodd of Saga/Allied Records.  Former Island staffer, Dave Hendley (“with the departure of Tony Cummings”) would be promoted to Artists & Repertoire.  The authors take the baton:

“So in the late ’70s, Trojan was drifting, as the only product which producers would offer them was rejects from other deals or substandard work.  Due to the company policy of not paying to the same level as their competitors, such as the rapidly expanding Greensleeves Records, Trojan’s reputation in the marketplace had taken a dive.  Marcel Rodd was determined to reverse this trend.  And so February 1979 saw Dave Hendley, Mo Claridge and fast-rising reggae DJ David Rodigan heading out to Kingston.  Dave’s brief was to raise the Trojan flag in Kingston and sign up some acts – although the company had provided no contacts for him to visit.

Due to Dave’s resourcefulness, the outcome was Sugar Minott‘s Ghetto-ology album and The Morwells‘ 12″ disco 45 ‘Kingston 12 Tuffie‘, with a stunning remix by courtesy of Prince Jammy.”

JA release in 1977 of “1974 production” vs. UK release on Attack in 1979

Dave Hendley breaks down the economics for the rest of us:

“Trojan would pay £300 max for a disco 12” single, while the going rate was £400, and they would only pay up to £2,500 for an album, when up to £4,000 was the normal price.  I badly wanted a Freddie McGregor album that Niney had and, give him his due, Rodd went to four grand, but Niney wouldn’t let it go for that.  Freddie was just so big back then.  I tried for the ‘Hard Time Pressure‘ 12″ single from Sugar Minott but couldn’t get it due to the money.  In the end I put it out on my own Sufferers’ Heights label.”

Music in Advertising

“[Page 81] After the departure of Dave Hendley, Trojan began a period of comparative inactivity, seemingly reissuing the same dozen golden oldies in as many permutations as possible, until it was sold to Sharesense Ltd. in 1985…

[Former Chairman, Colin NewmanNo matter what some people want to say about the period in which we ran Trojan, we think we acted in manner that was fair and reasonable.  We think we gave care and attention to the music, care and attention to the artwork, care and attention to the way the music was presented to the public.  We enjoyed doing it and, as you know, we built up other labels which had other genres of music — again, all built up with direct artist relationships.  with very few problems.  We built up a big chart list of British singles charts, tracks that ha individually been in the charts, and we mixed the benefit of those releases with Trojan’s expertise, in terms of the ability of putting tracks on compilations and things like that.  And we had some success with TV ads, probably the most famous was ‘Israelites‘ by Desmond Dekker for a TDK ad [Maxell, actually], with ‘My Ears Are Alight’, which we thought was great and very funny.”

Desmond Dekker’s “Israelites” = Maxell Cassettes

Lord Tanamo’s “I’m In the Mood for Ska” = Paxo Stuffing

Toots & the Maytals’ “Broadway Jungle” = Adidas Footware

Mastered From Vinyl
Superior to Master Tapes?

Those of you who wondered if Trojan’s often murky mixes were somehow caused by limitations in your sound system, you can now rest assured that neither your ears nor playback equipment were at fault:

“Many high-street retailers disliked stocking reggae singles due to their poor sound quality.  Joe Sinclair explains the reason:

‘Apart from the big producers like Leslie Kong and Byron Lee, who provided us with master tapes, we always had to dub off a record for our releases.’

In other words, a normal Jamaican-pressed record would be used as the master copy for the Trojan release.  All the inherent faults of the none-too-special JA pressing would thereby be transferred to the UK issue, along with a second step away from master-tape sound quality.”

⇐     ⇐     ⇐     ⇐     ⇐     Trojan & Affiliated Labels     ⇒     ⇒     ⇒     ⇒     ⇒
An Alphabetical Overview

All playlists below in order by catalog #
All dates indicate year of release in the UK — not Jamaica

Amalgamated:  According to Discogs —

Founded in 1966 by Joel Gibson (a.k.a. Joe Gibbs) at his radio and TV repair shop on Beeston Street in Kingston, Jamaica, Amalgamated became one of the fastest-rising labels in correlation with the uprising of Rocksteady music. 
Though the credits almost always read “Produced By Joel Gibson”, production was actually handled by Lee ‘ScratchPerry for the first two years, followed by WinstonNineyHolness who took over for the following six years after the fact. 

Says the book:  “Some of the best sides from 1968 and 1969 were collected on Amalgamated’s Jackpot of Hits compilation.”  Also of note to historians:  “… the sides by The Cobbs are believed to be Ken Jones‘s productions.”  Worth pointing out that obscure early reggae track ‘Red Red Wine‘ by The Immortals – flipside of AMG 869 – “has nothing to do with its more famous namesake.”

  • Amalgamated on Discogs
  • Amalgamated on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Amalgamated — a playlist:
Goodies Are the Greatest    The Pioneers w/ Lyn Taitt Band    1968
Hope Someday                The Leaders w/ Lyn Taitt & Jets   1968
Sometimes I Sit Down & Cry  The Leaders                       1968
Music Is the Key            Roy Shirley                       1968
We Shall Have a Grand Time  The Marvetts                      1968
Get in the Groove           Keith Blake                       1968
Having a Party              Dennis Walks                      1968
Holding Out                 The Creations                     1968
I Spy                       Errol Dunkley (& Gibbs All Stars) 1968
Pan Ya Machete              Joe Gibbs & Pioneers              1968
Great Great in '68          Lord Salmons                      1968
Jana                        Sir Gibbs All Stars               1968
Mortgage                    Hugh Malcolm                      1968
Caterpillar Rock            'Dan D. Jr.'                      1968
Miss Eve                    The Pioneers                      1968
We Two + What Moma No Want  Stranger Cole                     1969
On the Move                 The Soulmates                     1969
Why Did You Leave           The Young Souls                   1969
Appolo 11                   The Moon Boys                     1969
Professor in Action         The Scientists                    1969
Bongo Jah                   The Immortals                     1969
Straight to the Head        Joe Gibbs & the Destroyers        1969
The Woman of Samaria        Spanishites (not Jackie Robinson) 1969
Baby Don't Be Late          The Soulmates w/ The Blenders     1969
Franco Nero                 Joe Gibbs & the Destroyers        1970
Turn Back the Hands of Time Joe Gibbs (& Co.)                 1970
La La                       Joe Gibbs All Stars               1970
Train Is Coming             The Inspirations                  1970
Kingstonians Reggae         Jogibs All Stars feat E. Ranglin  1970
Life Is Down in Denver      Joe Gibbs (& Whistling Friends)   1970

BONUS = 1970 LP Reggae Fever by The Inspirations

Attack:  According to Discogs —

Reggae label based on Bunny Lee productions.  This label contains releases on multinational markets [from multiple producers, actually].

This UK label were originally started in 1969 as a subsidiary of  [Grame Goodall‘s] Doctor Bird RecordsTrojan Records took over in 1970, and the label lasted until around 1980.  Attack was briefly revived in 1988 until about 1991, issuing compilations of classic Jamaican music from the sixties and seventies. 

Zero to 180 emphasizes the array of producers issued on Attack besides Bunny Lee, including (but not limited to) Tony Brevitt, ‘Prince’ Tony Robinson, Warwick Lyn,  Winston Riley, Phil Pratt, Alvin ‘GG’ Ranglin, Lloyd Coxson, Lee Perry, Pat Rhoden, Sidney Crooks, Ernie Smith, Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith, Eric Donaldson, Linval Thompson, and Harry J.

  • Attack on Discogs
  • Attack on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Attack — a playlist:

*Bonus early Attack track (Philigree Production) – “Nyah Bingewe” by Nyah Earth

“Nyah Bingewe”     Nyah Earth     1970

This Beautiful Land/Version The Melodians                     1972
Fine Style                  Dennis Alcapone                   1972
This is a Pepper            U Roy                             1972
Bound in Chains + Version   The Clarendonians                 1972
It Was Written Down        (Toots &) The Maytals              1972
Musical Goat                Shorty Perry/Winston Grennan      1972
Multiplication              Thoroughbreds                     1973
Space Flight                I Roy                             1973
People Got to Be Free       Denzil Dennis                     1973
Harry Hippie                Neville Grant                     1973
Feeling High               'The Pioneers'                     1973
Reggae Fever               'The Pioneers'                     1974
Pass It On                  The Henneseys (i.e., Pioneers)    1974
Duppy Gunman                Ernie Smith                       1974
Atlantic One                Ansel Collins                     1974
A Noh Me Trouble You        The Willows                       1974
I Am Gone + dub             Derrick & Hortense                1974
Arise Selassie I Arise      Freddie McKay                     1974
Nothing Is Impossible       The Interns                       1975
Saturday Night Special      Michael Dyke                      1975
Just Be Jolly               U Roy                             1975
Natty Dread Don't Cry       Tapper Zukie                      1975
Scorpion Dub                Nora Dean All Stars               1976
Niah Dread                  Lester Lewis                      1976
A Weh We A Go Do            Eric Donaldson                    1977
I Love Lamb's Bread         Linval Thompson                   1978
Tubby at the Controls       Big Joe                           1978

Big:  According to Discogs —

UK reggae label and a subsidiary of Trojan Records initiated for productions from Rupie Edwards.  Active between 1970 and 1972 and released a total of about 35 releases on 7″.

  • Big on Discogs
  • Big on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Big — a playlist:
Go to a Party + Mother Cuba The Meditators                     1970
Everytime                   The Itals                          1970
Staccato                    Ansel Collins                      1970
Music Alone Shall Live      Rupie Edwards                      1970
Dip Dip + Too Much          The Slickers                       1970
Ain't Misbehavin'           Joe White                          1970
Burning Fire + Version      Joe Higgs                          1971
Uncle Charlie               U Roy                              1971
Behold Another Version      Rupie Edwards All Stars            1971
You Must Believe Me         Niney & Dennis Alcapone            1971
Brain Wash                  Conscious Minds                    1971
Soulful Stew #1 & #2        Rupie Edwards All Stars            1971
Weary Version 3             Glen Adams                         1971
Love Version                All Stars (U Roy w/ The Uniques)   1971
Deep Meditation             Eroll Dunkley                      1971
Girl You're Too Young       The Diamonds                       1971
Papacito                    Hugh Roy Jr.                       1971
Solid As a Rock & Version   The Ethiopians                     1972
Three Tops Time             Dion & The Three Tops              1972
Eternal Drums               Bongo Herman & Les                 1972
Jimmy As Job Card           Rupie Edwards All Stars            1972
Riot                        Rupie Edwards All Stars            1972
I Want Justice + Version    B.B. Seaton                        1972
Christmas Parade            Rupie Edwards                      1972
Santa                       Underground People                 1972

Big Shot:  According to Discogs —

Originally a subsidiary of Island Records in 1968, Big Shot was absorbed into the Trojan Records group when it spun off from Island that same year, and became one of Trojan’s top secondary subsidiary labels, particularly thanks to its consistent output of material from controversial artist Judge Dread.

Zero to 180 notes the variety of producers whose recordings were issued on Big Shot:  George ‘Clive’ Tennors, Ken Khouri, Paul Khouri, Derrick Harriott, Bunny Lee, Niney, Sonia Pottinger, Herman Chin-Loy, Eric Barnett, Alvin ‘GG’ Ranglin, Des and Webster, Les Foster, Winston Riley, Rad Bryan, Lloyd Daley, Hugh Madden, Glen Brown, Lloyd’s TV & Radio, Lloyd Charmers, and Lloyd & Glen, among others.

  • Big Shot on Discogs
  • Big Shot on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Big Shot — a playlist:

*Bonus moon landing calypso – “Round and Round the Moon” by Amor Vivi

“Round and Round the Moon”     Amor Vivi     1969

Donkey Trot                 Clive All Stars                    1968
Something About My Man      The Gaylets                        1968
Chattie Chattie/Magic Touch Junior Soul                        1969
Bumble Bee                  The Crystalites                    1969
Shower of Rain              Derrick Morgan                     1969
Forest Gate Rock            Lester Sterling                    1969
Rock, Rock and Cry          Raving Ravers                      1969
Kiss a Finger               The Kingstonians                   1969
Been So Long                Derrick Harriott                   1969
He Is Back                  Monty Morris                       1969
How Strong My Love Is       The Gaylettes                      1969
My Baby                     The Tennors                        1969
Cool Hand Luke              Cannon Ball & Johnny Melody        1969
By-Ooh-Paooh-Pa-Pa-Ya       Eddie Lovette                      1969
Hound Dog Special           Val Bennett                        1969
Windy Pt. 1                 The Saints                         1969
Old Man Dead                Vern and Alvin                     1969
Nice Nice                   The Kingstonians                   1969
Do It Nice                  Les Foster                         1969
Son of Reggae               Sylvan Williams                    1969
Mother Nature               The Escorts                        1970
He Who Keepeth His Mouth    The Techniques                     1970
Darkness                    Boris Gardner                      1970
Watch This Music            Boris Gardner & the Love People    1970
Queen of the World Version  The Prophets                       1970
Jaco                        The Prophets                       1970
Bet Yer Life I Do           Billy Jack                         1970
Freedom Sound               Lloyd Sievright & Barry Howard     1970
He Is Not a Rebel           The Ethiopians                     1971
El Fishy                    Herman's All Stars                 1971
Thunder and Lightning       The Observers                      1971
Hard Fighter                Little Roy                         1971
Psalms 9 to Keep in Mind    Tommy McCook & the Observers       1971
Message to the Ungodly      Niney & the Observers              1971
Free Man                    Boy Friday                         1971
Keep Pushing + Hot Tip      The Observers                      1971
I'll Be Right There         Rad Bryan                          1971
Nyah Festival               Matador                            1971
Know Your Friend + Version  Sketto                             1971
A Sometime Girl             The Cables                         1971
I Need Someone              The Ethiopians                     1971
Rebel                       The God Sons                       1972
Hiding by the Riverside     Niney & the Observers              1972
Night Food Reggae           Nora Dean                          1972
Dr. Spock + Joe Kidd        The Vulcans                        1972
Housewives Choice           Derrick & Hortense                 1973
Mind the Doors              Judge Dread                        1973
Sound Track La La La        Tony's All Stars                   1973
Stop Baby Version           The Gaytones                       1973
White Rum + Jam Dung        Lloyd Charmers                     1973
You Can't Get               Kingston Four Combo                1974
Mama Dee                    The Starlites                      1974

UNRELEASED: "Jill's on the Pill" + "Pill Control" by Glen & Ken '74

Black Swan:  According to Discogs —

Releases prefixed with WI or WIP are released as subsidiary of Island UK, while those prefixed with BW are released as subsidiary of Trojan.

Limited run of releases from 1970-1971 by Trojan/B&C from 1970-1971 under the “shared” Black Swan banner — all of them listed below:

Young Satch "Bonga Bonga" b/w The Boys "Ramba"                 1970
Selwyn Baptiste "Mo' Bay" b/w Reco's All Stars "Going West"    1970
The Low Bites "I Got It" b/w The Low Bites "I Got It Version"  1971
The Itals "Dawn Patrol" b/w The Itals "Whisky Bonga"           1971
Lloyd Clarke "Love You the Most" b/w The Low Bites "Version"   1971
Lee Bogel "Tomorrow's Dreams" b/w Swans "Hot Pants Reggae"     1971
The Itals "Judgement Rock" b/w The Itals "Night West"          1971
Laurel Aitken "Hell Below" b/w Laurel Aitken "Bit o' Loving"   1971
Ruby & Gloria "Talk to Me" b/w Lloyd's All Stars "Version"     1971
Rad Bryan "Girl You Rock My Soul" b/w Rad Bryan "Version"      1971

Blue Cat:  According to Discogs —

Blue Cat Records (UK) was a subsidiary label of Trojan Records.  Around 70 records were released on the label between 1968 and 1969, with a variety of early reggae and rocksteady releases from artists such as The Pioneers, The Untouchables, and The Maytones.

Zero to 180 notes the various producers who were represented on Blue Cat, including Dermot Lynch, Joe Gibbs, Charles Reid, Coxson Dodd, Clancy Collins, Charles Ross, Enos McLeod, Alvin ‘GG’ Ranglin, Nehemiah Reid, and others.

  • Blue Cat on Discogs
  • Blue Cat on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Blue Cat — a playlist:
Hot Shot                    Dermot Lynch                       1968
I'm Moving On               Keith Blake                        1968
Whip Them                   The Pioneers                       1968
Get Right + If I Did Look   The Wriggers                       1968
Wise Message                Rico's All-Stars                   1968
Seven Letters               Winston Jarrett's Righteous Homes  1968
The Train                   Roy & the Duke All Stars           1968
Bye Bye Baby                Zoot Sims                          1968
Good Girl                   Ed Nangle                          1968
You're Gonna Lose           The Octaves                        1968
Echo (Feel Like Crying)     Dermott Lynch                      1968
Always + Big Man            The Grey Brothers                  1968
The Fiddler                 Leyroy Reid                        1968
Last Dance                  Thrillers                          1968
Unworthy Baby               Delta Cats                         1968
Way of Life                 Glen(n) Brown with Joe & Trevor    1968
Intensified Girls           Andersons All Stars                1968
La La Bam-Ba                Enos & Sheila                      1968
Your Love                   Untouchables                       1968
I Know a Place              Dee Set                            1969
I Dangerous                 Roy Bennett                        1969
Billy Goat                  The Maytones                       1968
ZZ Beat                     Rico & the Rhythm Aces             1968
Out of the Fire             Lloyd & Devon                      1969
Loving Reggae               The Maytones                       1969
Frying Pan                  The Slickers                       1969
Dip it Up                   The Sparkers                       1969
Song of the Year            The Sparkers                       1969
Israel                      The Sparkers                       1969
What a Sin Thing            Devon & Cedric (The Tartans)       1969
Rhythm-In                   Rico Rodriguez                     1969
Me Want Man                 Maxie Romeo                        1969
Love                        The Maytones                       1969
Everybody Reggae            Vern and Alvin                     1969
Magnificent Seven           Winston Wright & the Soul Kings    1969
I Need Your Loving          The Concords                       1969
Strange                     Bobby Dobson                       1969
World Come to an End        Gladstone and Followers            1969
D.D. Money                  The Maytones                       1969

Bread:  According to Discogs —

UK reggae label launched by Trojan in 1970 as a subsidiary label for Jackie Edwards and his productions.  Almost halfway through Bread’s 20-issue existence, Jackie’s output seemed have been switched to Trojan Records and Horse, with other producers taking over the Bread label [such as Lee Perry, Clancy Eccles, Alvin ‘GG’ Ranglin, and Bunny Lee].

  • Bread on Discogs
  • Bread on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Bread — a playlist:
I Need Your Love            Gene Laro                          1970
Tell Me Why You Say Goodbye Bobby Foster                       1970
Yes I Will                  Victor Scott                       1970
Your Eyes Are Dreaming      Jackie Edwards                     1970
Cum-Ba-Laa                  Jackie's Boys                      1971
Johnny Gunman Version       Jackie's Boys                      1971
Don't Stop                  Danny Ray                          1972
Bewildered                  Count Prince Miller                1972
Station Underground News    Lee Perry                          1973
Better Days                 Carltons [Carlton & the Shoes]     1973
Close Observation           Tyrone Taylor                      1973
Pay for the Wicked/Version  The Untouchables                   1973
People Are Changing/Dubwise The Maytones                       1973
You Need Love               Billy Dyce & Millions              1973
Mama + Man a Walk and Talk  Nora Dean                          1973
Just Enough                 David Isaacs                       1973
I'm Not Home                Derrick Morgan                     1973
Don't Try to Use Me         Horace Andy                        1973
Musical Liquidator          Dennis Alcapone                    1973

Clandisc:  According to Discogs —

Clancy Eccles label. Established by Trojan Records in 1969 as the UK counterpart to Clancy Eccles back-a-yard operation in Jamaica.
Clandisc ground to a halt early in 1972, and Clancy Eccles seemed to disappear from the recording scene.

  • Clandisc on Discogs
  • Clandisc on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Clandisc — a playlist:
Who Yea                     King Stitt                         1969
The World Needs Loving      Clancy Eccles                      1969
On the Street               King Stitt                         1969
Rub it Down                 Barrington Sadler                  1969
Beat Dance                  Clancy Eccles                      1969
Don't Mind Me               Higgs & Wilson                     1970
Lion                        The Dynamites                      1970
Again                       Higgs & Wilson                     1970
Conversation + Version      Cynthia Richards                   1970
Promises                    Cynthia Richards                   1970
Black Beret                 Clancy Eccles & the Dynamites      1970
Skank Me                    Clancy Eccles & the Dynamites      1970
Africa Pt. 1 + Pt. 2        Clancy Eccles & the Dynamites      1970
False Niah                  Barry & the Affections             1970
Sounds of '70               King Stitt & the Dynamites         1970
Zion                        The Westmorlites                   1970
Pop it Up                   The Dynamites                      1970
Dance Beat                  Clancy and Stitt                   1970
Unite Tonight + Uncle Joe   Clancy Eccles                      1970
Swanee River                Baugh All Stars                    1970
King of Kings               King Stitt                         1970
Reggaedelic                 The Dynamites                      1970
Kingston Town               Lord Creator                       1970
Sweet Jamaica               Clancy Eccles                      1971
Going Up West               The Dynamites                      1971
Teardrops Will Fall         The Silvertones                    1971
John Crow Skank             Clancy's Dynamites (& Unnamed DJ)  1971
Hello Mother                The Dynamites                      1971
Don't Call Me ...           The Soul Twins                     1972
Joe Louis                   The Dynamites                      1972

Downtown:  According to Discogs —

A subsidary label of Trojan Records, set up exclusively for Dandy (Robert Livingstone Thompson) soon after Trojan was formed, in the summer of 1968. Dandy’s session outfits included The Brother Dan All StarsThe Israelites and The Music Doctors, the line-ups of which were ever-changing, while featuring vocalists were Desmond RileyLyndon JohnsTony Tribe and Gene Rondo (also known as Winston Laro).

Zero to 180 notes that by 1972, Downtown would showcase the work of other producers, including Kenneth Wilson, Derrick Harriott, Lee Perry, Bunny Lee, ‘Prince’ Tony Robinson, Alvin ‘GG’ Ranglin, Gussie Clarke, Glen Brown, Clancy Eccles, and Byron Lee, among others.

Click on image to view in Ultra High Resolution

  • Downtown on Discogs
  • Downtown on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Downtown — a playlist:
Move Mule + Reggae Me This   Dandy                             1968
Dream                        Denzil and Pat                    1968
Cool Hand Luke               Brother Dan All Stars             1968
Copy Your Rhythm             Dandy                             1968
Sweet Chariot               [Dandy &] The Dreamers             1969
You Don't Care               Audrey with Dandy                 1969
Moma Moma                    The Israelites                    1969
Shoot Them Amigo             Brother Dan All Stars             1969
Rock Steady Gone             Dandy                             1969
Quando Quando                Rico & the Rudies                 1969
The Untouchables             Sonny Bins & The Rudies           1969
Lovers' Question             Gene Rondo                        1969
Night Train                  The Rudies                        1969
Everybody Feel Good          Downtown/Brother Dan All Stars    1969
Train from Vietnam           Freddie Notes & The Rudies        1969
Near East                    The Rudies                        1969
Tear Them                    Desmond Riley                     1969
Chucka Beat                  Dandy & the Israelites            1969
Be Natural Be Proud          Dandy                             1969
If I Had Wings               Desmond Riley                     1969
Love Is All You Need         Dandy                             1969
Give You All the Love I Got  Tony Tribe                        1969
Boss Sound                   Dessie and John                   1969
Burial of Longshot Pt. 1 & 2 Prince of Darkness / George Lee   1969
Song Bird                    Lyndon Johns                      1969
Ghost Rider                  Musical Doctors                   1969
Pop Your Corn                Audrey                            1969
Going Strong                 Music Doctors                     1970
Won't You Come Home          Dandy & Audrey                    1970
First Note                   Dandy                             1970
Morning Side of the Mountain Dandy & Audrey                    1970
Take It Easy                 The Megatons                      1970
Grindin' Axe                 Music Doctors                     1970
Standing Up for the Sound    Dennis Lowe                       1970
Old Man Trouble              Owen & Dennis                     1970
Version Girl                 Boy Friday                        1970
The Pliers                   Music Doctors                     1971
El Raunchy                   Boy Friday                        1971
Only the Strong Survive      Dave Barker                       1971
B Side                       The Conthos                       1971
Every Man                    Dandy                             1971
Give Me Some More            The Studio Sound                  1972
Herb Tree                    Family Man                        1972
Meet the Boss                Sir Harry                         1972
Swinging Along               Dennis Alcapone                   1972
Drum and Bass Version        Augustus Pablo & the Crystalites  1973
Black IPA + IPA Skank        The Upsetters                     1973
Rasta Want Peace             The Aggrovators                   1973
You're a Wanted Man          The Starlites                     1973
Blackman Time                I Roy                             1973
Uptown Rock                  Sir Harry                         1973
Sunshine Showdown            The Upsetters                     1973
What Did You Say + Version   Dennis Alcapone/Prince Tony Band  1973
Meaning of One               Prince Jazzbo                     1973
Rastafari Ruler              The (Soul) Twins                  1973
Mid East Rock                Dillinger & the Upsetters         1973
Sugar Plum                   Bellfield                         1973
Love of Jah Jah Children     Millions                          1973
Dedicated to Illiteracy Dub  G.G. All Stars                    1973
Live and Learn               I Roy                             1973
Don't Blame the Man          Derrick Morgan                    1973

Duke:  According to Discogs —

UK reggae / ska label, active from 1968 until late in 1973 when Trojan Records didn’t need the label any longer.  Originally initiated to handle output from Arthur “Duke” Reid.   Also, label issued Joe Mansano production with ‘blue’ Joe labels and ‘DU’ catalog numbers.  Later, label got separate catalog numbers with ‘JRS’ prefix and brown/yellow design.

Zero to 180 adds this observation:

Plenty of producers showcased on this imprint besides Duke Reid:  JJ Johnson, Harry J, Joe Gibbs, Lynford Anderson, Hot Rod, Winston Lowe, Clancy Eccles,  George ‘Clive’ Tennors, Byron Lee, Bart Sanfilipo, Herman Chin-Loy, Sir Collins, Maurice ‘Blacka Morwell’ Wellington, Rupie Edwards, Lloyd Charmers, Bruce Anthony, Alvin ‘GG’ Ranglin, Lee Perry, Keith Hudson, Pat Rhoden, Glen Brown, Neville Willoughby, Phil Pratt, Lloyd Daley, Sonia Pottinger, Vincent ‘Randy’ Chin, Hugh Madden, Dennis Bovell, Gussie Clarke, Bunny Lee, and Whistling Willie, among others.

  • Duke on Discogs
  • Duke on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Duke — a playlist:
One Dollar of Music          JJ All Stars                      1968
Happy Time                   Herbie Carter                     1968
Smashville                   The Boys                          1968
Cuss Cuss                    Lloyd Robinson                    1968
Penny Reel + Soul Tonic      Whistling Willie                  1968
Reggae Dance                 Owen Gray                         1969
Soul Pipe + Overproof        King Cannon                       1969
Personality                  Tommy McCook & the Supersonics    1969
Home Without You             The Beltones                      1969
Freedom Sound                The Afrotones                     1969
Suffering Stink              Band of Mercy and Salvation       1969
The Bold One                 Boris Gardiner                    1969
What Am I to Do              The Techniques                    1969
5 to 5                       Lloyd Charmers                    1969
Come See About Me            Soul Stirrers                     1969
Hear Ya                      Scorchers                         1969
Live Life                    The Vibrators                     1969
Glad You're Living           Stranger Cole                     1969
Never Gonna Give You Up      The Royals                        1969
John Public                  The Dynamites                     1969
I Don't Care                 Clancy & the Dynamites            1969
Mother Hen                   Harmonisers                       1969
Seven Lonely Days            Owen Gray                         1969
Last Laugh                   Lloyd Chalmers                    1969
Come Look Here               Silvertones                       1969
Dream Baby                   Anonymously Yours                 1969
Soul Serenade/Bond in Bliss  Byron Lee & the Dragonaires       1969
Black Panther                Sir Collins & Black Diamonds      1969
It's Love                    The Dials                         1969
Pair of Wings                Sir Collins & the Earthquakes     1969
Simmering                    The Earthquakes                   1969
You Were to Be               The Gladiators                    1969
Lick a Pop                   Hot Rod All Stars                 1970
Where Were You When the ...  The Techniques                    1970
Neck Tie                     Winston Wright & JJ All Stars     1970
Poppy Cock                   Winston Wright & JJ All Stars     1970
This World and Me            Carl Dawkins                      1970
Paint Your Wagon + Organ Man The Setters                       1970
Cayso [poss Calypso?] Reggae Hot Rod All Stars                 1970
Drink Milk                   John Holt                         1970
It's a Shame                 Al T. Joe                         1970
Poppy Show + Pop a Top (# 2) Andy Capp                         1970
Funkey Reggae                Dave Barker                       1970
I Love You My Baby           The Supersonics' [Versatiles]     1970
The Rooster                  Tommy McCook & the Supersonics    1970
Walk Through This World      Phyllis Dillon                    1970
Open Jaw = Mix 1 + Mix 2     Tommy McCook & the Supersonics    1970
Key to the City              Tommy McCook & the Supersonics    1970
Give It to Me                Dorothy Reid                      1970
Feel Alright                 Pyramids                          1970
Wreck It Up + Dynamic Groove Good Guys                         1970
Happiness + Latissimo        Good Guys                         1970
Hard on Me                   Tommy Cowan & Jamaicans           1970
Going in Circles             Bobby Blue                        1970
Colour Him Father            Lloyd Charmers                    1970
You Can't Wine               Kingstonians                      1970
Bee Sting                    Rupie Edwards All Stars           1970
Cashbox                      Byron Lee & the Dragonaires       1970
Cloud Burst                  Hippy Boys                        1970
Message from a Black Man     Lloyd Charmers                    1970
Get Together                 Carl Dawkins                      1970
Installment Plan             Family Man                        1970
Come Along + Try to Be Happy Clarendonians                     1970
Coolie Man                   The Cambodians                    1970
Love I Tender                Hugh Roy                          1970
Donkey Sank                  Delroy & The Tennors              1971
To the Fields                Herman                            1971
Rim Bim Bam + Version        The Ethiopians                    1971
Judgement Rock               The Tillermen                     1971
Poop-a-Poom                  Byron Lee & the Dragonaires       1971
Silhouette + That Did It     Winston Wright                    1971
Babylon a Fall               Maytones                          1971
Put it Good                  The Bleechers                     1971
Bend Down                    Ernie Smith                       1971
What Are You Doing Sunday    The Sensations                    1971
Reggae Fields + Aquarius 2   Augustus Pablo                    1971
Mixing                       The Cables w/ In Crowd Band       1971
Lion's Den + Version         Kingstonians w/ JJ All Stars      1971
Last Call + Hot Call         Sir Harry / Organ D               1972
Only Love Can Make You Smile Gaby & The Cables                 1972
Mighty Melodians Pt. 1 & 2   The Melodians                     1972
The Sky's the Limit          Dennis Alcapone                   1972
Rebel Train                  Djago                             1972
Soup + Version               JJ All Stars                      1972
Apples to Apples             Sir Harry                         1972
Live it Up                   U Roy Jr                          1972
Baby Don't Do It             Dennis Brown                      1972
What About the Half/Version  Dennis Brown                      1972
Wheel and Tun Me + Hey Mama  Whistling Willie                  1972
Boat to Progress             Richard & Glen                    1972
I Forgot to Be Your Lover    Denzil Dennis                     1972
Last Dance + Be the One      The Heptones                      1972
Reggae Limbo                 Keith Hudson All Stars            1972
Satan Side + Evil Spirit     Keith Hudson / Don D. Jr.         1972
Wedding March                Roy Bailey                        1972
Vision                       Al T. Joe                         1972
In My Bed + Headquarters     Chenley Duffus / Dillinger        1973
Rastaman Going Back Home     Flowers and Alvin                 1973
Barble Dove Skank            Little Youth                      1973
Africa Wants Us All/Version  Allan King                        1973
Wipe Them Out + Go Back Home Matumbi                           1973
Murmuring + Version          The Millions                      1973
Higher the Mountain          Hugh Roy & Errol Dunkley          1973
Shotgun Wedding + Dream Girl Cornell Campbell                  1973
Heading for the Mountain     Cornell Campbell                  1973
Black Birds Singing + Always Roslyn Sweat & The Paragons       1973
Love Is a Treasure           Lizzy                             1973
Beef Sticker + Ten Command's Fud and Del / Prince Heron        1973

Duke Reid:  According to Discogs —

Duke Reid, a subsidiary of Trojan Records, was a UK reggae label active from 1970 until 1972, issuing Duke Reid / Treasure Isle Productions exclusively. 

  • Duke Reid on Discogs
  • Duke Reid on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Duke Reid — a playlist:
What Does It Take to Win    Alton Ellis                        1970
Reggae Meringue             Tommy McCook                       1970
The Village                 Tommy McCook                       1970
Write Her a Letter          John Holt                          1970
Sugar Pantie + Ballafire    Tommy McCook & the Supersonics     1970
Dynamite                    Tommy McCook Quintet               1970
Hide and Seek               Winston Wright                     1970
Soldier Man                 Tommy McCook                       1970
This Is Me + Skavoovie      Dorothy Reid                       1970
Big Boy and Teacher         Hugh Roy                           1970
Ay Ay Ay                    Nora Dean                          1970
Say Me Say + I Want It      Justin Hines                       1970
You've Made Me Very Happy   Alton Ellis                        1970
The Ball                    Earl Lindo                         1970
Rock Away                   Tommy McCook Quintet               1970
Nehru                       Tommy McCook                       1970
Super Soul                  Tommy McCook                       1971
Wailing                     Tommy McCook                       1971
True True + On the Beach    Hugh Roy w/ The Supersonics        1971
Do It Right                 Hugh Roy                           1971
Rock to the Beat            Dennis Alcapone                    1972
Jimmy Brown                 Ken Parker                         1972
Hurt + Version              Duke Reid All Stars                1972
Guess I This Riddle/Version Eddie Ford                         1973
You're the One I Love       Dorothy Russell                    1973

Dynamic:  Says the book —

This Trojan subsidiary dealt with releases from Byron Lee‘s Dynamic Studio (formerly WIRL, or West Indies Records Limited) and spanned some 55 releases between 1970 and 1972.  Aside from Lee’s productions, Dynamic also put out material from a variety of other producers recording at Dynamic at the time, most notably Syd Bucknor, Lee Perry, Bunny Lee, and Tommy Cowan. 

Adds Zero to 180:

Other producers include Max Romeo, Barry Biggs, S. Francisco, J. Franscique, Eric Donaldson, Neville Willoughby, Neville Hinds, Comic Strip, Winston Wallace, Jimmy Sinclair, C. Wilks, and Geoffrey Chung, among others.

  • Dynamic on Discogs
  • Dynamic on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Dynamic — a playlist:
Out of Time                    Henry III w/ Hubcap & Wheels   1970
Come Dance                     The Viceroys                   1970
Commanding Wife                The Boris Gardiner Happening   1970
Hitching a Ride + Version      Al T. Joe                      1971
Saucy Hor(n)                   Roland Al(ph)onso              1971
Thinking of You + Each Teach   Blues Busters                  1971
My Sweet Lord                  Byron Lee & the Dragonaires    1971
Love Uprising + My Love For U  The Jamaicans                  1971
Hallelujah + Trying to Reach   Ken Boothe                     1971
Never Gonna Give You Up + Dub  The West Indians               1971
Way Back Home                  Byron Lee & the Dragonaires    1971
Forgive Me                     Jo Spencer                     1971
Mary + Version                 The Jamaicans                  1971
You Don't Know                 The Dingles                    1971
Rich Man Poor Man              The Cables                     1971
Sir Charmers Special           Eric Donaldson                 1971
Buggy and Horse                Roland Alphonso & Denzil Laing 1971
Ripe Cherry + Version          Dennis Alcapone                1971
Bam-Sa-Bo + Version            Winston Heywood & the Hombres  1971
Just Can't (Happen This Way)   Eric Donaldson                 1971
Carry That Weight              Dobby Dobson                   1971
Alcapone Guns Don't Bark       Dennis Alcapone                1971
Just a Dream + Send Me Loving  Slim Smith                     1972
Oh What a Price + Prisoners    Al T. Joe                      1972
I'm Indebted to You            Eric Donaldson                 1972
Pharaoh Hiding                 Junior Byles                   1972
Hail to Power                  The Upsetters                  1972
Geraldine                      Tommy (Cowan)                  1972
Man No Dead                    KC White                       1972
Go Johnny Go                   Dennis Alcapone                1972
Come Together + Version        Hopeton Lewis (& Upsetters)    1972
Everybody Needs Help + Version Derrick Morgan                 1972
Miserable Woman                Eric Donaldson                 1972
Kenyata + Version              Joe White                      1972
Stop the War + Version         Winston Heywood & the Hombres  1972
Are You Sure + Version         The Jamaicans                  1972
Throw Away Your Gun            Busty Brown & the Warners      1972
We Love Jamaica                Max Romeo                      1972
Blue Boot + Version            Eric Donaldson                 1972
Festival Wise + Part 2         U Roy                          1972
(Last Night) Didn't Get Sleep  Chris Leon                     1972
Peace in Jamaica + Version     Shenley Duffus & Soul Avengers 1972
Little Did You Know            Eric Donaldson                 1972
Talk About Love                Adina Edwards                  1972
Life the Highest + Recarnate   Tesfa McDonald                 1972
Sunshine Love                  The Jamaicans                  1972
Seek and You'll Find + Version Winston Heywood & the Hombres  1972

Dynamic 100 Series [1976-1979]
Play All Night                 The Dynamites                  1976
Dragon Dance + Obeah Wedding   Mighty Sparrow                 1976
Rasta Pickney + Version        The Eagles                     1976
Roots Food                     Ansel Scandal                  1976
Discipline                     Prophets                       1976
Keep on Riding + Am I Crying   Eric Donaldson                 1976
Bag-a-Wire + Version           Carl Dobson + Maurice Lindsey  1976
I Am Going to a Place          Hubert and Len                 1976
Hang the Front Door Key + V    Neville                        1976
Hold It Daddy                  Ridley Cohen                   1976
Way You Do the Things You Do   Eric Donaldson                 1976
Let's Live Together            Hubert Lobban                  1976
Six Million Dollar Man         Byron Lee & the Dragonaires    1976
Keep on Doing It               Blues Busters                  1976
Breaking Up                    Faith                          1976
Truth Has Come Again           Jacob Miller                   1977
More Love + The Price          Eric Donaldson                 1977
St. Jago De La Vega            The Slickers                   1977
Sweet Jamaica + Version        Eric Donaldson                 1977
Beggy Beggy Licky Licky + V    The Prophets                   1977
J.A.M.A.I.C.A. + Dub           The Cables                     1977
A Fifth of Beethoven           Byron Lee & the Dragonaires    1977
Kunta Kinte the Dread          Jah Ruby                       1977
Let It Happen Now              Junior Thompson                1977
I've Caught You                The Rifles                     1977
Time Has Come + Dub            The Slickers                   1977
Land of My Birth               Eric Donaldson                 1978
You Just Can't Hide + Pt. II   Morvin Brooks                  1978
Look What You've Done          Eric Donaldson                 1978
What's Your Sign Girl          Barry Biggs                    1979

Explosion:  According to Discogs —

British reggae label started in 1969 and released about 90 vinyl 7″ singles until it’s end in 1974.

Zero to 180 adds this note:

A multitude of producers spinning the dials on these 45 tracks:  ,Lloyd Charmers, Derrick Harriott, Alvin ‘GG’ Ranglin, Rupie Edwards, Keith Hudson, Laurel Aitken, Nat Cole, Harry Mudie, Neville Willoughby, La-Fud-Del, Herman Chin-Loy, Sir JJ, Vincent Chin, Lloyd Daley, Lloyd’s Radio & TV, Bunny Lee, Pat Rhoden, Federal, Bush, Sonny Roberts, Lee Perry, Harry J, Duke Reid, and Randy’s, et al.

  • Explosion on Discogs
  • Explosion on 45Cat
  • Lesserknown gems on Explosion — a playlist:
Zylon                          Lloyd Charmers                 1969
Dr. Who Pt. 1 & 2              Dr. Who                        1969
Barefoot Brigade + Slippery    Winston Wright & Crystalites   1969
Bag-a-Wire                     The Crystalites                1969
The Emperor                    The Crystalites                1969
Cecilia                        Blues Busters                  1970
Love at First Sight            Rupie Edwards                  1970
Vengeance                      The Hippy Boys                 1970
Another Festival + Happy Time  The Maytones                   1970
Ready Talk + Something About U Lloyd Charmers                 1970
Ring the Bell                  Trevor and Keith               1970
Whisper a Little Prayer       'Hugh Roy' (Audley Rollins)     1970
Rain a Fall (Kum Ba Yah)      'Hugh Roy' (Merlene Webber)     1970
All Kinds of Everything        Wayne Howard                   1970
Goody Goody + Lemi Li          Rudy Mills                     1970
Tighten Up Your Gird + Sky     Keith and Tex                  1970
She's Gone + Old Old Song      Tinga and Ernie                1970
The Bad (Ver. 1)               The Crystalites                1970
Flight 404                     Winston Wright                 1970
Funny Man                      The Maytones                   1970
Sentimental Reason             The Maytones                   1970
This Kind of Life              The Maytones                   1970
Funny Girl                     Winston Wright                 1970
Higher Than the Highest Mt.    Monty Morris                   1970
Musical Shot                   G.G. All Stars                 1970
Funky Monkey Pt. 1 & 2         Dice the Boss                  1970
Real Colley                    Dice and Cummie                1970
Gold on Your Dress            'G.G. All Stars' (The Slickers) 1970
In the Summertime              Billy Jack (Winston Groovy)    1970
Apollo Moon Rock               Nat Cole                       1970
African Melody + Serious       G.G. All Stars                 1970
Too Late                       Joel Marvin                    1970
Ten Steps to Soul              Jo Jo Bennett/Mudie All Stars  1970
Ganga Plane + Deep River       G.G. All Stars                 1970
Big Five                       The Charmers                   1970
Full Moon                      Rupie Edwards                  1970
Sweet Back + Music Talk        The Charmers                   1970
Blue Moon                      Guts McGeorge                  1970
Revelation Version + Marka    'Hugh Roy' (Dennis Alcapone)    1970
California Dreaming            Hugh Roberts                   1970
Starvation                     The Ethiopians                 1971
I Love Jamaica                 Neville Willoughby             1971
Life Is Rough                  Shout                          1971
Make It Great                  Carl Dawkins                   1971
Delivered                      Neville Hinds                  1971
Musical Shower                 Tony Bins                      1971
Ever Strong                    Tony & the Charmers            1971
Born to Lose                   Joy & Lloyd                    1971
Never Fall in Love + Jet 747   Glen Adams                     1971
Uganda                         Herman (Chin-Loy)              1971
I Feel Good + Version          Carl Dawkins                   1971
Raindrops                      Keith w/ Impact All-Stars      1971
Going in Circles               Lloyd Charmers                 1971
Reggae in Wonderland           Lloyd Charmers                 1971
Girl                           Ken Lazarus                    1971
Bounce Me Johnny + Version     The Slickers                   1972
Repatriation Version           Hugh Roy Jr.                   1972
Samba Gal                      England Cook                   1972
Don't Do Wrong                 Carl Dawkins                   1972
Long Long Road + Version       Milton Hamilton & the Classics 1972
Killer Passing Through         The Swans                      1972
Memories of Love               The Orbitones                  1972
Forward Up + Version           The Stingers                   1972
Brown Girl/Half Way Tree Rock  The Maytones/Shorty Perry      1972
Doctor Seaton                  The Aggrovators                1972
Sprinkle Water + Howdy & Tenky Shorty Perry/Flowers & Alvin   1972
Let Me Down Easy + Version     Derrick Harriott               1972
Chirpy, Chirpy, Cheep, Cheep   The Jay Boys                   1972
Stand Up and Fight             Slim Smith                     1973
Weather Report + Version       The Tennors                    1973
I'll Never Find Another You    Jimmy London                   1973
My Island                      Paulette Williams              1973
Sonia                          Paris Connection               1973
Nose for Trouble               Winston Groovy                 1973
Single Girl                    Barbara Thompson               1974
Every Rasta Is a Star          Johnny Clarke                  1974
The Man Who Sold the World     Wally Brothers                 1974

Gayfeet:  According to Discogs —

UK counterpart to Sonia Pottinger‘s Jamaican imprint Gay Feet [2 words]

  • Gayfeet on Discogs
  • Gayfeet on 45Cat
  • All 12 single releases in the UK on Gayfeet:
Fatty + Landlord               Bim & Bam                      1969
Don't Work Out + Ki-Salaboca   Joe White/Baba Brooks          1969
Get to Phoenix + Lover Boy     Lou Sparks/Roland Alphonso     1969
Little Donkey + Hope and Joy   Lou and Maxine/Lou Sparkes     1970
Jennifer + Slipping            Junior Soul                    1970
You're Not My Kind + Version   Naomi w/ The Gaytones          1970
We Will Make Love + Sticker    Lou Sparkes/Roland & Gaytones  1970
Medicine Doctor + Facts o Life Big Youth                      1973
Emergency Call + Version       Judy Mowatt   [prod. S Crooks] 1973
You Make Me Cry + Version      Winston Jones                  1973
Baby Just Cares + Me No Horn   Cornell Campbell [prod. B Lee] 1973
Hard Feeling + Regular Style   Hugh Roy     [prod. A Ranglin] 1973

 

King Records — Day of My Birth

Ruppli’s King Labels discography is a 2-volume reference set that can be hard to make sense of initially, given all the subsidiary labels and various quirks in its numbering systems, among other things.

Volume 1 features information pertaining to the recording sessions at King‘s Cincinnati studios, and it can be great fun to browse chronologically in order to determine whether any recording took place on the birthdate of someone you know, such as family members and friends.  At first I was disappointed to find out that no King artists were laying down any new sounds on the day of my birth — at least, in Cincinnati.

Page 470 concludes the post-Syd Nathan Starday-King era, with a listing for a Nashville session that took place on September 23, 1973 by a group called The B.K.‘s [Bob Kames + company], with only one song recorded “Choo Choo Choo” (the B-side of King 6426 — a 45 that appears never to have been issued).  However, pages 471-476 list a King 16000 master series of recordings that took place in Los Angeles between the years 1961-1963 (sessions with Johnny Otis and Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson, et al., including “Gangster of Love“).

But the real kicker is this announcement near the bottom of page 476:

Note:  Series discontinued and resumed later in Macon, Ga.”

Thus, Volume 1 ends with four pages of King recording sessions between the years 1964-1965 that took place in Macon, Georgia at Bobby Smith Studios (and therefore serve as the “missing link” to all the later work* highlighted in last October’s celebration, “Bobby Smith’s King Productions“).  So, today I decided to browse these pages with a certain date in mind, and wouldn’t you know it:  The Fabulous Denos recorded two songs with Bobby Smith at the helm [“Once I Had a Love” & “Bad Girl“] on the day of my birth — April 13, 1964!

“Bad Girl”     The Fabulous Denos     1964

Bad Girl” – the featured song in this King history piece – served as the B-side of a single released in June, 1964.

Tip of the hat (again) to 45Cat contributor davie gordon for this snippet from Billboard‘s August 22, 1964 edition that shows “Bad Girl” to be a ‘R&B Regional Breakout’ for the urban centers of Atlanta and Cleveland, the city where my dad would relocate by decade’s end — foreshadowing?

Bobby Smith Productions = 1964-1965
Info from The King Labels: A Discography compiled by Michel Ruppli

<click on all song titles below for streaming audio>

Sam Anderson & the Telstars                    [No Date]
BS500    Standing at the Edge of the Sea       King 5855
BS501    Back on the Block                     King 5855

Wayne Cochran                                  [No Date]
BS502    Last Kiss                             King 5856
BS503    I Dreamed, I Gambled, I Lost          King 5856
BS504    The Coo                               King 5874
BS505    Cindy Marie                           King 5874

Alice Rozier                              March 16, 1964
BS16133  I Love You a Bushel and a Peck         unissued
BS16134  My Candy Man                          King 5896
BS16135  George, BB and Roy                    King 5896
BS16136  Love Me Like I Love You                unissued

Eddie Kirk                                March 17, 1964
BS16137  Let Me Walk With You                  King 5895
BS16138  I Just Want to Be Loved                unissued
BS16139  Monkey Tonight                        King 5895
BS16140  Mary                                   unissued

James Duncan [and The Duncan Trio]                [1964]
BS16141  Here Comes Charlie                    King 5887
BS16142  Everybody Needs Somebody to Love      King 5923
BS16143  I'll Be Gone                          King 5923
BS16144  My Pillow Stays Wet                   King 5887

Billy Soul                                March 19, 1964
BS16145  My Darlin' Honey Baby                 King 5929
BS16146  Big Balls of Fire                     King 5929
BS16147  She's Gone (Pt. 1)                    King 5904
BS16148  So Many People                         unissued

Bobby Leeds                               March 22, 1964
BS16149  Nothing Too Good for You              King 5928
BS16150  When I Fell                           King 5928
BS16151  I'm Through, I'm Gone, I'm Free       King 5903
BS16152  Big Brick Wall                        King 5903

C.V. Williams                             March 19, 1964
BS16153  I've Lost the Only One                 unissued
BS16154  My Once-a-Week Love                    unissued

Eddie Kirk                             September 8, 1964
BS16155  Hog Killin' Time                      King 5959
BS16156  Treat Me the Way You Want Me          King 5959

James Duncan                            October 11, 1964
BS16157  Three Little Pigs                     King 5966
BS16158  I Can't Fight the Time                King 5966

Bobby Skelton                                  [No Date]
BS16159  It Goes Without Saying                King 5897
BS16160  Just Two People in the World          King 5897

The Fabulous Denos                     November 23, 1964
BS16161  Hard to Hold Back Tears               King 5971
BS16162  I've Enjoyed Being Loved by You       King 5971

King Keels                                 April 4, 1964
BS16163  Wondering, Wondering, Wondering       King 5969
BS16164  I Hear Love Bells                     King 5969

James Styles                               April 4, 1964
BS16165  Sweeter Than a Flower                  unissued
BS16166  I'm on My Way                          unissued

Bobby Cash                                April 12, 1964
BS16167  I Don't Need Your Love and Kisses     King 5894
BS16168  Answer to My Dreams                   King 5894

Dennis Wheeler                            April 12, 1964
BS16169  Down in Daytona                       King 5898
BS16170  Rock Bottom                           King 5898

The Fabulous Denos                        April 13, 1964
BS16171  Once I Had a Love                     King 5908
BS16172  Bad Girl                              King 5908

Bennie Anderson and the Teals             April 28, 1964
BS16173  Little School Girl                    King 5893
BS16174  Sugar Girl                            King 5893

Billy Soul                                March 19, 1964
BS16175  She's Gone (Pt. 2)                    King 5904

Oscar Toney Jr. (& The Kayos Band)        April 19, 1964
BS16176  You're Going to Need Me               King 5906
BS16177  Can It All Be Love                    King 5906

Wayne Cochran                           January 17, 1965
BS16178  Think                                 King 5994
BS16179  You Left the Water Running            King 5994

James Duncan                              March 12, 1965
BS16180  All Aboard                             unissued
BS16181  My Baby Is Back                        unissued

Alice Rozier                           February 24, 1965
BS16182  Lonely Girl                            unissued
BS16183  Hold on to You                         unissued

Oscar Toney Jr. (& The Kayos Band)    February [ ], 1965
BS16184  I've Found a True Love                King 6108
BS16185  Keep on Loving Me                     King 6108

James Duncan                              March 12, 1965
BS16186  Guilty                                King 6013
BS16187  Mr. Goodtime                          King 6013

Stanley K.                                      [No Date]
BS16188  unknown title                          unissued
BS16189  unknown title                          unissued

Zero to 180 on his Father’s lap – Cincinnati, OH – March, 1966

*Brian Powers was, indeed, correct in his assertion (back in October, 2018) that Bobby Smith Studios had been up and running prior to 1966

For Serious King Records Fans OnlyPage 481

Check out these random bits of King recording session info on the very last page of Volume 1 that fall under the catch-all title Additional King Sessions — including a live James Brown & the Famous Flames set at Baltimore’s Royal Theater in 1963.

King Records — April 12, 1962

This King twist number – “Dry Bones Twist” by The Drivers – was recorded in Cincinnati on the day my brother, Dean, was born — April 12, 1962:

“Dry Bones Twist”     The Drivers     1962

<click on all song titles below for streaming audio>

Both sides of this King single were penned by Rudy Toombs, who also composed a number of songs recorded by (mostly) King artists, including “Lonesome Whistle Blues” (Freddy King); “I’m Shakin’” (Little Willie John); “It Hurts to Be in Love” (Annie Laurie); “One Scotch One Bourbon One Beer” (Amos Milburn); “Greyhound“; (Wynonie Harris); “Love Struck” (Rusty York); “Rain Down Tears” (Hank Ballard); “Half Pint-a-Whiskey” (Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson); “Home at Last” (James Brown); “You Can’t Hide” (Lula Reed & Freddy King w/ Sonny Thompson Orchestra); “Thief in the Night” (Teddy Humphries); “Let’s Walk” (Charles Brown w/ Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers); “I Get a Thrill” (The Honeydrippers); “One Mint Julep” (The Clovers); and “5-10-15 Hours” (Ruth Brown).

Rudy Toombs fans can browse this related set of single releases, as well as this corresponding record set in Discogs, in order to get a broader view of his work (which included at least one instrumental — “Catnip” by Hal Singer and His Orchestra).

The Blasters covered Rudy Toombs for the A-side of their 1st single

“I’m Shakin'” was revived again in 2012 as the A-side of a “tri-colorJack White 45!

“Dry Bones Twist” would be among the last songs written by Toombs, however, as 45Cat contributor mickey rat notes darkly:

R-T Pub. Co. (BMI) was one of the many publishing imprints that Syd Nathan at King shared with his favoured producers and songwriters.  Rudy Toombs in New York had a share in R-T which was officially located at 1540 Brewster Avenue, Cincinnati along with all Nathan’s other ventures.  Rudy Toombs was brutally murdered [by robbers in his Harlem apartment house] in November 1962 just a few months after this record was released and I guess R-T was folded into King’s flagship publishing imprint Lois.

MR. ASTRONAUT; words & music Rudy Toombs,
Winser King & Beverly Bridge.
© R-T Pub. Co.; 20Jul62; EPI65838.

DRY BONES TWIST; words & music Rudy Toombs.
© R-T Pub. Co.; 13Jul62; EP165253

Note misspelling of Windsor King’s name in copyright registration.

Both tracks recorded in Cincinnati April 12 1962.

This 1962 single would also signal, coincidentally perhaps, the end of The Drivers’ recording career, whose first recordings for King were on its DeLuxe subsidiary label.

Would You Believe?
Someone paid $271 in 2014 for a copy of The Drivers’ King 45.

Rudy Toombs Fun Fact

In 1974, Mike Lookinland (TV’s “Bobby Brady”) laid down his version of “Gum Drop” — a Rudy Toombs song that would be designated the B-side of his one and only record release.  Initially recorded by Otis Williams and the Charms, “Gum Drop” would appear to have served as the launching pad for fellow King artists, The Gum Drops.

Check it out:  1956 Otis Williams & the Charms “Gum Drop” EP sold for $209 in 2016.

Extra Credit:  Library Assignment

Check out the “Publication Timeline” in OCLC’s fabulous WorldCat database (combined holdings of member libraries worldwide) for Toombs, Rudolph which utilizes a color-coded bar graph to illustrate the extent of publishing activity during the artist’s lifetime, as well as after.

Dean Richardson – at 18

Friendly Reminder:  This website optimally viewed on a PC – not a smart phone

 

Bernard Purdie at King Records

Zero to 180 is thrilled to learn that two titans of funk who both recorded for King – BernardPrettyPurdie and WilliamBootsyCollins – are teaming up for a set of new recordings.  In accordance with this event’s historical significance, the Mayor of Cincinnati, John Cranley, recently paid tribute to Purdie’s King drumming legacy by proclaiming January 5, 2019 to be “Bernard Purdie Day“!  Zero to 180 is honored to have provided the King Records Building Non-Profit Steering Committee with background research in preparation for this proclamation.

<Click here to view Mayor Cranley’s Bernard Purdie Day proclamation>

Bernard Purdie @ King Records – 1/5/19

Photo by Celia Purdie

Purdie’s first King sessions for Mickey and Sylvia, actually, precede his work for James Brown and yet, nevertheless, connect him once more to hip hop history, as vocalist, Sylvia Robinson (née Vanterpool) – “the Mother of Hip Hop” – would go on to found Sugar Hill Records!   Ruppli’s King Labels recording sessionography lists Bernard Purdie as the drummer on Mickey and Sylvia’s big hit,  “Love Is Strange” — not the original 1956 recording but a “redoof the song several years later for the tiny Willow label, as Purdie recounted for Drum Magazine in their January 16, 2013 edition, .

But wait!  As Ruppli reveals, Willow was, in fact, a label distributed by King Records. Furthermore, Discogs asserts Willow to have been a subsidiary label “created in 1961 by Mickey [i.e., Baker, long-time King session guitarist] and Sylvia.”   Purdie’s name is listed as drummer for Mickey and Sylvia on at least 4 sessions for Willow in 1961 that produced six songs [click on all song titles below for streaming audio]:

⇒ “Love Is Strange
⇒ “Walking in the Rain
⇒ “I’m Guilty
⇒ “Since I Fell for You
⇒ “He Gave Me Everything
⇒ “Darling (I Miss You So)”

Check out Mickey Baker’s searing guitar work on “Darling (I Miss You So)” – a fantastic 45 waiting to be rediscovered:

“Darling (I Miss You So)”     Mickey & Sylvia & Bernard     1961

Five years later, Purdie would lay down drums on the first of six recording sessions for James Brown between the years 1966-1968, according to Ruppli’s session notes:

Session #1> March 30, 1966 — New York City

James Brown with Band – Sammy Lowe, arranger/conductor – including Waymon Reed, Dud Bascomb & Lamar Wright (trumpets); Haywood Henry (baritone sax); Unknown (trombone); Nat Jones (piano); Jimmy Nolen or Wallace Richardson (guitar); Unknown (bass) & Bernard Purdie (drums) plus strings:

EP France – 1966                                               45 Italy – 1966

45 Germany – 1966                                     45 Australia – 1966

Session #2> January 25, 1967 — New York City

James Brown with Band – Sammy Lowe, arranger/conductor – including Joe Newman, Waymon ReedDud Bascomb (trumpets); Ernie Hayes (trumpet/piano); Richard Harris, Jimmy Cleveland & Garnett Brown (trombones); St-Clair Pinckney (baritone sax); Carl Lynch & Wallace Richardson (guitars); Al Lucas (electric bass) & Bernard Purdie (drums):

  • Kansas City
  • “You’ve Got the Power” [unissued version]
  • Think” [issued as by James Brown & Vicki Anderson]
  • Fever

45 Spain – 1967

EP Spain – 1967                                               45 France – 1967

Session #3> March, 1967 — New York City

James Brown with Orchestra – Sammy Lowe, arranger/conductor – including Unknown (trumpets, trombones & French horns); Ernie Hayes (trumpet/piano); Jimmy Nolen or Wallace Richardson (guitar); Al Lucas (electric bass) & Bernard Purdie (drums) plus strings:

  • “I Guess I’ll Have to Cry, Cry, Cry” [unissued]
  • “Too Much”  [unissued]
  • You’ve Got the Power” [issued as by Vicki Anderson & James Brown]

ALSO = Vicki Anderson “with prob. same band” on “prob. same date” recorded “(Something Moves Me) Within My Heart” [although unissued].

ALSO = King Coleman (vocals) “with similar band” – Sammy Lowe, arranger/conductor – on two tracks:

45 USA – 1968                                                   45 USA – 1967

Session #4> April 5, 1967 — New York City

James Brown with Band – Sammy Lowe, arranger/conductor – including John GrimesDud Bascomb & Waymon Reed (trumpets); Ernie Hayes  (trumpet/piano); Richard Harris, Jimmy Cleveland & Garnett Brown (trombones); AlfredPee WeeEllis (tenor sax/piano); St.-Clair Pinckney (baritone sax); Carl Lynch & Wallace Richardson (guitars); Al Lucas (electric bass) & Bernard Purdie (drums):

*ALSO = Vicki Anderson “with prob. same band” on “prob. same date” recorded “People” [although unissued].

Promo 45 USA – 1968                                     45 Canada – 1968

                        45 USA – 1967                       “Stagger Lee”/”Fever” 45 Nigeria – 1968?

Session #5> October 4, 1967 — New York City

James Brown with Band – including Dud BascombJohn Grimes, & Ernie Hayes (trumpets); Richard Harris (trombone); Haywood Henry (baritone sax); Wallace Richardson & Carl Lynch (guitars); Al Lucas (electric bass); Bernard Purdie (drums); Julian Cabrera (congas); Rafael Rivera (timbales) & Edward Williams (percussion) plus strings [Selwart Clarke; Charles Libove; Harry Katzman; Sam Ram; Winston Collymore; Harry Melnikoff; Nick Hardone; Matt Raimond; Marion Cuabo; Sidney Edwards]:

           45 France – 1968                                 45 Germany / Italy / Spain – 1968

EP Mexico – 1968                                         45 Rhodesia – 1968

Session #6> June 27, 1968 — New York City

James Brown with Band – Sammy Lowe, arranger/conductor – including John Grimes & Waymon Reed (trumpets); Les Asch (tenor sax); David Parkinson (baritone sax); AlfredPee WeeEllis (organ/piano); Wallace Richardson (guitar); Al Lucas (electric bass) & Bernard Purdie (drums):

   6 of 7 tracks above included on 1968 LP     …..     as well as stereo 8-track Tape

ADDITIONAL James Brown tracks!

According to musician credits posted on Discogs, Bernard Purdie also played drums on James Brown B-side “I Know It’s True” [1972], as well as “Woman (Pts. 1 & 2)” [1973] — both songs arranged by Sammy Lowe (though, “Woman (Part 2)” appears not to have been issued in the US market, curiously).

45 Belgium – 1972                                            45 Germany – 1972

45 France – 1972                                            45 Netherlands – 1974

 45 Netherlands – 1973                                        45 France – 1973

45 Germany – 1973                                           45 Belgium – 1974

Update on King Records Preservation Efforts:

“King Dream Team” at 1540 Brewster Ave.

[L to R] Philip Paul; Bernard Purdie; Celia Purdie; Otis Williams; Bootsy Collins; Anzora Adkins

Photo by Elliott V. Ruther

According to Herzog Music, “The City of Cincinnati now owns the King Records buildings on Brewster Avenue in Evanston.  The King buildings are being stabilized with $700,000 of city and Evanston funds, thanks to a united City Council.”

“With Mayor John Cranley and the City of Cincinnati, a restricted fund for the buildings has been established through the King Records Building Non-Profit Steering Committee to raise private funds and realize the revitalization vision.  The Steering Committee comprises leadership of Evanston Community Council, Bootsy Collins Foundation, King Studios and Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation (CMHF).

“CMHF will acknowledge the tax deductible donations and share with each Steering Committee organization as it works to formalize the non-profit arrangement with the City.  CMHF is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization — donors may deduct contributions as provided in IRC 170(c)(3) of the U.S. Tax Code.”

You can be part of the King Records revitalization success story — please consider a donation to the King Building Fund.

The Men in Black:  Bernard & Bootsy

Photo courtesy of the Bootsy Collins Foundation

Stay plugged in:   Bernard Purdie and Bootsy Collins

Special thanks to Elliott V. Ruther of the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation

Derek Trucks wearing a Bernard Purdie shirt on Austin City Limits

Lord Thunder: Final Deluxe 45?

Browsing DeLuxe releases in chronological order in Discog’s database, Lord Thunder‘s “Thunder” from 1975 appears to be the last gasp of Starday-King:

“Thunder”     Lord Thunder     1975

But wait:  1975 sounds much too late in the post-Syd Nathan saga for a new production to come out of the Starday-King studios, especially with IMG/Gusto now running the show.  I’m suspicious.

For one thing, the catalog number 106 would indicate the recording to be closer to 1969, tied to the first string of releases from the resuscitated DeLuxe imprint — at that point owned by Lin Broadcasting.  An examination of the catalog record for this 1975 Gusto 45 release on Discogs finds this revealing note:

“This is the legal second issue from 1975 – reissued for the UK Northern Soul market.  The original does not have the ‘1975 etc’ text around the outside and the release is originally from the late 60’s/early 70’s.

This late 60s “northern soul” instrumental was written by Leroy Tukes and Grady Spires, who would also put together “I Got It Made (In the Shade)” for James Duncan, released March, 1970 on Federal (and featuring Eddie Hinton on swamp guitar)..

Both songs were included on 2007 CD compilation Crash of Thunder:  Boss Soul, Funk and R&B Sides From the Vaults of the King, Federal and DeLuxe Labels — a special collection of rare tracks curated by Matt “Mr. Fine Wine” Weingarden and released on Spanish label, Vampi Soul.

So uh, no, this was not the “final” DeLuxe 45, in terms of latest original recording intended for release.

From browsing Discogs’ listing of DeLuxe releases in chronological order and then examing the catalog numbers in (relative) sequential order, I see that the highest number “152” coincides with 1973 single release from The Manhattans – “Do You Ever” b/w “If My Heart Could Speak” (with the A-side written by Agape recording artist, Myrna March, who also co-produced).  Could this possibly be one of the final recordings to come out under the DeLuxe label?  To answer this question, it sure would help to know the recording dates of the other DeLuxe 45 releases from 1973:

= “Mama’s Baby” b/w “You Are Gone” by Royal Flush
= “Camelot Time” b/w “Victory Strut” by J. Hines & the Fellows*
= “Leave My Kitten Alone” b/w “All the Time” by Reuben Bell
= “Rainbow Week” b/w “Loneliness” by The Manhattans

Ruppli provides no information whatsoever about these recordings and, in fact, does not even list Royal Flush, Reuben Bell, or J. Hines & the Fellows in the index.  Not even known whether any of these 45 releases had been recorded in the year 1973.  More research is needed to determine the final recording to come out on DeLuxe.

Click on song titles above to hear streaming audio of A & B sides

With regard to Zero to 180’s recent musings about which Bethlehem release was the last original recording intended for that King subsidiary label, this online discography has considerably more detailed information than Ruppli’s sessionography with regard to Bethlehem’s last few years of existence, thus forcing me to recalculate the situation

New Observations about Bethlehem‘s Final Releases!
Tip of the hat to the Bethlehem Records Discography Project

  • The James Brown recording session from May 20, 1970 (David Matthews’ “The Drunk” recorded in two parts, with only Part Two issued) that ended up as the B-side of a Bethlehem (not King) 45 “A Man Has to Go Back to the Crossroads” b/w “The Drunk”  appears to be the last original recording released on Bethlehem — a session that took place at King Studios in Cincinnati (as did the session for the single’s A-side on March 2, 1970, on which David Matthews served as Director).  Interesting to note that A-side “charted on 18 July, 1970 on Record World’s “Singles Coming Up” chart peaking at #110″ (Discogs).
  • The next-to-last entry for 1970 says that Arthur Prysock laid down 12 tracks with “unidentified orchestra” and Bill McElhiney serving as arranger/director at Nashville’s Starday-King recording facility on April 8, 1970 for Prysock’s Unforgettable album (released on King).  The two singles from this LP, curiously, would be issued on separate labels — “Cry” b/w “Unforgettable” on King, while “Funny World” b/w “The Girl I Never Kissed”  ended up on Bethlehem.
  • This discography of Bethlehem recordings/releases from 1958 to the present ends in the year 1970 — and yet omits any references to The Saloonatics from 1969. What up?  1969 would also see recording sessions in Cincinnati for Wayne Cochran and His C.C. Riders (previously paid tribute here), as well as The Dee Felice Trio (with Frank Vincent) for LP and 45 releases on Bethlehem.

As it bids adieu to the King Records’ 75th Anniversary Celebration, Zero to 180 would like to pose these four questions:

  1. What is the last original recording for Starday-King that took place at Cincinnati’s King Studios?
  2. What is the final recording — regardless of whether the artist was under contract to Starday-King — that took place at the (former) King Studios in Cincinnati?
  3. What is the last original recording at the Nashville Starday Studios intended for release on Starday-King or one of its subsidiaries?
  4. What is the last original release from Starday-King before the label’s sale to IMG/Gusto?

A Starday/King/DeLuxe Musical Prank*

Whoa!  Is it possible that 1973 instrumental “Victory Strut” by J. Hines & the Fellows (on Starday-King subsidiary, DeLuxe) features what must be some of the earliest turntable scratching on record?!   But alas, the comment below – in reply to the person who posted this audio clip – reveals musical tomfoolery perpetrated at the hands of DJ Ol’SkOul!

“So as much as I love the record scratches on this, I actually bought this 45 thinking they were a part of the song. Sooo yeah, you might want to tell people this is your remix of it.  Either way thanks for posting. Great tune.”

Hear for yourself =  special ‘REMIX’ of “Victory Strut”

DJ Ol’SkOul likewise provides turntable embellishments for A-side “Camelot Time

History Messing with My Mind Dept.

Recently, in the course of scanning the index in Ruppli’s King Labels sessionography, I was struck by a fairly unusual name: “SACASAS”.  Anselmo Sacasas, it turns out, was a Cuban bandleader who recorded exactly one session for King Records in Miami on April 8, 1955 – four songs recorded, including one tune entitled (hold onto your hats) “Trumpcrazy”!

Billboard‘s reviewer would score this trumpet-heavy “Latino instrumental” a 72 (in the “good” range) in its July 23, 1955 edition.  This extremely obscure 45 was nearly lost to history until an audio clip was posted on YouTube in July of 2016.

“Trumpcrazy”     Sacasas & His Orchestra     1955

For King Records History Fanatics Only:

49-Page Compilation of “Maxi-Tweets” from King Records Month 2018 (pdf file)

Boot: King Hard Rock ’72

Michel Ruppli’s 2-volume King Labels recording session discography indicates that Boot, a “hard rock” outfit, had released their debut album on People, a James Brown-owned subsidiary of Starday-King Records.  But alas, this turns out not to be true, as Boot’s first album was, in fact, issued on Starday-King subsidiary Agape.

34 Euros paid for this LP in 2015

Boot’s album would comprise eight songs, including “Hey Little Girl” and “Liza Brown” (A and B sides, respectively of a 45), plus “Andromeda“; and “Destruction Road.”   Among the tracks left in the can is one curiously titled “Funky Country Music.”

“Hey Little Girl”      Boot     1972

Album Credits – per Discogs:

Dan Eliassen: Bass & Vocals
Jim O’Brock: Percussion
Mike Mycz: Rhythm Guitar & Vocals
Bruce Knox: Lead/Slide Guitar & Vocals
Mike Stone & Peter K. Thomason:  Producers
Michael S. Stone:  [Re-mix] Engineer
David L. Rosenberg:  Photography & Design
Recorded at Starday-King Studios
Distributed by Starday-King Records

Worth noting that this album was reissued on CD in 1986 by German label Lizard Records — although, Discogs reports this work to have been “licensed from Kingston Records.”

Hey, check this out:  Bad Cat Records currently has a listing of the “Hey Little Girl” 45 with a price tag of $85 that also includes some much needed music history:

Hailing from Port Richey, Florida, bassist Dan Eliassen and drummer Jim O’Brock put their first band together in 1972.  Originally known as The Kingsmen, they opted for a name change when the Washington-based Kingsmen scored a hit with ‘Louie Louie’.  Morphing into The Allusions, Eliassen, O’Brock and a changing cast of players continued to perform at local school dances and teen centers.

By 1966 the lineup featured Eliassen, O’Borck, and lead guitarist Bruce Knox and rhythm guitarist Mike Mycz.  They’d also opted for another name change (The Split Ends) as well as moving away from performing largely cover material to penning their own stuff. Signed by the local CPF Records, they also made their recording debut with a 1966 single:  ‘Rich with Nothin’ b/w ‘Endless Sun’ (CPF catalog CPF 4).

The 45 proved a regional hit, opening the door to wider exposure including an opening slot on Dick Clark’s Happening ’67 tour.  That in turn saw them offered an opportunity to compete on Clark’s ‘Happening ’68 television band contest.

In 1969 the quartet decided on another image and name change – this time adopting the moniker Blues Of Our Time – quickly abbreviated to Boot.  With a repertoire of largely original material, the band hit the road playing clubs and concerts nearly non-stop for the next four years.

Released by the Texas-based Agape label, the band debuted with 1972’s cleverly-titled “Boot”.  Co-produced by Mike Stone and Peter Thomason, the album was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee at James Brown’s Starday/King Studio.  With all four members contributing material the album offered up a mixture of blues-rock and blues-rock, with an occasional stab at a more commercial tune.  The band was blessed with three decent singers.  Nothing more than a guess on my part, but judging by the songwriting credits (assuming whoever wrote the track probably handled lead vocals), Mycz seemed to have the tougher-rock voice in the group while Eliassen was gifted with more commercial chops.  Knox fell somewhere in the middle with a modest country-rock feel to his voice.  Knox also showed himself to being an immensely talented lead guitarist — check out his lead work on ‘Hey Little Girl’.