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“Countrypolitan” – 1st Sightings

Paul Hemphill‘s The Nashville Sound: Bright Lights and Country Music — published in 1970 during a particularly vibrant musical era — includes this passage about the pushback against attempts to de-emphasize country’s less “polished” elements in order to increase the music’s appeal in the (more lucrative) “pop” marketplace:

It isn’t really liberalism, of course, that has brought about the recent changes in what used to be country music. Call it free enterprise. Hell, call it money. Galloping capitalism overcame country music during the Sixties, and many examples have already been given (See Singleton, Shelby S. and Owens, Alvis Edgar “Buck”). Good old country boys just flat got tired of watching Eddy Arnold and Dean Martin and Jimmy Dean and Patti Page fancying up country songs and making big money doing it, so they started doing the same thing and demanding their writers give them songs that weren’t so country — “so damned nasal, whiny and scratchy and corny,” said Jack Stapp [of Big Tree Publishing] — and then they started angling for their own network television shows.

And pop stars started going to Nashville to record. And the Nashville sidemen started getting the hang of this pseudo-country music. And the younger guys in Nashville started talking dirty about anybody who still turned out hard-country songs. And business was so good that the music industry was worth almost $100 million a year to Nashville. And somebody started calling it “Countrypolitan” music. And the nation decided that “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour,” rather than the Grand Ole Opry, was the real mirror of country music. And then the people in Nashville started becoming very concerned about their image. We got to get out of this firetrap, they said about the Grand Ole Opry House; which is roughly equivalent to demolishing the Tower of Pisa because it leans funny. Don’t say the fans ride in on buses, Opry management admonished the press, they own their own cars and they average making $10,000 a year.

Maybe country music started in places like Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, but now they don’t want to admit the place exists. Image.

Earliest commercial release that includes the term “countrypolitan:

1967 Warner Bros. LP

The Countrypolitan Sound of Hank Thompson’s Brazos Valley Boys

Nashville’s Crystal Corporation (previously celebrated here and here) issued this undated “countrypolitan” hits collection that was probably released — based on the catalog number, as well as release dates of the tracks within — in 1969:

Two of the least “countrypolitan” instruments — fiddle and banjo

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This 1971 compilation with the striking cover photo includes a dozen lesser-known songs (1966’s “Pablo Diablo” by Dick Hammonds the only one available in streaming audio).

The big city

The dictionary definition on the rear cover of this album performs a valuable public service:

Countrypolitan (adj.) = Belonging to all the world; not confined to local enjoyment; at home in any country. And so it goes with country music today. It is no longer provincial in scope, nor limited to a particular region.

This educational audio clip helps flesh out the concept in a down-home digital way:

A simple “countrypolitan” search of the Discogs database — a mere 39 items, as of February, 2021 — reveals the sad fact that this term never caught on with the public. An analysis of the music literature further supports this view. A “countrypolitan” scan of Billboard‘s back issues, for instance, yields only 49 “hits” (likewise, 19 for Cash Box and 18 for Record World), although a few items reveal some key historical details:

  • Birmingham, Alabama’s WYDE celebrated its third anniversary as a countrypolitan radio station with broad community support, reported Cash Box in its December 21, 1968 edition, as “260 business, civic and governmental leaders” turned out for the event.
  • Four months earlier, WIKI in Chester, Virginia (outside of Richmond) had changed its format from Top 40 to Countrypolitan, as noted in Cash Box‘s August 31, 1968 issue. How come? “WIKI is making the switch because listener surveys, personal interviews and response to the station’s present two and one-half hours daily country programming have indicated an overwhelming preference for C&W music.”
  • Orlando’s WHOO 990 AM went “Countrypolitan” in 1968, says the Ken Burns Team. Zero to 180’s own fact-finding team has even pinned down the launch date, thanks to Billboard, who took photos of some of the 250 clients, agency executives, city officials, record company personnel, and country music artists — including Skeeter Davis and Willie Nelson — who joined Orlando’s 50,000-watt station in celebration of the new music format for Saturday night’s “Shower of Stars” on August 10, 1968.
  • That same year at the National Association of Recording Merchandisers annual convention, Starday promoted its latest releases as the “Starday Countrypolitan Hot Line” [while generously dispensing gift baskets that consisted of “a pouch of stereo flavored Country Cream tobacco raised at Starday’s Five Coves Farm, corncob pipes, and a bottle of Jack Daniels Sippin’ Whiskey”], as reported in Cash Box‘s April 20, 1968 edition. One month prior, Starday’s Don Pierce had told both Cash Box (per the March 9, 1968 issue) and Record World (per the March 9, 1968 issue) that the label will be focusing efforts on the growing “modern Countrypolitan Nashville sound.”
  • A year earlier, Cash Box had noted in its October 28, 1967 “Country Roundup” column that “the need to change the name of country music has already been recognized by a great many individuals in the business, particularly those in radio — the area which is perhaps closest in recognizing public tastes.” Furthermore, “phrases such as ‘Countrypolitan Music’ and [thanks to DC television host, Connie B. Gay] ‘Town & Country Music’ have been springing up with more and more regularity, pointing the way to more modern identification of this particular field.”
  • 1967 would also bear witness to Memphis’s “Chet Atkins Festival of Music” — hosted by ‘The Countrypolitan Gentlemen’ at radio’s WMQM — with live musical entertainment provided by Boots Randolph, Floyd Cramer, and Mr. Guitar himself, Cash Box reported in its May 13, 1967 issue.
  • One of the earlier references to country music’s commercially-oriented “uptown” strain appeared in this news item from Cash Box‘s January 8, 1966 issue:

New York Building Strong C&W Audience

NEW YORK — Yes, Virginia there is country music in New York, and from all early indications, it’s here to stay for quite a while.

Continuing in the successful trend that began a short while back, WJRZ-Newark defied the time-honored theory that sophisticated urbanites, securely entrenched in the concrete-and-steel homestead of New York, automatically rejected the nasal, twangy hillbilly sound as inferior musical product. On Sept. 15, contrary to the odds, the New Jersey station took a gamble and switched to country programming. Aiming at the toughest and largest of urban bastions, the station presented a dignified, “countrypolitan” format that shattered the association of country music with corncob pipes and Hatfield-McCoy-type characterizations. The response that followed was far beyond the station’s expectations. Flooded switch-boards and overworked mailroom personnel became the order of the day at the outlet.”

  • One year later, WJRZ made the news again in Cash Box‘s January 7, 1967 issue when the station’s “Avenue of Tears” countrypolitan show host, Bob Lockwood, appeared on The Joe Franklin Show (one of television’s longest-running programs).
  • This ad from the May 12, 1969 issue of Broadcasting spells out the demographics of the Grand Rapids-area countrypolitan listening audience — note the ways in which the messaging drives home the “counterintuitive” notion that country music fans can be young, urban, and flush with spending money. WJEF’s similar-themed ad from the previous year shows a family with three children unloading picnic supplies from a station wagon (while the ad from the year prior shows a young couple who are said to be, in the parlance of the times, “turned-on“).
  • Cincinnati’s WUBE – noted Record World in their September 30, 1969 issue – took the big countrypolitan plunge, making it the city’s only 24-hour country music station.
  • Stringer Clamps Down on the Use of Countrypolitan” screamed the title in Billboard‘s September 6, 1969 edition — a report on Lou Stringer’s cease-and-desist order to radio stations.
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This might explain why the term is under-represented in the music history in favor of similar verbiage, such as “modern country” and “the Nashville Sound.” Stringer claims to have copyrighted “countrypolitan” in 1966, says Billboard, who pointedly assert that radio station owner, Country Music Association director and philanthropist, Connie B. Gay “has owned the copyright to the name ‘Town and Country,’ but has allowed widespread use of the same.” Stringer is also the publisher behind “tabloid” newsletter/radio tip sheet, The Countrypolitan, whose launch was noted in Billboard‘s April 22, 1967 issue.

.

Earliest Appearance of the Term “Countrypolitan”?

Billboard ad – November 2, 1963

NoNope — need to go back at least ten years:

Broadcasting ad – January 19, 1953

[Same ad can be seen as early as November 1952]

Featured song:

“Blues Stay Away From Me” by The Willis Brothers

Written by Alton Delmore, Rabon Delmore, Henry Glover & Wayne Raney

.Included on Best of The Willis Brothers although never issued as a single release

.

Essay

Modern Country Radio — Friend or Foe?” by Paul W. Soelberg

Billboard — October 17, 1970

King Records — In a Nutshell

What a revelation to find out that World Radio History‘s website allows one and all the ability to systematically search the complete back issues of Cash Box, Billboard, and Record World! What’s really helpful is when the items in the search results are rendered in miniature, thus allowing you to see more readily which articles are actually germane to your search (and not simply “noise”). This recent discovery thus impelled me to pull together a comprehensive bibliography of periodical literature that documents King Records during its years of operation and also shows the impact of its legacy in the decades following Syd Nathan’s passing in 1968. Utilizing journal and newspaper clippings from my own files, as well as bibliographic references from Steven C. Tracy‘s Going to Cincinnati (1993), Jon Hartley Fox‘s King of the Queen City (2009), and David Bottoms‘ sweeping Stacks of Wax – The Complete Story of the Record Labels of Cincinnati, Ohio (2020), plus information gathered on field trips to the Library of Congress’ Recorded Sound Research Center (as well as a two-month trial subscription to Newspapers.com, not to mention gleanings from an early incarnation of this website), I have been able to encapsulate the King story through 75 years or so of news and journal literature.

Just from reading the titles of the articles in the periodical literature cited below, one can take in the magnitude of the King musical legacy — a remarkable span of commercial success for an independent operation that restlessly sought to exploit areas of the marketplace that were insufficiently served by the major labels. This detailed bibliography is a public service provided by Zero to 180 and will continue to be updated over time — please note that some article titles have been enhanced to make the content more explicit and/or “keyword-searchable”:

King Records & Cincinnati Music History in the Periodical Literature

Updated:  February 17, 2021

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1940-1945

  • “Real Estate Transfers” – Cincinnati Enquirer – Jan. 13, 1940
  • “Two Workmen Are Injured In Evanston Tank Explosion” – Cincinnati Enquirer – Feb. 11, 1942
  • “Phonograph Records to Be Made Here” – Cincinnati Times Star – Nov. 1, 1944
  • “Company is Formed; To Make Recordings; Located in Evanston” – Cincinnati Enquirer – Nov. 12, 1944
  • “Deals Include Store Units, Parcel for Sears Expansion” – Cincinnati Enquirer – Dec. 13, 1944

1946

  • “Cincinnati’s Mayor at Aireon Electronic Phonograph Show” – Cash Box – Mar. 25, 1946
  • Ad = DeLuxe Records presents Denver Darling – Record Retailing – April 1946
  • Reviews = Carlisle Bros & Jimmy Widener (King) + Deacon Lem Johnson (Queen) – Cash Box – Aug. 12, 1946
  • Reviews = ‘Missouri’ – Hank Penny (King) + ‘Lost Her Re-Bop’ – Annisteen Allen (Queen) – Cash Box – Aug. 12, 1946
  • Review = ‘Dream Train Engineer’ – Leon Rusk (King) – Cash Box – Sep. 23, 1946
  • NOTE = King & Queen ad with offensive racial stereotypes – Cash Box – Oct. 7, 1946
  • “Two Corporations Replace King Record Company” – Cincinnati Post – Oct. 8, 1946
  • “Strummin’ Geetar Is Music to Millions” by JF Cronin – Cincinnati Enquirer – Nov. 27, 1946

1947

  • Sidney Nathan – ‘Hillbilly Is Our Business‘ (Coin Machine Industries Convention issue) – Cash Box – Jan. 27, 1947
  • Record Manufacturers Meet to Form Trade Association [Suggested by Syd Nathan]” – Cash Box – Mar. 3, 1947
  • King Records Sets Distribution Plans” – Cash Box – April 14, 1947
  • ‘Roly Poly’ by Denver Darling – Bullseye of the Week + ‘Johnson County Blues’ by JE Mainer & His Mountaineers – Cash Box – May 19, 1947
  • ‘Jole Blon’s Sister’ by Moon Mullican – Bullseye of the Week – Cash Box – June 30, 1947

Cash Box ad — July 21, 1947

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  • Review = ‘Do You Ever Worry’ by Boots Woodall & Radio Wranglers – Cash Box – Aug. 4, 1947
  • Ad = “King Proudly Presents Cowboy Copas Exclusive King Artist” [above] – Cash Box – Sep. 1, 1947
  • “King Adds Branch Offices in NYC, Chicago & Charlotte” – Cash Box – Sep. 8, 1947
  • News = Bob Sherman appointed recording director for King Records – Cash Box – Sep. 15, 1947
  • Syd Nathan:  “Music Machine [jukebox] Operators Are Essential Cog in Disc Operation” – Cash Box – Sep. 22, 1947
  • ‘Call Me Darling Once Again’ by Grandpa Jones – Bullseye of the Week – Cash Box – Sep. 22, 1947
  • Syd Nathan quoted in article about Hillbilly Music – Cash Box – Oct. 27, 1947
  • King Records Pacts Wynonie Harris” – Cash Box – Dec. 6, 1947
  • ‘Jamboree’ by Cowboy Copas – Bullseye of the Week – Cash Box – Dec. 20, 1947
  • Reviews = ‘SF Blues’ by Ivory Joe Hunter + ‘Gold Mine in the Sky’ by Lord Essex – Cash Box – Dec. 20, 1947
  • King Records Sign Folk Artist Team” [Curly Fox & Texas Ruby] – Cash Box – Dec. 27, 1947
  • King ad = ‘sepia’ & ‘hillbilly’ – Cash Box – Dec. 27, 1947
  • ‘Good Rocking Tonight’ by Roy Brown = #2 in New Orleans – Cash Box – Dec. 27, 1947
  • ‘I Love You Yes I Do’ by Bull Moose Jackson = #1 in Harlem – Cash Box – Dec. 27, 1947

Jukebox operators: . key vinyl market

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1948

  • News = 300 stations request copy of a Christmas greeting from Grandpa Jones, Delmore Bros, Cowboy Copas, Lightcrust Doughboys, Hank Penny, Bill Carlisle & the York BrosCash Box – Jan. 10, 1948
  • ‘I Love You Yes I Do’ by Bull Moose Jackson = #1 in Harlem – Cash Box – Jan. 10, 1948
  • ‘I Love You Yes I Do’ by Bull Moose Jackson = #1 in New Orleans – Cash Box – Jan. 10, 1948
  • ‘I Love You Yes I Do’ by Bull Moose Jackson = #1 in Harlem – Cash Box – Feb. 7, 1948
  • ‘Waltz of the Wind’ by Clyde Moody – Bullseye of the Week + ‘Signed, Sealed & Delivered’ by Cowboy Copas – #2 folk-hillbilly hit – Cash Box – Feb. 14, 1948
  • News = Hank Penny makes TV debut as MC for WLWT’s ‘Musical Ponies’ + King publishes song folios for Grandpa Jones & Cowboy Copas – Billboard – Feb. 21, 1948
  • ‘I Love You Yes I Do’ by Bull Moose Jackson – #1 in New Orleans – Cash Box – Feb. 21, 1948
  • ‘Signed Sealed Delivered’ by Cowboy Copas – #1 folk-hillbilly jukebox hit – Cash Box – Feb. 21, 1948
  • “King Expands to 14 Distributors – Banner Year” – Cash Box – Feb. 28, 1948
  • “King Diskery Adds Eight Distribution Arms – Sid Nathan Elected Prexy’ – Billboard – Feb. 28, 1948
  • Ad = ‘All My Love Belongs to You’ by Bull Moose Jackson – Cash Box – Mar. 6, 1948
  • ‘I Love You Yes I Do’ by Bull Moose Jackson – #1 in Harlem – Cash Box – Mar. 6, 1948
  • ‘I Love You Yes I Do’ by Bull Moose Jackson – #1 in New Orleans – Cash Box – Mar. 6, 1948
  • ‘Phil Grogan Joins King to Expand Juke Box & Radio Effort’ – Cash Box – Mar. 13, 1948
  • News = Hank Penny makes TV debut on WLWT – Cash Box – Mar. 13, 1948
  • ‘I Love You Yes I Do’ by Bull Moose Jackson – #1 on LA’s Central Ave – Cash Box – Mar. 20, 1948
  • ‘All My Love Belongs to You’ by Bull Moose Jackson – #1 on Chicago’s South Side – Cash Box – Mar. 27, 1948
  • “King Adds 3 New Distributors – DC, Detroit & Atlanta” – Cash Box – Mar. 27, 1948
  • Review = ‘Good Rocking Tonight‘ by Wynonie Harris + ‘Whose Hat’ by Roy Brown – Cash Box – Apr. 3, 1948
  • ‘All My Love Belongs to You’ by Bull Moose Jackson – #1 in Harlem – Cash Box – Apr. 10, 1948
  • Front-page story about Harry Carlson of Fraternity Records – Cincinnati Times-Star – Apr. 10, 1948
  • News = WCKY’s Nelson King cuts ‘Deck of Cards’ for King – strong early sales – Billboard – Apr. 17, 1948
  • ‘Good Rocking Tonight’ by Wynonie Harris – #1 in New Orleans – Cash Box – May 8, 1948
  • “King Records Pact Folk Singer Jimmie Osborne” – Cash Box – June 12, 1948
  • “King’s Solid Disk Sales” – Cincinnati label establishing itself as both hillbilly and “race diskery” – Billboard – June 19, 1948
  • ‘Tennessee Moon’ by Cowboy Copas – Bullseye of the Week – Cash Box – July 3, 1948
  • ‘Tomorrow Night’ by Lonnie Johnson – #1 in Harlem – Cash Box – July 17, 1948
  • “King Offers [Jukebox] Operators 5% Return – Only Given Dealers in Past” – Billboard – Jul. 17, 1948
  • ‘King Records Gives Music Ops 5% Return Privilege + Buys Ravens & Gant Masters – Cash Box – July 24, 1948
  • ‘Sweeter Than the Flowers’ by Moon Mullican – #3 folk-hillbilly jukebox hit – Cash Box – Aug. 7, 1948
  • ‘Can’t Go On Without You’ by Bull Moose Jackson – #1 in Harlem – Cash Box – Aug. 14, 1948
  • “Cowboy Copas Inks Pact with King, WSM” – Billboard – Aug. 21, 1948
  • ‘Don’t Fall in Love with Me’ – #1 in New Orleans – Cash Box – Aug. 28, 1948
  • “King to Distribute Other Labels” + “King to Allow 100% Returns on Folk Disks” – Billboard – Sep. 11, 1948
  • ‘Can’t Go On Without You’ by Bull Moose Jackson – #1 in New Orleans – Cash Box – Sep. 11, 1948
  • Reviews = ‘Stardust’ by Lord Nelson & ‘Hogan’s Alley’ by Cecil Gant – Cash Box – Sep. 18, 1948
  • ‘What My Eyes See’ by Moon Mullican – Bullseye of the Week – Cash Box – Sep. 25, 1948
  • “King Enters Pop Field” – Record Retailing – October 1948
  • “King Adds New Branch in Philadelphia” – Record Retailing – November 1948
  • Full-page King/DeLuxe Christmas-themed ad – Record Retailing – November 1948
  • “King Diskery Sets Distribution for Canada” – Billboard – Nov. 13, 1948

Billboard ad — Nov. 27, 1948

  • ‘Sweeter Than the Flowers’ by Moon Mullican – #2 folk-hillbilly jukebox hit – Cash Box – Nov. 27, 1948
  • ‘DeLuxe Sets Up West Coast Office’ + ‘King Signs Wayne Raney of XERF’ – Cash Box – Dec. 25, 1948

Four of the Top 10 R&B Crescent City jukebox hits for Apr. 24, 1948: . King Records

1949

  • “Record Companies Sign Agreement with Petrillo” – Record Retailing – January 1949
  • “King Records See Bright Future in Disk Biz with Ban at End” – Cash Box – Jan. 1, 1949
  • King ad = Thank you for 1948’s many hits! – Cash Box – Jan. 22, 1949
  • “King Eyes Race Biz; Inks (Earl) Bostic, (Todd) Rhodes” – Billboard – Jan. 22, 1949
  • “Juke Box Operator’s $6 Debt Makes Hillbilly Hits” by Jack Ramey – Cincinnati Enquirer – Feb. 6, 1949
  • News = King has ‘pacted’ The Satisfiers, Louise Carlyle & Geo Hudson Orch + Syd Nathan & Henry Glover ‘cutting’ Ivory Joe Hunter, Marian Abernathy & the Jubilaires – Billboard – Feb. 26, 1949
  • “King Records Bow into Pop Platter Field” – Cash Box – Feb. 26, 1949
  • “King Enters Pop Field” – Dewey Bergman & Henry Glover – Record Retailing – March 1949
  • Street addresses for all 20 King distributors Record Retailing – March 1949
  • ‘Feel That Old Age Coming On’ by Wynonie Harris – Race Disk of the Week Cash Box – Mar. 5, 1949
  • ‘I Know What It Means to Be Lonesome’ by Clyde Moody – Bullseye of the Week – Cash Box – Mar. 12, 1949
  • “Record Firm Here Smashes Jim Crow; Workers’ Positions, Pay Keyed to Ability” – Jerry Ransohoff – Cincinnati Post – Mar. 21, 1949
  • ‘Rocking at Midnight’ by Roy Brown = #1 in New Orleans – Cash Box – Mar. 26, 1949
  • News = Syd Nathan’s West Coast jaunt includes visit with Four Star’s Bill McCall + Roy Brown’s ‘Rockin’ at Midnight’ (produced by Al Sherman) doing wellCash Box – Apr. 2, 1949
  • “King Records Announce Disk Price Policy” – Cash Box – Apr. 30, 1949
  • “King Adds 11 New Branches [Birmingham, Memphis, Kansas City, Denver, Minneapolis, Buffalo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Norfolk, Charleston WV]” – Record Retailing – May 1949
  • Al Grant & Louise Carlyle = King’s two promising pop vocalistsRecord Retailing – May 1949
  • Editorial:  “The Record Business – No Place for Prejudice” – Record Retailing – May 1949
  • Full-page King-DeLuxe ‘hillbilly’ & ‘sepia’ ad – Record Retailing – May 1949
  • “Country Music Enjoys Greatest Popularity” – Paul Cohen, Decca Records – Record Retailing – May 1949
  • “New Look for 3 R’s:  Record Retailing by Radio” — Nelson King of Cinti’s WCKY – Record Retailing – May 1949
  • [King] Disk Fund to Kid Hospital” [‘Death of Kathy Fiscus’ by Jimmy Osbourne] – Billboard – May 21, 1949
  • ‘Over the Hill’ by Clyde Moody – Bullseye of the Week – Cash Box – May 21, 1949
  • “King Records Pact Harry Prime & Lucas Ork” – Cash Box – May 28, 1949
  • “Crosley Radio-TV Sales Up” – Record Retailing – June 1949
  • “King Hits New High” – 800,000 monthly sales – Record Retailing – June 1949
  • “King Signs Johnny Long & Vincent Lopez” – Record Retailing – June 1949
  • ‘Wrong to Love You Like I Do’ by Cowboy Copas – Bullseye of the Week – Cash Box – June 4, 1949
  • King Records Hypo Folk Festival in [Blackstone] VA” – Cash Box – June 18, 1949
  • ‘Little Girl Don’t Cry’ by Bull Moose Jackson #1 in LA + ‘Waiting in Vain’ by Ivory Joe #2 in Chicago – Cash Box – June 25, 1949
  • ‘Little Girl Don’t Cry’ by Bull Moose Jackson #1 in LA + ‘Waiting in Vain’ by Ivory Joe #2 in New Orleans – Cash Box – July 2, 1949
  • ‘The Longer We’re Together’ by Hawkshaw Hawkins – Bullseye of the Week + Paul Howard & Ark Cotton Pickers – Cash Box – July 9, 1949
  • ‘Little Girl Don’t Cry’ by Bull Moose Jackson – #1 on Chicago’s South Side – Cash Box – July 16, 1949
  • “Crosley Announces Portable TV” – Record Retailing –August 1949
  • “DeLuxe & Day [Miltone, Sacred & Foto labels] Master Exchange” – Record Retailing –August 1949
  • Review = ‘Blues Stay Away From Me’ by Delmore Brothers – Cash Box – Aug. 13, 1949
  • ‘Package Tied in Blue’ by Johnny Rion – Bullseye of the Week + Texas Ruby & Curly Fox + Cope Brothers 78s – Cash Box – Aug. 27, 1949
  • “King and DeLuxe Split Confirmed by Syd Nathan” – Billboard – Sep. 3, 1949
  • ‘Why Don’t You Haul Off and Love Me’ by Wayne Raney – #2 folk-hillbilly hit – Cash Box – Oct. 8, 1949
  • ‘Love Sick Blues’ by Hank Williams (#1) + ‘Haul Off’ by Wayne Raney (#2) – Cash Box – Oct. 15, 1949
  • “Henry Stone Opens New Distribution Firm [in Miami]” – Cash Box – Oct. 22, 1949
  • ‘My Bucket’s Got a Hole In It’ by Hank Williams – Bullseye of the Week – Cash Box – Nov. 12, 1949
  • ‘Guess Who’ by Ivory Joe Hunter – #1 in New Orleans  – Cash Box – Nov. 12, 1949
  • ‘Love Sick Blues’ by Hank Williams (#1) + ‘Haul Off’ by Wayne Raney (#2) – Cash Box – Nov. 12, 1949
  • News = WCKY’s Nelson King (top national DJ) named A&R advisor-producer for King – Billboard – Nov. 19, 1949
  • ‘Love Sick Blues’ – 1949’s Hillbilly Record of the Year = Jukebox Operators of America Poll Winners – Cash Box – Dec. 3, 1949
  • ‘Why Don’t You Haul Off and Love Me’ by Wayne Raney (#2) + ‘Blues Stay Away’ by Delmore Bros (#3) hillbilly-folk jukebox hits – Cash Box – Dec. 10, 1949
  • Reviews = Johnny Rion (King) + Rex Allen with Jerry Byrd & the String Dusters recorded at Herzog Studios (Mercury) – Cash Box – Dec. 17, 1949

All three Hank Williams songs (below) recorded at E.T. Herzog Studios — Cincinnati

  • Ad = ‘Thanks from Hank’ – ‘Love Sick Blues1949’s #1 hillbilly recordCash Box – Dec. 24, 1949
  • “Nathan-Braun DeLuxe Fuss Erupts in Court Litigation” – Billboard – Dec. 31, 1949
  • ‘Why Don’t You Haul Off and Love Me’ by Wayne Raney + ‘Blues Stay Away’ by Delmore Bros + ‘My Bucket’s Got a Hole In It’ by Hank Williams = Top 5 folk-hillbilly hits – Cash Box – Dec. 31, 1949

1950

  • “The Man Who Is King [Syd Nathan]” – Saga – January, 1950

[NoteAccording to Jon Hartley Fox, this article presents information on Syd Nathan “that formed a basis for subsequent discussions of him in print”]

  • ‘Blues Stay Away From Me’ by Delmore Bros – (still) #3 folk-hillbilly jukebox hit – Cash Box – Jan. 7, 1950
  • “Paul Cohen Named Sales Manager Decca’s Country-Sepia Department” – Cash Box – Jan. 7, 1950
  • ‘Blues Stay Away From Me’ by Delmore Bros – #2 folk-hillbilly jukebox hit – Cash Box – Jan. 14, 1950
  • ‘I Love You Because’ by Clyde Moody – Bullseye of the Week – Cash Box – Jan. 14, 1950
  • ‘Blues Stay Away From Me’ by Delmore Bros – #2 folk-hillbilly jukebox hit – Cash Box – Jan. 28, 1950
  • ‘I Love My Baby’s Pudding’ by Wynonie Harris – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Feb. 18, 1950
  • “King Now Operating 33 Factory Owned Branches” – Cash Box – Feb. 18, 1950
  • King Records Spikes Rumors on Chi(cago) Branch Closing” – Cash Box – Feb. 25 1950
  • “King Records Spike False Rumors About Closing Branches” – Record Retailing – March 1950
  • Syd Nathan quoted in “Record Industry Hails Music Operators of America Meet as Smash Success” – Cash Box – Mar. 15, 1950
  • ‘A Fool in Love’ by Bull Moose Jackson – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Mar. 25, 1950
  • King Set For Big Promotion in Pop Field” – Cash Box – Apr. 8, 1950
  • King Revamps; Back in Pops” – Billboard – Apr. 8, 1950
  • “King Adds Shorty Long, Mabel Scott & Wild Bill Moore to Roster” – Cash Box – Apr. 15, 1950
  • Syd Nathan on the run = LA sessions with Hank Penny; Moon Mullican sessions in Odessa, TX; Paul Howard session in Shreveport & Grandpa Jones-York Brothers sessions in CincinnatiCash Box – Apr. 22, 1950
  • “King Confusion” = Joe Thomas vs. Joe Thomas – Record Retailing – May 1950
  • ‘Say You Were Wrong’ by Clyde Moody – Bullseye of the Week + ‘Al Dexter Signs King Wax Pact’ + Zeb Turner 78 – Cash Box – June 3, 1950
  • ‘Southern Hospitality’ by Moon Mullican – Bullseye of the Week + Al Dexter & Hank Penny 78s – Cash Box – June 24, 1950
  • King signs Lucky Millinder to long-term pact + ad on facing page – Record Retailing –July 1950
  • ‘Well Oh Well’ by Tiny Bradshaw – #1 on LA’s Central Ave – Cash Box – July 1, 1950
  • ‘Good Morning Judge’ by Wynonie Harris – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – July 1, 1950
  • ‘Hard Luck Blues’ by Roy Brown – #1 in LA – Cash Box – July 8, 1950

Cash Box — July 15, 1950

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  • Ad = “King Goes Direct to Writers for New Songs” – Billboard – July 22, 1950
  • Reviews = Zeb Turner & Redd Stewart (King) + Red Kirk with Jerry Byrd & String Dusters @ Herzog Studios (Mercury) – Cash Box – July 29, 1950
  • “King Told to Pull Moon Mullican Disk” – Billboard – July 29, 1950
  • ‘Well Oh Well’ by Tiny Bradshaw – #1 in LA – Cash Box – Aug. 5, 1950
  • ‘I’ll Sail My Ship Alone’ by Moon Mullican – #2 folk-hillbilly hit – Cash Box – Aug. 12, 1950
  • Review = ‘Hi De Ho Boogie’ by Al Dexter – Cash Box – Aug. 19, 1950
  • ‘Well Oh Well’ by Tiny Bradshaw (#1) & ‘Hard Luck Blues by Roy Brown (#2) in Detroit – Cash Box – Aug. 19, 1950
  • ‘I’ll Sail My Ship Alone’ by Moon Mullican – #2 folk-hillbilly hit – Cash Box – Sep.  9, 1950
  • ‘Rock Mr Blues’ by Wynonie Harris – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Sep.  9, 1950
  • ‘Want to Love You Baby’ by Wynonie Harris – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Oct.  14, 1950
  • “King Signs Margaret Phelan” – King’s first ‘name’ signing – Cash Box – Nov. 4, 1950
  • “King Sets New Tag – Federal” + “King Buys Miracle Masters”– Billboard – Nov. 4, 1950
  • “King Sets New Label – Federal” – Cash Box – Nov. 18, 1950
  • ‘Breaking Up the House’ by Tiny Bradshaw – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Dec. 2, 1950
  • ‘Teardrops From My Eyes’ by Hawkshaw Hawkins – Bullseye of the Week + Bob Newman, Moon Mullican & Al Dexter 78s – Cash Box – Dec. 9, 1950
  • Ad introducing King’s new Federal label, under the leadership of Ralph BassCash Box – Dec. 16, 1950
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  • “Federal Releases 1st Record” – Ralph Bass with Billy Ward & Dominoes – Cash Box – Dec. 16, 1950 [BLOOPER = incorrect photo]
  • Federal Releases 1st Record” – Ralph Bass with Billy Ward & DominoesCash Box – Dec. 23, 1950
  • News = Ralph Bass – new A&R director of Federal – Cash Box – Dec. 23, 1950
  • “Brauns File DeLuxe Suit” – Billboard – Dec. 30, 1950

1951

  • News = Ralph Bass: off to a good start + reference to Saga‘s January 1950 Syd Nathan profileCash Box – Jan. 20, 1951
  • “King Signs Little Esther, Goes Into 45 Line” – Billboard – Jan. 20, 1951
  • ‘Other Lips, Other Arms’ by Little Esther – Award o’ the Week’ – Cash Box – Mar. 3, 1951
  • ‘Short But Sweet’ by Moon Mullican – Bullseye of the Week – Cash Box – Mar. 3, 1951
  • King, Federal Open in NY, Shift Staffers” – Billboard – Mar. 10, 1951
  • Chew Tobacco Rag‘ by Zeb Turner – Bullseye of the Week – Cash Box – Mar. 10, 1951
  • ‘Goodnight Cincinnati, Good Morning Tennessee’ by “Louie” Innes & String Dusters – Bullseye of the Week + King-Federal 78s – Cash Box – Mar. 17, 1951
  • “King Signs Hillbilly Star (Neal Burris)” – Cash Box – Mar. 17, 1951
  • Reviews = Hank Penny & Grandpa Jones (King) + Tex Atchison (Federal) – Cash Box – Mar. 31, 1951
  • King staffers Howard Kessel, Jim Wilson, and Mary Lou Smith referenced in “More Notes for MOA Convention” – Cash Box – April 7, 1951
  • “King to Open New Distribution Centers (Butte, Knoxville & Columbia SC et al)” – Cash Box – May 12, 1951
  • “King Drives for Added Sales” – branch offices switched to sales – Cash Box – June 2, 1951
  • News = Syd Nathan & Ralph Bass sign Charles Maxwell & Preston Love after southern talent searchBillboard – June 2, 1951
  • ‘I Got a Lot of Time For a Lot of Things’ by Zeb Turner – Bullseye of the Week – Cash Box – June 2, 1951
  • Reviews = Hank Penny (King) + Cowboy Jack Derrick (Federal) – Cash Box – June 16, 1951
  • Reviews = Bill Carlisle (Federal) + Louis Innes & String Dusters (Mercury) – Cash Box – June 30, 1951
  • ‘Cherokee Boogie’ by Moon Mullilcan – Bullseye of the Week – Cash Box – July 7, 1951
  • ‘Sixty Minute Man’ by Dominoes – #1 in Harlem & New Orleans – Cash Box – July 7, 1951
  • ‘Tennessee Flat Guitar’ by Cowboy Copas – Bullseye of the Week – Cash Box – July 14, 1951
  • ‘Sixty Minute Man’ by Dominoes – #1 in Harlem – Cash Box – July 21, 1951
  • ‘Sixty Minute Man’ by Dominoes – #1 in Harlem & Chicago – Cash Box – Aug. 11, 1951
  • ‘Tennessee Choo Choo’ by Delmore Bros – Bullseye of the Week – Cash Box – Aug. 11, 1951
  • [Elliott] Lawrence Gets Disking Mates [Cowboy Copas & Melvin Moore]” + two-year pact with KingBillboard – Aug. 11, 1951
  • News = Bull Moose Jackson to be known as ‘Moose’ Jackson at the behest of Syd Nathan – ‘Cherokee Boogie’ first release with new monikerBillboard – Aug. 18, 1951
  • Lucky Millinder & Henry Glover gossip item – Philadelphia Inquirer – Aug. 24, 1951
  • ‘Sixty Minute’ by Dominoes #1 in Dallas + ‘Sleep’ by Earl Bostic #1 in LA – Cash Box – Aug. 25, 1951
  • “King Places New Emphasis on Pop Field” – Cash Box – Sep. 1, 1951
  • “King Sings [Larry] Fotine” = staff arranger for Sammy Kaye – Billboard – Sep. 1, 1951
  • “Eli Oberstein Joins King As Head of Pop Division” – Cash Box – Sep. 8, 1951
  • “Eli Oberstein to Guide King Pop Disk Line” – Billboard – Sep. 8, 1951
  • ‘Sixty Minute Man’ by Dominoes – #1 in Harlem – Cash Box – Sep. 15, 1951
  • Oberstein Begins Major Talent Hunt for King” – Cash Box – Sep. 22, 1951
  • “King Plans to Cover All Hillbilly Hits” – Cash Box – Sep. 29, 1951
  • Eli Oberstein joins King to boost their pop division – Record Retailing – October 1951
  • Top Ten R&B Jukebox hits = ‘Sixty Minute Man’ (#1) + Lucky Millinder, Wynonie Harris & The Swallows – Billboard – Oct. 6, 1951
  • ‘Flamingo’ by Earl Bostic – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Oct. 20, 1951
  • ‘Heartless Lover’ by Moon Mullican – Bullseye of the Week – Cash Box – Oct. 20, 1951
  • Reviews = Moon Mullican, Neal Burris & Zeb Turner King 78s – Cash Box – Oct. 27, 1951
  • “Ralph Bass Heads Coast Office for Federal – Signs Artists” – Cash Box – Dec. 1, 1951
  • ‘Lovin’ Machine’ by Wynonie Harris – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Dec. 15, 1951
  • Reviews = ‘It Ain’t the Meat’ – The Swallows (King) + ‘Crying Blues’ – Little Esther (Federal) – Cash Box – Dec. 15, 1951
  • Reviews = Bettie Clooney + Burnie Peacock Orchestra + Elliot Lawrence Orchestra King 78s – Cash Box – Dec. 29, 1951

A whopping four King and two Federal releases reviewed in the April 19, 1952 edition

1952

  • News from LA = Ralph Bass + Little Esther + ‘Prof Bald Head’ Byrd + Baby Shirley new item – Cash Box – Jan. 5, 1952
  • “King Goes All Out on Promotion for New Teddy Phillips Disk” – Cash Box – Jan. 19, 1952
  • ‘Good Rockin’ Man’ by Roy Brown – #1 in LA – Cash Box – Feb. 2, 1952
  • “[Eli] Oberstein Will Quit King Post for Own Firms” – Billboard – Feb. 16, 1952
  • ‘Everybody’s Got a Girl But Me’ by Hawkshaw Hawkins – Bullseye of the Week – Cash Box – Feb. 23, 1952
  • Review = ‘Train Kept a Rollin” (as a B-side) – Cash Box – Feb. 23, 1952
  • News = Syd Nathan & Henry Glover to head up King’s pop division at month’s end when Eli Oberstein departs to pursue his own commercial venture – Billboard – Mar. 1, 1952
  • Review = Delmore Bros & Grandpa Jones 78s – Cash Box – Mar. 1, 1952
  • News = King’s west coast office on Pico Blvd for Ralph Bass – Cash Box – Mar. 15, 1952
  • Reviews – ‘Nosey Joe’ by Moose Jackson + ‘Last Laugh’ by Roy Brown – Cash Box – Mar. 15, 1952
  • “Dewey Bergman Named King Pop A& R Head by Nathan” – Cash Box – Mar. 22, 1952
  • ‘Better Beware’ by Little Esther – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Apr. 12, 1952
  • ‘Keep on Churnin” by Wynonie Harris – Award o’ the Week [one of six King/Federal 78s reviewed] – Cash Box – Apr. 19, 1952
  • Syd Nathan, King Prexy, First to Agree to One Tone [Recording] Level Meeting” – Cash Box – Apr. 19, 1952
  • News = Earl Bostic post-near-fatal car accident en route to one-nighter – Cash Box – Apr. 26, 1952 (pictured belowwith John Coltrane, in all likelihood)
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Happy 10th Anniversary, Cash Box from King Records — June 28, 1952

  • ‘Have Mercy Baby’ by The Dominoes – #1 in Harlem, Chicago’s South Side, New Orleans, Dallas & LA – Cash Box – June 28, 1952
  • Reviews = ‘Grant It Lord’ by Swan’s Silvertone Singers + ‘Lay It on the Line’ by Tiny Bradshaw – Cash Box – July 5, 1952
  • “Musical Platters … Made in Cincinnati” – Cincinnati Enquirer – July 6, 1952 [Sunday Magazine]
  • News = 1st recording session for Jimmy Witherspoon, signed by Ralph Bass, who also signed Big Jay McNeelyCash Box – July 12, 1952
  • Reviews = ‘My Ding a Ling’ by Dave Bartholomew (King) + Preston Love & The Four Internes (Federal) – Cash Box – July 12, 1952
  • Reviews = Delmore Bros, Jimmy Thomason & Bob Newman King 78s – Cash Box – July 26, 1952
  • “Unknown Warblers [i.e., Ruby Wright & Dick Noel] Sought in ‘Bible’ of Theatrical Trade Revealed in Cincinnati” – Cincinnati Times-Star – Aug. 20, 1952
  • Syd Nathan Off to Europe [for Licensing Deals in Various Countries]” – Cash Box – Sep. 6, 1952
  • “Syd Nathan to Europe for Looksee” – Billboard – Sep. 13, 1952
  • Reviews = Delmore Bros, Brown’s Ferry Four & Howdy Kemp King 78s – Cash Box – Sep. 20, 1952
  • Reviews = Spirit of Memphis Quartet + The Royals + Sarah McLawler + Kitty Mann King 78s – Cash Box – Sep. 20, 1952
  • Reviews = Jimmy Witherspoon (Federal) + Jimmy Rushing & Eddie ‘Cleanhead’ Vinson (King) 78s – Cash Box – Sep. 27, 1952
  • ‘I’d Be Satisfied’ by Billy Ward & Dominoes – Award o’ the Week + ‘Big Jay Shuffle’ by Big Jay McNeely – Cash Box – Oct. 18, 1952
  • “Syd Nathan Acquires Hot Lips Page Masters on European Trip” – Cash Box – Oct. 18, 1952
  • Reviews = Delmore Bros, Jimmy Ballard & York Bros King 78s – Cash Box – Nov. 15, 1952
  • “Syd Nathan Finds American Music Creates European Goodwill” – Cash Box – Nov. 15, 1952
  • ‘Night’s Curtains’ by The Checkers – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Nov. 22, 1952
  • Review of 3 King 78s – Wayne Raney, Moon Mullican & Jimmie Osborne – Cash Box – Nov. 22, 1952
  • ‘Love Me Now’ by Cowboy Copas – Bullseye of the Week + Rabon Delmore dies – Cash Box – Dec. 20, 1952

17 years later, Lou Reed would release an album titled after, and inspired by, this song

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  • The Bellsby Billy Ward & DominoesAward o’ the WeekCash Box – Dec. 20, 1952
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1953

  • Tiny Bradshaw’s ‘Soft’ – Award o’ the Week + Wynonie Harris, Big Jay McNeely & Lucky Millinder 78s – Cash Box – Jan. 10, 1953
  • ‘Tangled Heart’ by Hawkshaw Hawkins – Bullseye of the Week – Cash Box – Jan. 17, 1953
  • Reviews = Hot Lips Page & Spirit of Memphis Quartet (King) + Ray Charles (Rockin’) + Spiritual Harmonizers (Glory) – Cash Box – Jan. 24, 1953

One of Ray Charlesearliest recordings!

King’s Rockinsubsidiary label

  • ‘Clyde McPhatter Claimed by Federal & Atlantic’ + ‘Essex Named King Distributor in NJ’ – Cash Box – June 13, 1953
  • ‘Tennessee Wig Walk’ by Bonnie Lou – Bullseye of the Week – Cash Box – June 13, 1953
  • [Dewey] Bergman Quits King A&R Post” – Billboard – June 27, 1953
  • Syd Nathan – Form Letter Has [Publishers] Reflecting” – Billboard – June 27, 1953
  • [Al] Miller to Quit Victor, Return as King Exec” – Billboard – July 4, 1953
  • “Al Miller Returns to King Records” – Cash Box – July 4, 1953
  • “King Makes New Union Tie-Up” – Cash Box – July 4, 1953
  • ”King Hops Into ‘Hound [Dog]’ Hassle” – Billboard – Aug. 1, 1953
  • News = Ralph Bass Makes Great Talent PredictionCash Box – Aug. 8, 1953
  • Reviews = Jimmie Osborne (King) + Joe Asher (Rockin’) – Cash Box – Aug. 15, 1953
  • News = Syd Nathan hosts cocktail party at home to celebrate the return of Al Miller – Billboard – Aug. 22, 1953
  • News = Syd Nathan & Henry Glover Take PA Turnpike to NYCCash Box – Aug. 22, 1953
  • ‘South of the Orient’ by Tiny Bradshaw – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Oct. 24, 1953
  • ‘Rags to Riches’ by Billy Ward & Dominoes – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Oct. 31, 1953
  • King Signs Carl Lebow As A&R Head” – Cash Box – Nov. 21, 1953
  • “King Records Copyright Lawsuit Settled” – Cash Box – Nov. 28, 1953
  • Ralph Bass cuts sessions for Mickey Rooney + ‘Rags to Riches’ by Dominoes selling well – Cash Box – Nov. 28, 1953
  • Jerry Byrd = Grand Ole Opry artist bio + Congratulations WSM from King Records – Cash Box – Nov. 28, 1953
  • King Takes on 3 New Labels” [Four Star, Gilt Edge & Big Town] – Billboard – Dec. 5, 1953
  • King to Handle Distribution of Four Star Thru Its Company Owned Branches” – Cash Box – Dec. 5, 1953

1954

  • News = ‘Midwestern Hayride’ to feed their show via NBC-TV coast-to-coast – Cash Box – June 12, 1954
  • Work With Me Annie‘ by The Midnighters#1 R&B hitCash Box – June 12, 1954
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  • ‘Work With Me Annie’ by The Midnighters – #1 in NYC & New Orleans – Cash Box – June 19, 1954
  • ‘Spider Web’ by Tiny Bradshaw – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – June 26, 1954
  • ‘Mambolino’ by Earl Bostic – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – July 3, 1954
  • ‘Work With Me Annie’ by The Midnighters – #1 R&B hit – Cash Box – July 3, 1954
  • ‘Work With Me Annie’ by The Midnighters = #1 in Chicago, SF & Newark – Cash Box – July 17, 1954
  • “Apollo and King in Hassle Over Right to ‘5’ Royales” – Cash Box – July 31, 1954
  • News = Marvin Novak, Miami King distributor, to join Syd Nathan on hillbilly talent searchBillboard – July 31, 1954
  • “Three Legal Actions Involve Music Trade” = Apollo vs King Records – Five Royales – Billboard – July 31, 1954
  • ‘Gonna Run It Down’ by 5 Royales – Award o’ the Week + Brother Claude Ely – Cash Box – Aug. 14, 1954
  • ‘Annie Had a Baby’ by The Midnighters – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Aug. 28, 1954
  • “King Portable Designed for College Trade” – Billboard – Aug. 28, 1954
  • Billy Ward & Dominoes + Midnighters – R&B Ramblings – Cash Box – Sep. 4, 1954
  • Midnighters rack up 3rd straight hit in ‘Annie’ series written by Glover & NathanCash Box – Sep. 4, 1954
  • ‘Annie’ trilogy by The Midnighters – Top 6 R&B – Cash Box – Sep. 18, 1954
  • ‘Annie’ trilogy by The Midnighters – Top 7 R&B – Cash Box – Oct. 2, 1954
  • ‘Annie’ trilogy by The Midnighters – Top 8 R&B – Cash Box – Oct. 16, 1954
  • News = Henry Stone, A&R for DeLuxe, who accompanied Syd Nathan & Marvin Novak on talent expedition, raving about ‘Hearts of Stone’ by The Charms (to be recut by Louis Innis for ‘hillbilly’ market)Billboard – Oct. 16, 1954
  • News = Pee Wee King’s show on WLW-TV doing well + ‘Midwestern Hayride’ celebrates 6 years on TV – Cash Box – Oct. 16, 1954
  • ‘Monkey Hips With Rice’ by 5 Royales – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Oct. 23, 1954
  • ‘Annie’s Aunt Fannie’ by The Midnighters – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Oct. 30, 1954
  • Midnighters release 4th single in ‘Annie’ seriesCash Box – Oct. 30, 1954
  • Syd Nathan – ‘Blue material not tolerated‘ – Cash Box – Nov. 6, 1954
  • Nathan reports ‘Hearts of Stone’ sales spill over into popCash Box – Nov. 20, 1954
  • Survey by King Records show that 45 rpm is fast becoming the preferred speed – Cash Box – Nov. 20, 1954
  • Henry Stone says ‘Money Money Money’ by King artist Johnny & Mack is ‘coming up fast’ – Cash Box – Nov. 20, 1954
  • ‘Hearts of Stone’ by The Charms – #3 R&B hit – Cash Box – Dec. 4, 1954
  • ‘Liebestraum’ by Earl Bostic – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Dec. 4, 1954
  • Henry Stone says ‘Hearts of Stone’ biggest record in US – hillbilly, pop + r&b – Cash Box – Dec. 11, 1954
  • News – Bob Shreve in TV show ‘Surprise’ to replace Paul Dixon’s afternoon show – Cash Box – Dec. 11, 1954
  • ‘Stingy Little Thing’ by Midnighters + ‘Mambo Sh-mambo’ by The Charms – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Dec. 11, 1954
  • ‘Hearts of Stone’ by Red Foley – Bullseye of the Week – Cash Box – Dec. 18, 1954
  • ‘Hearts of Stone’ by The Charms – #1 in Atlanta, Nashville & Shoals, IN– Cash Box – Dec. 18, 1954
  • ‘Hearts of Stone’ by The Charms – #1 in New Orleans & Memphis – Cash Box – Dec. 18, 1954
  • Hearts of Stone‘ by The Charms#1 R&B hitCash Box – Dec. 25, 1954

Music — the perfect gift

  • News = WLW to replace Pee Wee King’s TV show with Eddie Cantor on films – Cash Box – Dec. 25, 1954

1955

  • King signs Lucky Millinder + Thanks from Midnighters1954’s #1 R&B groupCash Box – Jan. 1, 1955
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  • LA News = Ralph Bass in hot seat over risque R&B – Cash Box – Feb. 19, 1955
  • News = The Midwesterners, WLW’s top square dance troupe, fly to Hollywood to film ‘Second Greatest Sex’ – Cash Box – Feb. 19, 1955
  • News = ‘More people in show business hail from the Queen City than from any other American city’ – Cash Box – Mar. 5, 1955
  • King Records supplies Bill Doggett instrumental for Cincinnati ‘Name That Tune’ contest – Cash Box – Mar. 12, 1955
  • ‘Mohawk Squaw’ by 5 Royales – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Mar. 19, 1955
  • News = Midwestern Hayride’s original host, Willie Thall, bows after 6 years – replaced by Hugh Cherry – Cash Box – Mar. 26, 1955
  • “Louie Innis = New Country A&R Chief @ King” – Cash Box – Apr. 2, 1955
  • Syd Nathan & Henry Glover:   Work With Me Annie‘ – Best R&B Record of 1954Cash Box – Apr. 2, 1955
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  • 1st Prize awarded in Cincinnati ‘Name That Tune’ contest for which King Records & Bill Doggett Combo had been commissioned – Cash Box – Apr. 30, 1955
  • News = WLW’s ‘Midwestern Hayride’ will hit NBC-TV – already serving Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton & Indianapolis – Cash Box – May 14, 1955
  • ‘Gum Drop’ by Otis Williams & Charms – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – June 11, 1955
  • News = Ray Starkey back in the saddle at ‘Midwestern Hayride’ – Cash Box’s pick for ‘driver of the rig’ – Cash Box – July 9, 1955
  • ‘Don’t Take It So Hard’ by Earl King – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – July 23, 1955
  • WCKY’s Nelson King celebrates 10 years on air – Grand Ole Opry stars Roy Acuff (et al) pay visit – Cash Box – Aug. 20, 1955
  • ‘I Get So Happy’ by Earl King – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Sep. 17, 1955
  • News = Ralph Bass on talent hunt by automobile from LA to New Orleans – Cash Box – Sep. 17, 1955

Billboard ad — Sep. 17, 1955

  • ‘Miss the Love’ by Otis Williams & Charms – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Oct 1, 1955
  • ‘That’s My Pa’ b/w ‘Stumbling Block’ by Jack Dupree – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Oct 22, 1955
  • “Four Star Cuts Ties with King” – Billboard – Oct. 29, 1955
  • Another Platters ‘Only You’” [recorded at King but not released – until now] – Cash Box – Nov. 5, 1955
  • “Happy 30th Anniversary to WSM from Clay Eager @ Midwestern Hayride” – Cash Box – Nov. 12, 1955
  • ‘Home at Last’ by Little Willie John – Sleeper of the Week – Cash Box – Nov. 12, 1955
  • “Henry Stone Severs Ties with King & Crystal Records” – Cash Box – Dec. 10, 1955
  • ‘Henry Stone Splits with King Records’ – R&B Ramblings – Cash Box – Dec. 10, 1955
  • News = Henry Glover attends large trade event hosted by Dr Jive – Cash Box – Dec. 24, 1955
  • ‘Silent Partner’ by Jack Dupree – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Dec. 24, 1955
  • ‘Time Will Tell’ by Earl Connelly King – Sleeper of the Week – Cash Box – Dec. 24, 1955

1956

  • ‘All Around the World’ by Little Willie John – #1 in Chicago – Cash Box – Jan. 7, 1956
  • [Don Bohanon] Named Asst. Sales Mgr. of King”  – Cash Box – Jan. 7, 1956
  • News = Bob Stoddard buys Herzog Studio & moves to old WLW-TV site – Cash Box – Jan. 7, 1956
  • “Defense [King Records] Wins Platters’ Suit“ – Billboard – Jan. 21, 1956
  • Reviews = Rudy Moore + Mel Williams (Federal 78s) – Cash Box – Jan. 28, 1956
  •  ‘Ivory Tower’ by Otis Williams & Charms – Award o’ the Week + ‘Rock Granny Roll’ by The Midnighters – Cash Box – Mar. 17, 1956
  • ‘Rock Island Line’ by Grandpa Jones – a Bullseye of the Week – Cash Box – Apr. 7, 1956
  • News = Cincinnati’s Moonlight Gardens to open + New rock ‘n’ roll star = Carl Perkins – Cash Box – Apr. 14, 1956
  • ‘Ivory Tower’ by Otis Williams & Charms – #3 in New Orleans, #8 in Detroit & #10 in Newark – Cash Box – Apr. 21, 1956
  • Review = ‘Fever’ by Little Willie John – Cash Box – May 5, 1956
  • ‘If I Had Me a Woman’ by Mac Curtis – Bullseye of the Week – Cash Box – May 12, 1956
  • Q = where is Bill Thall & Bob Shreve’s early great TV show? – Cash Box – May 25, 1956
  • It’s All Over‘ by Otis Williams Award o’ the WeekCash Box – June 2, 1956
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  • ‘Fever’ by Little Willie John – #1 R&B hit – Cash Box – June 16, 1956
  • ‘Please Please Please’ by James Brown – breaking in Cleveland – Cash Box – June 16, 1956
  • Syd Nathan – ‘Two biggest consecutive business days in last five years‘ – Cash Box – June 16, 1956
  • ‘Fever’ by Little Willie John – #1 R&B hit – Cash Box – June 23, 1956
  • ‘Please Please Please’ by James Brown – breaking in Atlanta – Cash Box – June 23, 1956
  • Fever‘ by Little Willie John#1 R&B hitCash Box – June 30, 1956
  • ‘Fever’ by Little Willie John – #1 R&B hit – Cash Box – July 14, 1956
  • ‘Fever’ by Little Willie John – #1 R&B hit – Cash Box – July 28, 1956
  • Reviews = Margie Day (DeLuxe) + Rudy Moore (Federal) + 5 Royales (King) – Cash Box – July 28, 1956
  • ‘Thanks from Little Willie John = Most Promising Vocalist’ – Cash Box – July 28, 1956
  • R&B Ramblings = Syd Nathan thrilled that first 20,000 copies of ‘Honky Tonk’ sold out lickety splitCash Box – July 28, 1956
  • ‘Half Hearted Love’ by Mac Curtis – Bullseye of the Week + ‘Cincinnati Cut-Ups’ column turns two – Cash Box – Aug. 4, 1956
  • Fever” vs “Honky Tonk” vs “Flying Saucer vs. Please Please PleaseCash Box – Aug. 18, 1956
  • ‘Honky Tonk’ (#2), ‘Flying Saucer’ (#3), ‘Fever’ (#4) R&B hits – Cash Box – Aug. 25, 1956
  • News = MGM artist Jimmie Williams recorded at new Herzog Studios in Rookwood Bldg – Cash Box – Aug. 25, 1956
  • Ad = ‘Honky Tonk’ vs ‘Fever’ – Cash Box – Sep. 1, 1956
  • ‘Honky Tonk’ by Bill Doggett – #1 R&B two weeks in a row – Cash Box – Sep. 1, 1956
  • ‘Honky Tonk’ by Bill Doggett battling ‘Fever’ by Little Willie John – Cash Box – Sep. 1, 1956
  • Ad = ‘Bigger, Bigger, Bigger – ‘Honky Tonk’ & ‘Fever” – Cash Box – Sep. 8, 1956
  • Ad = ‘Honky Tonk’ by Bill Doggett on the way to #1 in the nation – Cash Box – Sep. 8, 1956
  • ‘Honky Tonk’ by Bill Doggett – #1 R&B hit – Cash Box – Sep. 8, 1956
  • ‘Honky Tonk’ by Bill Doggett – #1 R&B hit – Cash Box – Sep. 15, 1956
  • ‘Whirlwind’ by Otis Williams & Charms – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Sep. 15, 1956
  • ‘Honky Tonk’ by Bill Doggett – #1 almost everywhere (a) – Cash Box – Sep. 22, 1956
  • ‘Honky Tonk’ by Bill Doggett – #1 almost everywhere (b) – Cash Box – Sep. 22, 1956
  • Honky Tonk‘ by Bill Doggett#1 R&B hitCash Box – Sep. 22, 1956
  • ‘Honky Tonk’ by Bill Doggett – #1 R&B hit– Cash Box – Sep. 29, 1956
  • ‘Honky Tonk’ by Bill Doggett – #1 R&B hit– Cash Box – Oct. 6, 1956
  • ‘Honky Tonk’ by Bill Doggett – #1 almost everywhere (a) – Cash Box – Oct. 13, 1956
  • ‘Honky Tonk’ by Bill Doggett – #1 almost everywhere (b) – Cash Box – Oct. 13, 1956
  • Otis Williams – R&B Ramblings – Cash Box – Oct. 20, 1956
  • ‘Honky Tonk’ by Bill Doggett – #1 almost everywhere (a) – Cash Box – Oct. 27, 1956
  • ‘Honky Tonk’ by Bill Doggett – #1 almost everywhere (b) – Cash Box – Oct. 27, 1956
  • ‘Honky Tonk’ by Bill Doggett – #1 almost everywhere – Cash Box – Nov. 3, 1956
  • ‘Gypsy Lady’ by Otis Williams & Charms – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Nov. 10, 1956
  • News = Country musicians to get axe at WLW along with ‘Midwestern Hayride’ – Cash Box – Nov. 17, 1956
  • ‘Honky Tonk’ by Bill Doggett – Top 5 everywhere – Cash Box – Nov. 17, 1956
  • Cover photo = Bill Doggett, Clifford Scott, Billy Butler, Shep Shepperd & Syd NathanCash Box – Nov. 24, 1956

Doggett’s follow-up single “Slow Walk”: #1 in Detroit (p. 35)

  • ‘Honky Tonk’ by Bill Doggett – Top 5 everywhere – Cash Box – Dec. 1, 1956
  • Two King Branches Get Cadence Line” – Cash Box – Dec. 1, 1956
  • News = WLW does a ‘George Costanza‘ and quietly resumes ‘Midwestern Hayride’ (with Bill Thall to replace Clay Eager) – Cash Box – Dec. 15, 1956
  • Ad = ‘Fever‘ by Little Willie JohnBest R&B 45 of 1956Cash Box – Dec. 22, 1956
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  • Review = ‘One Hand Loose’ & ‘Bottle to the Baby’ by Charlie Feathers – Billboard – Dec. 22, 1956
  • Review = ‘One Hand Loose’ & ‘Bottle to the Baby’ by Charlie Feathers – Cash Box – Dec. 29, 1956
  • ‘Will the Sun Shine Tomorrow’ by Little Willie John – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Dec. 29, 1956

1957

  • ‘Pardon Me’ by Otis Williams & Charms – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Jan. 5, 1957
  • Otis Williams (et al) ‘strong King releases this week’ – R&B Ramblings – Cash Box – Feb. 23, 1957
  • ‘Walkin’ After Midnight’ by Otis Williams & Charms – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Mar. 2, 1957
  • News = WLW’s Ruth Lyons profiled by Sat Evening Post as ‘one of the most successful TV personalities’ – Cash Box – Mar. 30, 1957
  • ‘Chloe’ by Bill Doggett – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Apr. 13, 1957
  • ‘Hurts To Be in Love’ by Annie Laurie – #1 in Detroit – Cash Box – Apr. 13, 1957
  • “All That Rockin’ and Not Much ‘Kingly’ Music” by Dick Schaefer – Cincinnati Enquirer – May 19, 1957
  • NY News = Syd Nathan back after having a strokeCash Box – May 25, 1957
  • ‘Ding Dong’ by Bill Doggett – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – June 1, 1957
  • Reviews = 5 R&B King & DeLuxe 45s – Cash Box – June 1, 1957
  • ‘United’ by Otis Williams & Charms – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – July 6, 1957
  • “Carl Lebow Named General Manager of Bethlehem” – Cash Box – July 20, 1957
  • “Midwestern Hayride (Hosted by Paul Dixon) Goes Network” – ABC – Cash Box – July 20, 1957
  • “King Boosts Prices of 78s” – Billboard – Aug. 5, 1957
  • R&B Ramblings = 5 Royales, Tiny Topsy & Ralph Bass – Cash Box – Sep. 21, 1957
  • ‘Think’ by 5 Royales – Top 10 R&B hit – Cash Box – Oct. 5, 1957

King ad — Billboard — Oct. 14, 1957

1958

  • ‘Oh Julie’ by Otis Williams & Charms – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Jan. 4, 1958
  • ‘Flying Home’ by Bill Doggett + ‘Talk to Me’ by Little Willie John – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Feb. 8, 1958
  • ‘King Appoints Two to San Francisco Branch’ – Cash Box – Apr. 12, 1958
  • ‘Talk to Me Talk to Me’ by Little Willie John – Top 3 – Cash Box – Apr. 19, 1958
  • ‘Blues for Handy’ by Bill Doggett – ‘Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Apr. 26, 1958
  • ‘The Feeling Is Real’ by 5 Royales – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – May 3, 1958
  • Hal Neely New King G.M.” – Billboard – May 5, 1958
  • “King Names Hal Neely General Manager” – Cash Box – May 10, 1958
  • News = Syd Nathan working deal with Carlton Haney to record LP by Richmond VA’s New Dominion Barn Dance talent in the Fall – Billboard – June 9, 1958
  • King on First Stereo Kick” – Billboard – June 23, 1958
  • “King Issues 1st Stereo Release” – Cash Box – June 28, 1958
  • “King Sets Up Summer Album Program” – Billboard – June 30, 1958
  • “Hal Neely New King [General Manager]” – Billboard—July 5, 1958
  • Photo = King Records window display in SF – Cash Box – July 5, 1958
  • “King Pacts New Faces – Bob Kames, Milty & Nat, Tommy Love, Johnny Darling” – Cash Box – July 12, 1958
  • ‘Double or Nothing’ by 5 Royales – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – July 19, 1958
  • “King Takes Over Bethlehem Distribution” – Cash Box – Aug. 2, 1958
  • King Signs More Talent” [Reggie & Jimmy + Swinging Phillies (via Andy Gibson, DeLuxe) -also- Faith Taylor and Kenneth Tibbs (via Ralph Bass, Federal)] – Cash Box – Aug. 23, 1958
  • “King Signs Shorty Baker, Puddle Jumpers, Teddy Humphries & Wes Voight” – Cash Box – Oct. 11, 1958
  • “King & Bethlehem Reduce EPs to $1.29” – Cash Box – Oct. 18, 1958
  • ‘The Slummer the Slum’ by 5 Royales + ‘Goodnight’ by Earl Bostic – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Oct. 18, 1958
  • News = Syd Nathan & Hal Neely in Los Angeles to record Earl Bostic + duo to also record Trini Lopez in DallasBillboard – Dec. 15, 1958

Cash Box — Feb. 8, 1958

1959

  • Hal Neely says King has issued 1st two stereo singles = quoted in ‘Record MFRS to Release Plenty of Stereo Singles’ – Cash Box – Jan. 17, 1959
  • King Re-Pacts Roy BrownCash Box – Jan. 31, 1959
  • ‘Made For Me’ by Little Willie John & ‘I Want You So Bad’ by James Brown – Cash Box – Feb. 14, 1959
  • ‘The Twist’ by Hank Ballard & Midnighters – R&B Sure Shot – Cash Box – Feb. 14, 1959
  • ‘Answer Me’ by Titus Turner – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Mar. 21, 1959
  • ‘Kansas City’ by Midnighters + ‘Miracle of Love’ by 5 Royales – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Apr. 4, 1959
  • Kansas City’ [vs. ‘K.C. Loving’] Keeps Trade Fever Rising [Syd Nathan’s copyright concerns]Billboard – Apr. 6, 1959
  • “8 New LPs for ‘organist’ Earl Bostic” – Cash Box – Apr. 25, 1959
  • Hank Ballard & Midnighters LP – a Pop Pick – Cash Box – May 30, 1959
  • ‘Sugaree’ by Hank Ballard & Midnighters – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – June 20, 1959
  • News = Long-time King production/promotion exec Howard Kessel resigns – Syd Nathan buys out Kessel’s 16% share – Billboard – July 6, 1959
  • Syd Nathan’s open letter to the record industry – ‘Save the Single‘ – Cash Box – July 11, 1959
  • “Beverly Ann Gibson on King Records” – Montgomery Ala Tribune – July 24, 1959
  • King Gets (Cozy) Cole” – Cash Box – July 25, 1959
  • Review = Bob Newman’s classic truck-driving doubleheader – Cash Box – July 25, 1959
  • “King Disks Triples Its Custom Jobs” – Billboard – Aug. 24, 1959
  • ‘Cute Little Ways’ by Hank Ballard & Midnighters – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Aug. 29, 1959
  • ‘Dark Eyes’ by Earl Bostic – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Sep. 19, 1959
  • Cincinnati News = Seymour “Steinbeigle” [future Sire Records co-founder] “youthful New York platter expert” was “house guest last week of Syd Nathan”Billboard – Sep. 21, 1959
  • ‘Ain’t No Rocking No More’ by Roy Brown – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Sep. 26, 1959
  • Syd Nathan Signs [Rudy] West” – Cash Box – Oct. 3, 1959
  • “Henry Glover Forms New Label with Hy Weiss” – Cash Box – Oct. 10, 1959
  • “Otis Blackwell Joins Henry Glover’s New Label” – Cash Box – Oct. 17, 1959
  • ‘My Sugar, Sugar’ by 5 Royales – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Oct. 24, 1959
  • ‘Once in a While’ by Earl Bostic – a Best Bet + ‘Zeen Beat’ by Gene Redd – Cash Box – Oct. 24, 1959
  • ‘Never Knew’ by Hank Ballard & Midnighters – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Nov. 7, 1959
  • “Recording Firm Admits Payoffs” – UPI – Nov. 20, 1959
  • “DJ Payoffs Revealed” – Cincinnati Times-Star – Nov. 20, 1959
  • “Cincinnati Firm Called In on Disc Jockey Payments” – Cincinnati Enquirer – Nov. 21, 1959
  • “Gave Disk Jockeys Checks” – UPI – Nov. 21, 1959
  • ‘Uh Oh’ by The Nutty Squirrels – R&B Sure Shot – Cash Box – Nov. 21, 1959
  • Dallas News = King artist Trini Lopez – Cash Box – Nov. 28, 1959
  • ‘Look at Little Sister’ by Hank Ballard & Midnighters – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Dec. 5, 1959
  • Gagging Up ‘The Taste’‘ – Syd Nathan sends Christmas card of a piano-playing Santa bearing the message ‘Play-ola Greetings’ – Billboard – Dec. 28, 1959

1960

  • News = Starday’s Don Pierce in Cincinnati to confer with King’s Syd Nathan over shared commercial ventureBillboard – Jan. 11, 1960
  • Syd Nathan Blasts Off” [payola hearings] – Billboard – Jan. 25, 1960
  • News = Syd Nathan and Hal Neely to spend a month abroad negotiating leases with EMI; itinerary to include London, Milan, Zurich, Vienna, Hamburg & Music Festival @ San Remos, ItalyBillboard – Jan. 25, 1960
  • “Syd Nathan Scores [Stanley] Adams’ Charges” [Denies Receiving $100K BMI Subsidy] – Cash Box – Jan. 30, 1960
  • ‘Waiting’ by Hank Ballard & Midnighters – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Feb. 6, 1960
  • ‘My Love Is’ by Little Willie John – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Feb. 20, 1960
  • ‘Finger Poppin’ Time’ by Hank Ballard & Midnighters – a Best Bet – Cash Box – Apr. 23, 1960
  • “Local Record Man Faces Quiz at Clark Payola Probe” – Cincinnati Post Times-Star – Apr. 26, 1960
  • ”Carlson Contract Favored Record Firm, Singer Says” – Cincinnati Post Times-Star – Apr. 28, 1960
  • “Carlson Gets Rebuke in Payola Inquiry” – Cincinnati Enquirer – Apr. 28, 1960
  • Dale Stevens’ column = “US Payola Hearing Unfair, Local Record Maker Says” – Cincinnati Post Times-Star – Apr. 29, 1960
  • Italy News = Hal Neely makes international deal with Betty Curtis – Cash Box – May 7, 1960
  • ‘Mountain Dew’ by Stanley Brothers – a Cash Box Bullseye– Cash Box – May 7, 1960
  • “King Records A&R Appointments – Teddy Charles & Billy Miles” – Cash Box – May 21, 1960
  • Syd Nathan quoted in “Pop Charts Sprout Grass Roots Although Air Formats Change” – Billboard – July 4, 1960
  • King Custom Work 43% of Volume” – 57 presses total – Cash Box – July 9, 1960
  • Cincinnati News + King Studio activity: BillboardJuly 11, 1960

Billboard editorial on ‘The R&B Scene‘ — same issue

  • “King Launches Summer Pitch” – Billboard – July 11, 1960
  • King A&R Men, Branch Managers [4-Day] Confab” = Syd Nathan, Hal Neely, Billy Myles, Sonny Thompson, Andy Gibson, Gene Redd, Jack Pearl, Jim Wilson, Jim Namey & Richard Kline – Billboard – July 18, 1960
  • “King Summer Special – 1 free LP for 4 ordered” + 12 LP presses – Cash Box – July 16, 1960
  • Review = ‘Finger Poppin’ Time’ by Stanley Brothers – Cash Box – July 30, 1960
  • ‘This Old Heart’ by James Brown – a Pick of the Week – Cash Box – Aug. 13, 1960
  • King Reissues Hank Ballard ‘Twist’” – Cash Box – Aug. 13, 1960
  • King Debuts New LP Line” – Billboard – Aug. 15, 1960
  • King Announces New International Series” – Cash Box – Aug. 20, 1960
  • ‘Let’s Go Let’s Go Let’s Go’ by Hank Ballard & Midnighters – a Pick of the Week – Cash Box – Sep. 17, 1960
  • Cover photo = Hank Ballard & Syd NathanCash Box – Sep. 24, 1960

“Finger Poppin’ Time” — Juke Box Top Ten (p. 30)

  • Coltrane on Coltrane” – Earl Bostic cited as an early influence – Downbeat – Sep. 29, 1960
  • “Henry Glover Named to Roulette’s A&R Staff” – Cash Box – Oct. 1, 1960
  • Reviews = Five Keys (King) + El Pauling & the Royalton (Federal) – Cash Box – Oct. 8, 1960
  • “Local Firm Bows to FTC on Payola” – Cincinnati Post – Oct. 18, 1960
  • Review = ‘Crying Tears’ by Smokey Smothers – Cash Box – Nov. 5, 1960
  • “Unknown Fan Attacks Little Willie John” – Pittsburgh Courier – Nov. 12, 1960
  • “Buy Big in December, Urges Nathan” – Billboard – Nov. 14, 1960
  • Reviews = ‘Then You Know’ by Trini Lopez + ‘Bowling USA’ by The Blue Flames – Cash Box – Nov. 26, 1960
  • News = Syd Nathan’s draws 150 at annual Christmas party hosted at his homeBillboard – Dec. 26, 1960
  • Review = ‘Now Baby Don’t Do It’ by El Pauling & the Royalton – Cash Box – Dec. 31, 1960

1961

  • “Andy Gibson, King A&R Director, Dies in Cincy” – Billboard – Feb. 20, 1961
  • ‘Little Turtle Dove’ by Otis Williams & Charms – a Pick of the Week – Cash Box – Mar. 4, 1961
  • “King to Handle Kem Label” – Cash Box – Mar. 18, 1961
  • ‘Continental Walk’ by Hank Ballard & Midnighters – Pick of the Week – Cash Box – Apr. 1, 1961
  • “King Makes Globe Expansion Move” – Billboard – Apr. 3, 1961
  • Ad = ‘74,000 sold in 5 days’ – Hank Ballard’s ‘Continental Walk’ – Cash Box – Apr. 8, 1961
  • “Roulette Reactivates Gee – Henry Glover Heads A&R” – Cash Box – Apr. 22, 1961
  • ‘Spring Fever’ by Little Willie John – a Best Bet + ‘Brother in Law’ by Paul Peek (Fairlane) – Cash Box – May 6, 1961
  • News – Chuck Seitz named King studio engineer – Billboard – May 22, 1961

Billboard ad — May 22, 1961

  • Reviews = Otis Williams (‘Just Forget About Me’) & Five Keys 45s (‘Stop Your Crying’) – Cash Box – May 27, 1961
  • “King Offers Buy-1-Get-1 Plan” – Cash Box – June 3, 1961
  • King Extends Deals” – Cash Box – July 8, 1961
  • “King Records Sets Guaranteed Singles-LPs Exchange Policy” – Billboard – July 10, 1961
  • Roulette’s Henry Glover writes ‘The Mule’ in answer to ‘The Pony’ – Cash Box – July 22, 1961
  • ‘You’re the Reason’ by Joe South (Fairlane) – a Best Bet – Cash Box – July 22, 1961
  • ‘San-Ho-Zay’ by Freddy King – a Pick of the Week – Cash Box – July 29, 1961
  • Mickey & Sylvia 45 on new King-distributed Willow label – Cash Box – Aug. 5, 1961
  • ‘The Secret’ by Otis Williams – a Pick of the Week – Cash Box – Oct. 7, 1961
  • King Inks Rep Deal with England’s Ember” – Cash Box – Oct. 21, 1961
  • ‘Masquerade’ by Joe South (Fairlane) – a Best Bet ” – Cash Box – Oct. 28, 1961
  • ‘Darling (I Miss You So)’ – B side of Mickey & Sylvia ‘Best Bet’ Willow 45 – Cash Box – Nov. 4, 1961
  • Ray Pennington & Sonny Thompson – 2 of 35 songwriters given BMI award– Cash Box – Nov. 4, 1961
  • Hank Ballard’s ‘Let’s Go Again’ LP – a Pop Pick – Cash Box – Dec. 16, 1961

1962

  • Joey Dee soundtrack scored by Henry Glover – Cash Box – Jan. 6, 1962
  • ‘Fever (with Strings)’ by Little Willie John & ‘Dark Glasses’ by Billy Joe Royal (Fairlane) – Best Bets – Cash Box – Jan. 20, 1962
  • Syd Nathan & Henry Glover @ 10th Annual BMI Award DinnerCash Box – Feb. 3, 1962
  • Syd Nathan, King Record Chief Exec, Sounds Off on Touchy Disk Topics” – Billboard – Feb. 24, 1962
  • Review = ‘Do the President Twist’ by Lula Reed & Freddy King – Cash Box – Mar. 17, 1962
  • ‘Why Does Everything Happen to Me’ by James Brown – a Pick of the Week – Cash Box – Mar. 24, 1962
  • King Now Owns Bethlehem 100%” – Cash Box – June 16, 1962
  • Hank Ballard’s ‘Twistin’ Fools’ LP – a Pop Pick – Cash Box – July 14, 1962
  • King [& Bethlehem] Set New Bonus Plan” – Cash Box – Aug. 4, 1962
  • “King Records’ New Bonus Plan Offers Dealer 1st Edition Singles & Albums” – Billboard – Aug. 4, 1962
  • “Nathan Resigns Post at Beltone” – Cash Box – Aug. 18, 1962
  • “King Extends LP-Singles Deal” – Cash Box – Sep. 8, 1962
  • King Signs [Hawkshaw] Hawkins in Move to Expand Its C&W Catalog” – Billboard –Sep. 22, 1962
  • Hawkins Back on King in Country Build-Up” – Cash Box – Sep. 29, 1962
  • “Beltone Sues King for $3,000,000” – Cash Box – Oct. 6, 1962
  • “King Announces Fall Sound Festival” – discounts – Cash Box – Oct. 6, 1962
  • “King Cuts Prices 15% for October” – Billboard Oct. 6, 1962
  • “King offering 12.5% discount on King, Bethlehem & Audio Lab” – Cash Box – Nov. 3, 1962
  • “King Expands Premium, Promotion Disk Biz with Bob Weems at Helm” – Billboard – Nov. 24, 1962
  • Franny Jenson Scores a Coup” = Milwaukee youngster to record ‘Don’t Wait Till the Night Before Christmas’ on Bob Kames’ recommendation – Billboard – Nov. 24, 1962

1963

  • “King’s Happy New Year to Dealers – 15% Off” – Billboard – Jan. 12, 1963
  • King Greets New Year With 15% Off Program; Nathan – ’62 Looks Good” – Cash Box – Jan. 12, 1963
  • ‘Like a Baby’ by James Brown – a Best Bet – Cash Box – Jan. 19, 1963
  • “King Celebrates 20th Anniv with Big Country Music Sale” – Cash Box – Mar. 9, 1963
  • ‘That Low Down Move’ by Hank Ballard & Midnighters – Award o’ the Week – Cash Box – Mar. 9, 1963
  • Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins & Patsy Cline die in plane tragedy – Cash Box – Mar. 16, 1963
  • Reviews = ‘Out of Control’ by Lattie Moore (King) + Dave Dudley’s ‘Six Days on the Road’ – Cash Box – Apr. 20, 1963
  • ‘Memphis’ by Lonnie Mack + ‘I Found Out’ by Bobby Byrd- Best Bets – Cash Box – May 11, 1963
  • ‘One Hundred Years’ by Freddy King – a Best Bet – Cash Box – May 11, 1963
  • “Peak Handles Oriole & King [in New Zealand] – Billboard – May 25, 1963
  • Lonnie Mack = bio for DJs – Cash Box – June 15, 1963
  • ‘Memphis’ by Lonnie Mack – a Sure Shot – Cash Box – June 15, 1963
  • ‘Roulette’s (Morris) Levy & (Henry) ‘Grover’ Buy Half Interest in United Music – Cash Box – Aug. 17, 1963
  • ‘Wham’ by Lonnie Mack – a Pick of the Week – Cash Box – Aug. 17, 1963
  • Full-page ad for 1st Lonnie Mack LPCash Box – Oct. 12, 1963

Virtually all of Lonnie Mack’s 1960s recordings were made at King Studios

  • Lonnie Mack’s ‘Wham of That Memphis Man’ LP – a Pop Pick – Cash Box – Oct. 19, 1963
  • Syd Nathan referenced in 1963’s highlights of a big year in “Country & Western” – Music Reporter – Nov. 2, 1963
  • ‘Where There’s a Will’ by Lonnie Mack – a Pick of the Week – Cash Box – Nov. 9, 1963
  • Bios of Lonnie Mack and other ‘leading artists of 1963Cash Box – Dec. 28, 1963

Cash Box (Dec. 28, 1963)

1964

  • ‘California Sun’ written by Henry Glover – Cash Box – Jan. 11, 1964
  • “Fraternity Re-Services Lonnie Mack Vocal Deck” – Cash Box – Jan. 25, 1964
  • News – Chuck Seitz leaves King for RCA Victor – Billboard – Feb. 8, 1964
  • ‘Lonnie on the Move’ – a Pick of the Week – Cash Box – Feb. 15, 1964
  • ‘Easy Talk’ by Hank Marr – a Best Bet – Cash Box – Mar. 21, 1964
  • ‘I’ve Had It’ by Lonnie Mack – a Best Bet – Cash Box – Apr. 18, 1964
  • News = Mary Lou Smith, Syd Nathan’s long-time secretary and foreign publishing-licensing expert, died following heart attackBillboard – May 9, 1964
  • B+ review for Prince Buster & the Ska Busters – Cash Box – May 23, 1964
  • ‘Sa-Ba-Hoola’ by Lonnie Mack + ‘Out of Sight’ by James Brown – Best Bets – Cash Box – July 25, 1964
  • ‘Out of Sight’ by James Brown = ‘Regional Breakout’ in Baltimore, St. Louis & NYC – Billboard – Aug. 8, 1964
  • Review = ‘Last Kiss’ by Wayne Cochran – Cash Box – Aug. 15, 1964
  • Morris Levy buys Doris Gee Music, previously jointly owned by Levy & Henry Glover – Cash Box – Aug. 22, 1964
  • The James Brown Case” [King vs. Mercury lawsuit] from Bob Rolontz’s ‘Man About Music’ column – Music Business – Aug. 22, 1964
  • Front-page ad = ‘Out of Sight’ by James Brown – Billboard – Sep. 5, 1964
  • ‘I Found a Love – Oh What a Love’ by Jo Ann (Campbell) and Troy (Seals) – a Best Bet – Cash Box – Oct. 24, 1964
  • “King Wins [James] Brown Suit” – Billboard – Oct. 24, 1964
  • “Hal Neely Joins Starday” – Record World – Oct. 24, 1964
  • Hal Neely Named Gen. Mgr. of Starday” – Cash Box – Oct. 24, 1964
  • “Music City Recorders – Ray Pennington” – Nashville Tennessean – Nov. 1, 1964
  • “King Sellling LPs, 45s Under Consignment Deal” – Cash Box – Nov. 21, 1964
  • “Consignment Policy at King” – Record World – Nov. 28, 1964
  • Canada News = regional buzz around ‘A Love Oh What a Love’ by Jo Ann (Campbell) & Troy (Seals) – Cash Box – Dec. 19, 1964
  • Mercury, Handelman Making Bid for King-Lois” – Billboard – Dec. 26, 1964

Recordings, publishing + King plant for a reported $1,250,000

1965

  • “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” by James Brown = #1 R&B hit – Billboard – Aug. 14, 1965
  • Baldwin Buys [Berns Guitars] Firm” – Billboard – Oct. 23, 1965 [Baldwin also acquired Gretsch in 1967]

1966

I Got You” by James Brown#3 Billboard pop hit (1/1/66)

  • “Henry Glover Returns to Roulette as VP” – Cash Box – Jan. 29, 1966
  • “James Brown Sets James Crawford Production Deal with A&M + Omen” – Cash Box – Jan. 29, 1966
  • Lonnie Mack (‘Are You Guilty’) & Norma Tanega (‘Walking My Cat Named Dog’) – Best Bets – Cash Box – Feb. 12, 1966
  • ‘Honest I Do’ by James Crawford (Omen production) – a Best Bet – Cash Box – Feb. 19, 1966
  • King Reinks [Charlie Moore & Bill Napier]” – Record World – April 16, 1966
  • James Brown in Paris to promote ‘Brand New Bag’ – Cash Box – Apr. 30, 1966
  • James Brown on the cover of Cash BoxCash Box – May 7, 1966

“It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”: #1 on the ‘Radio Active Chart’ (p. 10)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is King-Cash-Box-image-1966-aa.jpg
  • “Ron Lenhoff – New Gateway A&R Chief” – Record World – May 14, 1966
  • News = Mexican artist who covers JB’s ‘Brand New Bag’ – Cash Box – July 9, 1966
  • ‘Wildwood Flower’ by Lonnie Mack – a Best Bet – Cash Box – July 23, 1966
  • ‘Presenting the James Brown Show’ LP – a Pop Pick – Cash Box – Nov. 5, 1966
  • ‘Christmas Tears’ by Freddy King – a Christmas pick – Cash Box – Dec. 10, 1966
  • News = Syd Nathan has hired Bill ‘Bunky’ Sheppard – Record World – Dec. 24, 1966

1967

  • William (Bunky) Sheppard Heads King A&R” – Record World – Jan. 28, 1967
  • ‘Think’ by James Brown & Vicki Anderson – a Pick of the Week – Cash Box – Feb. 25, 1967
  • “Trinity Distributes King in NY” – Record World – Apr. 1, 1967
  • ‘Stone Fox’ by James Crawford – a Best Bet – Cash Box – Apr. 22, 1967
  • ‘Save Your Money’ by Lonnie Mack – a Pick of the Week’ – Cash Box – May. 27, 1967
  • “Columbia to Release Two R&B & Country LP’s From King” – Billboard – July 8, 1967
  • Cold Sweat‘ by James Browna Pick of the WeekCash Box – July 15, 1967

Cash Box — July 15, 1967

  • ‘Tears of Joy’ by Vicki Anderson – a Pop Pick – Cash Box – July 15, 1967
  • ‘Cold Sweat’ by James Brown – #1 R&B hit – Cash Box – Aug. 19, 1967
  • James Brown’s ‘Cold Sweat’ LP – a Pop Pick – Cash Box – Aug. 26, 1967
  • “King Offers 100% Dollar Exchange on JB ‘Cold Sweat’ hit” – Cash Box – Sep. 16, 1967
  • ‘Cold Sweat’ by James Brown = #1 R&B hit – Billboard – Sep. 16, 1967
  • ‘If You Love Me’ by Marva Whitney – a ‘Newcomer Pick’ – Cash Box – Sep. 23, 1967
  • ‘Funky Soul #1’ by Bobby Byrd & The Dapps – one of ‘Best Bets’ – Cash Box – Sep. 30, 1967
  • ‘I’ll Work It Out’ by James Crawford – a Best Bet – Cash Box – Nov. 4, 1967
  • “Bob Shreve – Cincinnati’s Most Entertaining Bartender” – Cincinnati Enquirer – Nov. 7, 1967
  • Review – ‘She Cried Just a Minute’ by Charles Spurling – Cash Box – Dec. 2, 1967
  • ‘Cold Sweat’ by James Brown – #6 R&B hit of 1967 – Cash Box – Dec. 23, 1967

1968

  • Marva Whitney’s ‘Unwind Yourself’ – one of ‘Best Bet’ 45s + ‘Pretty’ Purdie – Cash Box – Jan. 13, 1968
  • ‘Bringing Up the Guitar’ by The Dapps – a Best Bet – Cash Box – Feb. 3, 1968
  • Review = ‘That Woman’ by Charles Spurling – Cash Box – Feb. 3, 1968
  • ‘There Was a Time’ by James Brown = #2 R&B hit – Record World – Feb. 10, 1968
  • James Brown’s ‘Show of Tomorrow’ LP – a Pop Pick – Cash Box – Feb. 17, 1968
  • ‘Shout Bamalama’ by Otis Redding (King) – a Best Bet – Cash Box – Feb. 24, 1968
  • Full-page ad = Marva Whitney + “James Brown Production Pushes Marva, Bobby Byrd & Dapps” – Record World – Feb. 24, 1968
  • Obituary = Syd Nathan – American Israelite – Mar. 4, 1968
  • “Country Music King Dies of Heart Ailment” – Cincinnati Enquirer – Mar. 6, 1968
  • “Services Thursday for Sydney Nathan” – Cincinnati Post Times-Star – Mar. 6, 1968
  • “James Brown in Africa Concert” – Record World – Mar. 9, 1968
  • Obituary = Syd Nathan – Billboard – Mar. 16, 1968
  • Obituary = Syd Nathan – Cash Box – Mar. 16, 1968
  • Obituary = Syd Nathan – Record World – Mar. 16, 1968
  • “James Crawford Appointed to Promo Post @ Duke-Peacock” – Cash Box – Mar. 16, 1968
  • ‘You’ve Got the Power’ by Vicki Anderson & James Brown – a Pick of the Week – Cash Box – Mar. 30, 1968
  • “King to Stay Under Same Reign” – Billboard – Apr. 27, 1968
  • K & S [Recording] Studios Bow in Cincy” – Record World – May 25, 1968
  • ‘Things Got to Get Better’ by Marva Whitney – a ‘Best Bet’ – Cash Box – June 8, 1968
  • ‘There Was a Time’ by The Dapps Featuring Alfred Ellis – a Best Bet – Cash Box – June 15, 1968
  • “James Brown, Joey Bishop – ‘Man to Man'” + Marva Whitney & The Dapps – Record World – Aug. 17, 1968
  • ‘I’ll Work It Out’ by Marva Whitney – a ‘Best Bet’ – Cash Box – Aug. 24, 1968
  • ‘I’m Tired I’m Tired I’m Tired’ by Marva Whitney – a ‘Best Bet’ – Cash Box – Oct. 12, 1968
  • “Starday Buys King Records” – Nashville Tennessean – Oct. 19, 1968
  • “Tennessee Firm Buys King Records” – Cincinnati Post – Oct. 22, 1968
  • “James Brown’s Bag” by Ira Gitler – Downbeat – Oct. 31, 1968
  • “Starday Buys King – James Brown, Staff Stay” – Record World – Nov. 2, 1968
  • King Sold to Starday – James Brown Part of New Setup” – Cash Box – Nov. 2, 1968
  • “King Records Sold Again” – Cincinnati Post – Nov. 14, 1968
  • “Lin Acquires Two Recording Firms” – Shreveport Journal – Nov. 14, 1968
  • “Lin Broadcasting Buys Starday-King for $5 Mil; Execs, Policy Retained” – Billboard – Nov. 23, 1968
  • Lin Broadcasting Buys Starday for est. $5 Million – Henry Glover, NY manager – Cash Box – Nov. 23, 1968
  • Review = James Brown & Dapps Madison Square Garden (11-22-68) show – Cash Box – Dec. 7, 1968
  • “Ray Pennington Signs Monument Pacts as Artist & Producer” – new acts include Troy Seals – Cash Box – Dec. 14, 1968
  • Bios of James Brown & otherleading artists of 1968Cash Box – Dec. 28, 1968

Cash Box (Dec. 28, 1968)

1969

  • March Is James Brown Month” [below] – Record World – Feb. 1, 1969
  • Starday-King announces payouts of $380,000 to 22 employees following sale to Lin Broadcasting – Cash Box – Mar. 29, 1969
  • “King Holds Sales Meets” – James Brown & Hal Neely – Record World – Mar. 29, 1969
  • “Starday-King 1st Qtr Net Hits $250,000” + Henry Glover named VP – Cash Box – May 17, 1969
  • ‘The Popcorn’ by James Brown – a Pick of the Week – Cash Box – May 17, 1969
  • “Henson Cargill to Host [Avco’s] Midwestern Hayride” – Cash Box – May 31, 1969
  • ‘Mother Popcorn’ by James Brown – a pick of the week – Cash Box – June 7, 1969
  • ‘Where the Soul Trees Grow’ by Arthur Prysock – Choice Programming – Cash Box – June 21, 1969
  • ‘Just a Phone Call Will Do’ by Don Reno & Bill Harrell – a Best Bet – Cash Box – June 28, 1969
  • James Brown & Marva Whitney @ Newport Jazz Fest – Cash Box – July 19, 1969
  • “Los Angeles Honors James Brown for Civic & Philanthropic Work’ – Cash Box – July 19, 1969
  • “Avco to Air Midwestern Hayride Special” with new host Henson Cargill – Cash Box – Aug. 2, 1969
  • ‘Mother Popcorn’ by James Brown – #1 R&B hit – Cash Box – Aug. 9, 1969
  • James Brown’s ‘Lowdown Popcorn’ – a Pick of the Week – Cash Box – Aug. 16, 1969
  • ‘One Woman’ by Pat Lundy – ‘Choice Programming’ – Cash Box – Aug. 16, 1969
  • Henry Glover quoted in “Flipside = Blacks Sing Country Music” by Arnold Shaw – Billboard – Aug. 16, 1969
  • James Brown’s ‘Popcorn’ LP – a Pop Pick – Cash Box – Sep. 20, 1969
  • ‘I Made a Mistake’ by Marva Whitney – a Pick of the Week – Cash Box – Sep. 27, 1969
  • James Brown’s ‘Lowdown Popcorn’ – #30 R&B hit + “Black Panther LP Set for Release” – Cash Box – Oct. 4, 1969
  • James Brown’s ‘Let a Man Come In & Do the Popcorn’ – a Pick of the Week – Cash Box – Oct. 4, 1969
  • “New Wayne Cochran Firm for TV-Film Vehicles” – Cash Box – Oct. 11, 1969
  • “Starday-King Gets It Together in Big Way” – Record World – Oct. 18, 1969
  • Independent Fledging Giants” [including Starday-King] – Billboard – Oct. 18, 1969 [World of Country Music supplement]

Starday-King sales executive, Tina Drake, with Hal Neely & Jim Wilson

  • ‘Ain’t It Funky Now’ by James Brown – a Pick of the Week – Cash Box – Nov. 8, 1969
  • Starday-King flies 30 guests for Wayne Cochran @ Flamingo, Las VegasCash Box – Nov. 8, 1969
  • “Mike Kelly Starday-King Eastern Promo Director” – Record World – Nov. 15, 1969
  • “Tuning In On … WLW-Cincinnati Image Shattering” – Cash Box – Nov. 22, 1969

1970

  • Marva Whitney (King) & James Duncan (Federal) 45s – ‘Choice Programming’ – Cash Box – Jan. 10, 1970
  • “Starday-King Signs 4 Names for Emerging Adult Market” – Cash Box – Jan. 24, 1970
  • “8 From Starday-King” (including Redd Foxx + ‘Honky Tonk Popcorn’ by Bill Doggett) – Cash Box – Feb. 14, 1970
  • James Brown’s ‘Ain’t It Funky’ LP – a Pop Pick – Cash Box – Feb. 21, 1970
  • Marva Whitney (King) & Pat Lundy (DeLuxe) 45s – ‘Choice Programming’ – Cash Box – Feb. 21, 1970
  • News = Tokyo Happy Coats record tracks at Cincinnati’s King Studio – Cash Box – Feb. 28, 1970
  • News = Carolyn Blakey 45 for James Brown Productions – Cash Box – Mar. 7, 1970
  • ‘Prove It’ by Pat Lundy – ‘Choice Programming’ – Cash Box – Mar. 14, 1970
  • ‘Gonna Leave You Alone’ by James Duncan (Federal) – Choice Programming – Cash Box – Mar. 21, 1970
  • Polydor News = Warped’s Elliott Mazer & Kenny Buttrey produce latest by Troy Seals of the ‘funk-rock’ school – Cash Box – Mar. 21, 1970
  • “Starday-King Artist Roster Expands” – Tokyo Happy Coats – Record World – Mar. 28, 1970
  • “Starday-King Sets 29 LPs” – Cash Box – Mar. 28, 1970
  • “Starday, King Still Changing” – Billboard – April 25, 1970 (special Nashville supplement)
  • “Starday-King Realigns NY Operations” – Henry Glover – Cash Box – May 23, 1970
  • “Starday-King Signs The Establishment” – Record World – May 23, 1970
  • “Wayne Cochran Complex to Aid Ghetto Youth” – Cash Box – June 6, 1970
  • News = Wayne Cochran filmed scene for ‘CC Riders’ movie with Joe Namath – Cash Box – June 13, 1970
  • News = Mayf Nutter to Record for Starday-King for two years under special arrangement with (Zappa’s) Straight RecordsBillboard – June 30, 1970
  • ‘I’m Your Special Fool’ by Pat Lundy – ‘Choice Programming’ – Cash Box – June 27, 1970
  • ‘Sex Machine’ by James Brown – a Pick of the Week – Cash Box – July 11, 1970
  • News = Kenny Price is new host of ‘Midwestern Hayride’ replacing Henson Cargill – Cash Box – July 25, 1970
  • ‘Sex Machine’ by James Brown – #2 R&B hit – Cash Box – Aug. 8, 1970
  • Don Pierce Exits Starday” – Billboard – Aug. 8, 1970
  • “Jim Tarbell – He Still Has Rock In His Head” by Jim Knippenberg – Cincinnati Enquirer – Aug. 9, 1970
  • “Thinking About Bud Hobgood” by Dennis Wholey – Cincinnati Enquirer – Aug. 9, 1970
  • “Don Pierce Exits Starday-King” – Record World – Aug. 15, 1970
  • Don Pierce Exits Starday-King” – Cash Box – Aug. 15, 1970
  • Starday-King, Trend Setter” – Record World – Aug. 22, 1970
  • James Brown = 1970’s Top R&B Male Vocalist – Cash Box – Aug. 22, 1970
  • Sex Machine‘ by James Brown#1 R&B hitCash Box – Aug. 22, 1970
  • Photo = Arthur Prysock & Hal Neely – Nashville Tennessean – Sep. 8, 1970
  • “Midnight Show @ Playhouse in Park with the Midnighters” – Cincinnati Enquirer – Sep. 10, 1970

1971

  • “Carlson’s Fraternity” by Tom McElfresh – Cincinnati Enquirer – Feb. 7, 1971
  • “Bob Patton of James Brown Organization joins Starday-King” – Cash Box – Feb. 20, 1971
  • Music Hall concert salute to Harry Carlson of Fraternity” + Henry Glover flies tapes of Tony & Carol’s debut single to CincinnatiCash Box – Feb. 20, 1971
  • “King Coleman to Join James Brown Organization” – Cash Box – Mar. 13, 1971
  • “Starday-King Forms Agape, a New Label” – Billboard – Mar. 20, 1971
  • “James Brown Album [Grodeck Whipperjenny] Aimed at Underground” – Cash Box – Mar. 20, 1971
  • News = Henry Glover co-produced Drew David session in Nashville with Hal Neely – Billboard – Mar. 27, 1971
  • Photo = Hal Neely & Myrna March (Agape) & Boots Randolph – Cash Box – Apr. 17, 1971
  • “Starday-King to Handle New Pride Label” – Cash Box – Apr. 17, 1971
  • ‘Touch & Understand Love’ by Myrna March (Agape) – Choice Programming – Cash Box – Apr. 17, 1971
  • ‘I Cried’ by James Brown – a Pick of the Week – Cash Box – Apr. 24, 1971
  • ‘Soul Sauce’ = Polydor in negotiations for Starday-King – Billboard – July 3, 1971
  • “Brown to Polydor in 5 Year Pact; Buys Pub” +”Starday-King Undergoing Revamping; Personnel Pared” – Billboard – July 24, 1971
  • ‘Soul Sauce’ column = King keeps ‘Hot Pants’ & ‘Escapism’ – Polydor gets the rest – Billboard – July 24, 1971
  • “James Brown to Polydor” – Cash Box – July 24, 1971
  • Hot Pants’ by James Brown = #1 Soul hit – Billboard – Aug. 7, 1971
  • “Starday-King Sold by Lin by $1.4M” – Nashville Tennessean – Sep. 22, 1971
  • Starday-King Music Complex Acquired by Four Music Men [Leiber, Stoller, Neely & Bienstock]” – Cash Box – Oct. 2, 1971
  • “Starday-King Pubs Sold for $1.4 Mil” – Billboard – Oct. 2, 1971
  • ‘I’m a Greedy Man’ by James Brown – Top 60 Pop Spotlight – Billboard – Nov. 6, 1971
  • “Coasters Back on King Label” – ‘Love Potion’+’DW Washburn’ 1st single – Cash Box – Nov. 13, 1971
  • Full-page ad = ‘Love Potion #9‘ by The CoastersCash Box – Nov. 13, 1971
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  • News = Bobby Smith adding 16-track board at Macon, GA Starday-King studio – Record World – Nov. 20, 1971
  • ‘Mother Popcorn’ by James Brown – #8 R&B song of 1969 – Cash Box – Dec. 25, 1971
  • “King of the Blues Pt. 1” by Steve Tracy – Blues Unlimited – December 1971

1972

  • “King of the Blues Pt. 2” by Steve Tracy – Blues Unlimited – January 1972
  • Leiber, Stoller, Bienstock buy material for their Hudson Bay song catalog – Cash Box – Jan. 22, 1972
  • “International Copyright to Hudson Bay” – Billboard – Jan. 22, 1972
  • News = “acceptance is at hand” for new Starday-King distributed label, MpingoBillboard – Jan. 22, 1972
  • “James Brown Moves Hdqtrs to Augusta GA Home Town” – Cash Box – Jan. 29, 1972
  • “King of the Blues Pt. 3” by Steve Tracy – Blues Unlimited – Feb- Mar 1972
  • Ad = King equipment for sale (pressing, printing, etc) – Billboard – Feb. 5, 1972
  • “Billy Ward & the Dominoes” – Big Town Review – Feb/Mar 1972 (vol. 1, no. 1)
  • Polydor announces James Brown ‘Soul Classics’ 45 series – Cash Box – Mar. 4, 1972
  • “Starday-King Wraps Up Ross Distribution Deal” – Billboard – Mar. 11, 1972
  • “Starday to Distribute Hopi [New Label]” – Billboard – Apr. 1, 1972
  • ‘Cool Jerk’ by The Coasters – a Pick of the Week – Cash Box – Apr. 8, 1972
  • “Starday-King Broadens Activities” – Cash Box – Apr. 15, 1972
  • “Starday-King Reshapes” = Cincinnati phased out + new labels (Hopi, Mandala, Good Medicine, Mpingo) – Billboard – Apr. 15, 1972
  • Mandala Records Goes Thru Starday-King” – Cash Box – Apr. 29, 1972
  • “Starday-King Mandala Deal” – Billboard – Apr. 29, 1972
  • “Starday-King’s 7 New Distributors” – Billboard – Apr. 29, 1972
  • ‘Jealous’ by Little Royal (Tri Us) – Choice Programming – Cash Box – May 6, 1972
  • Rock & Roll … From the Beginning” – Billboard – June 17, 1972
  • “Buck Ram and the Platters” by Steve Wasserman – Bim Bam Boom – July 1972
  • Full-page James Brown promotional ad [above] with Lyn Collins, Bobby Byrd, Hank Ballard & (the new single by) the James Brown Soul TrainCash Box – July 1, 1972
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  • ‘Think’ by Lyn Collilns – a Pick of the Week – Cash Box – Aug. 12, 1972
  • ‘Good Foot’ Goes Gold + James Brown on tour with JB’s – Cash Box – Sep. 30, 1972
  • Boudleaux Bryant reminisces about jamming in Cincinnati [below] with WLW’s Homer, Jethro & Chet AtkinsCash Box – Oct. 7, 1972
  • ‘You’ll Lose a Good Thing’ by Little Royal (Tri Us) – Choice Programming – Cash Box – Nov. 11, 1972
  • ‘Me & My Baby’ by Lyn Collins – a Pick of the Week – Cash Box – Nov. 11, 1972
  • “Starday Old King Gold R&B Set” – Cash Box – Nov. 18, 1972
  • “Starday-King 2nd Oldies Set Issued” – Billboard – Nov. 28, 1972
  • “Starday-King Promo for Hard Rock Group Boot on Agape Subsidiary” – Cash Box – Dec.  2, 1972
  • “Starday-King Bows Oldies, Gospel Series” – Cash Box – Dec. 9, 1972
  • “Bio LPs Plug Mandala [dist. by Starday-King]” – Billboard – Dec. 16, 1972
  • “Red Sovine Returns to Starday-King” – Cash Box – Dec. 23, 1972

1973

  • Chappell ad = 10 Top 100 singles from 1972 are by James Brown artists – Cash Box – Jan. 20, 1973
  • “Atlantic Inks Troy Seals to Long-Term Exclusive Contract” – Cash Box – Jan. 20, 1973
  • Nashville Publishers:  Creative Forces” – King’s catalog “a strong one” with over 35,000 copyrights [“some 15,000 of them country”] – Billboard – Jan. 27, 1973
  • “Merle Kilgore Heads Starday-King Pub Companies” – Cash Box – Feb. 10, 1973
  • “King, Polydor Renew Pact” – Billboard – Feb. 17, 1973
  • James Brown’s ‘Black Caesar’ – a Pop Pick of the Week – Cash Box – Mar. 3, 1973
  • ‘Black Caesar’ by James Brown doing record-breaking box office – Cash Box – Mar. 10, 1973
  • ‘There’s a Honky Tonk Angel’ by Troy Seals – a Best Bet – Cash Box – Mar. 17, 1973
  • “Starday-King Expands Via Reconstruction” – Cash Box – Apr. 14, 1973
  • QCA Releases Lonnie MackRusty York LP” – Cash Box – Apr. 21, 1973
  • “Shepherd Heads Starday-King National Pop Promo” – Cash Box – May 12, 1973
  • “Polydor Sets 5 LP Release” + JB’s 2nd solo LP – Cash Box – July 7, 1973
  • “James Brown’s [‘Doing It To Death’ by Fred Wesley & the JB’s] Single Certified Gold” – Cash Box – Aug. 4, 1973
  • JB’s hilarious promotional stunt for ‘Slaughter’ LP – Cash Box – Aug. 18, 1973
  • Fred Wesley & the JB’s ‘If You Didn’t Get It the First Time, Back Up and Try Again’ 45 – Pick of the Week – Cash Box – Sep. 23, 1973
  • “Hal Neely on Starday-King (Tenuous) Relationship” – Cash Box – Sep. 29, 1973
  • “King-Starday Adds Progressive Label [Good Medicine]; Reshuffling Executives” – Billboard – Oct. 20, 1973

19741979

  • “Cincinnati Boogie Woogie” by Steve Tracy – Living Blues – Summer 1974
  • “Gusto Leases King & Starday Masters” – Cash Box – Apr. 12, 1975
  • Henry Glover produces Muddy Waters at Woodstock LP – Cash Box – May 3, 1975
  • Lyn Collins’ take on Lowman Pauling’s ‘Baby Don’t Do It’ – Pick of the Week – Cash Box – Aug. 9, 1975
  • “Red Sovine Re-Signs with Starday – Listeners Demand ‘Phantom’ Re-release” – Cash Box – Dec. 20, 1975
  • Brief history of Syd Nathan’s business partnership with Henry StoneCash Box – Mar. 27, 1976
  • Executive news = Judy Kreimer, former secretary to King’s Syd Nathan & Hal Neely, to join Cincinnati’s QCA overseeing publishing, royalties – Billboard – May 1, 1976
  • “Gusto Continues to Expand” – Cash Box – Oct. 16, 1976
  • Photo = RCA’s newly-signed artist, Roger Troy – Cash Box – Nov. 13, 1976
  • Full-page ad = Roger Troy’s debut solo LPCash Box – Nov. 20, 1976
  • Review = Roger Troy’s debut solo LP – Cash Box – Nov. 20, 1976
  • ‘Don’t Put the Blame on Me’ by Roger Troy – a Single Pick of the Week – Cash Box – Dec. 4, 1976
  • “Clinton’s P-Funk + Bootsy’s Rubber Band” – Dayton OH Daily News – Mar. 10, 1977
  • “David Houston Inks Exclusive Deal with Gusto-Starday” – Cash Box – Apr. 23, 1977
  • “QCA Opens New 24-Track Studio” – Chuck Seitz + Truck Driver’s poem – Cash Box – July 30, 1977
  • “Chuck Seitz named QCA’s VP for A&R” – Cash Box – Nov. 5, 1977
  • “Moe Lytle, Don Pierce, Tommy Hill & Starday-King” – Cash Box – Feb. 18, 1978
  • Henry Glover (et al) – BMI writers of 1977’s 100 most performed songs – Cash Box – Jun. 24, 1978
  • UK’s Charly Records in Deal with Gusto of US” – Billboard – Aug. 19, 1978
  • “Gusto Records Continues to Diversify in Many Directions” – Cash Box – Oct. 21, 1978
  • “Cincinnati Rockabilly” by Peggy Ligon with Ray Pennington – Goldmine – January 1979 (no. 32)
  • Bootsy & Devo – ‘Ohio Weirdos’ in “Rock Oddities:  Are They Here to Stay?” – Charlotte Observer – Oct. 22, 1979

1980s

  • “James Brown’s ‘Live & Lowdown’ LP – Play It Once a Year’ – Louisville Courier-Journal – Nov. 16, 1980
  • “When King Was King” by Randy McNutt & Steve Rosen – Cincinnati Enquirer – July 5, 1981
  • “Mr. Love Talks About Mr. Blues:  Preston Love on Wynonie Harris” by Dan Kochakian – Whiskey, Women and … – March 1982
  • “A DeLuxe and Regal Feast:  DeLuxe Records 1944-1949 (pt. 1)” by Bill Daniels – Whiskey, Women and … – July 1982
  • “Queen Records” by Bill Daniels – Whiskey, Women and … – June 1983
  • The Saga of Lovin’ Dan:  A Study in the Iconography of Rhythm & Blues Music of the 1950s” by Mark J. Zucker –  Journal of Popular Culture – Fall 1982
  • ‘Honky Tonk’ by Bill Doggett one of BMI ‘Million-Airs’ honored – Cash Box – Sep. 22, 1984
  • “Bob Shreve – Late Night TV King Dethroned” by Cliff Radel – Cincinnati Enquirer – Sep. 13, 1985
  • “BIll Doggett & the Hit That Started in Lima OH” – Chicago Tribune – June 6, 1986
  • “James Brown Still Shining” – Louisville Courier-Journal – June 7, 1986
  • “’The Twist’ Turns 30” by John Swenson – UPI – Nov. 23, 1988
  • “Troy Seals, Eddie Setser & Oak Ridge Boys” – Nashville Tennessean – June 25, 1989
  • “Paul Gayten” by Billy Vera – Whiskey, Women and … – Fall 1989

1990s

  • “Listening to History (Syd Nathan, et al)” – Boston Globe – Jan. 13, 1991
  • “Syd Nathan – King of the Vinyl” by Cliff Radel – Cincinnati Enquirer – May 5, 1991
  • “King’s Ruler Led His Vinyl Empire Into History Books” – Cincinnati Enquirer – May 6, 1991
  • Obituaries = Henry Glover & Leo Fender & Roger ‘Jellyroll’ Troy – Rolling Stone – May 16, 1991
  • “Bob Krasnow Mentions King Records” – Dayton OH Daily News – July 21, 1991
  • “Roots of Rock and Roll:  Henry Glover at King Records” by John W. Rumble – Journal of Country Music – vol. 14, no. 2 – 1992
  • Plenty of Inspiration for Indie Hopefuls” – Ray Pennington (Step One Records) says he learned the music business from indie pioneer, Syd Nathan – Billboard – May 30, 1992
  • “Little Willie John’s ‘Fever’ Rides Charts” – Staunton VA News – Aug. 28, 1992
  • The Majestic Sound of the Five Royales” by Eddie Huffman – Goldmine – Feb. 18, 1993
  • “Rhino [King series] Unearths Some R & B Royalty” by Joel Selvin – San Francisco Chronicle – Mar. 13, 1994
  • “Rhino Records Reissues King (Rodney Dangerfield of labels)” by Cliff Radel – Cincinnati Enquirer – Apr. 19, 1994
  • Record Label Reissues a Treasured Collection of Rhythm-and-Blues” by Peter Watrous – NY Times – June 9, 1994
  • “King-Sized-Dreams” by Cliff Radel – Cincinnati Enquirer – Nov. 6, 1994
  • “Royal Legacy – Five Cincinnati Labels Follow Lead of King” by Cliff Radel – Cincinnati Enquirer – Nov. 7, 1994
  • “Rock & Roll Hall Ignores Session Musicians (& Syd Nathan)” by Larry Nager – Cincinnati Enquirer – Jan. 14, 1996
  • Music Just Part of New [R&B] Box Set on King Records” by Chris Morris – Billboard – Mar. 9, 1996
  • King R&B Box Set – Robert Hilburn reviewLos Angeles Times – June 14, 1996
  • “Rock Hall to Induct Local Men” by Larry Nager – Cincinnati Enquirer – Sep. 20, 1996
  • “King Records’ Totals Add Up to City History” by Cliff Radel – Cincinnati Enquirer – Oct. 14, 1996
  • “King Records Plant Touches Soul in City” by Cliff Radel – Cincinnati Enquirer – Oct. 21, 1996
  • Joel Selvin’s ‘Q&A with Charles Brown’ – San Francisco Examiner – Dec. 15, 1996
  • “King Records Rocks Into History” by Rick Kennedy – Cincinnati Magazine – January 1997
  • “King Exhibit @ Rock & Roll Hall” by Larry Nager – Cincinnati Enquirer – Jan. 24, 1997
  • “The Precarious Position of the African-American Entrepreneur in Post-WWII American Pop Music by David Sanjek – American Music Journal – Winter 1997 (vol. 15, no. 4)
  • “The Man Who Was King” by Darren Blase – CityBeat – March 19, 1997
  • “Rock Hails a King” by Rick Bird – Cincinnati Post – May 2, 1997
  • “Bootsy Collins’ King-Sized Break” by Larry Nager – Cincinnati Enquirer – May 4, 1997
  • “King of Cincinnati Sound – Sydney Nathan Enters Rock and Roll Hall” by Larry Nager – Cincinnati Enquirer – May 4, 1997
  • “Syd Nathan to Get Spot in Rock Hall” – Columbus Dispatch – May 4, 1997
  • “Ohio Legend in Rock & Roll Hall” – Richmond IN Palladium-Item – May 4, 1997
  • “Bootsy @ Rock & Roll Hall” by Larry Nager – Cincinnati Enquirer – May 7, 1997
  • “Hall of Fame Inductions Emphasize Unity” by Larry Nager – Cincinnati Enquirer – May 7, 1997
  • “James Brown to Visit King Site” by Larry Nager – Cincinnati Enquirer – June 5, 1997
  • “King Visit Soul Shocks Brown” by Larry Nager – Cincinnati Enquirer – June 6, 1997
  • “James Brown Wants to Re-Open King” – Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune – June 6, 1997
  • “Rhythm-and-Jews:  The Story of the Blacks and Jews Who Worked Together to Create the Magic of R&B” by Mark Lisheron – CommonQuest:  The Magazine of Black-Jewish Relations – Summer 1997 (vol. 2, no. 1)
  • “R&R Hall Faces Money, Growth & Integrity Issues” by Larry Nager – Cincinnati Enquirer – Aug. 31, 1997
  • Seymour Stein acknowledges Sire as a tribute to “Syd Nathan and King Records” in “The Album Network’s 120 Influential People” by Kevin Stapleford – Album Network – July 1, 1998
  • Review – ‘James Brown – Say It Live & Loud’ + Psychodots Official Bootleg – Cincinnati Enquirer – Oct. 2, 1998
  • Review – Randy McNutt’s ‘Little Labels, Big Sound’ – Cincinnati Enquirer – Apr. 11, 1999
  • Randy McNutt’s ‘Little Labels, Big Sound’ – book review – San Francisco Examiner – July 25, 1999
  • Skyline Chili’s 50th Anniversary Music Mix – Cincinnati Enquirer – Oct. 10, 1999

2000s

  • Ralph Stanley profile by Larry Nager – Cincinnati Enquirer – Jan. 25, 2001
  • “James Brown Replaces Isleys @ Taste Fest” by Larry Nager – Cincinnati Enquirer – May 25, 2001
  • James Brown @ Apollo II album – Larry Nager’s review – Cincinnati Enquirer – July 22, 2001
  • “Funk Legend Bootsy Chills in Rural Ohio Studio” – Windsor [Can.] Star – Aug. 28, 2001
  • “Bootsy Collins – Living Legend” – Southtown Star [Chicago] – Sep. 9, 2001
  • “Musicians Sought for King CD” by Larry Nager – Cincinnati Enquirer – Oct. 17, 2001
  • “Dick Clark Mentions Syd Nathan” by Larry Nager – Cincinnati Enquirer – Jan. 6, 2002
  • “Cammys to Feature King Tribute” by Larry Nager – Cincinnati Enquirer  – Jan. 20, 2002
  • “King of the Session Drummers (Philip Paul)” by Larry Nager – Cincinnati Enquirer  – Mar. 8, 2002
  • Mr. Brown: 20-pg James Brown profile by Philip Gourevitch – New Yorker – July 28, 2014
  • “Proposed Marker for King” by Cliff Radel – Cincinnati Enquirer  – Aug. 1, 2002
  • “Mayersons Philanthropy – Hidden Treasures Project” – Cincinnati Enquirer  – Aug. 29, 2002
  • “Famous Flames Reuniting”  by Hal Lamar – Atlanta Voice – Sep. 21, 2002
  • “King CD – A Worthy Tribute” by Larry Nager – Cincinnati Enquirer  – Oct. 13, 2002
  • “The Label That Would Be King” by Barry Mazor – No Depression – Jan/Feb 2003
  • “Cammy Awards – King History” by Larry Nager – Cincinnati Enquirer  – Mar. 9, 2003
  • “Otis Williams Charmed Life” by Larry Nager – Cincinnati Enquirer  – Apr. 10, 2003
  • “King’s Memory May Be Preserved in Museum” – Coshocton OH Tribune – Apr. 27, 2003
  • “Fans Want to Rescue King Building” – Lancaster OH Eagle-Gazette – May 4, 2003
  • James Brown Live @ Apollo LP – ‘Celebrating NYC’s Musical Heritage’ – New York Daily News – Apr. 5, 2004
  • Henry Glover – The Man Behind the Scenes” by Stephen Koch – Arkansas Times – Mar. 3, 2005
  • “Bootsy Collins Working on King Records Documentary” by CE Hanifin – Cincinnati Enquirer  – Apr. 15, 2005
  • “Thousand Tears Too Late” – Cincinnati Soul exhibit at Contemporary Arts Ctr. – Cincinnati Magazine – Oct. 1, 2005
  • “Students & Bootsy Help Shelter Get Back on Beat” by Jennifer Mrozowski – Cincinnati Enquirer  – Mar. 27, 2005
  • Shining a Light on Cincy Soul” = Kenny Smith profile by Brian Baker – City Beat – May 17, 2006
  • Obituary = James Brown by Gregory Korte – Cincinnati Enquirer – Dec. 26, 2006
  • Obituary = James Brown by Cliff White – The Guardian – Dec. 26, 2006
  • Obituary = James Brown by Jon Pareles – New York Times – Dec. 26, 2006
  • The Payback‘ – An Oral History (featuring Bootsy, et al) – Entertainment Weekly – c. 2006

.

NOTE: There are 4 King & 3 Federal releases listed in the Grammy Hall of Fame

+Good Rockin’ Tonight” by Wynonie Harris [King – 1948] — inducted 1994

+Blues Stay Away From Me” by Delmore Brothers [King – 1949] — inducted 2007

+Sixty Minute Man” by The Dominoes [Federal – 1951] — inducted 2015

+Please” by James Brown & Famous Flames [Federal – 1956] — inducted 2001

+Hideaway” by Freddy King [Federal – 1961] — inducted 1999

+Cold Sweat” by James Brown & Famous Flames [King – 1967] — inducted 2016

+I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine” by James Brown [King – 1970] — inducted 2014

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King’s same-day capacityfrom recording to disk

Aiding and abetting all of those aspiring producers were countless new independent studios and pressing plants.. Small studios like Sam Phillips’ Memphis Recording Service (which advertised, ‘We Record Anything, Anywhere, Anytime’) charged a mere $2 for a single-sided acetate, or $3 for a double.. King executive Jim Wilson recalled, ‘Theoretically, you could walk into King Records in the morning, record, then walk out of there with a dee-jay copy in your hand to take to radio stations.”

American Record Companies and Producers 1888-1950

“Midnight Cowboy” — Sleep Aid

Today Zero to 180 turns eight.

Several months ago, I received a surprise phone call from writer, Steve Rosen, who informed me that he was putting together a feature article for Cincinnati Magazine that uses my “Cincinnati in Song” piece as a launching point.. Furthermore, for this piece, I was invited to contribute a 500-word sidebar of my Top Ten Cincinnati songs — such a marvelous birthday gift! . To help generate buzz for this article (entitled “Sing a Song of Cincinnati“) in the magazine’s December issue, I rolled out my Top Ten on Zero to 180’s Facebook page one song per day (beginning December 1st), with supplemental historical details not previously disclosed.

Unfortunately, today’s post threatens to undo all the positive momentum, as a result of the misguided decision to unfurl a new guitar arrangement of the “Midnight Cowboy” theme by Silver Spring-based music duo, Dubble Trubble.

Dub-inspired pop fusion (or so it says in their press packet), this take on John Barry‘s haunting soundtrack theme may one day end up as the title track of the duo’s debut collection — Twelve O’Clock Cowboys — of late-night sounds (streaming audio link):

“Twelve O’Clock Cowboy”

Richard Harrington recently observed that Joni Mitchell submitted her own composition for the film – titled “Midnight Cowboy” – only to have the song rejected!. The sole recording of Mitchell’s soundtrack offering, notes Harrington, can be found on the Atlantic debut album by Washington, DC’s one-time “favorite folk singer” (and Roberta Flack collaborator), Donal Leace, who departed us this past November due to COVID-19.

Donal Leace rememberedWashington Post

Zero to 180 Milestones:  Years 0-7
  • Inaugural Zero to 180 post that established a bona fide cross-cultural link between Cincinnati (via James Brown’s music recorded and distributed by King Records) and Kingston, Jamaica (i.e., Prince Buster’s rocksteady salute to Soul Brother Number One).
  • 1st anniversary piece that featured an exclusive “Howard Dean” remix of a delightful Sesame Street song about anger management (with a special rant about how WordPress’s peculiarities made me homicidal the moment I launched this blog).
  • 2nd anniversary piece that refused to acknowledge the milestone but instead celebrated the under-sung legacy of songwriter/session musician, Joe South – with a link to South’s first 45, a novelty tune that playfully laments Texas’s change in status as the nation’s largest state upon Alaska’s entry into the Union.
  • 3rd anniversary piece that revealed the depths to which Zero to 180 will sink in order to foist his own amateur recordings onto an unsuspecting and trusting populace.
  • 4th anniversary piece that formalized – as a public service – musical chord changes for an old (and tuneless) “hot potato” playground game called ‘The Wonderball.’
  • 5th anniversary piece that paid tribute to the Buchanan & Goodman “break-in” records that helped fuel (along with Mad Magazine) this young music fanatic’s appetite for satire.
  • 6th anniversary piece that introduced contemporary music product (dub-inspired pop fusion) — in direct violation of Zero to 180’s must-be-20-years-or-older policy.
  • 7th anniversary piece that gave the previous year’s submission a good swift kick in the pants.

Central Recording Studio — Silver Spring, MD

Three recording facilities — Adelphi Studios, Track Recorders, and DB Sound — have helped put Silver Spring, Maryland on the world’s musical map, while a fourth, Paragon Studios, is notable for having captured The Muffins’ influential early work (as was noted in the recent Bob Devlin piece) .  Thanks to Jeff Krulik, I now know of a fifth Silver Spring studio — a 24-track facility, in fact — whose history is virtually unknown except by a relative few who were active in the Washington, DC music scene during the 1980s and early 90s.

Zero to 180 is currently developing a story about Central Recording Studio, its recorded legacy, and all the factors that conspired (unfairly, perhaps) to obscure the studio’s history.  Please check back in December for the full story — in the meantime, follow Zero to 180 on Facebook for the latest word.

Jeff Krulik and Betty Green of Mother’s Band @ Central Recording Studio

King’s Answer to “Monster Mash”

“After making the label an important artistic nest for major jazz artists like Nina Simone, Carmen McRae, Chris Connor and Mel Tormé,” notes Discogs in a summary overview of Bethlehem Records, its founder Gustav Wildi, in 1958, “gave the major label King Records half ownership as payment for distribution, and in 1962 Wildi sold King Records the second half of Bethlehem Records.”

With “Monster Mash” topping Billboard’s singles chart in late October 1962, Mann Drake‘s “Vampire’s Ball” — released on Bethlehem and rated as a “new single” in Billboard‘s November 17, 1962 edition — appears to be King’s attempt to cash in on the smash hit by BobbyBorisPickett and the Crypt Kickers:

“Vampire’s Ball”     Mann Drake     1962

“VAMPIRE’S BALL”     MANN DRAKE     1962

Billboard designated the single three stars (“moderate sales potential”) in their November 17, 1962 edition, while that same week, Cash Box had no compunction about stating the obvious in their “graded” singles review:

Mann Drake (Bethlehem 3049)
(B) “Vampire’s Ball”  (2:34)
[Lois-Beck BMI — Zanino, Canton]
Side undoubtedly was inspired by the “Monster Mash” hit and, like the original, features [Bela] Lugosi & Boris Karloff imitations against a “mash” sound from the combo-chorus.

(B) “Horror Movie” (2:32)
[Lois-Beck BMI — Zanino, Golding]
Voice here is that of a hip-talking fella.  Back-up sound resembles that of the top portion.

The King recording session notes compiled by Michel Ruppli indicate the 45 to have been released October, 1962, both sides having been recorded elsewhere and “leased” to King. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Mann-Drake-45.jpg

“Vampire’s Ball” would be remembered in decades hence as having been deemed worthy of inclusion in the following various artists compilations:

Both 45Cat and Discogs indicate this sole 45 to be Mann Drake’s entire recorded output — is this stage name (i.e., “Mandrake“), therefore, simply sleight-of-hand?  Al Zanino, who co-wrote both sides of this 45, seems to be the key that unlocks the mystery behind the artist’s identity, so says Discogs:

A songwriter, band promoter and manager, Al Zanino co-owned his own record label in Reading, PA, Al-Stan.  He released a popular horror record in the 1950s, “The Vampire Speaks” and also released “The Vampire’s Lair.”  Additionally, he sang on his own under the stage name “Tony Albert”.

Vintage copies of the original “Vampire’s Ball”/”Horror Movie” 45 have fetched decent money at auction in the past ten years.  

Five years earlier, Zanino had recorded a horror 45 for the local market in Reading, PA — one that would be reissued on the single’s 50th anniversary in a limited edition of 500:

“The original was recorded back in 1957 by Al Zanino and Cliff Juranis of Reading, PA. Only a few copies of the original pressing survive. This pressing features a new picture sleeve designed by John Fundyga along with artist Rick Ulrich. The back features a copy of a rejection letter written by Roland/Zacherle on his original 1957 letterhead. Al Zanino sent a copy of the 45 to Roland when he hosted his Chiller Theater show back in 1957 in Philly. His letter was recreated from the original copy on the back of the sleeve. The letter has some funny comments written by Roland himself! The record label was painstakingly made to look like the original [on Al-Stan, presumably].”

Michele (Valeri) & Bob (Devlin)’s Color-Your Own Album Cover

Zero to 180 has been a direct benefactor of Tom Avazian’s unending quest for musical inspiration, a journey that has informed this website in countless ways. When Tom recently handed over a selected set of second-hand musical acquisitions, he knew darn well that I’d be powerless to resist this color-your-own cover for a 1977 album by Michele Valeri and Bob Devlin whose title track derives inspiration from P.D. Eastman’s classic children’s tale, Are You My Mother?

original LP cover 

There seems to be an obvious story, however, behind the flaming red copyright sticker that interferes with the album cover’s imperative to “color me please.” Thanks to a phone conversation with Bob Devlin’s collaborator, Michele Valeri — graciously facilitated by Grammy Award-winning folk musician Cathy Fink — I now understand the situation with the discontented copyright-holder-in-question to be even more convoluted than I had initially imagined.

However, I am still experiencing cognitive dissonance over the fact that Devlin performed at some of the DC area’s most prestigious venues in the 1970s and 80s, including Wolf Trap, The National Theatre, The Kennedy Center, and even the White House, and yet this album – originally issued on West Springfield, VA-based indie label, Pot Luck Records – remains uncataloged on Discogs. Where do I file a grievance?

Odder still, around the time of this album’s “release,” Are You My Mother? was voted by the American Library Association as one of the top “children’s records” — even though the primary “distribution point” for obtaining the LP was Devlin, a master street performer, and Bread & Roses, a cooperative (i.e., “worker-run”) record shop located in Dupont Circle.

Helping to unpack this story is Jeff Krulik, DC-based documentary filmmaker (best known for Heavy Metal Parking Lot), who righteously endowed Zero to 180 with choice ads, articles, and artifacts from his vast archives of Unicorn Times back issues, thus almost single-handedly serving up the images used in this piece. Thanks to Krulik’s copy of Richard Harrington‘s Unicorn Times review, for instance, we now know that Are You My Mother? had been released just before year’s end in 1977.

Unicorn Times — December 1977 — “Aerial” view

This sophomore release on the fledgling Pot Luck label had been preceded in September of the previous year by the debut album Live at 18th & M from “The Bob Devlin Street Band” — in actuality, a one-person operation, who had been recorded documentary-style with nary a post-production enhancement.

Unicorn Times — December 1977

Alternate ad for Devlin’s live debut LP

Devlin, by this point, had also begun placing ads in the Unicorn Times that announced his weekly performance schedule at two downtown DC locations — 21st & L and 18th & M:

Connie McKenna‘s feature article “Sunshine Street Singer” in the March 1977 edition of Unicorn Times revealed that Devlin, who once managed DC’s esteemed Iguana Coffeehouse, “sang with Pete Seeger and others at the recent opening of the Woody Guthrie movie, Bound For Glory.”

Devlin’s musical career, we learn from McKenna, began after a two-year stint as an Army draftee, having spent two years in Germany. Observing all the greenbacks earned in just a couple hours by a DC street musician playing the hammered dulcimer, noted McKenna, Devlin saw a potentially viable escape hatch from the soul-crushing drudgery of office work. Initially shy, Devlin hid behind his harmonica at first. Once he plucked up the courage to sing, however, there was no denying that “singing and eye contact were the ultimate street skills.”

Devlin, meanwhile, continued to employ a folksy charm in his marketing outreach efforts:

Within six months of pressing his first album, Devlin announced in the June 1977 issue of Unicorn Times that all 500 copies of the first pressing had been purchased, primarily on the strength of street sales:

In October, Unicorn Times readers were informed that a new album by Michele Valeri, in collaboration with “The Bob Devlin Street Band,” was now in the works:

Michele Valeri relayed the details behind the making and marketing of this album by phone to Zero to 180. Valeri says that she and Bob initially got together to trade songs, with Michele sharing songs written as a children’s entertainer. “You have some kids’ songs, I have some kids’ songs,” enthused Devlin, “Let’s make a record!”

Meanwhile, Joan Cushing – “Mrs. Foggy Bottom” – who played piano in cocktail lounges and dished about DC politics (not unlike Mark Russell, whose place at the Shoreham she would one day take) and Michele developed a budding friendship. While Valeri was doing an engagement at DC’s Mayflower Hotel and Cushing had a string of dates in Alexandria, Virginia, the two would see each other’s show on days off.

Cushing would be recruited for the new record, along with Steve Gray (bass, banjo & guitar), Marc Spiegel (vocals), Connie McKenna (autoharp & vocals), Barbara McKenna (vocals), Linda Devlin (siren whistle & vocals), Rob Bayne (drums), Michael Cotter (flute & vocals) & Hank Tenenbaum (bones). The album was recorded in Marc Spiegel’s apartment at Calvert and Connecticut in the Woodley Park neighborhood above a bakery (hence the song title, “Strawberry Pastry”).

Mobile Master’s Ed Kelly, who engineered Devlin’s Live at 18th & M album, was on hand (somewhere between the hallway and bathroom, where the vocals were primarily recorded) to capture the performances, including a “disgruntled” neighbor, whose sounds were incorporated into “The Dinosaur Song.” The album was recorded in two afternoons, according to Valeri, with Joan Cushing providing her services at no charge.

With regard to the featured song “When the Rain Comes Down,” Valeri reveals that Devlin one day was waiting for the bus, along with a cross-section of America [i.e., a well-appointed gentlemen with lawyer’s satchel, wildly-attired “hippie” types, day workers], when an unsuspected rain event caught the entire assemblage by surprise — and sparked a classic folk song in the process:

“When the Rain Comes Down” Bob Devlin & Michele Valeri 1977

Bob Devlin: Guitar, Cymbal & Vocals
Joan Cushing: Piano
Michael Cotter: Flute
Steve Gray: Bass
Michele Valeri: Vocals
Connie McKenna: Vocals
Barbara McKenna: Vocals

Album mixed at Paragon Studio* — Silver Spring, MD
CD remastering at Tonal Park — Takoma Park, MD

Michele & Bob’s bios — from the LP’s inner sleeve

Richard Harrington’s album review from the December 1977 issue of Unicorn Times:

Woody Guthrie had a rare talent for creating children’s records that made children out of all listeners, regardless of age. It came from various qualities in the music, not the least of which was his refusal to pander to pre- or mis-conceptions of what children’s music should be about.

Bob Devlin and Michele Valeri have rekindled those attitudes in this delightful album. The most obvious qualities are a gentle insistence and honesty towards the music itself, supported by unpretentious and amenable lyrics. This is a friendly record, folks, and when you’re not considering the innocence of many of its themes, you’ll be laughing at most of its characters.

The title song is a variation on the Old McDonald theme, here taking a Roots-like approach, but all in fun. It’s the story of a little chick who gets hatched alone and has to try and locate the warmth that once surrounded it. Animals figure a lot on this album, from the “Dinosaur Song”‘s classic 50’s rock and roll parade of species to Devlin’s sly “Little Black Bug” ballad.

There are people too: the little girl who really does want chocolate, the shared learning partners in “The Letter Song.” There are even vegetables on parade in “Fruit Salad Scenario.” It’ll be a challenge after hearing that one to blot out the theme centering around the line, “Oh you can’t elope with a cantaloupe…”

In other words, this is fun. Valeri has a classic cabaret voice by way of the Grand Guignol and Devlin, of course, has been entertaining all sorts of children on street corners for years. They are joined by good friends like Steve Gray and Connie McKenna and Joan Cushing and poet Marc Speigel. The songs come mostly from Devlin and Valeri, but there are literally as many flavors as there are tunes. Somehow it flows together beautifully, anchored by a spiritual undertow from Devlin. This record will last because, like Guthrie’s best “children’s records,” its values are timeless and equally fun for young and old.

November 1977 — Unicorn Times

P.D. Eastman’s “Are You My Mother?,” as the title track’s reference point and backdrop for the color-your-own cover (drawn by Michael Cotter, founder of Blue Sky Puppet Theatre), was discussed at one point by the two artists after the album’s recording had concluded. Valeri suggested that perhaps they should seek permission from the powers-that-be; however, Devlin indicated that was not necessary, saying in essence, “I researched the matter and have found that you can’t copyright a title.”

Meanwhile, the album that (like Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue) had been recorded in two days had somehow, as previously noted, made the American Library Association’s list of top children’s albums. Richard Harrington’s thumbs-up review added to the positive momentum.

Unicorn Times — December 1977

At this early point in their careers, there was so much uncertainty around the two musicians’ occupational trajectory, that Valeri’s parents’ West Springfield, VA address was listed as the base of operations for the wee Pot Luck label...This is an important detail, since by this time, Valeri had proactively and forthrightly mailed a copy of the new album to P.D. Eastman himself — in hindsight, almost certainly accelerating the chain of events that would inevitably follow...For, one day soon after, Valeri received a call from her mother, who told her, “I just signed a registered letter from Random House...I’m not sure, but I think you’re being sued!”

Many of her friends were delighted by the news, but Valeri, who was understandably horrified, immediately contacted an infuriated Eastman, who threatened to litigate. Valeri, whose teaching gig at David Perry’s Guitar and Lute Shop in DC’s Dupont Circle was her primary source of income, happened to have, by curious coincidence, Worth Rowley as a student.

Rowley — the guitar pupil who specifically sought out Valeri, as a result of his children’s enthusiasm for Are You My Mother? — was a prominent lawyer from a well-connected “Old Boston” family who had served the Justice Department for many years as an antitrust specialist. Rowley had turned up for his lesson one day to find Valeri especially down in the dumps and promptly agreed to intercede on her behalf. Before you know it, Rowley was in a three-piece suit and on an Amtrak train bound for New York City. Rowley clarified the optics of the lawsuit for Eastman and his legal reprentatives: “You’re suing a street musician and a special needs educator who serves severely handicapped children through music,” Rowley informed them. “Are you sure you want the bad publicity?”

Alexandria Gazette – June 28, 1979

Devlin’s “Folksongs Americana” children’s program at Fort Ward Park

[courtesy Jessie Devlin]

.

Both sides, thankfully, worked out an agreement, whereby the first 2,000 copies of the original Are You My Mother? album would be allowed to remain as is, provided that copyright stickers be affixed to the front cover of each copy, as well as inner sleeve adjacent to the title track. Additionally, all future releases of this album must be done under a new title and without the inclusion of “Are You My Mother?” [The CD reissue would be retitled When the Rain Comes Down and include ten songs from the original album, plus “The Tomato Song”; “You Best Take a Bath” & “Tiny Little Gear”].

Fortunately, this legal episode in no way deterred Devlin from becoming the cover story (penned by Matt Holsen) for Unicorn Times‘ October 1980 issue:

Holsen gleans a bit of wisdom from Devlin, who observes — counterintuitively perhaps — that “the street audience is more attentive, more involved in the music than the club audience.” Devlin explains: “You look up and there’s a hundred people standing there. They’re not there to drink or socialize. They’re just listening It can really scare you.”

Devlin acknowledges the challenge of creating a body of work that is consistent with his strong Christian faith while being able to stand solely on its musical merits. Devlin points out that “the Gallop Poll indicates that there are 80 million Americans who say they are born-again Christians. To the record companies, that’s 80 million customers.”

As Holsen observes —

Commercial music may be dominated by simple-minded hedonism, equally simple-minded cynicism or, at best, the dark melancholy of a Jackson Browne, and Christian music may be just another marketing strategy, but Devlin knows that he has an audience. He sees it every day on the street. He also knows that the very qualities that hinder his commercial success — his optimistic outlook and his unassuming, folksy style — are what endear him to that audience.

An unabashed proponent of folk music, Devlin believed its verse/chorus, verse/chorus structure to be a fundamental device for engaging others, providing opportunities for the audience to “join in.” Since people in other parts of the globe abide by the verse/chorus format, Devlin reasoned earlier to Unicorn Times in 1977, “it must be a part of the human psyche, it’s what works for people.” Furthermore, “the secret is to watch people walking by, to sing to each person as he comes by. Give ’em a wink. Be there for people.”

Matt Holsen noted in his October 1980 Unicorn Times cover story that the US Dept. of Labor once devoted four pages of a Bureau of Labor Statistics bulletin to Devlin, who was presented as a “model for youngsters considering careers in the performing arts.” This surprisingly informative bulletin from 1979 (#2001-14) speaks in practical terms to those considering Performing Arts, Design, and Communications Occupations:

Bob looks the crowd over with a practiced eye as he strides up to the busy corner in the heart of the business district. “Mostly office workers out for lunch, as usual, but there seem to be some tourists today too...Quite a mixture, in fact...They have the makings of a good audience,” he thinks to himself as he begins to set up his gear.

He removes the backpack that holds his guitar and a folding stool, then sets up his speaker system and hooks the microphone into it.  After removing his guitar and leaning it upright against the stool, he unpacks a large cymbal and places it on the ground.  He takes several record albums out of the pack and props them up against the speaker. Next he pulls his harmonica out of a side pocket of the pack and attaches it to a brace around his neck.  Finally he places a very small cardboard box a few feet in front of the stool.  “Hello, folks. How are you today?” he says into the mike as he sits down and begins tuning his guitar.  A few people stop to watch, but most just continue on their way.  Bob blows into the harmonica a few times, strums a chord, and then, assured that his guitar is in tune, begins to play.

“Bob Devlin’s my name, and I’m going to start off today with an old ballad that you may know.”  With that, Bob starts to sing.  More people stop to watch.  As he begins the second verse, he can feel himself warming up to the song.  About a dozen people have gathered around him, although most of the sidewalk traffic is still moving.  As he finishes his song, a distinguished-looking man in a pin-striped suit walks over and drops some coins into the box.  Bob acknowledges the contribution with a nod and a smile, then moves right into another tune.  A faster one, this time.  His right foot moves in time to the music, tapping the brass cymbal.

He’s feeling fine. .It is a beautiful summer day, sunny and warm, and Bob knows from experience what a difference the weather makes to a street musician.  A balmy day like this is perfect.  Bob moves quickly from one song into another, pausing between songs only now and then to talk to the people gathered around him.  A number of people know him, or at least recognize him, and call to him by name.  Bob has played on this corner before, and many of the people who work in nearby office buildings are familiar with his music.  They make a point of coming when they find out that he’s giving a lunchtime concert here.  

Bob is pleased with the audience he’s developing in this part of the city. And that audience, after all, is one of the main reasons he plays on the street.  The money’s good—for only a few hours’ work he can make $40 on a good day.  But the main advantage of playing on the street is the exposure he gets.  More people hear him play on this corner sidewalk than would hear him play at a coffeehouse or club.  In fact, most of the club dates he’s gotten lately have come about because someone from a nightclub heard him on the sidewalk, liked his music, and offered him the job.  Playing on the street has actually saved him the trouble of having to go and audition.

Career World — 1980

[COURTESY JESSIE DEVLIN]

.

Right now, Bob’s musical goal is to make a name for himself in Washington, D.C.  He wants as many people as possible to recognize his name, his face, his musical style. He hopes that as he becomes better known, more and more people will make an effort to catch his performances—on street corners, in the parks, at craft fairs, wherever he happens to be playing.  Then, as his reputation grows, there will be more demand for him to perform.  Later on, Bob hopes to go on tour with an established singer or group...And he expects to make more records.

Bob already has made one album [Live at 18th & M]...He cut the album last fall, knowing how hard it would be to make a living by playing on the street once winter came and the weather turned cold.  Bob hoped that his record sales would bring in enough income to tide him over the winter.  He sold them throughout the year wherever he played, in nightclubs, coffeehouses, and private parties

Like all musicians who are just starting out, Bob had to cover the cost of cutting the record himself.  He used his savings, around $700, and borrowed the rest from friends. He made the recording, or master tape, during a session when he was playing on the street.  That saved him the expense, which can be quite substantial, of having to rent a recording studio. .Later he took the master tape to a record pressing plant that transferred the taped recording onto a master disc.  The master disc was then used to create the molds, called stampers, that were used in pressing the records.  Having the album covers made was expensive, but Bob was able to afford both the album and the covers at the same time.  In the end Bob found that the $ 1,100 he had was enough money to cut about 500 records.

Selling his records at $5 each, Bob was able to regain his initial investment after selling less than half of the first printing.  From then on, everything he sold was pure profit.  He sold all 500 records within 7 months, and, when people continued to ask to buy copies, he decided to print 1,000 more!  With the master disc already made, the second printing was much less expensive.  He paid for those records with money he had saved from earlier record sales.

[COURTESY JESSIE DEVLIN]

A few college and underground FM radio stations have given his music air time, but he’s found it difficult to get his music played on most of the commercial AM stations.  “I’m lucky to have opportunities like this to advertise my record,” he thinks as a teenager in faded jeans picks up one of the albums and then pulls a wallet from her pocket.  Most of Bob’s income still comes from performing, however.

As Bob finishes another song, a few people begin to clap.  Soon the entire crowd is applauding.  He pauses for a moment, then starts into a well-known folk tune.  “You probably all know this one,” he says, “so sing along if you like.”  The music Bob plays is easy to listen to and appeals to a large audience.  That’s part of the reason for his success.  It would be harder to be a successful street musician with a classical repertoire.  

His rapport with his audience is another reason for Bob’s popularity. He talks and jokes with the people gathered around him in a relaxed, easygoing way.  At the same time, Bob attributes some of his success to downright practical considera­tions—picking the right time of day and the right places to play.  The crowd around Bob grows larger, and people start walking up and dropping money into his box.  He continues playing, responding to the encouragement and appreciation of his audience.

[COURTESY JESSIE DEVLIN]

Bob has been a professional musician for only a few years.  He never thought seriously about being a musician when he was growing up, even though he’s played the guitar since 8th grade.  He never even took guitar les­sons—just learned to play by ear, picking up what he could from friends.  He played occasionally in coffee­houses while he was in high school and college, but at that time he thought of music as a hobby rather than as a possible career.  Shortly after college, however, he decided that he was bored with his job as a shipping clerk in a warehouse.  Playing on the street might be an interesting way to earn some money, he decided. So he gave it a try.

Once he started playing on the street he realized how important music was to him.  All of a sudden he knew that, if he could manage it, he wanted to devote himself to music for the rest of his life.  Bob feels lucky to be able to support himself by making music.  For only the $15 annual cost of a vendor’s license, he’s able to play on the street whenever he wants, and make enough to live.  Bob knows that performing is a very competitive field, and he doesn’t expect to become famous overnight.  Until he does, he’s content with days like today, when he’s able to share his music with people on a street corner.  For Bob, a life that revolves around music is reward enough.

Montgomery County MD’s Journal — Sept. 23, 1988

The Montgomery County native “does not simply start a song, he launches it”

[COURTESY JESSIE DEVLIN]

#………………………………….#………………………………….#

Original track listing for the 1977 Are You My Mother? LP

[ARTWORK BY JENNY, CHRIS & VALERI GILMAN]

Cover for the 1984 CD reissue

[artwork by Rae Owings]

CD track listing

By the 1990s, Devlin would halt his street performing work in order to make recordings that “reflected his strong Christian commitment,” as Richard Harrington noted in his tribute for The Washington Post in 1995. Nevertheless, Devlin possessed a special ability — as many have borne witness – to connect with people of all ages. “What Bob did was to transcend all the divisions that are there for entertainers, when it comes to what age you can appeal to,” Cathy Fink told Harrington, who joined WOWD host DJ Mackie in 2019 for a celebration of legendary DC street performers Bob Devlin and Flora Molton, among others. “Little kids, old folks and everybody in between liked him. Bob could get a 60-year-old to sing along as fast as he could get a 4-year-old to sing along,” recalled Fink, “He had a keen sense of the fact he was able to entertain every audience he got in front of.”

Harrington tells Zero to 180 that Bob was “a public showman” who “reveled in that role, leading people into song and choruses.” Devlin was “in a field of one” in his capacity to evoke an uninhibited response from young people, whether inside a school building or out on the streets, says Harrington. Christine McKenna, in her 1977 Unicorn Times profile, stated that “one of Bob’s best nights was when he had 150 people jammed into Canal Square, ‘singing like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, one song after another, it was like magic, like something from another time.'”

Michele Valeri minces no words today —

[Bob] was definitely one of my mentors.  He pushed me into recording that LP.  I don’t know where I would be in the world of music without him.

Special Bonus: Color-Your-Own Bob Devlin!

[performing at Silver Spring, MD’s Armory (demolished in 1998)]

According to Jessie Devlin —

Silver Spring put out a mini 8-page coloring book about their wonderful city. It was published by the SS Urban District.  There is no date on it….some time in the 90s??  Some of the topics are penguins [unofficial mascot] waiting for the metro, the bronze statue of a juggling unicyclist, and the SS 10K Challenge Run, and there on pg 6 is a nicely done drawing of the One-Man-Band [whom Devlin hoped “would never break up,” remembers Ken Giles of Bright Morning Star].

Jessie Devlin Responds to An Early Draft of This Zero to 180 Piece

  • As soon as I began reading this, a name came to mind – Chris Core – he was an announcer for WMAL radio.  He often played Bob’s music on the “talk” radio which I thought was really dear of him.  He loved Bob and his music and paid Bob a wonderful tribute on radio when he died.  Last time I was in contact with him, I think he lived in Bethesda/Chevy Chase area, but he’s easy to find thru radio if you want to include him. 
  • As to the P.D. Eastman story, our first notice that we were in big trouble was the fact that Michele, Bob, and Potluck Records each received a registered/sign-for letter from Random House.  This letter alone was enough to freak us out and luckily, as you write, Worth Rowley who just happened to be going to NY City for some kind of meeting told Michele he would check out the situation.  Michele told me later that Worth’s biggest convincing argument – besides his legal stature – was that he asked the Random House rep somewhat along the lines: Do you really want your very big corporation to be seen as going after a young lady who makes her living off of teaching guitar lessons, and, a young married street musician with a newborn child who lives in a one-bedroom rental?  That did it.  And Worth returned with a decent agreement that allowed us to sell the remaining albums with the promise not to print more.  As to Bob, he was very concerned; he realized the seriousness of it all.  But he always had this attitude of: Well, if it doesn’t work out, we’ll fix it; and that’s it. 
  • In his early gigs, when he was the Bob Devlin Street Band, his performances were mostly outside so there was never a problem having all the instruments played.  However, as the number of indoor gigs picked up, he realized that the under-foot cymbal – bent to give it a pop-back-up motion for the next beat – was not going to work.  It was deafened on rugs and scratched wood floors.  So “Rock” was added to the group.  Rock was a piece of slate Bob found on one of his endless shopping trips – he was amazing at always finding exactly what he needed.  Rock was chipped to the appropriate size and at the next gig, Cymbal and Rock had their own duo going.  But rugs came in handy outside also.  Bob was wearing so much electrical wiring in addition to having a ton of equipment around him that anyone who was partying a little too hard and got too close, well, it could be dangerous.  So, to have a more “official” placement, he would put a rug under his setup and let people know that it was his “staging area, (as well as adding a little bit of hominess!). 
  • I believe it was the Washington Post writer Eve Zibart, who added the suffix to what became “Bob Devlin One-Man-Band Extraordinaire.”   Bob often introduced himself:  “I’d like to introduce the members of my band!  Fingers! on guitar” – with a ripping guitar solo; “Feet! on drum and cymbal” – solo added to by Fingers;  “Mouth! on the harmonica” – blasting a full-speed every note solo; and finally ~ “my name is Bob Devlin and I am the lead singer! of the group” at which moment he would launch into a most glorious ripping rendition of “The Wabash Cannonball.”  People went wild with delight, only to laugh even more when Bob added after the musical intro:  I’d be in big trouble if the band ever decided to break up!”
  • In 1979, Bob launched into a business deal with real estate businessman, Harvey Fernebok, whom he had met through Marc Spiegel (think Strawberry Pastry!).  Harvey would make it financially possible for Bob to record his next album, String Rambler.  It was a street singer made classy!  Bob’s writing skills were finally in the forefront of what they were thinking as a next big national hit.  But although the album received acclaim, by others it was judged harshly because of the multi songwriter genres that were presented.  Some said it was fantastic and original; others who couldn’t understand his talent said he needed one concentration of type. 
  • In 1980 Bob was featured in Career World as a successful Offbeat Job in which one could make a reasonable living.
  • In Richard [Harrington]’s tribute to Bob, he mentioned: By the 1990s, Devlin would halt his street performing work in order to make a recording that “reflected his strong Christian commitment.”  This is a little off on timing and reasoning.  And it’s not something he went after.  It came after him!  His Christian songwriting had already begun taking form but it was something very personal for him – more like worship – and he postponed doing much publicly until he strongly felt the time was right.  Once in a while he would share a song at church, mostly for the children.  Then one time, LillAnne Pitts, head of the Children’s Dept of the church, approached Bob and asked if he could possibly write “two or three” songs to use with the Bible School curriculum that year, 1983. After looking over the curriculum and meeting with LillAnne, he came home and in less than three days composed nine of the twelve songs that would become the tape: For the Shepherd’s Children.  I think it took him by surprise as much as any of us.  
  • Also, by 1983, Bob was experiencing a huge influx of indoor gigs.  Having started out singing year-round including in cold weather, these were a welcome treat.  Not only for the warmth but also the guaranteed income.  Wanting his wife to be an at-home mom for their two girls, these gigs multiplied income into a dependable support.  Indoor gigs also included an upgrade in costume.  Although the street bandanna and red carnation remained, the jeans were replaced by black suit pants, and the once brown leather cap was replaced with the same style of Greek fisherman’s cap but in black.  And the brown shoes were traded in for black.  This was difficult because his shoes/boots weren’t just any kind.  The heel of the boot had to be made of a hard substance, more like wood that when striking the bass would create a sharp, clear, cracking sound rather than a muddled sponge-rubber of comfort heels.  More indoor gigs included numerous museum and zoological performances, local craft and music festivals, and countless school performances that had first begun in 1977.   He was considered entertainment and when pressured to be just as entertaining but to somehow make it educational, he designed his infamous and educational “Folksongs Americana” presentation. 
  • In 1985, Bob was once again asked to write songs for the Bible School curriculum.  However, now having both a 7 and 4 year old at home, he knew he wouldn’t get the silence he needed so the church offered to allow him to use one of the empty Sunday School rooms during the week and he was able to leave most of his equipment there overnight.  Another unexplainable happening – much like any great writer, designer, performer, artist – achieves in those special once-in-a-lifetime moments, Bob – in a span of less than two weeks – composed twelve songs that combined to become Circle of Love.  Another Devlin classic but short-lived, as we didn’t have the advertising help of big backers.  Ultimately, after Bob’s death in 1995, the non-profit designed to field these two tapes was dissolved by meeting IRS requirements of paying past taxes due on all monies received.  In the meantime, it was one more amazing creation to be boxed away and set aside to make room for further dreams. 
  • Also, the reason we don’t have a whole lot in pics of the private gigs is because most would have had to be taken before or after the guests appeared.  Not that they were nervous about anything, Bob understood as when you are in the upper echelons and you are invited to a home for the evening, you want to enjoy the food and people and the music without having a camera in your face.  But one fantastic thing that these gigs did was to let people see Bob out of his street gear and into his very classy presentation dress wear.  So more people felt relaxed and wanted to hire him.  And the residence part of his career took off.

10 Questions with Jessie Devlin

Q01:  What memories stand out from the recording sessions for Are You My Mother? 

A01: Memories…..Anytime I think of those recording sessions, the most memorable thing was the light – we were in Marc’s empty rental apt and there was so much light coming thru the windows.  And everyone was happy!  There was a lot of laughter and also a lot of ideas created in the moment as to how a line should be played or where an instrumental flourish could be added.   I was there to watch.  I took a ton of pictures and I enjoyed every part. 

Q02At the time, did “When the Rain Comes Down” hold any special place in Bob’s repertoire?  I know Bob was not commercially driven or oriented, but was there any thought given to making “Rain” the A-side of a single release? [Cathy Fink estimates that 30 other artists include the song in their repertoire as a result of her championing the song].

A02: “Rain” always held a special place in his repertoire.  It was the song that people sang along to.  And it would meld audiences together into one.  As to an A-side single, no, we were doing everything we could money-wise for his music on our own and we never discussed …..no, I can’t say that – we did discuss it.  But it just wasn’t possible.

Q03Was Bob particularly concerned during the legal tussle over the copyright issue, or was he able to hold the matter at bay and trust that everything would work out in the end?   Or neither?

A03: Random House – that’s elaborated [in the preceding paragraphs] above

Q04Did Bob originally contact Bread & Roses about distributing Pot Luck releases?  Was this a “special” arrangement, or did Bread & Roses support other local musicians in this regard?  

A04: Bread & Roses – this is one aspect I knew nothing about because I didn’t handle any of this.  But knowing Bob, it was probably something he presented to them.  As to other artists, you’d have to ask someone who knew B&R.  I was mainly the mom, cook, cleaner, bookkeeper, drop and pick up Bob at gigs or on the corners.  It wasn’t until the girls got a little older and lot of indoor gigs began to happen that I began to be the gig scheduler.

Q05How would you describe the energy that Bob conveyed as a street performer, and what were some of his favorite techniques or characteristic ways of engaging rapport with an audience?

A05: Engaging the audience:  Not much of a need there.  He was a HUGE happening and people wanted to be part of it, so they would come pouring out of their offices for lunch and join in with clapping and singing – Bob was a respite for their brains and a stress reliever for their bodies!  Once in a while he would add little stories to introduce a song and if the story worked he would keep it with the song but he never overused a story – just once in a while; a rarity.  Because his music was so welcoming and friendly, he didn’t have to draw people in – they couldn’t wait to jump in. 

Q06Given that DC is the Federal City, I’m just curious to know if there any other notables – besides Jimmy Carter, Cesar Chavez, Pete Seeger, and Sen. Howard Metzenbaum – who have been entertained by Bob?

A06: Oh sure, tons, but I can’t even begin to get into that right now.  It would take a ton of time and research.  I will say, he played for George and Barbara Bush ….I can’t remember if it was the Easter Egg Roll or one of the Congressional Picnics. 

Q07Did Bob and Flora Molton ever play any sets together while street performing?

A07: Flora Molton.  I slightly remember Bob taking his guitar and harmonica down to Flora’s corner [7th & G] one time but it was a very limited thing.  I think it was just something he wanted to do, to be with her.  And it wouldn’t be on the books because it wasn’t a paying gig. 

Q08Who were Bob’s favorite musical artists (or “heroes,” if any)?  Was Bob a music collector or “consumer” in any serious regard?

A08: Fav music artists ….oh my ….this is one of those questions that could be answered with a much shorter list by saying who he didn’t like.  In fact, I can’t remember him ever dissing another artist – famous or local.  That wasn’t the type of person he was.  Some of his favs included Bob Dylan – of course, and any song sung by someone with soul or party attitude or whatever.  He knew hundreds of songs besides the ones he had written and it’s what made it possible for him to play absolutely any type of gig that came along. 

Q09I suspect Bob had little to no tolerance for any commercial radio stations (even WHFS) – were there any DC stations that Bob actually enjoyed?

A09: Actually there were several stations he enjoyed.  I’d have to get a list and tell you because I can’t remember the call letters off the top of my head.  Why are you dissing WHFS?  Bob loved rock music …..haha…..that’s what he’d say to people when he put Rock on a rug in a home and he’d say:  Okay, we’re going to be hearing a little rock music tonite.  People would good-naturedly boo and then laugh.  He loved ALL music in the sixties ….well, except maybe the acid rock.  That was a bit much.  But all the songs written with good lyrics, whether supporting a march or walk-out or just a good time with a girlfriend, he appreciated the writer’s creativity.  But on top of it all – he rarely listened to radio – he was SO busy writing music and recording it over and over to see if he should change or add something.  Radio was not a high demand in his week or even a month. 

Q10What were the circumstances that led to Bob’s decision to retire from street performing?

A10: Like I said – there was no retirement.  It was more of a thing where, although he was making a ton of bucks at the time, the indoor gigs were even more financially beneficial and as people got to know him as an indoor performer, the gigs multiplied.

Northern VA’s Gazette — Oct. 25, 1984

David Arnold

[“whose one-man band is one of few besides Devlin’s on the East Coast“]

Quote: “Bob Devlin is certainly the best no-hands harmonica player I’ve ever seen”

Postscript

Bread & Roses: A Community Record Store

The cooperative record store that once stood in Washington, DC at 1724 20th St. (between R & S) — and served as a distribution point for Pot Luck Records — no doubt took its name (Bread & Roses) from a slogan (“Bread for all, and roses, too”) coined by Helen Todd that captured the essential spirit driving the women’s suffrage movement of the early 20th century:

Not at once; but woman is the mothering element in the world and her vote will go toward helping forward the time when life’s Bread, which is home, shelter and security, and the Roses of life, music, education, nature and books, shall be the heritage of every child that is born in the country, in the government of which she has a voice.— Helen Todd, 1910

Ralph Nader reported on Bread & Roses and other cooperative enterprises for In the Public Interest‘s March 4, 1974 edition in a piece entitled “Coping With Consumer Shortage:

One development in various parts of the country that bears watching is the spread of “community stores,” particularly in Seattle, Washington, Minneapolis, Madison, Wisconsin, Ann Arbor, Michigan and Washington, D.C. ..In the nation’s capital, drab with bureaucracy and impersonal architecture, a colorful, almost oldfashioned group of these community store coops are busily serving people who want to change their habits and find less expensive alternatives. “Stone Soup” and “Glut” sell food and another store, “Rainbow Bridge,” is about to open...There is a community warehouse and trucking coop to serve this network that hopes soon to connect up directly with farmers...“Bread and Roses” is a community record shop not far from a community bookshop. .“Romah” is a home repair service while the Quaker House Print Shop helps the communications process...A community pharmacy and food store called “Fields of Plenty” is now underway to practice the preachments of consumer protection.

Thank you, once again, to Jeff Krulik for all the images in the Bread & Roses gallery below (save the last one):

.*Note: Silver Spring‘s (forgotten) Paragon Studios notable in one regard, per Discogs:

THE MUFFINS – CHRONOMETERS (Cuneiform 55007) CD 73m
The Muffins were one of the most innovative fusion bands to emerge from the USA during the late-70’s, and whilst resembling Henry Cow in many ways, and also with notable Zappa/Mothers Of Invention influence, their complex style also drew them close to the Canterbury sound.

The recordings on this disc date from the very early days of The Muffins, circa 1975-76 and offer insight into the origins of a most talented and inventive band. The 23 minute suite, Chronometers itself, was only previously available in a very edited form on the Recommended Records Sampler, and it’s now really quite a revelation to hear it complete, notably the bizarre “Wizard Of Oz” collage and a music that nimbly cuts and jumps around, sounding like a mixture of Soft Machine (circa Volume 2 and Third), Matching Mole and Hatfield & The North. The other twenty, considerably shorter, tracks date from 1975, and would seem to be early demo recordings exploring a wide range of structures and styles. Mostly, these tracks present some of The Muffins’ most accessible music, rarely breaking out into the more crazed experimental realms of later works. Many of these tracks are arranged to flow in such a way as to seem like much longer suites, and thus (even though there are some very short pauses) tracks two to eight actually flow as if one 20 minute complex and cleverly conceived suite. Some of the tracks do stand on their own, like Peacocks, Leopards & Glass, a track previously heard many years ago on the Random Radar Records Sampler.

As an LP release, this would have been a double album, and thus Chronometers is an all round winner in terms of value for money, excellent music and as a curious insight into the origins of a most inventive band. A Recommended album indeed!
review by Alan Freeman in Audion magazine #25 (June 1993)

[COURTESY JESSIE DEVLIN]

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“What Is a [blank]” 45s

Today’s piece is inspired by (i.e., lifted from) a special Top 40 list of 7-inch vinyl compiled by 45Cat contributor, stereotom.  These (literally) defining songs — whose titles all begin with the phrase “What Is a [blank]” — have been organized chronologically and married with streaming audio where possible (click on song titles).  Was just about ready to post this piece when I stumbled on the fact that a key Johnny Cash tune was missing from this list.  Any others?  

What Is a Boy?” b/w “What Is a Girl?” by Arthur Godfrey

  • Music by Alec Wilder; words by Alan Beck; orchestra directed by Mitch Miller.
  • Billboard‘s review in their August 4, 1951 edition:
    “[‘What Is a Boy?’] This is the original, done here to cover on Jan Peerce’s hit version.  Godfrey’s family following should be good for a few sales.  [‘What Is a Girl?’ The sequel and companion piece to ‘What Is a Boy?’ is similar in construction and ideas.  Godfrey recites it Edgar Guest style with a pretty background set up for him by Alec Wilder.”
  • Released 1951 on Columbia.

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What Is a Boy” and “What Is a Girl” by Jan Peerce

AUSTRALIAN EP

  • Peerce — American operatic tenor and father of film director, Larry Peerce.
  • Released 1951 on  RCA Victor.

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What Is a Boy” b/w “What Is a Girl” by Jackie Gleason

  • Written by Alan Beck and Sammy Spear; orchestra directed by Sammy Spear.
  • Released 1954 on Decca.
  • Billboard‘s review in their August 4, 1951 edition:
    “[‘Girl’ side] Companion recitation piece to ‘What Is a Boy?’ follows the same successful format of the earlier work.  Writer Spear handles the background ork on this but comic Jackie Gleason fails to inject enough schmaltz into his reading.  [‘Boy‘ side] Coverage waxing doesn’t figure to catch the Jan Peerce disk.  Again Gleason doesn’t sell the recitation very strongly.”

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What Is a Baby?” by Peggy Lee [from Walt Disney’s Lady and the Tramp]

  • Written by Peggy Lee & Sonny Burke.
  • Recorded with the Walt Disney Studio Orchestra.
  • Released 1955 on Decca.

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What Is a Skunk?” [flip side of “Seventeen Tons“] by Sammy Shore

  • Presumably the same Sammy Shore who cofounded The Comedy Store in 1972.
  • Written by Mark Andrews.and released December 1955 on RCA subsidiary, “X.”
  • Billboard‘s review from the December 31, 1955 edition: 
    “Lots of jockeys will have a ball with this one.  It’s a humorous narration that examines all the different types of the aromatic animals.”

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What Is a Disk Jockey?” [b/w “Dance of the Hours“] by Spike Jones

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What Is a Wife?” by Steve Allen b/w “What Is a Husband?” by Jayne Meadows

  • Written by Ruth Roberts, Bill Katz, and Gene Piller.
  • Narration with chorus and/or orchestra directed by Steve Allen.
  • Released December 1955 on Coral.

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What Is a Freem?” [b/w “I Never Harmed an Onion“] by Steve Allen

  • Spoken rap by Steve Allen, while the 45 label appears to indicate that the orchestral backing is an arrangement of “Mississippi Mud” by Harry Barris & James Cavanaugh (though I don’t hear the same chord changes — compare with Paul Whiteman’s original version from 1928)..
  • Released January 1956 on Coral.
  • Billboard‘s review in the January 14, 1956 edition:
    “Following up the successful ‘What Is a Wife’ bit, Allen comes thru with an apt successor which carries a load of crazy mixed-up double talk.  This is extremely well-written material, good for lots of chuckles and with Allen riding high on TV, albums and the ‘Wife’ disk, this could just carry on the happy trend.  It’s a particularly good programming bet.”

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This Is a Wife?” [send-up of “What Is a Wife?“] by Homer and Jethro

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What Is a Waitress?” [b/w “Honest John Grabmore“] by Sir Cedric Fat-Wallett II

  • Written by Lewis & Reynolds.
  • Released 1956 on Cameron, Texas indie label, Tone Records [notable for issuing rockabilly classic “Zzztt, Zzztt, Zzztt” by Wink Lewis with Buz Busby & Band].

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What Is a Teenager?” b/w “What Is a Disc Jockey?” by Jim Ameche

Jim Ameche in 1940 — photo via Wikimedia Commons

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  • Released in 1956 on Jubilee.
  • Songwriting credits and streaming audio are not yet within reach.
  • Jim — younger brother of actor, Don Ameche.

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What Is a Teenage Boy?” b/w “What Is a Teenage Girl?” by Tom Edwards

  • Written by Buddy Kaye & Tom Edwards.
  • Released December 1956 on Coral.
  • Both sides made Billboard‘s Top 100 chart in January 1957

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What Is a Skiffler?” [b/w “The Tommy Rot Story“] by Morris and Mitch 

New Zealand EP — May 1959

  • Written by Varley & Whyton — accompaniment directed by Harry Robinson.
  • 45 label:  “Introducing, ‘Don’t You Rock Me, Daddy-O'”
  • Released August 1957 in the UK on Decca.

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What Is a Baby?” — Narrated by Rosemary Clooney

  • Prepared especially for Gerber Foods.
  • Composed by John Gart & Dorry O’Halloran.
  • Orchestrated by John Gart — conducted by Frank DeVol.
  • Released February 1958 by Columbia (among her final recordings for the label, committed to tape at Hollywood’s Radio Recorders on February 8, 1958).

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What Is a Boyfriend?” [b/w “All About Girls and Women“] by Tom Edwards

  • Written by Anne DeLugg, Milton DeLugg & Tom Edwards.
  • Orchestrated by Milton DeLugg.
  • Released 1959 by Dot in the US — London in Australia. 

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What Is a Mother?” by James Condon

  • “With Wilbur Kentwell at the Console of The Hammond Organ.”
  • Written by Enid Irving.
  • Issued as a “split single” b/w “The Teen Commandments” by Bob Rogers.
  • Released December 1958 in Australia on Columbia.

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What Is a Boy?” b/w “What Is a Girl?” by Ira Cook

  • Arranged by G. Reynolds — vocal by The Mellomen.
  • Released October 1959 on Imperial.

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What Is an Indian?” [b/w “Telephone Operator“] by Dal Williams

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What Is a Wife?” by The Voice of Mahon (John Mahon)

  • Written by John Brindle.
  • Released 1960 in Australia on Teen Records as a “split single” paired with Graham Webb’s version of T. Texas Tyler’s “Deck of Cards.”

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What Is a Rugby Supporter?” by John Pike [b/w “The Rugged Rugby-Playing Trail
by The Rugbymen With The Half-Timers]

  • Written by Alwyn Owen — narrated by John Pike.
  • Released 1960 in New Zealand on Kiwi.
  • According to Audio Culture (“the noisy library of New Zealand music”):

“In the early to mid-1960s, Westport radio station 3YZ was a home of broadcasting talent.  Reon Murtha, Lloyd Scott, Peter Sinclair, Bill Toft, Ian Watkin, Bob Sutton, Warwick Burke and John Pike were just some of the announcers who either started or built their careers there.  A good broadcasting team is only as good as its technical support and writers.  3YZ was lucky to have the witty producer/writer Alwyn (Hop) Owen on staff (he later founded the long-running RNZ Spectrum series).  In 1960 Owen and station announcer Pike recorded ‘What is a Rugby Supporter?’ – a spoken monologue reminiscent of the newsreel shorts shown in cinemas before the main feature.  Calling themselves The Rugbymen (with the Halftimers), it was released on Kiwi, backed with ‘The Rugged Rugby Playing Trail’.”

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What Is a Grandmother?” by Paul Randal

  • Written (in all likelihood) by (Ruth) Roberts, (Bill) Katz, (Gene) Pillar, (Stanley) Clayton & (Teresa) Brewer
  • This 45 — released March 1961 on Roulette. — appears to be Randal’s sole release.

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What Is a Daddy?” by Jeff Price

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Qu’est-ce Qu’un Gars?” (“What Is A Boy?“) by Lucien “Frenchie” Jarraud 
[flip side of “Pardon… Mon Fils” (Apology At Bedtime)]

  • Songwriting credits listed as “Lucien Brien & Alan Beck.”
  • 45 label identifies artist’s full name as Lucien Hétu à l’orgue Rialto de Gulbransen.
  • Released August 1962 in Canada by RCA Victor.
  • RCA Victor Canada soon after (judging by the catalog number) issued another single – “Qu’est-ce Qu’une Fille?” (“What Is a Girl?”) b/w “Qu’est-ce Qu’une épouse?” (“What Is a Wife?”).

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What Is a Disc Jockey?” [B-side of “A Disc Jockey’s Christmas Eve“] 
by Herb Dodson

  • Written by Van Steen and Dolan — produced by Jim Gaylord.
  • Compare with the Spike Jones recording from 1955.
  • Released December 1962 on Stacy.
  • Cash Box’s 45 review in their December 8, 1962 edition:
    “[A-side] In this adaptation of ‘The Night Before Christmas’ a disk jockey learns from Santa himself that he’s doing something worthwhile by working Xmas eve spinning Holiday songs.  [B-side] A sympathetic view of the deejay.”

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What Is a Santa Claus?” [b/w “O Tannenbaum“] by Stan Kenton
[with the Ralph Carmichael Choir]

  • Written by Win Goulden & Jim Thurman — produced by Lee Gillette.
  • Released November 18, 1963 on Capitol.
  • Included as a bonus track on the Capitol compilation, Christmas Cocktails II.

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What Is a Dad?” [b/w “Casey at the Bat“] by Johnny Dark

  • Composed by Johnny Dark.
  • Released 1964 on Dragon.

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What Is a Fisherman?” b/w “What Is a Quail Hunter?” by Robert Fuller

  • Both sides written by Charley Dickey.
  • Released May 1964 on Challenge.
  • 45Cat notes:  “Actor seen in TV shows ‘Wagon Train,’ ‘Laramie,’ and ‘Emergency!‘ among others.”
  • Another 45Cat contributor recalls with a chuckle:
    “He was one of the best bluffers on TVs ‘Hollywood Squares’ game show, such that contestants would try to avoid choosing his square unless they needed to.  The pinnacle best bluff on the show was when he was queried, ‘Who wrote The Diary of Anne Frank?’  He rolled his eyes, seemed to be thinking deeply, and had Peter Marshall begin to inform the contestant, ‘It appears Robert doesn’t have…” – he blurted out, “That new Hollywood guy, Spielberg.”  The contestant agreed with him!  If you search clips from Hollywood Squares, you will glimpse him in a number of saved games.” 

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What Is an American?” by ArthurGuitar BoogieSmith

  • From an EP of “favorite recitations by Arthur Smith.”
  • Recorded at Arthur Smith Studios – Charlotte, North Carolina (ca. Nov. 1963).
  • Released 1965 on Sardis (song also released 1969 on Starday). 

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What Is a Truck Driver?” [b/w “Rainbow Road“] by Ralph Emery

  • Written by George Merritt — produced by Fred Carter, Jr.
  • Released 1966 on ABC-Paramount.
  • Record World reviewed “What Is a Truck Driver” for their July 16, 1966 edition:
    “Geared to the truck driver, this narrative has built-in appeal.  Chock full of identifiable images.”

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What Is a Square” [b/w “Mama Sang a Song“] by
Brian Henderson with Bob Young and His Orchestra

  • Based on a speech by James R. Brower.
  • Musical Adaptation by Robert Young.
  • Released April 1966 in Australia on ATA Records.

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What Is a Square” [b/w “That’s How Love Goes“] by Mike Douglas

promotional Ad Cash Box — February 1967  

  • Lyrics based on a speech by “Charles H. Brower” — music by Robert Young
  • Arranged & conducted by Frank Hunter — produced by Manny Kellem.
  • Released February 1967 in the US on Epic.

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What Is a Jew” by Alex Dreier

  • Dreier — American news reporter and commentator who worked with NBC Radio during the 1940s, and later with the ABC Information Radio network in the 1960s and early 1970s.
  • Variety notes in their bio of Dreier:  “While in Los Angeles, an on-air commentary he delivered, ‘What Is a Jew,’ became a rallying cry for fund-raising to help Israel during and after the Six-Day War and was sold as a record in local shops.”
  • Both sides “composed” by Don Bresnahan & Alex Dreier.
  • Released September 1967 on Modern.

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What Is a Marine” [b/w “The Night My Papa Died“] by Ernie Maresca

  • Written by Ernie Maresca — arranged by Dave Mullaney.
  • Released May 1968 on Laurie.

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What Is An American” [b/w “Psychoanalysis“]

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What Is Truth” by Johnny Cash

45 picture sleeve — SPAIN

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What Is Youth” [b/w “Tennessee Bird Talk“] by Ben Colder

  • Ben Colder is an alter ego of Sheb Wooley.
  • Written by Johnny Cash & Sheb Wooley.
  • Released 1970 on (post-purge) MGM.
  • Streaming audio on YouTube still but a pipe dream — sing along in your head
    [To the tune of “What Is Truth“]:

A whole bunch of kids with real long hair
Standin’ throwin’ rocks at the town square
Might be fun but I don’t think it’s fair
Cause they call me the town square

Sure was different back when I was a kid
Some of the mean things that I did
The old man took down the razor strap
And he’d say Ben bend over my lap

Then the lonely voice of youth cried awow that is truth
You can’t even whistle at a girl anymore
It could be a boy and he might get sore
Then again he might not you can’t ever tell

Some of them fellers are really swell
They travel a lot and they’re really hip
Seems they’re always takin’ a trip
Bet there’s a lot of pretty country to see
Ridin’ around in an LSD
And the lonely voice of truth cries what is youth

I saw a young man sittin’ on the witness stand
And the man with the book said raise your right hand
Not that right hand you’re other right hand
The young man on the stand didn’t understand

The judge said son do you solemnly swear
Said I swear I can’t hear you on account of my hair
Really it was long as a horses tail
But I guess that’s the US male
And the lonely voice of truth cries what is youth

Heck I went to college for quite awhile
They say I made straight A’s in wild
Guess I was a little bit slow
I flunked protestin’ two years in a row

Couldn’t learn to speak the language of the kids in town
I’d say burn it up instead of burn it down
Even used pot to wipe out my head
But I used the one that was under the bed
And the lonely voice of truth cried
What are youth doin’

Youth are my friends youth and youth but not himth

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What Is a Youth” [b/w “Honey, Forever“] by Toy Factory

  • “Original lyric from the motion picture, Romeo and Juliet.”
  • Written by Nina Rota & Eugene Walter.
  • Produced by Bernie Lawrence — arranged & conducted by Jimmy Wisner.
  • Designated by Billboard as a “Special Merit Spotlight” (new single deserving special attention of programmers and dealers) for the week ending Sept. 5, 1970:
    “Good new group sound with the original film lyric from Romeo and Juliet make this outstanding arrangement a hot contender for the Hot 100 chart.  Could prove a big one.”
  • Released August 1970 on Avco Embassy.

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What Is a Jamaican” [b/w “Human Rights Song“] by Methodist Youth Choir

  • Both sides penned by Clyde Hoyt.
  • Narration by Radcliffe Butler — vocals by Methodist Youth Choir.
  • Released in Jamaica on WIRL.

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What Is a Cajun?” [b/w “Tee-Boy Made The Opry (The Cajun Country Star)”
by Happy Fats (The Cajun Storyteller)

  • Written by Bob Hamm.
  • Released 1973 on Tribute.
  • Note:  This record is dedicated to the memory of the late Hon. Roy Theriot, former state comptroller of the State of Louisiana.

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What Is a Boy” [b/w “Phantom 309“] by Murray Kash

  • Written by Beck & Winterhalter — arranged by Harry Robinson.
  • Released 1974 in the UK on Columbia.

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What Is a One?” [b/w “Louie’s Market“] by The Zanies

  • Written by B.J. Hunter.
  • Released 1980 on Doré.

The Dapps at King Records

Music writer/historian, Randy McNutt, in King Records of Cincinnati, points out the irony of “How You Gonna Get Respect (When You Haven’t Cut Your Process Yet)” – a Hank Ballard single “obviously aimed at the R&B market” – being voiced by mostly white musicians:

[James] Brown discovered [The Dapps] in Cincinnati’s Inner Circle nightclub and used the band on his and other performers’ recordings.  At various times the band included guitarist Troy Seals, who became a major Nashville songwriter; Tim Hedding, organ; Eddie Setser, guitar; Tim Drummond, bass; Les Asch, saxophone, and [William] Beau Dollar [Bowman], drums.

McNutt also notes the band’s shared history with Jo Ann Campbell prior to the formation of The Dapps, in The Cincinnati Sound:

Petite vocalist Jo Ann Campbell made her mark as a 1950s recording artist who appeared on disc jockey Alan Freed’s live rock-and-roll shows.  She recorded an answer song called “I’m the Girl on Wolverton Mountain.”  By 1964, however, she had married Troy Seals, a Fairfield, Ohio, bass player [born in Bighill, KY] who had toured with Lonnie Mack and other Cincinnati acts.  Campbell and Seals moved to Cincinnati, formed their own white soul band called The Cincinnati Kids, and started performing at the Inner Circle near the University of Cincinnati.  The band was one of the hottest acts in town.  When Campbell became pregnant, she dropped out, and the band evolved into the Dapps.

Image courtesy of Dave Parkinson —
CLICK on image TO VIEW IN HIGH RESOLUTION

[L to R] Dave Parkinson; Eddie Setser; Jo Ann Campbell; Troy Seals;
Tina, the “designated” go-go dancer; Tim HedDing; Doug Huffman

.

Don TigerMartin, one of The Great Drummers of R&B, Funk & Soul and an early member of The J.B.’s, shared his memories of The Dapps in 1996 with drummer, educator and historian, Jim Payne:

Sometimes we come and watch the Dapps, an all-white band.  You remember the white guy who used to be like James [Brown] — Wayne Cochran?  Well, he used to come to town all the time and everybody would go and see him.  His band was real tough [Jaco Pastorius played bass for Cochran – Jim Payne notes].  Well, the Dapps had a better white band than him.  They were so cold they were ridiculous!  ‘Beau Dollar’ played drums and sang lead, and they had another drummer named Ron Grayson, who was bad.  Ron could play right-handed or left-handed.  Tim Drummond, the bass player, was also in the Dapps.

Prior to becoming The Dapps, the group had already released two 45s under the name, Beau Dollar and the Coins.  The band’s second single features a classic arrangement of “Soul Serenade” that is, in fact, a track produced by Lonnie Mack for Fraternity Records, with Chuck Sullivan on lead guitar, Wayne Bullock on Hammond B-3, and Bill Jones on bass   According to Stuart Colman‘s liner notes from the Ace UK anthology, Lonnie Mack — From Nashville to Memphis:

“Sax supremo King Curtis could hardly have imagined the kind of track record that his immortal ‘Soul Serenade’ would one day generate.  Not long after its public debut, this mellifluous instrumental became part of the Lonnie Mack repertoire where it sat alongside such well-loved favourites as Don and Juan’s ‘What’s Your Name‘ and Bobby Parker’s ‘Watch Your Step‘.  The personnel of Lonnie’s road band at this point included guitarists Troy Seals and Eddie Setser, who’d previously worked together backing Johnny Tillotson and Tommy Roe, along with a remarkably solid drummer named Bill Hargis ‘Beau’ Bowman Jnr.  However, with a line-up that was in a constant state of flux the trio departed for pastures new, leaving the Lonnie Mack legend to take a significant turn during 1965 towards a musical enterprise known as Soul Incorporated.”

As Randy McNutt recalls in a piece from 2011 entitled “Who Knows Beau Dollar:

“Beau was the really funky one.  I remember hearing Beau Dollar and the Coins at a forgotten club in Middletown, about twelve miles north of Hamilton [Beau’s hometown].  Back then he had curly brown hair–sort of a white man’s afro–and sang some terrific blue-eyed soul.  He came up with his name as a play on Bo for Bowman; he paired it with dollar because of the natural connection:  a beau dollar, an old Southern term for silver dollar.  By the mid-1960s, Beau Dollar and the Coins had become one of the area’s more popular white soul bands, with a devoted following that enjoyed dancing.  Beau sometimes wore a fancy vest befitting his name–a beau, or a dandy. He seemed poised for the local radio charts

In those days, you could find white soul bands, many of them with good horn sections, in clubs throughout southwest Ohio–places called the Half-Way Inn (halfway between Hamilton and Middletown [and owned by the parents of guitarist, Sonny Moorman]), the Tiki Club in Hamilton County, and the Hawaiian Gardens in Cincinnati.”

Brian Powers‘ first-rate interview [42-minute mark] with saxophonist Dave Parkinson  (of Canton, Illinois) for Cincinnati’s WVXU answers so many questions about how Beau Dollar and The Dapps first converged:

“We were a popular band in the Cincinnati area called The Cincinnati Kids, and we were the house band at The Inner Circle, which is now Bogart’s.

INNER CIRCLE — ORIGINALLY 1890 VAUDEVILLE THEATER
[IMAGE COURTESY OF FORT THOMAS MATTERS]

“Troy Seals and Jo Ann Campell headed up the band, and I played saxophone, and Les Asch was the other saxophone player, and Eddie Setser — we called him “Fat Eddie” — was the guitarist.  Tim Heding [sometimes spelled with one D] played keyboards, and Tim Drummond played bass with us for a time, although Troy Seals doubled on bass and sang a good amount of that time.  We had Ronnie Grayson play drums with us, and we had two or three different drummers.  Doug Huffman, who lives in Indianapolis now, played drums with us when I first joined the band.  I don’t recall any other drummers.  A good friend of ours was Beau Dollar, but Beau was more of an entity to himself, and he never actually played with the band.  He didn’t necessarily record with us at King that I remember, but I know he did some recording with James [Brown].  Beau was a big part of the music scene around the Cincinnati area.  He was a really good funky drummer and a great singer.

“I think James just started coming around The Inner Circle.  Of course, that was a big thrill for all of us, and he started to sit in occasionally with the band.  That was about the time “Cold Sweat” and “There Was a Time” — it was about that era, ’67-’68, I guess — and James became interested in the group.  That was a kind of delicate time racially, and I think James thought it might behoove him to become involved with white groups similar to ours.  We did a lot of soul and we did pop covers, too, but the rhythm and blues and soul was pretty much our forte.

[On how The Cincinnati Kids became The Dapps] “That would have been after we became disassociated with Troy and Jo Ann, and actually, James tagged the name The Believers on us, that was our first name with James.  We eventually turned into The Dapps.”

For this same 2018 WVXU broadcast, Brian Powers also interviewed Eddie Setser,  who wryly remarked, “It was hard to believe we got $45 for, like, a three-hour session.”  Setser informed Powers that their first studio collaboration, “I Can’t Stand Myself (When You Touch Me),” was originally inspired by a riff from a jazz artist, possibly Kenny Burrell, but altered substantially enough by James Brown as to be unrecognizable. When asked to describe James Brown’s creative process, Setser told Powers:

“When he starts doing things, these arrangements are put together, he always does the drums first, then the bass.  He gets the groove going, then he’ll do the guitars and then, you know, the horns will do their thing. The keyboard works in there somewhere.  You get the groove going and you just keep playing it, you know what I’m sayin’?

One local music venue where the group enjoyed playing, located in the basement of Cincinnati’s Hotel Metropole, was called The Trip when The Dapps played there, says Setser, who added that later it became a club – Tommy Helms’ Dugout – named for the Reds’ second baseman (and later one of the first area discos, with “girls in cages” and all the frippery).

In this hotel’s basement once dwelled a club called The Trip

Zero to 180 spoke with both Les Asch and Dave Parkinson in May/June/July of 2020.  During our first phone conversation,  Dave Parkinson expressed his own confusion over the irony that “The Dapps” ended up being known as James Brown’s white backing band when, in fact, the original concept was to have a show band that featured black members of JB’s renowned live orchestra.

Parkinson auditioned for the group in late 1965 (possibly early 1966) at the Holly Oak in Indianapolis — a storied venue that once hosted Fats Domino, Little Richard, Wayne Cochran, Wayne Newton, Kenny Rogers, and Dolly Parton, according to the fine folks at East Side Tire & Wheel.

This building – confirms East Side Tire & Wheel – was once the Holly Oak

Thanks to RoadArch.com companion for the helpful tip!

At the time of Parkinson’s audition, the group was named for its two lead artists, Jo Ann Campbell and Troy Seals who – as “Jo Ann and Troy” – recorded a pair of singles for Atlantic in 1964-65.  With regard to the band’s membership at the time of his audition, Parkinson, who played tenor sax and “a little alto,” recalls Seals and Roger Troy  sharing bass duties, with Eddie Setser on guitar, Tim Hedding on keyboards, and Doug Huffman on drums.

Soon after the audition, the group played a 10-week engagement at The Beachcomber in Seaside Heights, New Jersey “having more fun than anyone has a right,” according to Parkinson, who indicated that Ronnie Grayson also went along for the ride.

The Beachcomber — saved by sprinklers in massive 2013 boardwalk blaze

The band subsequently anchored itself in the Cincinnati area, playing the three big music clubs at the time:  The Inner Circle, Guys and Dolls, and The Roundup Club, the latter two venues located in nearby Northern Kentucky.  Les Asch joined the band during this period and recalled that the group — billed as Troy Seals and the Cincinnati Kids — had a regular Wednesday-through-Sunday engagement at The Inner Circle, with Jo Ann Campbell joining the group on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Guys and Dolls (formerly Grayson’s Inn) + Erlanger’s Roundup Club

Asch remembers Troy Seals bringing in another drummer, Tommy Matthews, when Ronnie Grayson (who would later play on Delaney Bramlett’s 1972 debut album with Tim Hedding) was recovering from injuries sustained in an auto accident.  During this recovery period, Seals would insist that Grayson remain a contributing band member.  Grayson, it turns out, had some trumpet experience, and thus was recruited for the horn section, where he played under the stage name, Ronnie Geisman.

After Grayson had healed, Tommy Matthews was then let go by Seals, prompting some of the band members — Eddie Setser, Tim Hedding, Les Asch and Dave Parkinson — to defect from the group temporarily to link up with Lonnie Mack, who was present at the Inner Circle when Matthews got his pink slip, according to Asch.

The Cincinnati Kids, with Lonnie Mack now at the helm (and Eddie Setser on bass), continued at the Inner Circle for another five to six weeks, says Asch, before Mack informed the group of an engagement in Florida at a place called Johnny’s Hideaway.  The gig proved a bust after only a couple weeks, however, when a liquor violation shut the club down.  Tim Hedding, fortunately, would field a phone call from Troy Seals, who informed the musicians of a work opportunity at a Hamilton, Ohio music venue named The Halfway House.  After locating a U-Haul trailer for Les Asch’s 1966 Plymouth Fury, the group then reformed in Cincinnati.

Tim Drummond (of Canton, Illinois) – Dave Parkinson’s original connection to the band – had almost certainly joined by this point.  According to Parkinson, “Tim joined us for a few months prior to when he left to go with the James Brown band” — sometime in 1967, by his estimation.  James Brown’s guest appearances with the band at The Inner Circle led to invitations to record at King Studios for other artists produced by Brown, such as Bobby Byrd, Marva Whitney, and James Crawford.

The Dapps backing James Brown @ The Trip
[L to R] Les Asch, Dave Parkinson; Panny Sarakatsannis; James Brown; Eddie Setser

Dave Thompson – in his Funk listening companion – states in the entry for “Beau Dollar & The Dapps” that James Brown “took the group into the studio that same year [1965] to cut the two-part ‘It’s a Gas‘ single, intended for release on King under the name the James Brown Dancers.”  However, “Brown’s then ongoing dispute with the label saw the single go unissued, but Brown kept tabs on the Dapps.”  By the way, you can now hear both sides of this unreleased 45 (originally slotted for February 1967), though the odd thing is, when you scrutinize Alan Leeds‘ musician credits for “It’s a Gas” on James Brown: The Singles, Volume 4 (1966-1967), none of the players are from The Dapps.

Q:  When do Troy Seals and the Cincinnati Kids (i.e., The Dapps) make their first appearance in Ruppli’s King Records sessionography?

A:  The session for James Brown’s “Why Did You Take Your Love Away From Me,” the lone track recorded at Cincinnati’s King Studios on April 27, 1967:

Special Note:  Les Asch (who plays baritone, tenor and/or alto saxophone) and Dave Parkinson (who plays primarily tenor) both agree that some of the horn credits below might have been unwittingly switched in the Ruppli session notes – a red asterisk (*), therefore, is used to indicate such instances.

> AUDIO LINK for “Why Did You Take Your Love Away
by James Brown [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown & Bud Hobgood

ACCORDING TO RUPPLI’S SESSION NOTES —

James Brown:  Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Piano
David Parkinson:  Tenor & Baritone Sax*
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
Ronnie Geisman:  Trumpet

“Why Did You Take Your Love Away” would end up on 1968’s, I Can’t Stand Myself When You Touch Me album, whose rear cover reveals Brown’s endorsement deal with the Vox musical instrument company (whose guitars Eddie Setser did not enjoy as much as his Fender Telecaster and Gibson ES-335).

Rear cover — I Can’t Stand Myself When You Touch Me

 

These twelve tracks were sold in Europe under a different title, This Is James Brown, (albeit with “Fat Eddie” as the final track rather than “Funky Soul #1), while in France and Israel, this same set was issued as Mr. Soul. (and in Argentina as El Rey Del Soul – “The King of Soul”).

US album cover       vs.        UK album cover

Germany — 1968                                       France — 1968

The Dapps returned to King Studios on August 8, 1967 to serve as Bobby Byrd‘s  backing band on “Funky Soul #1,” a song that calls out praises to key musical destinations — NYC, DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, The Bay Area, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Detroit:

> AUDIO LINK for “Funky Soul #1 (Pts. 1 & 2)” by Bobby Byrd

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & James Crawford

ACCORDING TO RUPPLI’S SESSION NOTES —

Bobby Byrd:  Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Keyboard
David Parkinson:  Saxes*
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
Ronnie Geisman:  Trumpet

US 45 — 1968                                      Iran EP (c. 1968)

Ruppli’s session notes (below) indicate that this King master recording [K12439 “Funky Soul (Vol. 1)” = red star] was used as the backing track for James Brown‘s own recording of “Funky Soul #1” onto which Brown overdubbed organ at a King recording session [marked with a red circle] that took place exactly two weeks later on August 22, 1967.  Billboard‘s September 23, 1967 edition predicted Bobby Byrd’s version would “reach the R&B singles chart,” while the November 25, 1967 edition predicted Brown’s organ version would “reach the Hot 100 chart.”

Red star = “Funky Soul #1” master recording

This organ instrumental serves, fittingly, as the final track on 1968 LP I Can’t Stand When You Touch Me, as well as the B-side for “The Soul of JB” — although note that the 45 label credits “James Brown and the Famous Flames.”

Also notice in the King session notes posted above that James Crawford, one of the song’s authors, recorded “I’ll Work It Out” at King Studios on August 8, 1967 — the same date as the Bobby Byrd “Funky Soul #1 session — with “possibly same [personnel] as on K12439” [green circle].   Seems pretty reasonable to assume that The Dapps backed both vocalists that night.

> AUDIO LINK for “I’ll Work It Out
James Crawford backed by The Dapps?

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & James Crawford

Billboard predicted in its October 23, 1967 issue that “I’ll Work It Out” would “reach the R&B Singles chart.”  Cash Box‘s review in their November 4, 1967 edition:  “James Crawford could grab a nice piece of airplay with this feelingful, slow-paced, James Brown-produced moaner.  Give it a spin.  Flip: ‘Fat Eddie‘”  Record World gave it a “four-star single” with this review in the November 11, 1967 issue:  “Nitty gritty wild one here [‘Fat Eddie’].  James sings the slow ballad with all the soul he can muster [I’ll Work It Out].”

US — 1967                                    France — 1968

Marva Whitney would also have a go at “I’ll Work It Out” which found release in 1968 as a King 45 — is it possible that The Dapps provided musical backing on this recording?

> AUDIO LINK for “I’ll Work It Out” by Marva Whitney

The Dapps backed James Brown on the next (undated) session listed in Ruppli’s notes (wrongly attributed to “prob. band without James Brown“) that yielded “The Soul of J.B.” plus one ‘unknown title’ left in the can.

> AUDIO LINK for “The Soul of J.B.
by James Brown [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & Gladys Knochelman

According to Discogs

James Brown:  Organist, Arranger & Producer
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Piano
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Alto Sax
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Ron Geisman:  Trumpet

US — Nov. 1967

James Brown – The Singles, Volume 5 (1967-1969) affirms that the same Dapps lineup above were the musical unit that laid down the sounds for “Just Plain Funk,” recorded August 30, 1967 and used as the B-side for “I Guess I’ll Have to Cry, Cry, Cry” — a single that saw release in both Rhodesia [now Zimbabwe] and South Africa.

> AUDIO LINK for “Just Plain Funk
by James Brown [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & Troy Seals

aCCORDING TO Discogs

Bobby Byrd [?]:  Organ
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Piano
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Alto Sax
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Ron Geisman:  Trumpet

Italy — 1968                                             South Africa — 1968

One week after the “Just Plain Funk” session, Hank Ballard laid down a pair of tracks with unnamed musicians at the King Studios on September 7-8, 1967 that would be released as a King 45 — “Which Way Should I Turn” b/w “Funky Soul Train.”  Given that the A-side was written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood, Beau Dollar & Troy Seals, could it be possible that The Dapps backed Hank Ballard on these two tracks?

You might think that The Dapps served as the backing band on the James Crawford recording session at King Studios on September 14, 1967 that produced a song entitled “Fat Eddie” — undoubtedly named for guitarist “Fat” Eddie Setser.  However, you would be mistaken.

Ruppli’s session notes say that The Brownettes recorded a pair of songs on October 17, 1967 at King Studios — and nothing more.  Thanks to Nothing But Funk Volume 3, however, we can rejoice in knowing the names of both the singers and players of instruments (as noted below):

> AUDIO LINK for “Never Find a Love Like Mine” by The Brownettes

> AUDIO LINK for “Baby Don’t You Know” by The Brownettes

Both sides written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & Troy Seals

ACCORDING TO Discogs

Grace Ruffin, Martha Harvin & Sandra Bears:  Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
Ronnie Geisman:  Trumpet

Is it a coincidence that the vinyl seller who has received the highest bid yet on Ebay ($82) for the Brownettes King 45 is also the one who added “Dapps” to the title of the auction?  Interesting to note that the 45 seller is from Japan.

Ruppli’s session notes state that Vicki Anderson recorded two songs at King Studios on October 23, 1967 with unnamed musical support.  1998’s double-disc celebration, James Brown’s Original Funky Divas, fortunately, named names, so we now know that The Dapps were Anderson’s backing band on these two tracks (as detailed below).  The A-side, interestingly, had already been recorded six days prior by The Brownettes, while the Lowman Pauling-penned B-side was originally recorded by The5Royales:

> AUDIO LINK for “Baby Don’t You Know
by Vicki Anderson [with The Dapps]

> AUDIO LINK for “The Feeling Is Real
by Vicki Anderson [with The Dapps]

ACCORDING TO Discogs

Vicki Anderson:  Vocals
William ‘Beau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
David Parkinson:  Saxophone
Les Asch:  Saxophone

One week later on October 30, 1967, a lean contingent of The Dapps returned to King Studios to back James Brown on “I Can’t Stand Myself (When You Touch Me)”:

> AUDIO LINK for “I Can’t Stand Myself (When You Touch Me) Pts. 1 & 2
by James Brown and the Famous Flames

Written by James Brown

ACCORDING TO RUPPLI’S SESSION NOTES —

James Brown:  Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ

Spain — Feb. 1968

Dave Parkinson points out that Tim Drummond enjoys the distinction of being the one band member called out by name (at the 2:50 mark) on this recording.

Troy Seals and the horn section then joined Brown on “Baby Baby Baby Baby,” recorded at that same session and included on 1968’s I Can’t Stand Myself LP:

> AUDIO LINK for “Baby Baby Baby Baby
by James Brown and the Famous Flames

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & James Crawford

ACCORDING TO RUPPLI’S SESSION NOTES —

James Brown:  Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Ronnie Geisman:  Trumpet

By year’s end, The Dapps would finally get a recording session under their own name at King Studios on December 12, 1967.  But wait a minute, it’s not what you think — “The Dapps Featuring Alfred Ellis,” in this case, means Clyde Stubblefield (drums), Bernard Odum (bass), Jimmy Nolen & Alfonzo Kellum (guitars), Alfred ‘Pee Wee’ Ellis (tenor sax & arranger), and Maceo Parker (tenor sax), according to Alan Leeds’ liner notes for James Brown – The Singles Vol. 5 (1967-1969).  These musicians recorded two instrumental tracks at that session, “Bringing Up the Guitar” and “Gittin’ a Little Hipper.”

The Dapps first 7-inch release

A-Side by James Brown
B-Side by James Brown and Bud Hobgood

Cash Box‘s review from their February 3, 1968 issue:

Dapps (King 6147)

“Bringing Up the Guitar” (3:00)
[Dynatone, BMI-Brown] James Brown
penned instrumental that carries a zest
which could score with r&b audiences.
Very fine staccato track with plenty of
dance appeal.  Flip: “Gittin’ A Little Hipper”
(2:59) [Golo, BMI-Brown, Hobgood]

March 5, 1968 was an especially productive day at King Studios, according to Ruppli:

THE DAPPS:
Incl. Alfred Ellis                                               Cincinnati, March 5, 1968

K12588   The Rabbit Got the Gun                   King 6169
K12589   I’ll Give You Odds                             unissued

VICKI ANDERSON:
Vicki Anderson (vo) with prob. same band      Same date

K12590   I’ll Work It Out                                   King 6221, 6251; Brownstone 4204

BOBBY BYRD:
Bobby Byrd (vo) with prob. same band            Same date

K12591   My Concerto                                      King 6165, LP1118

JAMES BROWN:
James Brown (vo, org) Bobby Byrd or Timothy Hedding (p) Eddie Setser (g) Tim Drummond (el b) William Bowman (dm).          Cincinnati, March 5, 1968

K12592   Shhhhhhhh (For a Little While)          King 6164, LP1031
K12593   Here I Go                                                          —            —

James Brown (vo, p) Eddie Setser (g) Tim Drummond (el b) William Bowman (dm).  Same date.

K12594   Maybe I’ll Understand (pt. 1)              King LP1031, LP1047
K12595   Maybe I’ll Understand (pt. 2)                        —               —

Notice the musician credits listed for “Shhhhhhhh (For a Little While)” and “Here I Go” (released as a King 45 that “bubbled under” the Hot 100, you might recollect) — both songs also included on 1968 LP I Got the Feelin’:

> AUDIO LINK for “Shhhhhhhh (For a Little While)
by James Brown and the Famous Flames

Written by James Brown and Bud Hobgood

According to Discogs

James Brown:  Organ
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Piano

Brazil — 1968

But then check out the musician credits for “Here I Go” as supplied by Alan Leeds in James Brown – The Singles Vol. 5 (1967-1969), and notice the inclusion of two horn players:

> AUDIO LINK for “Here I Go
by James Brown and the Famous Flames

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & Ron Lenhoff

According to Discogs

WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Piano
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax
Ronnie Geisman:  Trumpet

Ruppli’s session notes above indicate that three members of The Dapps backed James Brown on “Maybe I’ll Understand (Pts. 1 & 2)” at this same March 5, 1968 session:

> AUDIO LINK for “Maybe I’ll Understand
by James Brown

Written by James Brown and Bud Hobgood

According to Ruppli’s session notes —

James Brown:  Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
[Tim Hedding:  Piano]*

These Discogs credits* credit Tim Hedding for piano on “Maybe I’ll Understand” (though not on Ruppli’s notes above).

But take one last critical look at the Ruppli session notes for March 5, 1968 and notice that the Bobby Byrd track (“My Concerto”), as well as the Vicki Anderson recording (“I’ll Work It Out”) both indicate “with probably same band” as the one listed at the very beginning of the list — The Dappswithout actually naming any of the musicians who played on “Rabbit Got the Gun” and “I’ll Give You Odds,” vexingly enough, other than Alfred Ellis.

> AUDIO LINK for “My Concerto
by Bobby Byrd [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown, Fred Wesley & Bobby Byrd

> AUDIO LINK for “I’ll Work It Out
by Vicki Anderson [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & James Crawford

> AUDIO LINK for “Rabbit Got the Gun
by The Dapps Featuring Alfred Ellis

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & Reggie Lavong

The Dapps second 45

“There Was a Time” — you might recall — came close to cracking Billboard‘s Hot 100.  Cash Box‘s review in their June 15, 1968 edition [musician credits further down]:

“James Brown produced this has-to-be-heard instrumental reworking of his while back hit.  Albert [sic] Ellis’ hard driving sax stirs this side to a frenzy sure to make it a disko favorite.  Should produce good sales.  Flip: ‘The Rabbit Got The Gun‘.”

As was also recently noted, future Neil Young and Bob Dylan bassist, Tim Drummond, played the famous funk lines on  “Licking Stick Licking Stick” — one of five James Brown sides recorded at Cincinnati’s King Studios on April 16, 1968, along with two others by different vocalists:

Ruppli’s King session notes [pg. 397]

K12597  Licking Stick, Licking Stick (Pt. 1)
K12598  Little Fellow [instrumental]
K12599  Go On Now [instrumental]
K12600  Fat Soul [instrumental]
K12601  Licking Stick, Licking Stick (Pt. 2) = James Brown [April 16, 1968]

K12602  You’re Still Out of Sight [unissued] = Bobby Byrd [April 16, 1968?]
K12603/123604  no information (rejected titles)
K12605  You’re Still Out of Sight = Leon Austin “with probably same band”  [April 16, 1968]

James Brown:  Vocals
Bobby Byrd:  Vocals & Organ
John Sparks:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Jimmy Nolen:  Guitar
Maceo Parker:  Tenor Sax
Alfred Ellis:  Alto Sax
St. Clair Pinckney:  Baritone Sax

April 29, 1968 also ended up being a particularly productive day of recording at King Studios, as indicated by Ruppli‘s session notes:

THE BELIEVERS:
(actually The Dapps)

K12606    I’ll Be Sweeter Tomorrow
.               (Than I Was Yesterday)                              King 6201
K 12607   A Woman, A Lover, A Friend                             —

MARVA WHITNEY:
Marva Whitney (vo) with prob. James Brown band   Cincinnati, April 29, 1968

K12608   Things Got to Get Better                             King 6168

JAMES BROWN:
Prob. same band                                                        Same date

K12609   Soul With Different Notes                            King LP1034

THE DAPPS:
Incl. Alfred Ellis                                                            Same date

K12610   In the Middle                                                 King 6205
K12611   There Was a Time  (instr.)                             King 6169

I’ll Be Sweeter Tomorrow (Than I Was Yesterday)” b/w “A Woman, A Lover, A Friend” is the third King 45 to be credited to “The Dapps” — Ruppli’s notes above from an undated session do not name any musicians, however.  Guesses anyone?

A-Side by Stanley Poindexter, Jackie Members & Robert Poindexter
B-Side by Sidney Wyche

Tim Drummond is the sole Dapps member to perform on Marva Whitney’s “Things Got to Get Better,” in addition to funk instrumental, “In the Middle” and a horn-heavy take on “There Was a Time.”  :

Clyde Stubblefield:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Jimmy Nolen:  Guitar
Alfonzo Kellum:  Guitar
James Brown:  Piano
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Tenor Sax
St. Clair Pinckney:  Baritone Sax
Waymon Reed:  Trumpet
Fred Wesley:  Trombone
Levi Rasbury:  Valve Trombone

Ruppli’s session notes above say that the musicians used for Marva Whitney’s “Things Got to Get Better” is “probably the same band” who backed James Brown on “Soul With Different Notes” — used as the eight-minute opening track for 1968’s James Brown Plays Nothing But Soul.  Zero to 180 just noticed that the B-side “What Kind of Man” (co-written by Troy Seals) is not listed in the Ruppli sessionography, though the presumption is that its recording took place at the same April 29, 1968 session.

Worthy of mention:  Two of The Dapps — Les Asch & Dave Parkinson — participated in a June 27, 1968 New York City recording session that produced six songs that were included on Thinking About Little Willie John And a Few Nice Things, plus one that ended up (“Let Them Talk”) on Say It Loud I’m Black And I’m Proud [click on song titles below for streaming audio].

ACCORDING TO RUPPLI’S SESSION NOTES —

James Brown:  Vocals
Bernard Purdie:  Drums
Al Lucas:  Bass
Wallace Richardson:  Guitar
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Organ & Piano
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
John Grimes:  Trumpet
Waymon Reed:  Trumpet
Sammy Lowe:  Music Director

» “A Cottage for Sale” «
» “Suffering With the Blues” «
» “Home at Last” «
» “Talk to Me, Talk to Me” «
» “Heartbreak (It’s Hurtin’ Me)” «
» “Bill Bailey” «
» “Let Them Talk” «

Back in Cincinnati at King Studios the following night, June 28, 1968, Hank Ballard laid down two songs that were released as a King 45.  Ruppli’s session notes do not list any musicians, but thanks to Nothing But Funk Volume 4, we now know who provided musical support on “I’m Back to Stay” — a track you won’t find on Ballard’s 1968 album, You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down:

> AUDIO LINK for “I’m Back To Stay
by Hank Ballard [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown, Hank Ballard, Reggie Lavong & Lucky Cordell

According to Discogs

Hank Ballard:  Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
Pee Wee Ellis:  Alto Saxophone

Likewise, thanks to Nothing But Funk Volume 2, we can see who’s behind the big horn sound on the flip side, “Come on Wit’ It” — although, I am a bit surprised to see such a vastly different lineup, with only one member of The Dapps overlapping between the two bands recorded the same night at King Studios:

> AUDIO LINK for “Come On Wit’ It
by Hank Ballard

Written by James Brown, Hank Ballard & Bud Hobgood

According to Discogs

Hank Ballard:  Vocals
Clyde Stubblefield:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Alphonso Kellum:  Guitar
Jimmy Nolen:  Guitar
James Brown:  Piano
Maceo Parker:  Tenor Sax
St. Clair Pinckney:  Baritone Sax
Waymon Reed:  Trombone
Fred Wesley:  Trombone
Levi Rasbury:  Valve Trombone

“Come on Wit’ It” was predicted by Billboard “to reach the R&B Singles chart” in their July 20, 1968 editionCash Box‘s singles review from their July 27, 1968 edition:  “Hank Ballard, absent from the hit scene for quite some time, makes his comeback bid with this pulsating, highly danceable outing which is vaguely autobiographical.  Good juke box & disko item.  Flip: ‘Come On Wit’ It’.”

Sometime in July of 1968 (best guess), The Dapps recorded two songs (likely at King Studios) that remain unissued, according to Ruppli’s session notes — “Who Knows” and “I Can’t Stand Myself.”

Record World — Aug. 17, 1968

Photo included in “James Brown,Joey Bishop Show – ‘Man to Man'”

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On September 6, 1968, James Brown recorded an organ instrumental with The Dapps at King Studios entitled “Shades of Brown” (a.k.a., “A Note or Two”):

> AUDIO LINK for “Shades of Brown
by James Brown [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown

According to Discogs

James Brown:  Organ
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
[unknown]:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Tenor Sax
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*

B-side in Japan (left) and Germany (right)

On September 11, 1968, according to Ruppli, Hank Ballard was joined by The Dapps at King Studios to record two songs that got released as a King 45 plus an early attempt at “Thrill on the Hill” (that remains unissued) — thanks to Nothing But Funk Volume 4 for providing musician credits:

> AUDIO LINK for “How You Gonna Get Respect (When You Haven’t Cut Your Process Yet)”
by Hank Ballard Along With “The Dapps”

Written by James Brown, Hank Ballard & Bud Hobgood

According to Discogs

Hank Ballard:  Vocals
John ‘JaboStarks:  Drums
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Charles Summers:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
David Parkinson:  Saxophone
Les Asch:  Saxophone
Ken Tibbetts:  Trumpet
Ron Geisman:  Trumpet

“How You Gonna Get Respect” peaked at #15 on Billboard‘s R&B Singles chart on December 14, 1968.

> AUDIO LINK for “Teardrops on Your Letter
by Hank Ballard Along With “The Dapps”

Written by Henry Glover

Same Hank Ballard recording session = Per Discogs

Hank Ballard:  Vocals
John ‘JaboStarks:  Drums
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Charles Summers:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
David Parkinson:  Saxophone
Les Asch:  Saxophone
Ken Tibbetts:  Trumpet
Ron Geisman:  Trumpet

1968 single — France

Inferring from Ruppli’s session notes, October 1968 is approximately when The Dapps (thanks to these musician credits supplied by Alan Leeds) backed James Brown on three recordings for the Thinking About Little Willie John LP — “I’ll Lose My Mind” plus “What Kind of Man” (co-written by Eddie Setser and Troy Seals) and “You Gave My Heart a Song to Sing.”

> AUDIO LINK for “I’ll Lose My Mind
by [The Dapps Along With Bobby Byrd]

Written by James Brown, Bobby Byrd & Bud Hobgood

WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
Tim Hedding:  Piano
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Alto Sax
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Ron Geisman:  Trumpet

> AUDIO LINK for “What Kind of Man
by [The Dapps Along With Bobby Byrd]

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood, Eddie Setser & Troy Seals

WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
Tim Hedding:  Piano
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Alto Sax
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Ron Geisman:  Trumpet

> AUDIO LINK for “You Gave My Heart A Song To Sing
by [The Dapps Along With Bobby Byrd]

Written by James Brown, Bobby Byrd & Bud Hobgood

WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Troy Seals:  Guitar
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Bobby Byrd:  Organ
Tim Hedding:  Piano
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Alto Sax
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Ron Geisman:  Trumpet

The Dapps returned to King Studios on October 23, 1968 to back The Soul Believers on a pair of tracks that comprised a King 45 — “I’m With You” and “I Don’t Want Nobody’s Troubles”:

> AUDIO LINK for “I Don’t Want Nobody’s Troubles
by The Soul Believers With The Dapps

Written by Orlonzo Bennett

According to Discogs

The Soul Believers: Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Tim Drummond:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
David Parkinson:  Saxophone
Les Asch:  Saxophone
Ken Tibbetts:  Trumpet

Expect to shell out three figures for a vintage copy of this 45 (someone just recently forked over $540).

B-side written by Lowman Pauling — one of ‘5’ Royales’ final King A-sides

Ruppli’s notes indicate that The Dapps recorded a version of “White Christmas” (presumably at King Studios) c. mid-November 1968 that remains ‘unissued.’

Les Asch and Dave Parkinson both recall The Dapps supporting James Brown at Madison Square Garden, a concert we know to have taken place November 22, 1968, thanks to Asch’s mother, who purchased this program on the night of the performance:

Image courtesy of Les Asch —
CLICK on image TO VIEW IN HIGH RESOLUTION

Menu for May 8, 1968 White House State Dinner attended by James Brown
(included in Madison Square Garden concert program)


[Thank you, Maralah Rose-Asch]

.

James Brown Scores Knockout With Soul Music at the Garden” was the title of Robert Shelton’s review in the November 23, 1968 edition of the New York Times.  Dave Parkinson remembers Count Basie and Slappy White (et al.) being on the bill that night.

It was during this same New York City visit that Hank Ballard & the Dapps appeared on the November 27, 1968 episode of The Merv Griffin Show, along with James Brown  (plus Lily Tomlin early in her career).

The Dapps on The Merv Griffin Show [clockwise from rear]:

Ken Tibbetts (valve trombone); [unnamed] “English” trumpeter; Bob Thorn (trumpet)
Jerry Love (drums); Eddie Setser (guitar); Les Asch (tenor sax)
Dave Parkinson (tenor sax); Howie McGurty (baritone sax)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Dapps-on-Merv-Griffin-Show-Nov-1968-a-edited-1.jpg

[Dapps Photos courtesy of Dave Parkinson]

Indianapolis News TV listing for December 4, 1968

Parkinson also recalls The Dapps accompanying James Brown as guests at The Apollo Theater, where they were acknowledged from the stage by Joe Tex and Little Johnny Taylor.

The Dapps – along with The Sisters of Righteous (sisters Geneva “Gigi” Kinard and Denise Kinard together with cousin Roberta DuBois) – would next back James Brown at a King recording session that took place December 2, 1968 and yielded two songs, “Sometime” and “I’m Shook,” plus one track – “Bobby Kaie” – that was ultimately ‘rejected.’

> AUDIO LINK for “Sometime
by James Brown [with The Dapps & The Sisters of Righteous]

Written by James Brown and Bud Hobgood

According to Discogs

James Brown:  Vocals
GenevaGigiKinard:  Backing Vocals
Denise Kinard: Backing Vocals
Roberta Dubois: Backing Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Bob Thorn:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax
Ronald Lewis:  Baritone Sax

B-side of this German 45 — released Nov. 1969

> AUDIO LINK for “I’m Shook
by James Brown [with The Dapps & The Sisters of Righteous]

Written by James Brown

According to Discogs

James Brown:  Vocals
GenevaGigiKinard:  Backing Vocals
Denise Kinard: Backing Vocals
Roberta Dubois: Backing Vocals
WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Bob Thorn:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax
Ronald Lewis:  Baritone Sax

My eyebrows go up as I read these notes on Discogs related to the “I’m Shook” 45:

“[45] Never got a full distribution.  Most copies were probably pulled back for unknown reasons and a few quantities of this exist.  Both tracks [“I’m Shook” b/w “Little Groove Maker Me“] feature on It’s A Mother.  ‘I’m Shook’ is a different recording than featured on the album.”

Ruppli’s sparse notes also indicate an undated session (early December 1968?) in which Hank Ballard was supported by unnamed members of The Dapps on two recordings, “You’re So Sexy” and “Thrill on the Hill.”  Just before the guitar break on “You’re So Sexy” (around the 1:20 mark), Hank calls out “Fat Eddie, play your thing” — so at least we know that Eddie Setser was part of the backing ensemble.

> AUDIO LINK for “You’re So Sexy
by Hank Ballard Along With The Dapps

Written by James Brown, Hank Ballard & Bud Hobgood

Ruppli then follows with two entries for December 10, 1968 at King Studios — (a) the first session has Hank Ballard recording “How You Gonna Get Respect” with unnamed musicians plus two ‘unknown titles’ — all three tracks unissued; (b) the second entry is for The Dapps, with one attempt at a track named “Later for the Saver” that remains in the vaults.

Feb 1969 concert poster — image courtesy of SuperSoulSound.com

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Who Knows” — recorded by The Dapps c. July 1968 though kept in the can — finally got a release by King, although attributed solely to Beau Dollar, as the B-side of his second and final King single, “(I Wanna Go) Where the Soul Trees Grow”:

> AUDIO LINK for “Who Knows
by Beau Dollar [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown, Bud Hobgood & William ‘Beau Dollar’ Bowman

According to Discogs

WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Bobby Byrd:  Tamborine
Charles Summers:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tm Hedding:  Organ
David Parkinson:  Saxophone
Les Asch:  Saxophone
Kenny Tibbetts:  Trumpet

How curious to discover that in 1992 Pure Records, a French boutique label, decided to pair Beau Dollar’s “Who Knows” with a funk track by Lee Majors (“The Bull Is Coming“) for a twelve-inch “maxi-single.”

According to Ruppli’s session notes, Beau Dollar, along with unnamed musicians, recorded 21 songs over the course of three days [January 20-22, 1970] most likely at King Studios — 12 selected for King LP 1099 (to be titled Beau Dollar), plus 9 other tracks that remain ‘unissued’ to this day.  The funny thing, however, is how utterly impossible it is to retrieve an image of the album cover on the Internet.  Ruppli refers to King LP 1099 as an actual release, yet Discogs has no entry (yet) for this King LP.  The King LP discography at Both Sides Now Publications references it by catalog number and album title but no cover image, curiously, nor song titles (the latter which you will find listed at 1540brewster.com).

There are a few other ‘unissued’ Beau Dollar recordings from 1969 (“My Concerto”; “Looking For Someone to Love”; “But It’s Alright”; “I Gotta Get Away From You”) in addition to the outtakes from Beau Dollar’s alleged LP (“Funky Street”; “Everybody’s Talkin'”; “Na Na, Hey Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye”; “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy”) that remain in the vault.

Fast forward to 1971 — 45Cat’s RogerFoster points out that “Just Won’t Do Right” by Lyn Collins “is actually a duet with James Brown and according to the booklet notes by Alan Leeds in the 2009 CD compilation James Brown – The Singles Volume Seven: 1970-1972 this was to be released with Mr. Brown being the headline act on King 6373 but only promos were made.”  Ruppli gives no indication as to when Collins made this recording at King Studios with The Dapps:

> AUDIO LINK for “Just Won’t Do Right
by Lyn Collins [with The Dapps]

Written by James Brown

According to Discogs

WilliamBeau DollarBowman:  Drums
Julius Reliford:  Congas
Dave Harrison:  Bass
Eddie Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Organ
AlfredPee WeeEllis:  Alto Sax
Les Asch:  Tenor Sax*
David Parkinson:  Baritone Sax*
Howard McGurty: Trumpet
Ken Tibbetts: Trumpet

“Just Won’t Do Right” was picked by Record World as one of its “Hits of the Week” in the January 8, 1972 issue and praised thusly:  “James Brown both wrote and produced this impressive debut disc.  Powerful r&b ballad of the kind that crosses-over pop so often these days.”

“Just Won’t Do Right” was the B-side to “Wheels of Life” when released in France with a charming sleeve designed by noted graphic designer, Jean-Claude Trambouze, who also did complementary designs for a dozen other James Brown productions out of the King studios.

1968 FRENCH B-SIDE
SLEEVE DESIGNED BY JEAN-CLAUDE TRAMBOUZE

Dapps Chart Trivia

Joel Whitburn Presents Across the Charts: The 1960s has an entry for “The Dapps Featuring Alfred Ellis” that identifies two 45s:

(1) “There Was a Time” (King 6169), which bubbled under Billboard’s Hot 100 at #103, and (2) “How You Gonna Get Respect (When You Haven’t Cut Your Process Yet),” (King 6196) which peaked at #15 on Billboard‘s R&B chart.

By 1970, The Dapps had disaffiliated itself with the James Brown organization.  According to Les Asch, the first fissure occurred early on when Brown’s studio manager, Bud Hobgood, attempted to get the group under contract, only to find out that Troy Seals and Jo Ann Campbell were already signed to Atlantic Records.  Ultimately, The Dapps ended up working for James Brown without any contractual arrangement.  As Dave Parkinson confessed to Bob Miller in 1991:

“If I’d stuck with Troy [Seals] I would be quite well off today.  But Troy was a lot more patient than the band, we had stars in our eyes and when we got an offer to join James Brown’s production company, it was a mass defection.”

During the James Brown years, recalls Les Asch, Beau Dollar was first accorded bandleader duties within The Dapps, followed by Dave Parkinson and then Asch.  At one Dapps rehearsal held at The Inner Circle, Asch made the “mistake” of admitting (perhaps in the egalitarian spirit of the times) that, as bandleader, he was being paid double.  When band members balked, Asch met with Mr. Brown to inform him that this differentiated pay scale was “killing morale.”  Brown, however, was not only unsympathetic but profoundly disappointed that Asch would make such a tactical error as the band’s musical director.  At that point, relations between The Dapps and the James Brown organization would cease.

When asked by Brian Powers why The Dapps broke up, Eddie Setser had this to say:

“[Bud Hobgood] kept saying we were gonna be making all this money, big money.  Thought we were doing pretty good, but he put us on a retainer, and the guys didn’t like it.  Hank Ballard came and told us, he said, “You ain’t gonna be making any money. He says, “You’re all gonna be paid the same thing” … the thing just kind of blew up.”

The Dapps, however, carried on with that name for somewhere between six months to a year, reckons Asch, with The Golden Lion, a short jaunt up Interstate 75 in Dayton, essentially serving as base of operations.  Dave Parkinson informed Brian Powers in that same interview for WVXU how The Dapps first joined forces with Roger “Jellyroll” Troy (née McGaha):

“After The Dapps had become disassociated with James [Brown], we were the house band at a place called [The Golden Lion in Dayton, Ohio], and we were there about a year under the leadership of a guy named ‘Jellyroll,’ Roger Troy.”

2014 issue of Oct. 27, 1969 live performance by the Stan Kenton Orchestra

Trumpeter BobMaynardVandivort (who spoke to me over the phone recently) auditioned for The Dapps during this period at The Golden Lion.   Leader (along with Jerry Gehl) of The Hi-Fi Band and later, Maynard & the Countdowns, who opened for Lonnie Mack at The Hawaiian Gardens and played many of the area’s sock hops, roller rinks, and teen clubs in the early 1960s, Vandivort’s experience would be marked by the Vietnam War.  Three of the Countdowns, including drummer Dave Listerman, received their draft notices soon after winning a “Battle of the Bands” contest, while Vandivort (who did Air Force ROTC at the University of Cincinnati) himself would get called up on March 23, 1966.  Vandivort — who studied under Frank Brown (later lead trumpet for James Brown) and Bill Berry (who played with Duke Ellington) — served at Fort Knox in the 158th Army Band, a unit whose function was to recruit volunteers, and a job that kept the musicians on the road six months out of the year.  Owning an automobile during his three years of active duty made Vandivort a valuable commodity, as he often shuttled fellow musicians to James Brown gigs in Indianapolis and Louisville (while “lookalikes” would be used as stand-ins for the AWOL soldiers).  Bud Hobgood and Vandivort, coincidentally, were once neighbors at Charlestown Square in Cincinnati’s western area (one-time home for Les Asch, too).

James Brown was initially furious at the continued use of the Dapps name and sent Charles Bobbitt to order the band to desist.  Asch recalls that, thanks to the largesse of the Dayton club owners, an attorney was hired to defend the band.  The court would make a determination that the musicians — having been seen in a public capacity as The Dapps (i.e., Merv Griffin Show appearance, Madison Square Garden concert, and the visit to the Apollo) — therefore, had “inherent properties” with respect to the band name, according to Asch.

Despite the legal victory, the band continued only briefly as The Dapps, as the Dayton scene began to sour for the band, and the musicians were heading in various directions.  Asch remembers a late-night stealth mission to liberate Roger Troy from his current engagement with The Fendermen (a stint at the Holly Oak, no less) that involved the unforgettable image of a jettisoned laundry bag landing within inches of the car, followed by Troy’s exhortation to the band, “C’mon boys, let’s skirtsy!”

Once liberated, the group of musicians then headed to Boston for a three-week stint playing five hours a night, seven days a week at a place called (I’m not making this up) K-K-K-Katy’s.

K-K-K-Katy” was a popular WWI-era “stammering” song

During this period (c. late 1969), the group — which numbered ten musicians — made some demo recordings at a Boston-area sound studio, with one of the stand-out tracks being the band’s arrangement of Jimmy Webb’s “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.”

Following the Boston engagement, the band would return to Dayton and find itself ensconced at The Golden Lion’s main competitor — The Diamond Club, owned by Jennie Krynzel.

Images courtesy of Diamond Club Facebook group

Meanwhile, drummer/manager Stu Perry told his friend Richard Podolor (engineer behind albums by Three Dog Night and Iron Butterfly (et al.), along with Bill Cooper) that he knew “this group from the midwest” and gave him a copy of the Boston demos.  Particularly impressed by the band’s arrangement of “Phoenix,” Podolor in turn sent these recordings to Jay Lasker, president of Kapp Records, who then set about arranging a showcase for the band at one of the music venues on Sunset Strip.

The band would subsequently relocate to the West Coast to take advantage of this new major-label opportunity — although the ten-member ensemble would not survive the cross-country trek.  For one thing, Stu Perry’s involvement meant that Jerry Thompson was no longer the drummer.  Also bowing out of the venture were saxophonist Howie McGurty and bassist Ken Tibbetts, who also played trombone.  [Tibbetts’ response would be to gather Thompson and McGurty and organize a funky new horn-heavy outfit called Melting Pot, whose 1970 debut album on Ampex was produced and engineered by Johnny Sandlin].

Band residence during the Jellyroll sessions — according to Les Asch

The Jellyroll-led outfit that played for Jay Lasker at a private after-hours showcase, sadly, only numbered seven musicians.  Asch recalls Lasker being distinctly underwhelmed by the band’s overall sound, which was noticeably thinner than the larger ensemble recorded in Boston.  Nevertheless, Kapp would commit to a full-length album that featured an elaborate design in a gatefold cover.  A $50,000 advance, according to Asch, went to the group’s attorney, who “doled out money in dribs and drabs.”

Jellyroll‘s debut album was released in 1971 on MCA-owned Kapp (and reissued in 2015 in South Korea).  Discogs notes that a test pressing of the album was actually done in 1970, with the group’s debut 45 “Strange” b/w “Help Me Over” issued September 1970 in the US, according to 45Cat (although curious to note that two completely different tracks were selected for the 45 release in Turkey).  Tim Hedding wrote one of the album’s tracks (“Quick Trip“), Eddie Setser got co-writing credit on another (“Standing on the Inside“), and the band itself is listed as the author on half the songs.

Gatefold LP cover art

Roger Troy:  Bass & Lead Vocals
Stu Perry:  Drums & Percussion
Cosme Joseph Deaguero:  Congas
Ed Setser:  Guitar
Tim Hedding:  Keyboards & Backing Vocals
Les Asch:  Alto, Tenor & Baritone Saxophones
Dave Parkinson:  Tenor Saxophone
Bob Thorn:  Trumpet

45 – Mexico                                             45 – Turkey

There was no accompanying tour, sadly, to promote Jellyroll’s debut album.  Roger Troy and five of his bandmates — Tim Hedding, Eddie Setser, Les Asch, Dave Parkinson, and Stu Perry — soon found themselves back in Cincinnati, this time based at a club named Reflections, located at Calhoun and Vine in the University of Cincinnati area.  But alas, after just a couple weeks, Stu Perry (following an argument with Roger Troy)  snuck into Reflections one night and removed all of his percussion gear without informing the band.  The owner of the club, according to Les Asch, was livid when notified by the band that they could not fulfill their engagement.  This would prove to be the group’s last gasp.

History, however, demands that I make mention of Roger Troy’s participation in a local recording session for Wayne Perry — at the behest of his producer, Randy McNutt — that ended up generating a buzz in English clubs when reissued in 2020 nearly fifty years later as a limited edition 45 that sold out in three months!  McNutt recounts the tangled tale on his music history blog, Home of the Hits:

We cut “Pain” in the summer of 1972 at Rusty York’s Jewel Recording in suburban Cincinnati, where we did much of our local work.  Now this part is important–vital–to understanding this story:  We cut two versions of the song.  Both shared the same rhythm track, so they sound nearly identical.  Wayne sang the first version; Wayne and a guy from Alaska sang the second as a duet.  Their voices sounded a lot alike, and they sang the choruses together and exchanged on the verses.  Shortly after recording the duet version of “Pain,” the narrative began to get muddied.  We had two vocal versions that used the same rhythm track.

The track cooked from the start.  This was due to the musicians.  They included Roger “Jellyroll” Troy, a singer-bassist who led the group Jellyroll on Kapp Records. Roll, as we called him, had come home on vacation, and Wayne asked him to play on the session.  On drums was Jerry Love, a popular blues-rock drummer in Cincinnati.  He did a lot of sessions over at King Records.  He was a favorite of guitarist Lonnie Mack, the father of Cincinnati’s blue-eyed soul movement.  The B-3 organist was a kid (only 17) named Terry Hoskins, who lived in our home city, Hamilton, Ohio, about 25 miles northwest of Cincinnati.  We just let him wail on that song.  We had to get his father’s permission to take him to the studio with us.  On guitar we hired Gary Boston, a freelance session man at King and a local band veteran.  Like so many of these guys, Gary also did some work at King’s studio and at times worked on sessions with James Brown.  (Today, I use Gary on new recordings.)  The horn guys were Les Asch, Craig Shenafeld, and Terry Burnside.  They also played on some James Brown sessions over at King.  On the day we cut the rhythm track, we were all standing in the little studio, talking about the song, and suddenly a guy we didn’t know walked in and asked, “Hey, who owns the cool Firebird sitting out front?”  Jellyroll said proudly, “Why, I do!”  The guy said, “Well, it just got repossessed.”

The original 45 was issued on McNutt’s own Beast imprint, which was distributed by Shad O’Shea‘s Counterpart label.  Though the single did not see much action beyond the tri-state area initially, both mixes of “Pain” were included on 2012 compilation,  Souled Out: Queen City Soul-Rockers Of The 1970s.  At one point, a songwriter friend informed McNutt about the growing buzz on YouTube, where the 7-inch was first uploaded in 2010.  Nik Weston of London’s Mukatsuku Records then contacted McNutt in 2018 about reissuing the two “Pain” mixes as a 45 (that remains “out of stock“).

> AUDIO LINK for “Pain” by Wayne Perry

Post-Jellyroll:  In a Nutshell

Roger “Jellyroll” Troy (who played on Shades of Joy’s Music of El Topo LP from 1970 with Jerry Love) would join The Electric Flag for their final album, The Band Kept Playing, before going on to collaborate with Mike Bloomfield, Howard Wales, Jerry Garcia, Mick Taylor, and the Goshorn Brothers, among others.  Troy Seals, under the mentorship of Conway Twitty, went on to enjoy a successful songwriting career in Nashville, where he was inducted in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1988.  Seals, in turn, provided similar strategic guidance for Eddie Setser, who also became one of the Nashville’s top songwriters (before leaving us this past January).  Tim Hedding (who played organ on Delaney Bramlett’s 1973 album, Mobius Strip) became part of Gregg Allman’s band for 1987’s “comeback” album, I’m No Angel and its follow-up album, When the Bullets Fly.  Howard McGurty, holder of numerous industry patents and inventor of the first Phantom Sound speaker system, is founder of a Mason, Ohio-based company that has provided sound systems for such clients as Bruce Springsteen and the Cincinnati Symphony.  Dave Parkinson, who returned to Central Illinois in 1971 to tend to his mother’s health, has been a leading light in Peoria’s jazz scene, as well as founding member of funk-fusion group, Kriss Kross, a local favorite.  Les Asch continued to play locally after The Dapps disbanded at places such as The Roundup Club before deciding to pursue work opportunities outside the music industry.

In 2013, Egon of Now-Again Records penned a paean to Beau Dollar for Red Bull Academy that spelled out his contributions to the field of funk drumming using precise music terminology:

“‘I Can’t Stand Myself When You Touch Me,’ recorded in October 1967, is a different beast altogether. Its groove surely owes a debt to Stubblefield’s ‘Cold Sweat’ rhythm, but gone are his swinging eighth note hi-hats, replaced by William Hargis ‘Beau Dollar’ Bowman’s lockstep quarter notes, bashed onto a slightly askew hi-hat.  Bowman avoids the ‘one’ – the first beat of a measure, all important to James Brown’s establishment of funk – in the second half of each two bar phrase and builds up to the one’s return with 16th note bass drum interplay, and what rhythm researcher Alan Slutsky called ‘two accented snare drum attacks.’  Brown ‘gave’ Stubblefield four uninterrupted bars in ‘Cold Sweat’ and the drummer was able to showboat.  In contrast, Bowman’s metronomic groove doesn’t change when Brown explains to his band that he wants ‘everyone to lay out but the drummer.’  Brown, notifying Bowman of his task the same way that he would soon instruct Stubblefield on ‘Funky Drummer,’ seemed to know when he needed to keep a drummer under a tense bridle.

Had Bowman only recorded ‘Can’t Stand Myself,’ his place amongst Brown’s elite cadre of funk drummers would have been earned, and his enduring presence assured.  While no one can say definitively who invented the style, Jim Payne, author of Give The Drummers Some, calls Bowman’s groove ‘the Quarter Note High Hat style – quarters on the high hat and everything else beneath it: a difficult thing to do, by the way.’  Its influence grew.  To follow the timeline from 1967 onwards is complicated, but to my ears it goes something like this:  Bowman hears Stubblefield’s ‘Cold Sweat’ and ponies up a response when Brown crashes his band’s – the all-white The Dapps – recording session for an improvised vocal performance.”

Dave Parkinson Remembers
My Association with James Brown, Bud Hobgood
And All the People at King Studios

It all started at a place called The Inner Circle in Clifton up by the University of Cincinnati.  I was playing tenor sax with a band called the Cincinnati Kids led by Troy Seals and Jo Ann Campbell.  Tim Drummond from Canton, IL near where I grew up was playing bass.  Tim later joined James’ traveling group.  He recorded on many of James’ hits, including “I Can’t Stand Myself When You Touch Me” and many more.  James started frequenting the Inner Circle and sitting in with us.  Most memorable was “Cold Sweat” and “There Was a Time.”  James gradually wooed Tim, Les Asch, Tim Hedding, and “Fat Eddie” away from Troy and Jo Ann and we signed to James Brown Productions.  We recorded behind Bobby Byrd, Marva Whitney, Hank Ballard and many others.

“Good God!  A Thousand Dollars” was coined by James’ brilliant manager, Bud Hobgood.

This is the time we met and befriended Bud Hobgood.  He always had a $1,000 bill in his wallet, which he would show us once in awhile.  Bud was a long, tall shrewd country boy who advised James and kept him in line.  I think to this day, that if Bud was still alive, James would be too.  When we recorded with James or watched him set up tunes with his band, he would go to each member; horns, percussion, bass, guitar, conga and tell or sing to them their parts.  It invariably came out perfect and amazingly funky.

I was in the studio when he did “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” with those children and it brought tears to my eyes.

I recorded “Honky Tonk” and the band recorded “The Rabbit Got the Gun” and we covered instrumentally a lot of James’ hits.

At first James called the band the “Believers.”  I remember one night he got us all together and kind of sized us up as to what role we played in the band.  When he came to me, he gave me the biggest compliment I’ve ever had.  He said, “Dave, you the musician”  I can’t describe how good that made me feel.  For a time, he made me the band leader and we went to New York to the main offices of Cash Box magazine and he introduced me to the CEO.  It wasn’t long after that Billboard picked James up and the rest is history.  During that stay in New York we played Madison Square Garden with Count Basie, Slappy White, and many others.  The next evening we all went by limo with James to the Apollo Theater and saw Little Johnny Taylor, Joe Tex and a host of other great talent.  We then went to Lloyd Price’s club and someone tear gassed the place.  James then took us to Long Island where his father stayed and fed us some incredibly hot chili.  The next day, we did the Merv Griffin Show, along with Lily Tomlin.  The following day, James took me to A & R Studios, where I played with his band.  I remember walking in and Bernard Purdie had an easel set up that said “Purdie, Purdie.”  He was on the session.

After returning home, James put us on the road to Atlanta with Hank Ballard.  Had too much fun with Hank!  He looked at me one night in my apartment in Cincinnati and said, “You’re a Scorpio, right?”  He was dead on.

Then James took us to Cleveland to see Marvin Gaye in an intimate nightclub setting.  It was indescribable!

Then we were off to L.A. to do the Donald O’Connor pilot show [1968], which flopped.  Remember, Bud Hobgood was in the wings, keeping a lid on everybody.

After that, things began to taper off.  I could have gone to the Ivory Coast and Vietnam, but marital problems were getting in the way.

Getting back to Troy Seals, I had the privilege of sitting in on a meeting in Troy and Jo Ann’s apartment in Hamilton, Ohio between Troy and Conway Twitty.  After that meeting, Troy and Jo Ann moved to Nashville where Troy’s career went to the stratosphere.  Troy became one of the biggest writers and producers, writing songs like “I’ve Got a Rock and Roll Heart” [Eric Clapton], “Honky Tonk Angel” [Conway Twitty] and many more.  He took “Fat Eddie” Setser with him and they collaborated on “Seven Spanish Angels” [Ray Charles & Willie Nelson] and numerous others.  “Fat Eddie” was the guitar player for the Cincinnati Kids.  He was a very gifted writer in his own right.  I collaborated with Troy on a song called “But I Do,” which was picked up by The Oak Ridge Boys who put it on their Room Service album.

Back in 1970 I had a meeting with Mac Heywood.  Not being too well versed in business and the Hollywood scene, nothing came of it; but shortly thereafter, I started seeing the Heywoods all over television.  Quiz shows and the like.  The meeting with Mac took place at The Roundup Club in Erlanger, Ky., just across the river from Cincinnati.

When I first came to the Cincinnati area, I became fast friends with guys like Lonnie Mack, Beau Dollar, Roger “JellyRoll” Troy, Ronnie Grayson, Jerry Love and later on Glen Hughes of The Casinos.  Just about every time I went to L.A., I’d run into Gene walking around Hollywood.

The members of The Believers were:  Panny Saracason on bass, Les Asch on tenor with me, Tim Hedding on B-3, and “Fat Eddie” on guitar.

I cannot stress enough the role Bud Hobgood played in James Brown Productions.  He was the bedrock that kept James grounded.  As I stated earlier, if Bud was still alive, so would James be.

We went to Nashville where John R. and Hoss Man Allen of WLAC produced us on several tunes.

I’m about out of things to say, but my friend Bob “Maynard” Vandivort can add a lot and maybe fill in some blanks.

 

4 Out of 5 Physicians Agree:
Zero to 180 best viewed on a big screen – not smart phone

Earliest Melodica Recording ’64

A Postcard From Canton [Massachusetts] celebrates the accomplishments of one of the town’s most “esteemed citizens” — and industrious tinkerers:

[James Amireaux] Bazin came to examine a simple free-reed instrument when he was 23 years old.  A group of men brought him a broken pitch pipe and asked him to repair it.  Bazin made the repair but also created a new invention, which became a sliding brass pitch pipe that could be adjusted along a series of pitches from c” to d’”.  From this small invention he began making several variations on the theme and eventually moved to reed trumpets, which he invented in 1824.  For many years his trumpet accompanied the choir at the Unitarian Church in Canton Corner and reputedly it could be heard “a mile away.”  In 1831 Bazin invented a harmonica.  In fact, Bazin had only read about the harmonica invented in Germany, so it is likely that indeed this was the first reed harmonica in America.

Melodica Shack‘s “History of the Melodica” page notes that the lap organ developed by James H. Bazin, as well as the melodeon designed by Abraham Prescott of Prescott Organ Company, were “stepping stones” to the modern-day melodica, an instrument said to have been invented by Hohner, according to the company’s own website, in the “1950s.”  Why such vagueness about the date, I wonder.

Hohner Soprano melodica

MelodicaWorld‘s Alan Brinton informs us that the Hohner Soprano, a button-style melodica, “appears to have been first announced in early December, 1958,” while earlier that same year, André Borel, introduced the Clavietta, a keyboard-style melodica.  Is it possible that Borel is the unacknowledged pioneer of the keys-based melodica?  MelodicaWorld‘s Daren Banarsë took the time to search the British LIbrary for UK publications that contain “Clavietta adverts” and found this one published in the 11 February 1960 edition of Stage and Television:

Zero to 180’s dubious quest to identify the earliest recording of a melodica has thus far led to two popular recordings [“Tint of Blue” by The Bee Gees and “Ice Cream and Suckers” by South Africa’s Soweto Stokvel Septette], as well as a serious composition by Steve Reich [“Melodica“] — all from the year 1966.

Fortunately, “Quirky 45s That Bubbled Under” from this past March broke the logjam with the discovery of Stu Phillips and the Hollyridge Strings (celebrated in 2013) as unwitting innovators who, in 1964, might possibly have been the first to commit melodica to tape in an attempt to emulate John Lennon’s harmonica lines on The Fabs’ very first single for EMI’s subsidiary label, Parlophone:

“Love Me Do”     The Hollyridge Strings     1964

A promotional/demonstration copy of the original “Love Me Do” Beatles release on Parlophone (with Paul’s last name misspelled as “McArtney) was sold in 2017 via Discogs for $14,757 — making it “the most expensive 7-inch single ever sold,” as reported on the Gibson Guitars website in 2017.

Note the scandalous “McCartney-Lennon” songwriting credits:

But wait!   This television clip of Ray Conniff from three years earlier playing an Italian-manufactured Clavietta now means 1961 is the year to beat (although it should be noted that the studio version of “Midnight Lace” uses a harmonica for the melody line):

“Midnight Lace”     Ray Conniff Orchestra     1961

According to the person who posted this video clip
The Ray Conniff Orchestra and Chorus TV show “Concert In Stereo” in 1961.

Honorable Mention

1965’s “Bossa Melodica” by Dutch bandleader Gaby Dirne & His Orchestra

The Clavietta, it has been said, is a “keyboard version of the accordina.”

Pat Missin states that US patent no. 2461806 (above rendering) “was granted in 1949 to André Borel of Paris, France” for his “chromatic harmonicon” that was manufactured under the name, accordina.  Borel would later be granted a patent for a “mouth[-]blown free reed instrument with a piano-style keyboard and both blow and draw reeds,” notes Missin.

The legacy of James Amireaux Bazin, meanwhile, includes “lap organs, table organs, a seraphine, and several larger instruments,” according to A Postcard From Canton. “What is amazing is that his earliest instruments were patented, sold reasonably well (although at a loss), and today are in private collections as well as the Museum of Fine Art, the National Museum of American History, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Darcy Kuronen, a noted expert on early musical instruments, writes of Bazin:  ‘Each of his surviving examples of his instruments shows a restless desire to improve their operation and versatility, with no one model bearing much resemblance to another.’”

For those who wish to delve further into the history —

James A. Bazin and the Development of Free-Reed Instruments in America,” by Darcy Kuronen, published in Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society, Vol 31, 2005, pp 133-182.

The Upsetters at King Records

I am only just now discovering that Little Richard‘s musical influence had a direct impact on King Records, first when his live backing band, The Upsetters, became Little Willie John’s support group after Richard renounced rock ‘n’ roll in 1957, and then again soon after when the Upsetters backed James Brown for a time.

On December 2, 1958, Little Willie John did a session for King in New Orleans — at Cosimo Recording Studios, no doubt — in which The Upsetters served as his backing band.  Four songs were recorded that day:

> AUDIO LINK for “Do You Love Me

> AUDIO LINK for “The New Thing

> AUDIO LINK for “It Only Hurts a Little While

> AUDIO LINK for “Write Me a Letter

Musician credits according to Ruppli’s session notes —

Little Willie John:  Vocals
Emile Russell:  Drums
Olsie Robinson:  Bass
Milton Hopkins:  Guitar
Wilbert Lee Smith:  Piano & Guitar
Jimmy Booker:  Piano
Grady Gaines:  Tenor Sax
Clifford Burks:  Tenor Sax
Melvin Lastic:  Trumpet

2016 Spanish EP —
INCLUDES “DO YOU LOVE ME” & “LEAVE MY KITTEN ALONE”

Fun to point out that exactly one year later, on December 2, 1959, Emile Russell served as the drummer on a Hank Ballard and the Midnighters recording session at King Studios that netted four songs, including “The Coffee Grind” and “I Love You, I Love You So-o-o.”  Would you be surprised to know that Emile Russell was also the drummer at Little Willie John‘s June 3, 1959 session in New York City that produced “Leave Me Kitten Alone,” along with “Let Them Talk,” “Right There” & “Let Nobody Love You“?

Grady Gaines, by the way, is also connected to King through his brother, Roy Gaines, who released two 45s for King subsidiary label, DeLuxe in 1957 – “Annabelle” b/w “Night Beat” plus “Isabella” b/w “Gainesville” – the latter tune being one of his signature guitar statements.

Important to note that Little Richard battled mightily with Specialty Records owner Art Rupe to be allowed to record with The Upsetters, who Richard favored over the studio session players.  As Robert Palmer wrote for the New York Times in 1990:

“The early Upsetters sessions present a band that lacked studio polish, but made up for it with a remarkable ensemble cohesion and rhythmic creativity.  The Upsetters’ drummer, Charles Connor, has been credited by no less an authority than James Brown with sparking the rhythmic transition from fifties rock & roll to sixties funk.”

New Orleans’ Ponderosa Stomp — who pronounced The Upsetters to be “quite possibly the greatest touring rock and roll band on the planet during the mid-1950s” — wrote a lengthy tribute in 2017 to drummer Chuck Connor, who elaborated on the origins of the band:

“A guy by the name of Wilbert Smith—his professional name was Lee Diamond—we looked alike and everything.  I was a little taller than him.  We were struggling musicians around Nashville,” says Charles.  ‘I was starving, man.  I was kicked out of the hotel room, and I was behind in my rent.  Little Richard heard us and brought us back to Macon, Georgia because he wanted New Orleans musicians.  Richard had to get my drums out of the pawn shop.  He paid for all of that, and he brought us to Macon, Georgia, and that’s when we formed Little Richard and the Upsetters.”

Just a couple weeks after Little Willie John’s session with The Upsetters, James Brown and the Famous Flames recorded a session in Los Angeles on December 16, 1958 with “Lee Diamond” on tenor sax and Chuck Connor on drums that yielded four songs:

> AUDIO LINK for “Got to Cry

> AUDIO LINK for “It Was You

> AUDIO LINK for “I Want You So Bad

> AUDIO LINK for “It Hurts to Tell You

Musician credits according to Ruppli’s session notes —

James Brown:  Vocals
John Terry, Bill Hollings & [unidentified]:  Backing Vocals
Chuck Connor or Nat Kendrick:  Drums
Bernard Odum:  Bass
Bobby Roach:  Guitar
AlvinFatsGonder:  Piano & Organ
Lee Diamond:  Tenor Sax
J.C. Davis:  Tenor Sax

All four songs included on 1959 King LP,  Try Me

Most of these same musicians reconvened on January 20, 1959 at a recording facility in New York City to record two more songs with James and the Famous Flames:

> AUDIO LINK for “Don’t Let It Happen to Me

> AUDIO LINK for “Bewildered

Musician credits according to Ruppli’s session notes —

James Brown:  Vocals
John Terry, Bill Hollings & [unidentified]:  Backing Vocals
Chuck Connor:  Drums
Bernard Odum:  Bass
Bobby Roach:  Guitar
AlvinFatsGonder:  Piano & Organ
Lee Diamond:  Tenor Sax
J.C. Davis:  Tenor Sax
[Unidentified]:  Trumpet

Saxophonist J.C. Davis (“with prob. same band”) recorded two numbers as bandleader at that same NYC recording session:

> AUDIO LINK for “Doodle Bug

> AUDIO LINK for “Bucket Head

1959 single attributed to James Davis

Lee Diamond, as it turns out, had already crossed paths with King Records before — as Wilbert Smith, part of the horn section for James Brown and the Famous Flames’ 1956 breakout hit, “Please Please Please“!  Smith has two co-songwriting credits on “Hold My Baby’s Hand” and “Chonnie-On-Chon” — notice the vocal resemblance to Little Richard on the latter track — both from 1956.

Chuck Connor explains the impact of his New Orleans musical upbringing on the development of James Brown’s music:

“We would work the clubs around Macon, Georgia, like the VFW clubs, the Elks clubs, and places like that.  And I’m playing behind James Brown.  The drummer always sits in the back.  We didn’t have no riser in these little small clubs in those days.  We only had drum risers in the big theaters.  So I’d be playing behind James and I’d do a little second-line thing, a syncopation on my bass drum.  But I was doing that to attract the girls’ attention.

“James Brown would say, ‘Hey, that’s funky! That’s funky!’

‘I’d say, ‘I’m doing the second-line!’

‘I like that! I like that!’

“And he discovered that I put the funk to the rhythm.  Because a lot of drummers weren’t using the bass drum that much.  But a lot of New Orleans drummers used their bass drum a lot.  I got that from the second line.  So that’s why he said, ‘Charles was the first to put the funk into the rhythm.’

Susan Whitall writes in her biography of Little Willie John — Fever:  A Fast Life, Mysterious Death, and the Birth of Soul:

“When Willie and the Upsetters became a team and hit the road, Richard insists there were no hard feelings.  He was proud that the Upsetters, at one time or another, backed up the heaviest hitters in rhythm and blues.  ‘Sam Cooke also had them for awhile and Sam Cooke’s brother L.C. as well,’ Richard recalled.  ‘Little Willie John and James Brown traveled with my band as me, once I was famous.’  The Godfather of Soul screaming ‘Wop bop a doo wop’ – it’s not such a stretch.  ‘We had some dates booked and my manager wanted to fulfill the dates, so they had James go out and be me,’ Richard explained.”

Chuck Connor confirms that James Brown really did do shows billed as Little Richard:

“Lee Diamond started playing with James Brown, but when Richard came out (to L.A.) to do the screen test for the movie [The Girl Can’t Help It], he left 15 dates behind.  So Clint Brantley, the booking agent, he didn’t want to lose the deposits on those dates.  So guess who played those dates for him?  James Brown!  And it was Little Richard’s picture on the placards.  But James Brown played Little Richard’s dates.  People would complain and say, ‘He don’t look like him!’  James is short.  ‘He don’t look like Little Richard to me, but he sounds good!’  But he fulfilled all those dates, and then when Richard came back from the West Coast, James wanted me to go on the road with him too.  I said, ‘Well, James, I’m going to tell you—I don’t mind, but I can’t disappoint Richard because Richard was the one that helped me when I didn’t have nothing, paying my hotel rent, and he bought me shoes, and he fed me and everything.’  So that would have been a guilt trip, so that’s why I didn’t go with James Brown.  He wanted to take me on the road too.  But I remained with Richard.”

James Brown himself recounted the experience of being billed as Little Richard in his autobiography, James Brown:  The Godfather of Soul:

“Not too long after I got to Macon, some people started hitting on Richard about recording for them instead of Peacock.  Eventually Bumps Blackwell got him for Art Rupe’s Specialty label out of Los Angeles.  After ‘Tutti Frutti’ broke, Richard left Macon for California, left everybody without saying a word—[Little Richard manager, Cliff] Brantley, the Dominions, the Upsetters, and a lot of bookings.  Mr. Brantley asked me to fulfill Richard’s dates.  He put me together with the Upsetters and the Dominions and sent me out as Little Richard.  Meantime, Byrd and the fellas were doing the Famous Flames bookings.  I was getting paid as Richard while Bobby was getting paid as me.  I guess I did about fifteen of Richard’s dates.  I’d come out and do ‘Tutti Frutti’ and all those things, and then I’d do some Midnighters’ stuff, some Roy Brown, and even ‘Please Please Please.’  I guess the audience thought I was really Richard.  then, near the end of the show, I’d say, ‘I’m not Little Richard.  My name is James.’  After a few shows like that, Fats [Gonder, organist/emcee], who also went on the tour, started announcing me as Little James.  I didn’t that stay too long, either.”

Historian (and James Brown manager), Alan Leeds, offers another perspective in There Was a Time:  James Brown, The Chitlin Circuit, and Me:

“In 1955, when Little Richard went to Hollywood to sign with Specialty Records, he left behind a band and some unfulfilled bookings.  A young James Brown, who shared managers with the Georgia peach, reluctantly agreed to pose as Richard for a couple weeks.  According to Johnny Terry, one of Brown’s original Famous Flames, it came to an end one night in Nashville when somebody—a fan, or maybe the local promoter—recognized that James was not Little Richard.  After a hasty retreat in which gunshots were reportedly fired, Brown decided it might be better for his well-being to concentrate on his own career.”

Life Imitates Art: 
The 1000-Mile Trek As “The Upsetters

Later in his autobiography when The Famous Flames got word that King Records was ready to record its new act, James Brown recalled a comic aspect to the grueling drive from Tampa to Cincinnati:

“We were working down in Tampa when Clint [Brantley] called to tell us that King wanted us in Cincinnati to record right away.  We hadn’t heard from anyone there since Ralph Bass signed us the morning after he’d seen us at Sawyer’s Lake.  Since then we’d been working clubs around Tampa and Jacksonville, and we were beginning to wonder if he’d really liked us

We drove the four hundred miles from Tampa to Macon, stopped and picked up some money there, and continued for another six hundred miles to Cincinnati in a station wagon that had The Upsetters painted on the side.  Clint had let Little Richard use the car before, and now we were jammed into it with all our clothes and instruments.  We rode all night, stopping only for gas.  It was the first time out of the South for any of us, and when we got to the outskirts of Cincinnati somebody came out from King and let us to the hotel, a place caled the Manse.  It was a fleabag, but it was better than anything we’d stayed in before.”

 

First Four-Bar Rock ‘n’ Roll Drum Intro?
Rock’s Roots Bear Fruit 

Until Little Richard’s passing, I was similarly clueless about the well-known “secret” that Chuck Connor‘s drum intro on “Keep a Knockin'” (recorded at a small radio station in Washington, DC close to the Howard Theater) served as the source of inspiration for John Bonham‘s famous intro on Led Zeppelin‘s “Rock and Roll” — listen for yourself:

Keep a Knockin’” by Little Richard

Rock and Roll” by Led Zeppelin

Chuck Connor claims in that same Ponderosa Stomp piece that “Keep a Knockin'” was the first four-bar drum intro on a rock and roll record:

“Richard was saying, ‘I want the guitar to play the four-bar intro.’  So the guitar player, he tried it.  Then Richard tried it.  He said, ‘I don’t like that.’  Then he let the saxophone play the four-bar intro.  I said, ‘Wait a minute, Richard.  Let me do something.  Let me do a four-bar intro because this has never been played on a rock and roll record!’  It had never been played on a rock and roll record.  So I came up with a ‘tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat…’  Richard gave me a thousand dollars for that idea, and that was a lot of money in those days.”