King of the Queen City: The Story of King Records

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University of Illinois Press, Oct 1, 2010 - Music - 280 pages
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King of the Queen City is the first comprehensive history of King Records, one of the most influential independent record companies in the history of American music. Founded by businessman Sydney Nathan in the mid-1940s, this small outsider record company in Cincinnati, Ohio, attracted a diverse roster of artists, including James Brown, the Stanley Brothers, Grandpa Jones, Redd Foxx, Earl Bostic, Bill Doggett, Ike Turner, Roy Brown, Freddie King, Eddie Vinson, and Johnny "Guitar" Watson. While other record companies concentrated on one style of music, King was active in virtually all genres of vernacular American music, from blues and R & B to rockabilly, bluegrass, western swing, and country.

A progressive company in a reactionary time, King was led by an interracial creative and executive staff that redefined the face and voice of American music as well as the way it was recorded and sold. Drawing on personal interviews, research in newspapers and periodicals, and deep access to the King archives, Jon Hartley Fox weaves together the elements of King's success, focusing on the dynamic personalities of the artists, producers, and key executives such as Syd Nathan, Henry Glover, and Ralph Bass. The book also includes a foreword by legendary guitarist, singer, and songwriter Dave Alvin.

 

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Contents

Preface
xv
One Syd Starts a Record Company
1
Two The Hillbilly Boogie
12
Three The King Gets a Queen
22
Four Henry Glover
26
Five Good Rockin Tonight
32
Six Where the Hells the Melody?
42
Seven Business as Usual Was Pretty Unusual
50
Illustrations follow page 116
116
Thirteen Every Time I Feel the Spirit
117
Fourteen How Mountain Girls Can Love
127
Fifteen Lets Have a Natural Ball
138
Sixteen That Aint Nothin but Right
151
Seventeen The HardestWorking Man in Show Business
163
Eighteen Brother Clauude Ely and Eddie Lockjaw Davis
176
Nineteen Life after Death
182

Eight Masters of the Groove
63
Nine Ill Sail My Ship Alone
74
Ten Record Man
86
Eleven The SixtyMinute Men
94
Twelve You Give Me Fever
108
Twenty We Broke the Shit Down
193
Notes
203
Bibliography
215
Index
229
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Jon Hartley Fox is a resident of Grass Valley, California and has written about music and the arts for forty years. He has won two writing awards for album annotation from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA).

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