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Episode #535 – King Records, Pt. 10: Federal Records, Pt. 2

Air Week: August 3-9, 2020

King Records, Pt. 10: Federal Records, Pt. 2

This week, it’s part 10 of a 10 part feature on the great King Record Label, out of Cincinnati. Syd Nathan, who began putting out records under the King logo in 1943, developed King as a hillbilly music label. After seeing the sales potential in the Rhythm & Blues market, Nathan launched the Queen Records subsidiary in 1945, but folded it into King in 1947 and transferred his R&B acts over. At the end of 1950, King launched a new R&B subsidiary called Federal Records. Nathan chose Ralph Bass to head up this new venture. Bass had already proven himself a great talent scout, first with Black & White Records in the mid-’40s and then with Savoy Records. Bass kicked off 1954 with a smash, “WorK With Me Annie” by The Midnighters, who were formally known as the Royals. “Annie” spent 7 weeks at #1 and sparked a myriad of sequels and answer records. One of those sequels, “Annie Had A Baby,” also by The Midnighters spent 2 weeks at #1, later in the year. This week, in part 10 of our behemoth series on King Records, we’ll feature the biggest and best releases from King’s subsidiary label from 1954-56. The Federal catalog is plentiful with vocal group releases during this time and we’ll hear some of the finest and rarest from The Platters, The Lamplighters, The Tune Blenders, The Californians and The Sheiks. Plus, James Brown and the Famous Flames get their start at the beginning of 1956 AND we’ll hear early R&B records from a future comedian and a future Broadway performer. Matt The Cat is full of surprises and the “Juke In The Back” is loaded with Federal 78s as we present the final part of our 10 part series on King Records. 

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Juke In The Back Promo

1940s & ’50s Rhythm & Blues

At the end of the Second World War, economics forced the big bands to trim their once great size and thus, the Jump Blues combo was born. Between 1946-1954, rhythm and blues laid the tracks for what was to become Rock n’ Roll. So how come, 70 years later, this vibrant and influential music is still so unknown to so many?

Matt The Cat is going to change that with the radio program, “Juke In The Back.” These were the records that you couldn’t hear on the jukebox in the front of the establishment. To hear all this great 1950s rhythm & blues, you had to go to “Juke In The Back.”

Episode #534 – King Records, Pt. 9: Federal Records, Pt. 1

Air Week: July 27-Aug 2, 2020

King Records, Pt. 9: Federal Records, Pt. 1

This week, it’s part 9 of a multi-part feature on the great King Record Label, out of Cincinnati. Syd Nathan, who began putting out records under the King logo in 1943, developed King as a hillbilly music label. After seeing the sales potential in the Rhythm & Blues market, Nathan launched the Queen Records subsidiary in 1945, but folded it into King in 1947 and transferred his R&B acts over. At the end of 1950, King launched a new R&B subsidiary called Federal Records. Nathan chose Ralph Bass to head up this new venture. Bass had already proven himself a great talent scout, first with Black & White Records in the mid-’40s and then with Savoy Records. Earlier in 1950, under Bass’ watch, Savoy scored 3 #1 records with the Johnny Otis Orchestra. Federal’s first R&B release, “Do Something For Me” by a new group from New York called the Dominoes, immediately made the national top 10. Federal was off and running with more hits from the Dominoes, including the biggest R&B record of 1951 (“Sixty Minute Man”) and 1952 (“Have Mercy Baby”). Another vocal group on Federal at the time was The Royals. Though their early output were mostly chart sleepers, in 1953 with Hank Ballard on vocals, their “Get It” made the national top 10 and set the stage for what was coming. Soon, the Royals would become the Midnighters and “Work With Me Annie” would be the top R&B single in America. Matt The Cat digs up the essential Federal Records releases from 1951-54 in part 1 of 2 on this week’s “Juke In The Back.” 

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Episode #533 – King Records, Pt. 8: 1954-56

Air Week: July 20-26, 2020

King Records, Pt. 8: 1954-56

This week, it’s part 8 of a multi-part feature on the great King Record Label, out of Cincinnati. Syd Nathan, who began putting out records under the King logo in 1943, developed King as a hillbilly music label. After seeing the sales potential in the Rhythm & Blues market, Nathan launched the Queen Records subsidiary in 1945, but folded it into King in 1947 and transferred his R&B acts over. King established itself in the R&B field with Bull Moose Jackson, Ivory Joe Hunter, Wynonie Harris and Lonnie Johnson all scoring enormous hit records. This week in part 8, we take a look at King’s spectacular releases during 1954-56. The first 2 years were a dry time for hit records at King, but in 1956, the label came roaring back with major hits from Little Willie John and Bill Doggett, who scored his first hit since 1945. “Honk Tonk” was the biggest R&B record of the year and it reestablished Doggett, who would have several more hits on King extending to 1959. Vocal Groups were big during this time as Rock n’ Roll was being born and King was there with The Checkers, The Ink Spots, The Admirals, The Dominoes and The “5” Royales. This will be the final part of the series on King. Next week, we’ll take a look at King’s highly successful R&B subsidiary label, Federal Records. Matt The Cat makes sure you don’t miss a beat on this week’s “Juke In The Back.” 

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Episode #532 – King Records, Pt. 7: 1953

Air Week: July 13-19, 2020

King Records, Pt. 7: 1953

This week, it’s part 7 of a multi-part feature on the great King Record Label, out of Cincinnati. Syd Nathan, who began putting out records under the King logo in 1943, developed King as a hillbilly music label. After seeing the sales potential in the Rhythm & Blues market, Nathan launched the Queen Records subsidiary in 1945, but folded it into King in 1947 and transferred his R&B acts over. King established itself in the R&B field with Bull Moose Jackson, Ivory Joe Hunter, Wynonie Harris and Lonnie Johnson all scoring enormous hit records. This week in part 7, we take a look at King’s spectacular releases during 1953. Though Wynonie Harris stopped having national hits back in ’52, he still has some strong releases in ’53. Annisteen Allen, who had been with King since 1945 finally has a hit under her own name with an answer record to the “5” Royales’ “Baby Don’t Do It” called “Baby, I’m Doing It” and there are plenty of beautiful vocal group records released on King this year. Matt The Cat’s got ’em all and he’s loading those jumpin’ and swooning sides into this week’s “Juke In The Back.” 

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Episode #531 – King Records, Pt. 6: 1952

Air Week: July 6-12, 2020

King Records, Pt. 6: 1952

This week, it’s part 6 of a multi-part feature on the great King Record Label, out of Cincinnati. Syd Nathan, who began putting out records under the King logo in 1943, developed King as a hillbilly music label. After seeing the sales potential in the Rhythm & Blues market, Nathan launched the Queen Records subsidiary in 1945, but folded it into King in 1947 and transferred his R&B acts over. King established itself in the R&B field with Bull Moose Jackson, Ivory Joe Hunter, Wynonie Harris and Lonnie Johnson all scoring enormous hit records. This week in part 6, we take a look at King’s spectacular releases during 1952. The great Sonny Thompson has his final 2 career charting singles in ’52 and Bill Doggett begins his long stint with King, though he wouldn’t have a hit until ’56. Even though Todd Rhodes didn’t have a hit this year, he is all over this week’s “Juke” with a risque number, “Rocket 69” with Connie Allen on lead and “Trying” with LaVern Baker on lead. Rhodes also backs up Wynonie Harris on “Keep on Churnin'” and Moose Jackson on “Big Ten Inch Record.” We’ll also dig on 2 tunes that would become much bigger hits for other artists later; The Swallows’ version of “I Only Have Eyes For You” and Dave Bartholomew’s original “My Ding-A-Ling.” Matt The Cat’s got ’em all and he’s loading those blue label King Records into this week’s “Juke In The Back.” 

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Episode #530 – King Records, Pt. 5: 1951

Air Week: June 29-July 5, 2020

King Records, Pt. 5: 1951

This week, it’s part 5 of a multi-part feature on the great King Record Label, out of Cincinnati. Syd Nathan, who began putting out records under the King logo in 1943, developed King as a hillbilly music label. After seeing the sales potential in the Rhythm & Blues market, Nathan launched the Queen Records subsidiary in 1945, but folded it into King in 1947 and transferred his R&B acts over. King established itself in the R&B field with Bull Moose Jackson, Ivory Joe Hunter, Wynonie Harris and Lonnie Johnson all scoring enormous hit records. This week in part 5, we take a look at King’s spectacular releases during 1951. Wynonie Harris scores his last 2 career charting records, while fellow blues shouter Tiny Bradshaw continued his hit streak. Earl Bostic scores a #1 record with “Flamingo,” a tune made popular ten years earlier by Duke Ellington. Bull Moose Jackson becomes Moose Jackson and Sonny Thompson starts scoring hits for King. In 1951, King Records continued selling millions of records and this week, Matt The Cat stocks the “Juke In The Back” with the best of them. 

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Episode #529 – King Records, Pt. 4: 1949-50

Air Week: June 22-28, 2020

King Records, Pt. 4: 1949-50

This week, it’s part 4 of a multi-part feature on the great King Record Label, out of Cincinnati. Syd Nathan, who began putting out records under the King logo in 1943, developed King as a hillbilly music label. After a rough start, he relaunched King in 1944 with investment from his various family members. Nathan, seeing sales potential in the Rhythm & Blues market, launched the Queen Records subsidiary in 1945, but folded it into King in 1947 and transferred his R&B acts over. King established itself in the R&B field with Bull Moose Jackson, Ivory Joe Hunter, Wynonie Harris and Lonnie Johnson all scoring enormous hit records. This week in part 4, we take a look at King’s spectacular releases at the end of 1949 through ’50. Bull Moose Jackson racks up another hit record with a big #2 charter, “Why Don’t You Haul Off And Love Me,” which originally hit #1 for hillbilly singer Wayne Raney. In early 1950, Ivory Joe Hunter had already moved on to MGM Records, but King continued to release singles by him and “I Quit My Pretty Mama” hit big for the label in the wake of his #1 for MGM, “I Almost Lost My Mind.” Wynonie Harris continued to rack up hits for King in 1950 and Sonny Thompson and Tiny Bradshaw both made their King Records debuts that year. Matt The Cat’s got the ol’ Rockola Juke full of those records, plus a few surprises, so get ready to groove on part 4 of King Records on this week’s “Juke In The Back.” 

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Episode #528 – King Records, Pt. 3: 1948-49

Air Week: June 15-21, 2020

King Records, Pt. 3: 1948-49

This week, it’s part 3 of a multi-part feature on the great King Record Label, out of Cincinnati. Syd Nathan, who began putting out records under the King logo in 1943, developed King as a hillbilly music label. After a rough start, he relaunched King in 1944 with investment from his various family members. Nathan, seeing sales potential in the Rhythm & Blues market, launched the Queen Records subsidiary in 1945, but folded it into King in 1947 and transferred his R&B acts over. King established itself in the R&B field with Bull Moose Jackson, Ivory Joe Hunter, Wynonie Harris and Lonnie Johnson all scoring enormous hit records. This week in part 3, we take a look at King’s spectacular releases at the end of 1948 and through most of ’49. Wynonie Harris would score his biggest hit in ’49 with the multi-week chart-topper “All She Wants To Do Is Rock,” while both Lonnie Johnson and Ivory Joe Hunter would have records stall at #2 on the chart. Bull Moose Jackson continues to score hits while King finds major success with a few instrumentals by Joe Thomas and Todd Rhodes. So get ready to groove as we continue our salute to King Records in part 3 on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

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Episode #527 – King Records, Pt. 2: 1947-48

Air Week: June 8-14, 2020

King Records, Pt. 2: 1947-48

This week, it’s part 2 of a multi-part feature on the great King Record Label, out of Cincinnati. Syd Nathan, who began putting out records under the King logo in 1943, developed King as a hillbilly music label. After a rough start, he relaunched King in 1944 with investment from his various family members. As King began to make a dent in the hillbilly field, he recognized that it would be more cost effective to offer other musical genres to clients who were already buying the hillbilly music from him. Not wanting to confuse King’s intention to be a hillbilly label, Nathan launched a rhythm & blues subsidiary that he named Queen Records. By 1947, King had fully established itself as a hillbilly label, so Nathan felt it was time to take on the R&B market and so he folded the Queen label into King and moved many of the R&B artist over to the parent label. King kicked off 1948 with a #1 smash with Bull Moose Jackson’s, “I Love You, Yes I Do.” Jackson would score a 2nd #1 later in the year with “i Can’t Go On With Out You.” Wynonie Harris also put up big numbers in 1948 with the chart-topper, “Good Rockin’ Tonight” and Ivory Joe Hunter scored several top 10 records for King that year. The King roster was full of veteran artists from jazzer Todd Rhodes to bluesman Lonnie Johnson, who’s version of “Tomorrow Night” also topped the charts for King. So get your hands on some nickels as we salute King Records with part 2: 1947-48. 

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