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Episode #548 – Aladdin Records, Pt. 1 – 1945-49

Air Week: November 2-8, 2020

Aladdin Records, Pt. 1 – 1945-49

The “Juke In The Back” begins a three part special on one of the most important record labels of the pre-rock era, Aladdin Records. Eddie and Leo Mesner started Aladdin as Philo Records in 1945. It was one of the first independent labels on the West Coast and sought to fill in the R&B void left by major labels like Victor, Decca and Columbia. The Mesners hired Maxwell Davis to help with musical arrangements and back up their artists and got the label off to a jumpin’ start. In February of 1946, Philo became Aladdin and a record label icon was born. With artists like Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers featuring Charles Brown, Helen Humes, Illinois Jacquet, Wynonie Harris, Amos Milburn and some rare releases from a young Robins group, how could Aladdin possibly fail? They didn’t and in the process, they helped propel rhythm & blues into the mainstream, paving the way for the emergence of Rock n’ Roll. This week’s show focuses on the beginning of the label from 1945-49 and next week’s show will feature 1950 to the birth of Rock n’ Roll, while part three will concentrate on the early Rock releases. Grab some nickels, because the party’s getting ready to start down at the Chicken Shack…with Matt The Cat and the “Juke In The Back.” 

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