Local Special
11:23 am
Thu July 18, 2013

King Records: Cincinnati Legacy

King Records: Cincinnati Legacy, is a five-part series hosted by Lee Hay and is produced to honor the label’s impact on Cincinnati and music.

The series includes interviews with former King musicians, music historians, and music fans. A roundtable discussion of King Records moderated by music journalist Larry Nager and including Otis Williams and the Charms (Jimmy Railey, J.J. Peterson, and Rufus Allen), session drummer Philip Paul and his wife Juanita, and vocalist Keith Little is also featured.

King Records: Cincinnati Legacy, Part I 

This episode begins with an historical overview of King Records and its founder Syd Nathan. Darren Blasé, a noted historian of King Records, participates along with Randy McNutt, author of the just released book The Cincinnati Sound.

The legacy of King Records stretches across over six decades of music history. Started in 1943 by Syd Nathan in Cincinnati, King Records defined the times with not only the types of music recorded, but also the way records were released to the public. The early music of King Records from the 1940’s and early 1950’s is included in part one of the special with songs by the Delmore Brothers, Cowboy Copas, Grandpa Jones, Bullmoose Jackson, Roy Brown, Boyd Bennett & His Rockets, the Casinos, Wynonie Harris, the Royals, and many others.

Playlist for King Records: Cincinnati Legacy, Part I

Todd Rhodes Blues For the Red Boy Very Best of King-Federal-Deluxe, Vol. Two
Hank Ballard and the Midnighters The Twist Very Best of King-Federal-Deluxe, Vol. One
Lonnie Johnson Tomorrow Night The King R&B Box Set
Bill Doggett Honky Tonk (Part 2) The King R&B Box Set
Delmore Brothers Hillbilly Boogie Freight Train Boogie
James Brown Please, Please, Please The Singles, Vol.3: 1964-1965
Delmore Brothers Beale Street Boogie King: Hillbilly Bop 'n' Boogie
Cowboy Copas Three Strikes and You're Out King: Hillbilly Bop 'n' Boogie
Grandpa Jones It's Raining Here This Morning (original) King: Hillbilly Bop 'n' Boogie
Shorty Long Goodnight Cincinnati, Good Morning Tennessee King: Hillbilly Bop 'n' Boogie
Lucky Millinder I'm Waiting Just For You The King R&B Box Set
Bullmoose Jackson I Want a Bowlegged Woman Very Best of King-Federal-Deluxe, Vol. Two
Roy Brown Long About Midnight Very Best of King-Federal-Deluxe, Vol. Two
Moon Mullican Mona Lisa Seven Nights To Rock
Boyd Bennett & His Rockets Rockin' Up a Storm The Best of King Recordings
Casinos Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye Best of the Casinos: Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye
Wynonie Harris Good Rockin' Tonight The King R&B Box Set
The Royals Work With Me Annie The Federal Singles
Todd Rhodes Blues For the Red Boy Very Best of King-Federal-Deluxe, Vol. Two

King Records: Cincinnati Legacy, Part II 

Part 2 features the strong rhythm & blues recordings of the 1950’s. Interviews with Philip Paul and Otis Williams, and other members of the roundtable discussion is included along with others with ties to King Records over the years. There is music from Little Willie John, Otis Williams and the Charms, Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, The Dominoes, Freddy King, Rusty York, Philip Paul’s work as a session player, and many more.

Playlist for King Records: Cincinnati Legacy, Part II

Todd Rhodes Blues For the Red Boy Very Best of King-Federal-Deluxe, Vol. Two
Tiny Bradshaw Soft Very Best of King-Federal-Deluxe, Vol. One
Otis Williams and the Charms Quiet Please Otis Williams and the Charms
Otis Williams and the Charms Hearts of Stone Otis Williams and the Charms
Tiny Bradshaw The Train Kept A'Rollin' The King R&B Box Set
Jimmy Wyble and his Rifftette Huntin' Business All the Time Shuffle Town
Otis Williams and the Charms That's Your Mistake Very Best of King-Federal-Deluxe, Vol. Two
Sonny Thompson Mellow Blues (Parts 1&2) Very Best of King-Federal-Deluxe, Vol. One
Stanley Brothers Finger Poppin' Time The Early Starday/King Years, Vol. 3
Boyd Bennett & His Rockets You Upset Me Baby Rockin' Up a Storm
Platters Only You (And You Alone) The King R&B Box Set
Freddie King San-Ho-Zay Ultimate Collection
Otis Williams and the Charms Crazy Crazy Love Otis Williams and the Charms
Todd Rhodes Blues For the Red Boy Very Best of King-Federal-Deluxe, Vol. Two

King Records: Cincinnati Legacy, Part III 

Part 3 features stories and recordings from the 1950’s and 1960’s. There is an interview with Waddell Falland, who played with James Brown as a member of the Famous Flames. Mr. Falland discusses his work with the Solars and Bobby & the Expressions, as well as the Famous Flames. Also included is more of the roundtable discussion moderated by Larry Nager with Keith Little, Jimmy Railey, Rufus Allen, J.J. Peterson. Also, there is sound actualities of Syd Nathan addressing his staff back in the early 1950’s.

King Records defined the times with not only the types of music recorded, but also the way records were released to the public. From blues and country to rhythm & blues, King Records was an active player from the mid-1940’s to the late 60’s when Syd Nathan passed away. One of the main reasons for King’s success was the economical approach to the record business. Every step of the process was done within the walls of King Records. From recording, to pressing, designing and printing album covers, and placing in the warehouse for distribution… all of these activities were performed in a self-contained facility. This system was a stroke of genius by Syd Nathan – a way to lower his costs and remain in competition with the major labels.

Playlist for King Records: Cincinnati Legacy, Part III

Todd Rhodes Blues For the Red Boy Very Best of King-Federal-Deluxe, Vol. Two
Little Willie John Fever The King R&B Box Set
Syd Nathan A&R Meeting - 12/11/54 The King R&B Box Set
Bobby & Jimmy Down the Road and Over the Hill Solar Heat
Otis Williams and the Charms One Fine Day Otis Williams and the Charms
Wynonie Harris All She Wants To Do Is Rock Very Best of King-Federal-Deluxe, Vol. One
Echoes All That Wine Is Gone Solar Heat
Bobby & the Expressions Everywhere I Go Solar Heat
Bobby & the Expressions Slooptime USA Solar Heat
Solars Nobody Knows But My Baby & Me Solar Heat
Rusty York Tremblin' King Rockabilly
Rusty York Sugaree Rock and Roll Memories
Rusty York Shake 'Em Up Baby King: Rock 'n Roll
Lonnie Mack I'll Keep You Happy The Wham of That Memphis Man!
Lonnie Mack Memphis The Wham of That Memphis Man!
Lonnie Mack Wham The Wham of That Memphis Man!
Todd Rhodes Blues For the Red Boy Very Best of King-Federal-Deluxe, Vol. Two

King Records: Cincinnati Legacy, Part IV

Through the years since King Records pulled out of the studios in Evanston, there have been attempts by several individuals to honor the label and its founder. Syd Nathan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. But, the famous building at 1540 Brewster Avenue still sits there with no plaque, no memorial, no statue of Syd Nathan… a plain concrete building. James Brown visited the building a few years ago with hopes of bringing attention to the historical landmark. Bootsy Collins is currently trying to get the building restored. Perhaps with his efforts plus support from blues fans and Cincinnati City Council, King Records will be officially recognized as a testament to its important contributions to the country’s musical heritage. One only need to review the success of the King Tribute concert at this year’s Cincy Blues Fest to know that there are still fans of this important part of Cincinnati’s history.

Part 4 focuses on the legacy of King Records with a look by Stuart Holman at Freddie King and Albert King's influences on Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan. There is also a roundtable discussion of King's legacy with contributions from other musicians as well.

Playlist for King Records: Cincinnati Legacy, Part IV

Todd Rhodes Blues For the Red Boy Very Best of King-Federal-Deluxe, Vol. Two
Freddie King Hide Away Ultimate Collection
John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers Hide Away John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers
Albert King Let's Have a Natural Ball The Very Best of Albert King
Freddie King I'm Tore Down Ultimate Collection
The Dominoes Sixty Minute Man King R&B Box Set
Junior McCants The Boy Needs A Girl King Northern Soul
Junior McCants Try Me For Your New Love King Northern Soul
Billy Ward and His Dominoes That's What You're Doin' To Me King R&B Box Set
Bill Doggett Honky Tonky (Part 1) King R&B Box Set
James Brown Papa's Got a Brand New Bag (Part 1) King R&B Box Set
The Drivers Smooth, Slow and Easy Very Best of King-Federal-Deluxe, Vol. One
Bootsy Collins with Sonny Moorman Hide Away Hidden Treasures
The 5 Royales Dedicated to the One I Love Very Best of King-Federal-Deluxe, Vol. Two
Todd Rhodes Blues For the Red Boy Very Best of King-Federal-Deluxe, Vol. Two

King Records: Cincinnati Legacy, Part V

King Records: Cincinnati Legacy, Part 5 is a tribute to two rockabilly legends still living in the Greater Cincinnati area - Bonnie Lou and Rusty York.

Bonnie Lou was famous for her work on the Midwestern Hayride and also WLW. She also recorded for King Records back in the 1950s. These songs launched into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. We were thrilled to have Bonnie Lou come into the WVXU studio on November 28th, 2007, to talk with local music historian Randy McNutt about her career. She currently lives in Anderson Township on the eastern side of Cincinnati.

Rusty York is also in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and recorded at King Records in the 1950s. He is still owns Jewel Recording Studio in Mt. Healthy, on the northern side of Cincinnati, and resides in Indiana. We were very lucky to have Rusty come into the studio on November 15th, 2007 and share stories about his career at King Records with local musician Stuart Holman.

You can find more information along with photos of each musician in Randy McNutt's book, The Cincinnati Sound.

Playlist for King Records: Cincinnati Legacy, Part V

Todd Rhodes Blues For the Red Boy Very Best of King-Federal-Deluxe, Volume Two
Bonnie Lou Huckleberry Pie Doin' the Tennessee Wig Walk: The Best of the King Years
Bonnie Lou Seven Lonely Days Doin' the Tennessee Wig Walk: The Best of the King Years
Bonnie Lou Tennessee Wig Walk Doin' the Tennessee Wig Walk: The Best of the King Years
Bonnie Lou Daddy-O Doin' the Tennessee Wig Walk: The Best of the King Years
Bonnie Lou Little Miss Bobby Sox Doin' the Tennessee Wig Walk: The Best of the King Years
Bonnie Lou Tweedle Dee(Take 3- Master) Doin' the Tennessee Wig Walk: The Best of the King Years
Bonnie Lou Kit 'N' Kaboodle (Take 2 - Master) Doin' the Tennessee Wig Walk: The Best of the King Years
Rusty York Peggy Sue Rock and Roll Memories
Rusty York La Dee Dah (duet with Bonnie Lou) Doin' the Tennessee Wig Walk: The Best of the King Years
Rusty York Shake Em Up Baby Rock and Roll Memories
Rusty York Sugaree Rock and Roll Memories
Rusty York Great Balls of Fire Rock and Roll Memories
Rusty York Goodnight Cincinnati, Good Morning Tennessee Rock and Roll Memories
Rusty York Brown Eyed Handsome Man Rock and Roll Memories
Rusty York Sweet Love Rock and Roll Memories
Todd Rhodes Blues For the Red Boy Very Best of King-Federal-Deluxe, Volume Two

Program Links:

King Records' story told in high-tech fashion

Soul man: Influential singer's short, dramatic life captured by in book by son, author

New York Times article: Rocking Cincinnati’s R&B Cradle

Orangie Hubbard's Obituary

Shake It Records

King Records - discography

Jon Hartley Fox: Author of King of the Queen City: The Story of King Records speaks with Lee Hay

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