September Celebrates 72 Year Legacy of King Records in Cincinnati.


This September marks the 72nd anniversary of the first songs recorded for the Cincinnati label, King Records. In September 1943 Syd Nathan convinced two WLW radio performers, Grandpa Jones and Merle Travis, to go along with his latest brainstorm - a record company based in Cincinnati. This four-song session would lead to King Records producing nearly 30 years of music in all genres while based out of the Queen City. September will be a month long celebration, honoring the founding of Syd’s company, and its contribution to American music, with events planned for every weekend. Over 28 events (mostly free) include concerts, displays, author visits, plays, album listening parties, radio shows, and even a chance to buy your own King vinyl or compact discs at a discounted price.

Contact King Studios c/o Brian Powers at or Chris Schadler at 513-745-1016, More Information and online schedule at


Saturday, August 29th 11 PM | King Legacy. Blues host Lee Hay talks with music historian Brian Powers and Steve Halper, nephew of King Records founder Syd Nathan, about the history of the record label and discusses stories about the many musicians who recorded there. Brian Powers also goes into detail about the many activities scheduled to honor King Records during the September celebration around the city.
WVXU 91.7 FM

Tuesday September 1st | BUY King Records! Starting on the first of the month, several Cincinnati record stores will be offering month-long specials on King music. Everybody’s Records in Pleasant Ridge will have a section for King Records with 20 percent off any King CD and vinyl. Everybody’s Records will also have a special King Records give away at the end of the month. Black Plastic in Northside is offering $2 off any new King LPs. Shake It Records in Northside will be offering 25 percent off any King-related items and will have a display case of King Records items that explores the timeline of the company.

Tuesday September 1st | Jukebox King. When Syd Nathan started the company in the 1940s he relied on jukeboxes to promote his artists. Several bars will be paying homage to that history during the month of September. The staff at The Comet Bar will be loading the jukebox up with King CDs. In honor of the new James Brown mural and the Carter Stanley play, both premiering in September, MOTR Pub’s jukebox will have albums of James Brown, Stanley Brothers, and Ralph Stanley released on King. The Northside Tavern jukebox will also have some King CDs including one that features risqué Rhythm & Blues songs recorded at King and banned from radio play.

Tuesday September 1st | One King A Day. WNKU will spotlight a different King Records artist EVERY day in September. Each feature will include a biography and story with music. Mr. Rhythm Man and Katie Laur will play King songs on their weekly shows while each host will dedicate one entire show solely to King artists in September..

Friday September 4th, 1 PM | King Records Month official kickoff event. As is tradition King Records month will have it's official start in Evanston, home of King Records. Join us for this mid-day event with King Records tunes, exhibits, speakers including Philip Paul and more.
Evanston Recreation Center, 3204 Woodburn Ave, Evanston| Free event

Saturday September 5th, 6 – 10 PM | King Recording artist Philip Paul. Spend an evening with a living legend. King Records drummer Philip Paul plays at the Cricket Lounge every Saturday night, performing some of his favorite jazz.
Cincinnatian Hotel 601 Vine Street, Downtown | Free event

Saturday September 5th, 11 PM | King Rec artist Orangie Hubbard. WVXU’s Lee Hay presents a radio special about King Records recording artist Orangie Hubbard. You’ll hear rare in-studio interviews with rockabilly musician Orangie Hubbard, Herman Cress, and Wilson Spivey, Jr. and some of their recorded music.
WVXU 91.7 FM

Wednesday, September 9th, 7 PM | King Records Producer Charles Spurling. The Public Library’s Listen To This music series looks at the career of the late Charles Spurling who was a song writer, producer, and talent scout for King Records in the late 1960s and whose songs have achieved cult status in the Northern Soul scene in the United Kingdom. He worked with such artists as James Brown, Hank Ballard, Marva Whitney, Bootsy Collins, and the Sisters of Righteous.
Main Branch, 800 Vine Street, Popular Library Program Space, Downtown | Free event

Wednesday, September 9th, 8:30- 11:30 PM | Ricky Nye plays King. Check out the rollicking sounds of Ricky Nye, winner of the CEA’s 2014 Best Blues Artist in Cincinnati. Get a free preview of Ricky’s show before he starts his fall tour of France and The Netherlands where he will be spreading the gospel about King Records and playing numerous selections from the label’s catalog.
The Listing Loon, 4124 Hamilton Ave, Northside | Free event

Thursday September 10th, 9 PM-1 AM | Straw Boss plays King.
Straw Boss, a traditional Hillbilly Honkytonk 5 piece band from Peach Grove, Ky will play plenty of selections from the Hillbilly and Country Greats of King Records - featuring chart-toppin tunes made world famous by Cowboy Copas, Hank Penny, Redd Stewart, The York Brothers, Delmore Brothers, Reno and Smiley and more.
Southgate House Revival, 111 E 6th St, Newport | Free event

Saturday, September 12th, 6 PM | WNKU’s Mr. Rhythm Man. 'Your Daddy-o on the Radio' and 'Platter-pushin’ Papa will be playing Rhythm & Blues, Roll & Soul from his vast King Records collection.
WNKU 89.7 FM

Saturday September 12th, 11 PM | King Records interviews. On WVXU 91.7 FM music historian Larry Nager interviews King Records session drummer Philip Paul and is joined by John Rumble, Senior Historian and Michael Gray, Curator, both from the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. John Rumble’s King credits includes an interview with producer Henry Glover, and Michael Gray produced “Night Train to Nashville.”
WVXU 91.7 FM

Sunday, September 13th, 1:30 PM | The Music of the Stanley Brothers. Gary Reid, author of the new book, The Music of the Stanley Brothers, will discuss his forty years of research on these two legendary bluegrass musicians at the Main Library downtown.
800 Man Street, Genealogy & Local History Program Space, 3rd Floor | Free event

Sunday, September 13th, 4-7 PM | King Records 72nd Anniversary Celebration. Concert & Fellowship at Smale Riverfront Park. On hand will be King Records ambassadors Mr. Otis Williams and Mr. Philip Paul. Hosting the show will be Mr. Otis Williams himself. Performing will be the band *CALIBER* with some very special guest performers. Among their regular sets they'll be performing some of your favorite hits from the King catalog. There will also be a special performance by Otis Williams and His Charms. (Production by All Live Affair). Bring your personal King items to share. Come join us for a fun filled afternoon of nostalgia, music and fellowship. You never know who may show up. See you there!
Smale Riverfront Park, W. Mehring Way, 513-357-2621 | Free event

Sunday September 13th, 6 PM | King Records Second Sunday on Main. Gary Reid will perform his one-man play A Life of Sorrow - The Life and Times of Carter Stanley, based on the tragic short life of legendary bluegrass musician and King Records artist Carter Stanley. Following the play, traditional Bluegrass will be performed by Cincinnati's own My Brother's Keeper.
MOTR Pub, 1345 Main St. Over the Rhine | Free event

Thursday, September 17th, 7-10PM | King Records Fellowship. Come share your King stories/memories/memorabilia etc. In attendance will be Mr. Otis Williams, other members of the Charms and Mr. Philip Paul to name a few (Production by All Live Affair). Music from the King catalogue will be played throughout the night.
Mr. Pitifuls, 1323 Main St. Over The Rhine | Free event

Saturday September 19th 7 PM | Cincy Blues Blast. The SoulFixers, Johnny Fink and the Intrusion, Tempted Souls Band, Cheryl Renee. The Blues Blast idea came from the concept of keeping local blues bands and local blues fans in touch during the time period between the Cincy Blues Fest and Winter Blues Fest. We are bringing a few local favorite blues bands together at the Southgate House Revival to have a great blues party with some shout outs to King’s music.
Southgate House Revival, Sanctuary 111 E 6th St, Newport. Tickets $15 advance $20 at the door.

Saturday September 19th, 7-11 PM | Acts Of Loving Kindness Awards. Mark you calendars Funkateers! The Boosty Collins Foundation is holding the First Annual "Acts Of Lovingkindness Awards" Gala. Please join us for live entertainment, open bar, heavy hors' douerves, silent auction, and a funky good time for a worthwhile cause! During this time we will also recognize companies as well as individuals that make Cincinnati a better place to live, work, and play. Your support will help to keep the Bootsy Collins Foundations' mission alive. Please check out our website:
Montgomery Inn Event Center at the Boathouse. Individual Seat Ticket Price: $125.00. Purchase tickets directly via

Saturday September 19th, 11 PM | King Records Rockabilly with Lee Hay. WVXU Radio host Lee Hay will debut the latest addition to her series of King Records radio specials. This show will focus on the rockabilly artists who recorded for King. Hear rare interviews with these early rockers and their music.
WVXU 91.7 FM

Sunday, September 20th, 7:30 PM | Comet Bluegrass Allstars play King. Enjoy a Cincinnati tradition of Bluegrass Sunday and burritos as the Comet Bluegrass All Stars continue their annual tribute night to King’s Bluegrass artists.
The Comet Bar, 4579 Hamilton Ave, Northside | Free event

Monday, September 21st, 5:30 PM | Say It Loud. An intergenerational panel of community members and Xavier students will discuss the meaning of James Brown’s “Say It Loud” in 1968 and today.
Music Resource Center, 3032 Woodburn Ave | Free event

Wednesday September 23th, 7 PM | The Public Library’s Listen to This music series. This event focuses on Blues guitarist Freddie King whose early sixties King recordings lit up the charts and inspired musicians like Jerry Garcia, Jimmy and Steve Ray Vaughan, Jeff Beck, and Eric Clapton. Local blues player Stuart Holman will be on hand to play some Freddie King guitar licks and legendary drummer Philip Paul who played on King’s sessions will make a special appearance.
Main Library, 800 Vine Street, Popular Library Program Space Free event

Thursday, September 24th, 7-10 PM | King Records Fellowship. Come share your King stories/memories/memorabilia etc. In attendance will be Mr. Otis Williams, other members of the Charms and Mr. Philip Paul to name a few (Production by All Live Affair). Music from the King catalogue will be played throughout the night.
Mr. Pitifuls, 1323 Main St. Over The Rhine | Free event

Friday September 25th, 6:30 PM | ArtWorks, MPMF and James Brown. ArtWorks will be dedicating the latest “Cincinnati Legends” mural during the opening night of the Midpoint Music Festival. The subject of this work is “Mr. Dynamite” - James Brown - one of the most iconic musicians of the 20th century who recorded his most successful and most influential music while an artist for King Records from 1956 to 1971.
1437 Main Street - Corner of Liberty and Main Streets, Over the Rhine | Free event

Saturday September 26th, 3 PM | The ‘Other’ King Records. King Records is best known for its achievements in recording Hillbilly music, Rhythm and Blues and James Brown, mostly at the old icehouse on Brewster Ave. In his presentation, The ‘Other’ King Records, music historian Uncle Dave Lewis will explore the acquisition of other labels by King owner Syd Nathan, work done in studios other than Brewster and the initiatives King Records took into pop, gospel, jazz, comedy and international music.
Reading Garden Lounge, 800 Vine, Main Library, Downtown | Free event

Saturday September 26th, 11 PM | The King of the Covers. An interview with Delbert Barker from Middletown who recorded with King Records and was known as “The King of the Covers” and the “Kentucky Hillbilly Rockabilly Man.” Brian Powers talks with him in WVXU’s studio about his early musical career and his family’s move from Frenchburg, Kentucky, to Middletown where his career really took off. Mr. Barker also shares his stories of working at WCPO, his rockabilly recordings at King Records and induction into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Sunday September 27th, Evening | Reno and Smiley. Katie Laur, host of the bluegrass radio show, Music from the Hills of Home, will spotlight the career of the great duo Reno and Smiley, whose recordings for King Records were a showcase for smooth harmonies, consistently inventive songwriting, and Don Reno's electrifying musicianship on the five-string banjo.
WNKU 89.7 FM

Sunday, September 27th 10 pm | King Story. Class X Radio kicks of a weekly series with Jeanette “Lady J” Jackson sharing not only the story of but the songs that go with King of the Queen City: The Story of King Records written by Jon Hartley Fox.
WMWX 88.9 / WKCX 89.1

Tuesday September 29th, 7:30 PM | King Vinyl Night. King Records Month concludes with a listening party at Vinyl Night, the monthly group that meets the last Tuesday night of the month to spin records and share stories. Bring your favorite King record – all record formats welcomed – 331/3, 45, and even the old 78.
H.D. Beans & Bottles Cafe, 6721 Montgomery Rd., on the Kennedy Heights/Silverton border | Free event


Past King Month events.



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