About Zeroto180

I like music.

Trojan Records History Highlights

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

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

The Cincinnati-Kingston Connection (Continues)

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

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

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

The First Trojan Record

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

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

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

“Judge Sympathy”     Duke Reid All-Stars     1967

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

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

click on all song titles below for streaming audio >

The Obligatory Beatles Reference

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

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

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

The Obligatory Stones Reference

Reggae at the reception — the authors explain:

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

Depends What You Mean By “Exclusive”

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

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

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

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

Musical fight:  Trojan vs. Pama

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

JA’s Omnipresent Engineer 

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

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

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

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

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

Clyde McPhatter and the Trojan Connection

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

“One quite out-of-the-ordinary singer arrived at Trojan’s door one day in 1970.  Rob [Bell]:

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

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

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

In fact, one single – ‘Denver‘ – was released on the pop-slanted B&C label, and was one of the great vocalist’s last records before alcoholism killed him prematurely in 1972.”

UK release — label says 1969   +   Picture sleeve for Spain – 1970

I Roy vs. U Roy vs. Hugh Roy

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

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

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

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

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

Note the seamless edit in repress version

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

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

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

Original 1963 LP might set you back three figures at auction

Rob Bell picks up the story:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Volume 1 – track listing                       Volume 2 – track listing

Volume 3 – track listing                        Volume 4 – track listing

Trojan:  The Marcel Rodd/Dave Hendley Era

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music in Advertising

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

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

Desmond Dekker’s “Israelites” = Maxell Cassettes

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

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

Mastered From Vinyl
Superior to Master Tapes?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amalgamated:  According to Discogs —

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

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

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

BONUS = 1970 LP Reggae Fever by The Inspirations

Attack:  According to Discogs —

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

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

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

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

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

“Nyah Bingewe”     Nyah Earth     1970

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

Big:  According to Discogs —

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

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

Big Shot:  According to Discogs —

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

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

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

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

“Round and Round the Moon”     Amor Vivi     1969

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

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

Black Swan:  According to Discogs —

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

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

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

Blue Cat:  According to Discogs —

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

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

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

Bread:  According to Discogs —

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

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

Clandisc:  According to Discogs —

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

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

Downtown:  According to Discogs —

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

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

Click on image to view in Ultra High Resolution

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

Duke:  According to Discogs —

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

Zero to 180 adds this observation:

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

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

Duke Reid:  According to Discogs —

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

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

Dynamic:  Says the book —

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

Adds Zero to 180:

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

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

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

Explosion:  According to Discogs —

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

Zero to 180 adds this note:

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

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

Gayfeet:  According to Discogs —

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

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

 

Lloyd Green Stumps for Baldwin

Check out the Clavinet-like sounds coming from Jerry Whitehurst‘s electric harpsichord on “Wild Blue Yonder,” side one’s closing track from Lloyd Green‘s third solo LP Day of Decision, an album that was recorded (like Stones Jazz) in one day — in this case, on June 18, 1966 at RCA Studios in Nashville:

“Wild Blue Yonder”     Lloyd Green     1966

Lloyd Green:  Steel Guitar
Billy Sanford:  Lead Guitar
Jerry Reed:  Lead Guitar
Jerry Shook:  Guitar
Roy Huskey, Jr.:  Bass
Glen Davis:  Drum[s]
Jerry Whitehurst:  Electric Harpsichord

Somehow I failed to notice the significance of this announcement on the album’s back cover until now:

The Baldwin Piano and Organ Company of Cincinnati, Ohio recently invented and began manufacture of a completely new electric Harpsichord.

This instrument is being used for the first time in the ‘Day of Decision’ album.  You will notice the various unusual sounds on the different bands; these are just a few of the sound combinations possible on this instrument.

A number of musicians, who have played the Harpsichord, feel that it is the most original and versatile new instrument to be devised in yours.”

Rear cover – 1966 LP Day for Decision

Fascinating to encounter this information now in light of 2015-2016’s big horse race to determine the earliest recording of a Hohner Clavinet — and funny, too, since Zero to 180 had already celebrated a song from this same album back in 2014!  The date of the recording confirms that Baldwin had, in fact, beat Hohner to the “electric harpsichord” marketplace.

           LP cover – US                                        LP cover – Canada, possibly

Cash Box‘s Tom McIntee would talk up the exciting array of sounds made possible by Baldwin’s new electric harpsichord in the patriotic liner notes that accompany this album:

Something new has been added to America in this performance.  That something new is Lloyd on the steel and Billy Sanford and Jerry Reed on guitars.  That something new is an acoustical electric harpsichord.  An amazing instrument that sometimes sounds like a kazoo, sometimes like an organ, sometimes like a tuba.  The great majority of tracks in this album are old, but the sound is something new.  It’s a breath of new life into an America that sometimes grows weary beneath its burdens.

“Lloyd Green plays a Sho-Bud steel guitar” – back cover

The Baldwin electric harpsichord would be used most notably on “Because” from 1969’s Abbey Road by [K-Tel artists] The Beatles, as well as the opening theme to TV’s “The Odd Couple,” according to Spectrasonics (who states that the keyboard was “developed in the early 1960s by the Cannon Guild and marketed by Baldwin from 1966 into the early 1970s.”)

Vintage Keyboard Studio marvels at the instrument’s design:

“Each note has its own string and jack, which employs a pick and a damper felt.  When the key is depressed, it raises the jack which causes the pick to pluck the string, then come back down and pass over the string and come to rest on the damper.  It’s a pretty neat design, but somewhat flawed in that the picks can and will break, and the jacks themselves become brittle.  On this one in particular, we had all the jacks replaced with brand new ones.  It takes a lot of adjustment to get it right, but once it’s right it sounds awesome.”

This design includes a “very unique pickup system,” in which, as Baldwin’s own literature explains —

“Each pickup can be activated by two switches, one for the treble half of the keyboard and one for the bass.  Individually, the treble and bass switches for each pickup can be set for either the left or right volume pedal.  All of these tonal combinations can be doubled with a foot control that [indecipherable] the overall tone of the keyboard.  The Baldwin two-channel amplifier with tremolo, reverberation, and its exclusive Supersound tone controls bring the tonal possibles to a phenomenal total.”

Click on image below to view in Ultra-High Resolution

Image above courtesy of Santa Cruz Piano (where you can rent the Baldwin)

Despite the ingenuity of design (did I mention that the CW-9 model includes an “amplifier housed in the same compact floor unit as the two volume pedals”?), Vintage Keyboard Studio affirms that Baldwin electric harpsichords are, indeed, “pretty rare,” most likely due to the challenge of maintaining the instrument’s integrity over time.  The relative durability of the Clavinet would account for Hohner’s dominance of the electric harpsichord market by the early-to-mid 1970s, the funky new keyboard’s Golden Age.

Note:  For optimal presentation, view website on computer screen

 

King Records — Day of My Birth

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Bad Girl”     The Fabulous Denos     1964

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

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

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

<click on all song titles below for streaming audio>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For Serious King Records Fans OnlyPage 481

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

King Records — April 12, 1962

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

“Dry Bones Twist”     The Drivers     1962

<click on all song titles below for streaming audio>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Both tracks recorded in Cincinnati April 12 1962.

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

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

Rudy Toombs Fun Fact

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

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

Extra Credit:  Library Assignment

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

Dean Richardson – at 18

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

 

“Desiree”: 30 Hours in the Making

I met John Simson around the time Zero to 180 had first hung out a shingle and was grappling with its mission and scope.  After explaining the website’s concept to Simson, I remember asking if he might suggest any overlooked songs worthy of celebration.  Much later, I would learn the depth of Simson’s involvement in DC’s multi-faceted music scene over the last few decades, in the course of pulling together first one and then another long-form tribute to Silver Spring recording studio, Track Recorders.  It’s probably a good thing that I waited until I had more experience under my belt before following up on Simson’s recommendation, though a part of me still needs to ask:  What took me so long to examine the back story behind “Desiree” by The Left Banke?

For one thing, digitization efforts in recent years have increased access to music industry publications, such as Billboard and Cashbox, making it easier to piece together history from primary sources.  Thanks to a tip from 45Cat contributor davie gordon, anyone with web access can read Claude Hall‘s original front page story from the September 2, 1967 edition of Billboard, “Long Sessions Required for ‘Serious’ Pop,” in which we learn that “the Left Banke just spent more than 30 hours in planning and producing their new single – ‘Desiree’ – for Mercury Records.”

“Desiree”     The Left Banke     1967

Charlie Fach, director of record product for the label,” notes Hall (who coined the term, easy listening), “thought this set a record for the firm, but considers the group ‘the most creative act in our corporate history.”

Given the considerable time and expense that went into this song, 45Cat contributor RecordDragon rightly asks, “Does a true stereo version of the A-side exist?”  Sadly, that does not appear to be the case, at least judging from streaming audio available on YouTube, not to mention the LP label itself  [see image further down the page].

Rear text of 45 picture sleeve:

“Putting it rather mildly, you are about to listen to a major achievement.  The Left Banke (and this is the same Left Banke that gave you “Walk Away Renee” and “Pretty Ballerina“) has created a masterpiece.  Dozens of hours in the recording studio have resulted in this, their greatest creation — “Desiree.”  Since their first record, the avowed policy of the Banke has been that each successive record must be better than the last.  A lofty goal, yes; but one that they definitely have reached.  Much of the success lies with Michael Brown, who has quit performing with the group to devote his full energies to composing-producing-arranging for the Left Banke.  The other reasons are Steve Martin, Rick Brand, Tom Finn, and George Cameron.  Listen carefully.  You’ll begin to wonder how they’ll outdo themselves the next time.”

Music historian (and member of St. Etienne) Bob Stanley, in his appreciation of the Left Banke’s recorded legacy for the 20 March 2015 edition of The Guardian, bitterly notes the group’s cleaving into two factions (“one of the most pointless and depressing scraps in pop history”) that resulted in the simultaneous release of two singles in 1967 [“Ivy Ivy” vs. “She May Call You Up Tonight“], both bearing the name, Left Banke.  By the time Michael Brown had rejoined the group in late 1967, “the momentum was lost.”  Futhermore —

The real tragedy of this was that the Left Banke then released arguably their greatest single, Desiree.  Urgent strings played “Eleanor Rigby” line at double speed, a bassoon was used as percussive counterpoint.  There was a booming brass bridge – or is it a first chorus? – of Wagnerian import before massed harmonies sang out the title.  “Desiree” was a masterpiece; it dared radio not to play it, laughed at contemporaneous efforts like the Stones’ Satanic Majesties and the Beatles’ lightweight “Hello Goodbye“, urged other groups to follow its lead, and then peaked at No 98 in November 1967.

Oh, dear:  Label says, “Electronically re-recorded to simulate stereo”

Simson himself — in a Zero to 180 exclusive — provides additional historical context:

One of my band mates from my high school band, the Valhalla Chemists, was a member of Stories, a great early 70’s band that Mike Brown started with Ian Lloyd, my good friend, Steve Love and drummer Brian Madey (Brian and Steve were my rhythm section when I opened for Jethro Tull in 1971 [debut album released]).  Their first record had a Beatlesque single, “I’m Coming Home” that did fair, but the follow up album had some amazing tracks on it and was not doing well so the label forced them to cover a big hit in England by Hot Chocolate called “Brother Louie” and it was a number 1 smash.  Mike Brown hated it and left the band. 

Mike then produced another version of ‘Desiree’ in 1976 (I think) with a group called Montage, and it was a pretty faithful version to the original Left Banke.  The Banke played my High School in 1967 and did a great version of “A Day in the Life” in addition to their repertoire.

44 years after the song bubbled under the Top 100, “Desiree” would finally receive proper recognition when performed by The Left Banke, with NYU’s All University Choir, Drama Cantorum, on December 10, 2011 (thanks to Music Director, Ralph Affoumado, for uploading this video):

“Desiree”     The Left Banke + NYU’s All University Choir, Drama Cantorum     2011

Pop Music Time Capsule
Excerpt from Billboard‘s Sept. 2, 1967 “Serious Pop” feature article

The talk of the industry is the amount of time spent in the studio — and the astronomical studio costs that have resulted — by the Beatles and the Beach Boys.  But other long hours inside studio walls have been chalked up by such artists as Oscar Toney Jr., Aretha Franklin, The Youngbloods, Eric Burdon and the Animals, The Music Explosion, the Mothers of Invention, and Simon and Garfunkel, just to name a few

The first Aretha Franklin hit — “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Loved You” — took almost three days of work in a Muscle Shoals, Ala., studio.  Papa Don Schroeder, independent producer, said it took 23 hours in a studio to come up with “I’m Your Puppet” by James and Bobby Purify and 27 hours for “Shake a Tail Feather.”  Felix Pappalardi, who produced an album by the Cream recently in New York for Atlantic Records, said it took six hours to do “Strange Brew,” a big British hit.

45 – Italy                                                      EP – Portugal

The reason that it is taking longer to produce records, according to MGM Records producer Tom Wilson is that the record business today is an “intensely creative business.”  Songwriters are trying to say more and the producers and performers are trying to say more in their records.  Any record by the Mothers of Invention takes two weeks to record and two weeks to edit, he said.  And this occurs in spite of the fact that Frank Zappa, leader of the group, sometimes writes out a full script to an album, so the group knows exactly what it’s doing.

At the Monterey Pop Festival, Simon and Garfunkel said they’d been working 51 hours on their current single — “Fakin’ It.”  At that point, they had not finished the record.

45 – France                  45 – Netherlands                         45 – Italy

The Beatles freed everybody, Wilson said.  “And many people don’t realize what fantastic musical growth there has been in a group like the Beach Boys.  Motown product never stays the same, each new record is a little different, a little more sophisticated.”

Innovation is the key element.  Bo Gentry and Richie Cordell taped the sound of a kettle drum backward to get a unique sound on their production of a recent Tommy James and the Shondells hit.  And this is one of the reasons, Wilson felt, why Bob Crewe is such a great producer.  “If he hears a bluebird flying by the window, he’ll stick a microphone out and record it and use it on a record if he likes the sound.”

Records are becoming more and more an art form, says Pappalardi, who has produced records by the Cream, the Youngbloods, the Vagrants and others.  “There’s a great deal of thought put into a record before ever going into a studio, then you’re constantly fighting in the studio to reach your ideal.  I try to get the absolutely best production every time and expect the B side to be as good as the A side.  The time for throwing away the B side is past.”  He said he already spent six hours in the studio with “Sparrow Tune” by Bo Grumpus and hasn’t finished the session yet.

While studio costs have gone up, because many groups do their experimenting in front of a mike, recording costs as a whole have not gone any higher than in previous years, said Wilson.  The reason is that most of the music is made by a small group today; whereas in the old days a record company had to hire 30-35 musicians for a session.

1967:  Year of the Guitar-Phonograph Combo

Just below the fold in that same September 2, 1967 issue of Billboard is an oddball item that almost escaped unnoticed:  “Phono-Guitar Combo Hits.”  Ray Brack reports:

“The hottest phonograph promotional gimmick to emerge with the 1968 lines is the offering of low-priced portable phonograph-guitar combinations.  Three companies are making available this package, guitar and phonograph included, for about $100.  Several other phonograph manufacturers have models with jacks capable of accepting amplified guitar input.”

What prompted this innovation is “the realization that the millions of guitar players in the U.S. do most of their learning by listening to records.”

Milton Ostrow: Cincinnati Sax

I was delighted to learn that the father of a childhood friend from Cincinnati was once a professional musician, whose chosen instrument was the saxophone.  Milton Ostrow, in fact, was captured in a live performance with Tony Pastor and His Orchestra, accompanied by Dolores Martel, in a “Snader Telescription” short film from 1951 entitled, “Your Red Wagon” — Ostrow is standing behind Pastor (far right), the lone member of the horn section playing baritone sax:

“Your Red Wagon”   Tony Pastor & His Orchestra (feat. Milton Ostrow)   1951

WeirdWildRealm serves up a little history about Snader films, in general, and this one, in particular:

The Snader Telescriptions were filmed in black & white, but someone, Turner Broadcasting probably, colorized a [boat]load of them, including Your Red Wagon (1950) with Tony Pastore & His Orchestra.

Tony was a top sax man shown wearing black in the opening scene, sharing a sax duet with a bandmember.  It’s his sideman playing the lead though, so that Tony can sing to the jazzy beat:

“If you wanna go crazy & act the clown/ Be the laughingstock all over town/ That’s your red wagon / That’s your red wagon / That’s your red wagon so just keep draggin’ your red red wagon around…”

Lyrics are by Don Raye, music by Gene de Paul & Richard M. Jones.  Raye wrote lyrically hip tones like “Scrub Me Mama With a Boogie Beat” & “Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar.”

With Gene de Paul he also wrote hipster lyrics for “Cow Cow Boogie” & “Solid Potato Salad,” among much else that captures the era so perfectly; & de Paul worked also with Sammy Cahn & Johnny Mercer.

Your Red Wagon quite a delightful & amusing number, with some call & response from the band.  After Tony sings the second verse, Dolores Martel squeezes up close to the microphone & takes over the vocal for a few lines, then it’s back to Tony.  Very nice. 

Milton Ostrow with Tony Pastor (Behind, Right) & Dolores Martel (Ditto)

Several years earlier, Pastor had recorded this same song on top label, Columbia, in 1947 as the B-side of “Gonna Get a Girl” (a song that featured The Clooney Sisters – Rosemary & Betty – from the Greater Cincinnati area by way of Maysville, Kentucky). Zero to 180’s big question:  Did Milton Ostrow play on this recording (which has not yet been uploaded on YouTube) or any other?

In the days of 78s, pretty much every song was a “fox trot” – right?

The 1940 Census (thanks to Ancestory.com) notes the following facts about the Ostrow family, who lived on Prospect Place in Cincinnati:

                    Head   Isaac Ostrow    40

                    Wife   Sophie Ostrow   40

                    Son    Alfred          17

                    Son    Milton          12

Milton served a stint in the Army (and The U.S. Army Band, it is believed), prior to his work with the Tony Pastor Orchestra.

Milton & Sandra Ostrow

Music would eventually give way to more traditional methods of generating an income, when marriage and family entered the picture.  Covington, Kentucky served as the base of operations for A & M Furniture, a store jointly owned by brothers, Alfred and Milton, during the years 1961-1979, possibly 1980.

Del Shannon’s ‘Lost’ 1967 Album

Billy Nicholls, staff writer for Andrew Loog Oldham’s Immediate Records, would pen three songs for Del Shannon‘s album, Home & Away, 11 tracks that were recorded in February of 1967 at London’s Olympic Studio but shelved until the release of 1978’s … And the Music Plays On, an LP released only in the UK and Australia.  Here in the US, Liberty ended up releasing from these sessions  (“the best album Marianne Faithfull never made,” according to the aforementioned Rob Chapman) a total of just three tracks across a pair of 45s (“Led Along” b/w “I Can’t Be True” plus “Runaway ’67” b/w “He Cheated“) issued in 1967.

What a loss for radio in pop’s peak year of 1967, as today’s featured song “My Love Has Gone” somehow got overlooked by Immediate and Liberty as an obvious A-side:

“My Love Has Gone”     Del Shannon     1967

Nicholls would join Shannon’s heavyweight backing band for these sessions, along with Steve Marriott, John Paul Jones, Nicky Hopkins, Andy White, Twice as Much, and Pat ColeP.P.Arnold, (who was featured last year by Zero to 180 on the cusp of her first ever Australian tour).

Discogs includes a catalog record for a single-sided 7-track acetate on which “My Love Is Gone” serves, fittingly, as the final track:

“One-sided, 7-song Demo Acetate test pressing for Del Shannon’s unreleased 1967 album Home & Away, recorded for Immediate in the UK with a stellar backing line-up (Billy Nicholls, etc.).  This was likely Del Shannon’s personal copy because at the end of Track 3, “Cut And Come Again,” an engineer adds a joking voice-over “Hey, Del – you blew the words!,” which is missing on the later re-released versions of the album.  This appears to be the only actual pressing of the album (actually, half the album) from when it was recorded in 1967.  No label or trail-off markings, but acetate is clearly seven songs from Home & Away when listened to.”

Rumor has it this was the original LP cover

American fans finally got their chance to obtain Home & Away (whether or not they realized it), when all 11 songs ended up sandwiched in the sequencing (tracks 12-22) for 1991 compilation Del Shannon:  The Liberty Years — with all recordings mixed in stereo and “mastered from the original 4- and 8-track master session tapes.”  In 2012, Home & Away finally enjoyed a proper release on compact disc – though only in the UK – supplemented by mono singles mixes of five tracks.

Known to his mum as Charles Weedon Westover (born in Grand Rapids, Michigan), Del Shannon – as Discogs contributor RoryHoy would have you know – is “one of the most seriously underrated talents in Pop Music history.”   And furthermore —

While most 1960’s boffins know his song “Runaway”, there’s a whole 30 years worth of amazing music from this man.  With his incredible voice complete with trademark falsetto and of course his fantastic songwriting, what is there not to like with this guy.  If you like Elvis, Buddy Holly, The Beatles etc — Del is much recommended!

“My Love Has Gone” (composed, not by Nicholls but rather, by Ross Watson, the songwriter’s sole contribution to pop music, possibly) – enjoyed a new lease on life in 2014, thanks to a 7-inch winner of a release by Miriam, i.e., Miriam Linna, founder – along with Billy Miller – of Norton Records, as well as the original drummer for The Cramps.

Miriam Speaks With Zero to 180:
My Love Has Gone45

Miriam Linna was kind enough to chat with Zero to 180, who called to inquire the reason for choosing this particular song from Shannon’s Home and Away as the A-side of her debut 45 (not to mention kick-off track for 2014’s Nobody’s Baby), a recording session that began as a special offer to work with Sam Elwitt, Nutley Brass producer [who can ever forget his fun and imaginative arrangements of “Beat On the Brat” and other Ramones classics?], as well as musician.

Linna, who rates Shannon as the most “charismatic” performer in her estimation, identifies Shannon’s 1967 Home and Away sessions as one of her all-time favorite albums — a “complex” set of songs, in terms of composition, artistry, and production.  Elwitt, who was hoping to evoke the sound of Hollywood’s legendary Gold Star studio (Pet Sounds, et al) with this project, invited Linna to choose the songs.  Miriam’s husband, Billy Miller, was ill at the time she had selected “My Love Has Gone,” though Linna fully believed he would pull through.  However, when Miller unexpectedly passed in 2016, the song suddenly took on an unintended poignancy.

“My Love Has Gone”     Miriam Linna     2014

Linna, in fact, had listened to the Home and Away album two days prior to my phone call from start to finish — a moving experience.  In terms of emotional directness to the listener through “the magic of records,” Shannon possesses a gift that brings to Linna’s mind one other artist — Bobby Jameson (featured by Zero to 180 in 2014).  And the “common thread” linking these two artists, Linna points out, is the A&R visionary Andrew Loog Oldham, whose ability to “match songs with artists” was a big part of his genius.

Rhino Records co-founder and one-time Del Shannon manager, Dan Bourgoise, was immediately smitten by Linna and Elwitt’s rendition and urged her to cover “another Del Shannon song.”  Miriam and Sam would collaborate on another Norton 45 the following year, this time breathing new life in “The Hand Don’t Fit the Glove,” a great UK 45 by Terry Reid (with Peter Jay’s Jaywalkers) from 1967.  Both singles from 2014 and 2015 are still available at Norton’s website, along with lots of other cool vinyl.

Check out: “David Fricke Remembers Norton Records’ Billy Miller:  Tireless Rock and Roll Foot Soldier” – published in the November 18, 2016 edition of Rolling Stone.  Tributes, as well, from New York Times, Billboard, Pitchfork, and Bloodshot Records’ Rob Miller.

Billy Nicholls Debut Album: 
Limited Issue Yields IMPRE$$IVE Auction Prices Decades Later

One year after the Del Shannon sessions, Immediate, sadly, “left in the can” Nicholls’s grand opus, Would You Believe, an album highly prized by collectors though essentially unreleased “save for a few promo copies” (according to The MOJO Collection).  Note the four and five figures paid for a UK 1st edition mint condition — as high as £8,000 (i.e., over $11,000).

In 2017, Discogs contributor Grippo would remark on the artistic merits of Would You Believe – “the third most expensive record that’s ever been sold in the Discogs marketplace” – for a piece entitled Top 30 Most Expensive Records Sold in April Topped by Billy Nicholls (I happened to enjoy the tuba/banjo bit myself).

How tragically odd that not one but two LP-length responses to Pet Sounds from the same label would be kept under wraps for years before eventually finding acclaim.

The “Monkey Chant” in Pop

[NotePiece updated on February 15, 2019 – see special coda at the tail end]

Zero to 180 is intrigued to discover that today’s featured song is the sole composition attributed to Vic Coppersmith-Heaven [whose impressive audio engineering CV includes Cat Stevens, The Rolling StonesBilly Preston, and even Stanley Kubrick] on Discogs.  This entrancing and otherworldly (near) instrumental can only be found on the 1982 double LP anthology Music and Rhythm that features artists who performed in the first World of Music and Dance (WOMAD) festivals in the UK organized by Peter Gabriel, with help from heavy friends.  For the 1980s college crowd, Music and Rhythm served as a gateway album of sorts into “Worldbeat”  (i.e., music from outside Europe & the US).

The early-to-mid 1980s would find this idealistic, clueless college student in thrall to a cassette mix of The Jam‘s brilliant run of singles (compiled in chronological fashion by Tom Newbold), culminating in their double-A side masterwork “Going Underground” paired with “Dreams of Children.”  The single-sentence summary blurb below from  Wikipedia very much captures the extent of my knowledge at that time about the engineer/producer with the distinctive name:

Vic Coppersmith-Heaven (born Victor Smith in England) is an English sound engineer and record producer best known for his production work with The Jam.

Japan 45 – 1980                                          Italy 45 – 1980

Produced by Vic Coppersmith-Heaven

Those of us who were initially surprised to see the producer behind The Jam’s finest 45 included in the track listing of Music and Rhythm wondered, therefore, to what degree his preceding work might have informed his musical sensibilities.  As it turns out — not in the slightest:

“Pensgosekan”     Vic Coppersmith-Heaven     1982

Preston Hayman:  Percussion & Gamelan
Vic Smith:  Guitars & Gamelan
Tony Levin:  Bass
Paddy Bush:  Gengong
Johnny Warman:  Voice
Composed & produced by Vic Coppersmith-Heaven.
Recorded at Eel Pie Studios & The Manor – Spring 1982.
Engineered by Richard Manwaring & remixed at Crescent Studios.
Note:  “Pengosekan” fades into a short excerpt from The Ramayana Monkey Chant recorded by Vic Coppersmith-Heaven in Bali — February, 1982

Music and Rhythm‘s liner notes, for one thing, were a tip-off that something more “avant-pop” was afoot on this exclusive recording:

“Vic is best known as a record producer, and over the last five years he has been associated with some of Britain’s most contemporary and successful groups, notably The Jam.

Besides his production work, Vic spends much time pursuing his passion for Bali and its culture.  He visits the country frequently, and has made many field recordings of music traditions in that region.  In ‘Pengosekan’, especially recorded for this LP, he uses Balinese orchestral percussion — gamelan — instruments to embellish the rhythm track, and overlays this further with vocal improvisations derived from the Balinese Ketjak [or Kecak] or Monkey chant.

We would like to thank Vic for his enthusiasm and faith in this album project as a whole, and we are also indebted to the Indonesian Embassy, Mr. Suparmin and Mr. Abidin in particular, for their kind co-operation and loan of the gamelan instruments used on this track.

We would like to thank [Pete Townshend-owned] Eel Pie Studios for their kind co-operation in the recording of this track.  We would also like to thank the Virgin Manor Studio, and Richard Branson in particular, for their kind donation of free time in completing this track; and for their first-class attention and co-operation on this project.”

UbuWeb helpfully elaborates on the history behind this ancient tradition, with this explanatory text that accompanies their streaming audio of a 20-minute field recording from Bali:

“Performed by more than 200 men seated in tight concentric circles around a small central space reserved for the chief protagonists,” the ketjak (loosely called “Monkey Chant”) was first recorded in Bali by David Lewiston and released by Nonesuch Records in 1969.  As a spectacular and alternative performance mode, it has had a germinal influence on western performance and poetics since then.

David Lewiston’s original comments follow:

‘While the ketjak is a creation of this century, it is descended from something much more ancient — the trance dance, the dance of exorcism called sanghjang; its ancestry is clear. Ostensibly, the ketjak is a reenactment of the battle described in the Ramayana epic — in which the monkey hordes came to the aid of Prince Rama in his battle with the evil King Ravana — complete with a chorus imitating monkeys, as they chant the syllable tjak.

But as perceptive observers have noted, the ketjak is primarily a dance of exorcism.  Its connection with the sanghjang remains unbroken.  As pointed out by Walter Spies and Beryl de Zoete in Dance and Drama in Bali, “Most of the movements are exorcistic in origin and contribute together to produce a tremendous unity of mood … to drive out evil as by an incantation.  The cries, the crowding, lifted hands, the devouring of single figures, the broken lines of melody bewildering to butas [demons], who can only move straight ahead, all enhance the exorcistic effect.”‘

Glenn Kotche at University of Maryland — sans crickets

Photo courtesy of Brandon Wu Photography

 

Imagine Zero to 180’s surprise 20+ years later during 2009’s Bang on a Can Festival at University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center when [Wilco drummer] Glenn Kotche performed his own interpretation of the Balinese “Monkey Chant,” a composition that not only was included on 2006 solo album, Mobile. but also served as the subject of a 15-minute film by Brendan Canty of DC’s legendary Fugazi [and currently The Messthetics, with bassist Joe Lally and guitarist Anthony Pirog {also of Janel and Anthony}]:

Glenn Kotche – “Monkey Chant”:  A Movie by Brendan Canty

In an exclusive exchange facilitated by the filmmaker himself (thank you, Brendan!), Glenn Kotche had this to say in response to Zero to 180’s basic query:

Q:  Had you been aware of “Pengosekan” by Vic Coppersmith-Heaven prior to composing “Monkey Chant”?

A:  I’m surprised, but I’ve never heard that song before – just heard it for the first time after getting this email The crickets don’t surprise me though.  I included those since all of the recordings that I based my version of the Monkey Chant (Ketjak) on, were recorded outdoors in Bali – so the insect sounds are prevalent and add a really nice atmosphere.  Most of those recordings were from the Nonesuch Explorer Series btw.  I assume Coppersmith-Heaven noticed that while experiencing it live or was inspired by similar recordings.

1975’s Music of BaliNonesuch Explorers Series

2006’s Mobile released on Nonesuch – is that ironic?

Coda:  Who Is Walter Spies and Why Are We Talking About Him?

Zero to 180’s eyebrows went up upon receiving this email from Steve Feigenbaum of Cuneiform Records — Silver Spring-based independent label [last celebrated here] that released Janel and Anthony’s Where Is Home in 2012:

I own that Music and Rhythm album and it was a great revelation to me when I first got it when it was released in 1981 or so?

Really like it and really like Vic’s track.

The monkey chant was invented as a tourist kinda thing from ancient, borrowed elements of traditional culture by a German!

Steve’s Wikipedia link immediately brought me to a “Russian-born German primitivist painter” named Walter Spies, who is a “person of interest” in Michael B. Bakan‘s article published in the June, 2009 edition of Ethnomusicology Forum entitled “The Abduction of the Signifying Monkey Chant:  Schizophrenic Transmogrifications of Balinese Kecak in Fellini’s Satyricon and the Coen Brothers’ Blood Simple,” a scholarly piece that “begins with a historical overview that situates kecak’s own history as a Balinese cultural phenomenon within broader frameworks of hybridity, schizophonic and appropriative processes, and international filmmaking, devoting special attention to the contributions of Walter Spies.”

Walter Spies with Ketut the Cockatoo and Ida Bagus, the Monkey c. 1935

photo courtesy of Sotheby’s (© Tropical Museum)

Further sleuthing would reveal that — “according to the standard English leaflet text used by many groups all over Bali” (so says Kendra Stepputat in her research piece entitled, “The Genesis of a Dance-Genre:  Walter Spies and the Kecak“) —

“Contrary to popular belief the Kecak dance is not particularly old.  It was probably first performed in 1930, although the chorus had its origins in a very ancient ritual of the Sanghyang (trance) Dance, which is still performed sometimes in the village.”

Stepputat further elaborates, in “Performing Kecak:  A Balinese Dance Tradition Between Daily Routine and Creative Art,” published in 2012’s Yearbook for Traditional Music (Volume 44, pp. 49-70):

“Kecak is one of the most popular dramatic dance forms performed for tourists on Bali.  It has been developed cooperatively by Balinese artists and Western expatriates, most prominently I Wayan Limbak and Walter Spies, living on Bali in the 1930s, with the explicit purpose of meeting the tastes and expectations of a Western audience.  Driven by economic considerations, in the late 1960s kecak was standardized into the kecak ramayana known today.”

Feigenbaum gets the last word:

That Music and Rhythm record holds up really well, I think.  It never came out fully on CD.  I still have my truncated CD AND the original vinyl.

I liked it because it cast a very wide net from The Specials to Peter Hammill!

Bright Morning Star: Talkin’ Topical Wit & Artist Activism

My children’s violin instructor, Ken Giles, I was delighted to discover, had once been part of a contemporary folk ensemble that, as Stephen Holden of the New York Times noted, embraced “the left-wing populism of Pete Seeger,” as it also incorporated “comedy and theatrical horseplay” into its performances.   Formed in 1978 and named for an old Appalachian hymn, Bright Morning Star (“a lively and engaging fixture in the peace and antinuclear movement,” according to The Washington Post‘s Richard Harrington) once toured with Odetta and Pete Seeger, having also previously shared the stage with Holly Near, Ronnie GilbertJohn Hall, and Gil Scott-Heron.

Photos courtesy of Ken Giles

Often appearing at rallies and public events that promoted peace and safe energy, Bright Morning Star — Charlie KingCourt Dorsey, Cheryl Fox, George FulginitiShakarMarcia Taylor, Laura Kolb, and Giles — would travel with over two dozen instruments, including harmonica, guitar, autoharp, stand-up bass, electric bass, piano, drums, 5-string viola/violin, banjo, recorder, and various percussion.  Kolb served a special role within the group as artistic interpreter for the deaf and hearing-impaired during live performance.

[Back Row:  Taylor; Giles; Kolb — Front row:  Dorsey; Fox; King; Fulginiti-Shakar]

[

In the musical tradition of The Weavers and The Freedom Singers, the ensemble’s satirical sensibilities and “cabaret folk” approach hewed closer to Tom Lehrer, perhaps (Washington Post‘s Geoffrey Himes) or the San Franciso Mime Troupe (Boston Globe‘s Jeff McLaughlin).  Nevertheless, Pete Seeger himself gave the group his seal of approval, having once asserted, “I’m so proud — this whole wonderful group Bright Morning Star – they’re doing just exactly what Woody Guthrie and I tried to do 40 years ago.”

Founding member Charlie King would tell The Boston Globe in 1988:

“What I think Pete meant is Woody and I got on the union bandwagon and the Henry Wallace bandwagon; we went out into the communities and brought people together; we gave energizing concerts and we sang about the issues.  And we presented good music.  Bright Morning Star is doing that 40 years later with different issues, certainly a different crowd, different generation, different songs.  But there’s that continuity.”

Noting how the group leans toward celebration and humor rather than dark political commentary, King also shares this bit of wisdom gleaned from front-line experience:

“I think the political song at its worst says that things are really bad, probably hopeless, but at least you can feel self-righteous and get a cynical laugh during the last days of the empire.  There are a lot of songs written in that vein, I’m sure I’ve written a few.  But at its best, the political song builds a sense of possibility and humor.

I think political music records our history from the bottom up, from the grass roots, the stories of every day people; not just individuals, but also of popular struggles.  Within that historical context, it seems to energize and reinforce people and movements.  It  pokes fun at the powerful, reminds us that the emperor is naked.  I’ve always liked the quote – I’m not sure of the source, but I got it from Dorothy Day – that it comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.”

Bright Morning Star would sit still for a 40-minute interview with Studs Terkel that was broadcast on July 11, 1986.

Group photo from Sweet and Sour CD

The group’s three long-playing releases include two for Rainbow Snake Records — Arisin’ in 1981 (which includes women trucker anthem “Truck Drivin’ Woman”) and Live in the US in 1984 — plus one for noted Chicago blues & country indie label, Flying Fish, 1988’s Sweet and SourRob Okun would pen a mission statement for the group’s debut album:

“They pollinate the grass roots.  They bang away at the walls of indifference.  They celebrate humanity.

The six members of Bright Morning Star do a better job educating people to what’s right and what’s wrong on this crazy planet than a half dozen politicians, teachers, or preachers.

They take their music to big city auditoriums and down-home coffee houses, to college towns and union halls, to demonstrations and celebrations.  They put melodies to our brightest visions and lyrics to our darkest mornings.  On stage, and on this record, they lead odysseys into the worlds of personal and social change.  And they do it all with lightness, laughter, and love.”

Image of ‘Man with tricycle’ by Karl Valentin – University of Cologne

Steve Snyder’s “They Ought to Put It On the Radio” from Sweet and Sour prods the nation’s news media to rely less on sensationalism and, instead, report on a broader (and healthier) array of human activity, so as to foster a more compassionate world in which all human life is valued:

[Psst: Click on triangle for “They Ought To Put It On the Radio” by Bright Morning Star]

‘Sweet and Sour’ earned a four-star review in The Valley Advocate

A retired music teacher with DC Public Schools and a violin teacher with the DC Youth Orchestra Program, whose 35 years of working for health and safety programs was inspired by the social activism spirit of the 1960s, Ken Giles also enjoys singing with the DC Labor Chorus.

From Pete Seeger to Ken Giles

Postscript:  Bright Morning Star would band together once more in 2008 for a 20th Reunion Tour, with a show at Rockville, Maryland’s Saint Mark Presbyterian Church hosted by David Eisner’s Institute of Musical Traditions in nearby Takoma Park.

EncorePerformance footage of Pete Seeger along with Bright Morning Star singing “Well May the World Go.”

Bernard Purdie at King Records

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

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

Bernard Purdie @ King Records – 1/5/19

Photo by Celia Purdie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EP France – 1966                                               45 Italy – 1966

45 Germany – 1966                                     45 Australia – 1966

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

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

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

45 Spain – 1967

EP Spain – 1967                                               45 France – 1967

Session #3> March, 1967 — New York City

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

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

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

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

45 USA – 1968                                                   45 USA – 1967

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

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

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

Promo 45 USA – 1968                                     45 Canada – 1968

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

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

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

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

EP Mexico – 1968                                         45 Rhodesia – 1968

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

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

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

ADDITIONAL James Brown tracks!

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

45 Belgium – 1972                                            45 Germany – 1972

45 France – 1972                                            45 Netherlands – 1974

 45 Netherlands – 1973                                        45 France – 1973

45 Germany – 1973                                           45 Belgium – 1974

Update on King Records Preservation Efforts:

“King Dream Team” at 1540 Brewster Ave.

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

Photo by Elliott V. Ruther

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

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

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

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

The Men in Black:  Bernard & Bootsy

Photo courtesy of the Bootsy Collins Foundation

Stay plugged in:   Bernard Purdie and Bootsy Collins

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

Derek Trucks wearing a Bernard Purdie shirt on Austin City Limits