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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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