Browsing DeLuxe releases in chronological order in Discog’s database, Lord Thunder‘s “Thunder” from 1975 appears to be the last gasp of Starday-King:
“Thunder” Lord Thunder 1975
But wait: 1975 sounds much too late in the post-Syd Nathan saga for a new production to come out of the Starday-King studios, especially with IMG/Gusto now running the show. I’m suspicious.
For one thing, the catalog number 106 would indicate the recording to be closer to 1969, tied to the first string of releases from the resuscitated DeLuxe imprint — at that point owned by Lin Broadcasting. An examination of the catalog record for this 1975 Gusto 45 release on Discogs finds this revealing note:
“This is the legal second issue from 1975 – reissued for the UK Northern Soul market. The original does not have the ‘1975 etc’ text around the outside and the release is originally from the late 60’s/early 70’s.
This late 60s “northern soul” instrumental was written by Leroy Tukes and Grady Spires, who would also put together “I Got It Made (In the Shade)” for James Duncan, released March, 1970 on Federal (and featuring Eddie Hinton on swamp guitar)..
Both songs were included on 2007 CD compilation Crash of Thunder: Boss Soul, Funk and R&B Sides From the Vaults of the King, Federal and DeLuxe Labels — a special collection of rare tracks curated by Matt “Mr. Fine Wine” Weingarden and released on Spanish label, Vampi Soul.
So uh, no, this was not the “final” DeLuxe 45, in terms of latest original recording intended for release.
From browsing Discogs’ listing of DeLuxe releases in chronological order and then examing the catalog numbers in (relative) sequential order, I see that the highest number “152” coincides with 1973 single release from The Manhattans – “Do You Ever” b/w “If My Heart Could Speak” (with the A-side written by Agape recording artist, Myrna March, who also co-produced). Could this possibly be one of the final recordings to come out under the DeLuxe label? To answer this question, it sure would help to know the recording dates of the other DeLuxe 45 releases from 1973:
= “Mama’s Baby” b/w “You Are Gone” by Royal Flush
= “Camelot Time” b/w “Victory Strut” by J. Hines & the Fellows*
= “Leave My Kitten Alone” b/w “All the Time” by Reuben Bell
= “Rainbow Week” b/w “Loneliness” by The Manhattans
Ruppli provides no information whatsoever about these recordings and, in fact, does not even list Royal Flush, Reuben Bell, or J. Hines & the Fellows in the index. Not even known whether any of these 45 releases had been recorded in the year 1973. More research is needed to determine the final recording to come out on DeLuxe.
Click on song titles above to hear streaming audio of A & B sides
With regard to Zero to 180’s recent musings about which Bethlehem release was the last original recording intended for that King subsidiary label, this online discography has considerably more detailed information than Ruppli’s sessionography with regard to Bethlehem’s last few years of existence, thus forcing me to recalculate the situation …
- The James Brown recording session from May 20, 1970 (David Matthews’ “The Drunk” recorded in two parts, with only Part Two issued) that ended up as the B-side of a Bethlehem (not King) 45 “A Man Has to Go Back to the Crossroads” b/w “The Drunk” appears to be the last original recording released on Bethlehem — a session that took place at King Studios in Cincinnati (as did the session for the single’s A-side on March 2, 1970, on which David Matthews served as Director). Interesting to note that A-side “charted on 18 July, 1970 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart peaking at #110″ (Discogs). Note: If you scrutinize this electronic version of Record World‘s July 18, 1970 issue (page 24), you will see that “Crossroads” peaked only at the #134 position. Also, on page 1 of this issue, “Sex Machine” is selected as one of the Singles of the Week (“James Brown pulls no punches and proves once more that he is truly ‘Soul Brother Number 1’ with ‘Get Up I Feel Like a Sex Machine'”), while on page 7,”Crossroads” is reviewed as one of the “four-star” single picks of the week (“He seems to have a new release every other day. This is a genuinely compelling ballad for those who find ‘Get Up’ too heavy.”). Lastly, Record World‘s version of the “bubbling under” LP chart (“LP’s Coming Up”) lists JB’s It’s a New Day – Let a Man Come In And Do the Popcorn album at the #20 spot in this same issue, while “Sex Machine” (identified more chastely as “Get Up”) is at the #30 position on the Top 50 R&B Chart, up seven spots from the previous week.
- The next-to-last entry for 1970 says that Arthur Prysock laid down 12 tracks with “unidentified orchestra” and Bill McElhiney serving as arranger/director at Nashville’s Starday-King recording facility on April 8, 1970 for Prysock’s Unforgettable album (released on King). The two singles from this LP, curiously, would be issued on separate labels — “Cry” b/w “Unforgettable” on King, while “Funny World” b/w “The Girl I Never Kissed” ended up on Bethlehem.
- This discography of Bethlehem recordings/releases from 1958 to the present ends in the year 1970 — and yet omits any references to The Saloonatics from 1969. What up? 1969 would also see recording sessions in Cincinnati for Wayne Cochran and His C.C. Riders (previously paid tribute here), as well as The Dee Felice Trio (with Frank Vincent) for LP and 45 releases on Bethlehem.
As it bids adieu to the King Records’ 75th Anniversary Celebration, Zero to 180 would like to pose these four questions:
- What is the last original recording for Starday-King that took place at Cincinnati’s King Studios?
- What is the final recording — regardless of whether the artist was under contract to Starday-King — that took place at the (former) King Studios in Cincinnati?
- What is the last original recording at the Nashville Starday Studios intended for release on Starday-King or one of its subsidiaries?
- What is the last original release from Starday-King before the label’s sale to IMG/Gusto?
A Starday/King/DeLuxe Musical Prank*
Whoa! Is it possible that 1973 instrumental “Victory Strut” by J. Hines & the Fellows (on Starday-King subsidiary, DeLuxe) features what must be some of the earliest turntable scratching on record?! But alas, the comment below – in reply to the person who posted this audio clip – reveals musical tomfoolery perpetrated at the hands of DJ Ol’SkOul!
“So as much as I love the record scratches on this, I actually bought this 45 thinking they were a part of the song. Sooo yeah, you might want to tell people this is your remix of it. Either way thanks for posting. Great tune.”
Hear for yourself = special ‘REMIX’ of “Victory Strut”
DJ Ol’SkOul likewise provides turntable embellishments for A-side “Camelot Time“
History Messing with My Mind Dept.
Recently, in the course of scanning the index in Ruppli’s King Labels sessionography, I was struck by a fairly unusual name: “SACASAS”. Anselmo Sacasas, it turns out, was a Cuban bandleader who recorded exactly one session for King Records in Miami on April 8, 1955 – four songs recorded, including one tune entitled (hold onto your hats) “Trumpcrazy”!
Billboard‘s reviewer would score this trumpet-heavy “Latino instrumental” a 72 (in the “good” range) in its July 23, 1955 edition. This extremely obscure 45 was nearly lost to history until an audio clip was posted on YouTube in July of 2016.
“Trumpcrazy” Sacasas & His Orchestra 1955
For King Records History Fanatics Only: