KING RECORDS MONTH 2016!
This September marks the 73nd 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 30 events (mostly free) include concerts, displays, author visits, album listening parties, radio shows, and even a chance to buy your own King vinyl or compact discs at a discounted price.
Tuesday, August 30th , 7:30 PM | King Vinyl Night. Get a sneak preview of King Records Month with a listening party at Vinyl Night, the monthly get- together of music fans who meet on the last Tuesday night of each month to spin records and share stories. Bring your favorite King 45 record or 33 1/3 album.
Friday September 2nd, 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. There’ll be plenty of great King Records tunes, light hors d'oeuvres and refreshments, and a King Records exhibit on display. The newly developed educational tool, “The Traveling Suitcase,” will be there for viewing and staff will be on hand to answer questions. The event will be hosted by Ms. Anzora Adkins, president of the Evanston Community Council and King Studios chair. She’ll be joined by King Records session drummer Philip Paul, the Mayor, Vice Mayor, and council members.
Thursday September 1st through 30th | King Records: The Lost History of Rock and Roll exhibit. Come see the first traveling exhibit on King Records at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Funded and developed by the Community Building Institute and an ArtsWave grant for King Studios LLC, this display is the first installment of a three-part series that will explore King’s thirty years as a record company. The exhibit consists of 10 professionally designed banners that provide an overview of the first ten years of label’s history (1943 to 1954) and its role in the development of Rock and Roll music. Producing, marketing, and distributing both R & B and Country music in the post-World War II period, King Records began to cross the boundaries of these two music genres in the late 1940s. The exhibit will be accompanied by music recorded at King during this time period. The exhinit runs from September 1st to 30th.
Thursday September 1st | King Records Education. Thanks to the Dater Family and Elsa Heisel Sule Foundations, King Studios is developing a series of “Traveling Suitcases,” or educational tool kits for regional K-12 educators. Suitcases leverage replica artifacts and lesson plans to tell the King Records’ story through art, music, entrepreneurship, civil rights and science. Suitcases invoke the people, processes, and narratives of King Records to teach youth to engage them in not only the past, but the present and future. Get a sneak peek of the Traveling Suitcases under development at King Studios’ Education web site.
Thursday September 1st through 30th | Jukebox King. In addition to its radio hits, King had many jukebox hits when Billboard used to keep track of such things. Several bars will be paying homage to that history during the month of September. The staff at The Comet Bar will again be loading the jukebox up with King CDs. MOTR Pub’s jukebox will have Hillbilly Boogie music from the Delmore Brothers, Funk music by Bill Doggett, and the 1956 debut album of Jazz saxophonist Roland Kirk. The Northside Tavern will feature Ike Turner’s 1956 recordings for King along with great King Rockabilly. City View Tavern in Mt. Adams will have the greatest hits from the King of Hillbilly Piano Players, Moon Mullican, and early soul singer Little Willie John. The jukebox at the Southgate House Revival will honor the Gospel of local Newport resident Brother Claude Ely, and the Jump Blues from legendary Blues shouter Wynonie Harris.
Thursday September 1st through 30th | King for A Day! WNKU will feature King Records recordings every day throughout the day in September. Special guests including John Curley of The Afghan Whigs, Brian Powers of the Cincinnati Public Library, RJ Smith of Cincinnati Magazine and others will share some King Records stories and history throughout each day.
Thursday September 1st through 30th | Funky Drummer Song of the Day on WNKU. James Brown's "Funky Drummer" (recorded in Cincinnati at King Studios) is one of the most sampled songs in music history. WNKU will feature one song every day in September that references this James Brown classic, and give listeners a chance to win a guitar signed by Bootsy Collins from DHR Guitar Experience.
Friday, September 2nd, 6 PM | WNKU Funky Fridays with Freekbass. During the late 1960s, James Brown developed a radically new style in R & B music that started a new music genre. RJ Smith, author of the James Brown biography, The One, will discuss the Funk music James Brown created at King Records.
Saturday September 3th, 3 - 10 PM | A Day with King Records. Come to Washington Park for a celebration of Cincinnati’s music heritage! Enjoy music from local bands, including special covers of King Records Artists, food from neighborhood vendor including Eli's BBQ, and ice cold beer. Music lineup includes Eclipse Movement (3PM), Pike 27 (4:30PM), The Perfect Children (6PM), The Midwestern Swing (7:30PM) and the Young James Brown with Deuces (9PM) Produced by 3CDC, Cincinnati Music Heritage Foundation, and WNKU 89.7 FM.
Saturday September 3th, 11 PM | King Records’ artist Bull Moose Jackson. WVXU radio host Lee Hay will air the first in a series of profiles on Jump Blues artists at King who ruled the R & B charts from the late 40s and early 50s. Bull Moose Jackson, best known for Big Ten Inch, had his first big hit in 1947 with I Love You, Yes I Do, which is widely accepted as the first R &B single to sell a million copies. Jackson had 12 hits from 1946 to 1952 on the R& B chart. His daughter, Margaret Fort, legendary bassist and bandmate Jymie Merritt, and manager Carl Grefensette give first hand accounts of this overlooked artist.
Sunday September 4th, 8:30 PM | Shout Out To The Delmore Brothers. Seventy years ago in 1946, the Delmore Brothers began to record their first Hillbilly Boogie songs at King. Both the Country Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have recognized the importance of the duo’s recordings. Bulletville, a band who performs original straight-up Country music in the classic style, will give a shout out to the Delmores.
Wednesday, September 7th, 7-10 PM | King Records Fellowship. Come share your King stories/memories/memorabilia etc. In attendance will be Mr. Otis Williams, members of the Charms and Mr. Philip Paul to name a few (Production by All Live Affair). There will be a very special and rare appearance by Rollis Willis, a member of the Charms from the late 1950s.Music from the King catalogue will be played throughout the night.
Thursday September 8th, 4 PM - 5 PM | King Pop.
Friday September 9th, 7PM | King Records at Beerfest! Philip Paul & Otis Williams will be performing a few King Records songs with the Noah Wotherspoon Band on Fountain Square at the Cincy Beerfest On Fountain Square.
Saturday, September 10th, 1:00 PM | Brother Claude Ely. As a recording artist for King, Brother Ely recorded some of the most powerful and emotional Gospel songs ever made, influencing Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. He spent nearly thirty years as a minister in the Appalachian heartland, and, eventually, in Newport, Kentucky. Ely's great nephew, Dr. Macel Ely II, will speak at the Main Library downtown about Ely's life and discuss his book based on over 1,000 personal interviews he conducted.
Saturday, September 10th, 7 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.
Saturday September 10th, 11 PM | King Records artist Wynonie Harris Lee Hay continues her series on Jump Blues with Blues shouter Wynonie Harris, who is considered one of the forerunners of Rock and Roll. He had fifteen Top 10 hits between 1946 and 1952 and was a major influence on Elvis Presley, among others. Harris is profiled by his son Wesley Devereaux and Tony Collins, author of the biography, Rock Mr. Blues: The Life & Music of Wynonie Harris.
Sunday September 11th, 8 PM | Bobby and Sonny Osborne. Before being inducted as members of the Grand Ole Opry and scoring hits like “Once More” and “Rocky Top,” The Osborne Brothers were working musicians in the southwestern Ohio area. In 1951, Bobby Osborne would record the first bluegrass songs at King Records with Jimmy Martin. His brother Sonny did many recordings at the Rite Records studio in Northside in 1952 and 1953. Bluegrass Fred Bartenstein will stop by and talk about the early years of this duo with host Katie Laur and Oakley Scot on WNKU’s bluegrass radio show, Music from the Hills of Home. WNKU 89.7 FM
Wednesday, September 14th, 7 PM | Country Music Goes to Vietnam - Moore and Napier. The Public Library’s Listen to This music series takes a look at the album, Country Music Goes to Vietnam, recorded fifty years ago in 1966, by the Bluegrass duo Moore and Napier for King Records. The album included original compositions and traditional songs about war. Join Bluegrass historians Fred Bartenstein and “Mac" McDivitt who will discuss the careers of these two musicians and the songs they recorded for this album.
Thursday, September 15th, 6:30 PM - 8 PM | Cincinnati Music Heritage Series: King Records! Part 1 The King of Them All! King Records has thousands of songs in their vast catalog in a wide variety of genres: Gospel, Country, Rockabilly, R&B, Blues. James Brown leaps to mind, of course, but there are many others. The Stanley Brothers, Otis Williams & The Charms, Bill Doggett, and others. Join presenter Kelly Thomas as she explore this gem of our collective history over two nights!
Saturday, September 17th, 3:00 PM | Bill Doggett – Honky Tonk! Bill Doggett, R & B pianist and organist, took America by storm in 1956 with his instrumental “Honky Tonk” which sold over four million copies, topped the Billboard R & B charts for two months, and went to Number 2 on the pop charts. Cash Box magazine gave him the award for best rhythm and blues performer in 1957, 1958, and 1959. His nephew, Bill Doggett II, will spotlight this musician’s career before and after his classic hit, which included working as a songwriter and arranger for such artists The Ink Spots, Johnny Otis, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Jordan. 2016 marks both the centennial of Bill Doggett’s birth and 60th anniversary of the recording of “Honky Tonk.”
Saturday, September 17th, 5:00 PM – 9:00PM| Bill Doggett’s 100th Birthday Party. Come join the party for the 100th birthday for the late great Bill Doggett and celebrate when his “Honky Tonk” dominated the charts in the fall of 1956. Doggett’s nephew, Bill Doggett II, will be on hand as well as King Records alumni like Otis Williams, whose 1956 hit “Ivory Tower” went to number 5 that year. 1956 was also the year a young man named James Brown had his first hit, “Please, Please, Please.” You’ll hear music from other King artists who had hits that year like Little Willie John, Joe Tex, Ike Turner, and Hank Ballard and the Midnighters.
Saturday September 17th, 11 PM | King Records artist Roy Brown. Lee Hay’s third WVXU radio special takes a look at R & B singer, Roy Brown, who had a significant influence on the early development of Rock and Roll and wrote the classic jump blues song "Good Rocking Tonight.” With 12 hits from 1948 to 1951, Brown was the first singer in recording history to sing R&B songs with a gospel-steeped delivery, which was then considered taboo by many churches. Music historian and author John Broven discusses this important musician.
Sunday, September 18th, 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.
Tuesday September 20th, 7:00 PM | Cheryl Renee. Cincy Blues Society presents Bluesday Tuesdays with Cheryl Renee, the dynamic keyboardist, song stylist and "Goddess of the Blues" who will pay tribute to some of the great woman singers at King such as Little Esther, Lulu Reed, and Big Maybelle.
Saturday September 24th, 1PM | King Roundtable. Be part of the conversation as historians Randy McNutt, Darren Blasé, Dr. Chris Anderson and King drummer Philip Paul (tentative) discuss King Records’ first ten years as a company. Topics will include the migration of Southerners to Cincinnati in the 20th century, King’s colorblind hiring policy in the 1940s, the company’s early success in both the Country and in the R & B markets, and the significance of African American Henry Glover being hired as an A & R man and Recording Director for the label in the 1940s. “The Traveling Suitcase,” will be there for viewing and staff will be on hand to answer questions about this newly developed educational tool.
Saturday September 24th, 3 PM | Formula X-9: King Records and Jazz. Although more known for R & B and Country music, King Records did make a mark in the field of Jazz. The label recorded many jazz artists, while King's production staff preferred to use jazz musicians to play on King's R&B releases. In the 1950s, Syd Nathan purchased Gus Wildi's jazz label, Bethlehem. Jazz had a great influence on James Brown’s music recorded at King. Music historian Uncle Dave Lewis will give a talk that will cover the salient points of this melting pot of influences and how King managed to have an impact in the history of jazz without producing any top 100 jazz albums.
Saturday September 24th, 6 – 10 PM | King Recording artist Philip Paul. Spend an evening with a living legend. King Records’ session drummer Philip Paul plays at the Cricket Lounge every Saturday night, performing some of his favorite jazz.
Saturday September 24th, 11 PM | Songwriter/ Producer Henry Glover. Lee Hay concludes her profile series with Henry Glover, who wrote and produced many of the classic Jump Blues songs at King Records in the late 1940s and early 1950s. In the music industry at the time, Glover was one of the more successful and influential African American executives. Glover worked with County, Blues, R &B, Pop, Rock, and Jazz musicians, and helped King Records to become one of the largest independent labels of its time. Glover is remembered by his daughter, Sherry Lynn Thompson Scott, music historian Billy Vera, composer Artie Butler, and Sire Records President Seymour Stein.
Sunday September 25th, 11 - 2 PM | King Records Gospel Brunch. Need to repent for Saturday night? Enjoy a breakfast taco or the Truckers casserole while celebrating the Gospel music that King recorded for twenty five years, starting in1946. Hear the beautiful and inspiring sounds of the Spirit of Memphis Quartet, The Brown Ferry Four, Swan’s Silvertone Singers, Brother Claude Ely, and The Trumpeteers, among others.
Sunday September 25th, 7PM | King School of Rock. Students learn to rock and perform on a real stage at the School of Rock Mason. The young musicians will be showing off their playing skills with a set of Motown R &B classics at the Woodward Theater. The show will open with a tribute to the other great R& B powerhouse, King Records, and will also honor legendary King drummer, Philip Paul, who will play some King classics with the students.
Wednesday, September 28th, 7 PM | King Comedy - Redd Foxx. The Public Library’s Listen to This music series takes some time to laugh. Just before his big break on the television show, Sanford and Son, comedian Redd Foxx recorded four standup comedy albums for King Records in 1970 and 1971. Hear some of these recordings and learn how the legendary Redd Foxx ended up recording for King Records.
Thursday September 29th, 6PM - 8PM | King Records Night at Folk School. Come enjoy an evening of all King Records music, covering the gamut of styles and talents that were recorded under the historic label. Performances by Joe's Truck Stop, Krystal Peterson and the Queen City Band, Casey Campbell, and others.
Friday, September 30th, 8PM - 12PM | Sonny Plays Lonnie. King Records Month concludes at the Walnut Hills landmark, The Greenwich, as award winning Blues rock guitarist Sonny Moorman plays tribute to the late great guitar master Lonnie Mack, who recorded many of his big hits in the 1960s at the King Records studio in nearby Evanston.
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