King of the Queen City

King of the Queen City

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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 more

Product details

  • Hardback | 280 pages
  • 162.56 x 236.22 x 25.4mm | 657.71g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252034686
  • 9780252034688
  • 970,064

About Jon Hartley Fox

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).show more

Review quote

"Fascinating biography on Syd Nathan's King Records. 4 stars."--MOJO "Fox and the University of Illinois Press have given us an important book about a very important operation. Thank you."--Oxford American "As entertaining and dynamic a story as the music that inspired it."--Metro Times "This is a remarkable achievement... Jon Hartley Fox is to be thanked for his impressive addition to the popular music literature."--Jazz & Blues Report "Fox makes a great case for the influence and importance of King Records, touching on the label's efforts in chapters dedicated to each style of music the label recorded. One chapter is appropriately dedicated to the label's biggest star, James Brown, and Fox talks about the label's interracial staff and early 'do it yourself' aesthetic with lively prose that will entertain any reader." Blues "In Jon Hartley Fox's well-researched new book, he shows how label founder Syd Nathan, a brusque, cigar-chomping record man with a knack for spotting recording talent and hits, built King to provide music by and for 'the little people' the majors ignored."-American Songwriter "An interesting but complicated book... I highly recommend it."--Appalachian Heritageshow more

Table of contents

Foreword by Dave Alvin; Preface; 1. Syd Starts A Record Company: The Early Years, 1943-1944 1; 2. The Hillbilly Boogie: Country Music on King Records, Part 1 19; 3. The King Gets A Queen: The Short but Important Life of Queen Records 37; 4. Henry Glover: An Unsung Hero of American Music 43; 5. Good Rockin' Tonight: Rhythm & Blues on King Records, 1947-1954 52; 6. Where The Hell's The Melody? Country Music on King Records, Part 2 69; 7. Business As Usual Was Pretty Unusual: Behind the Scenes at King Records 81; 8. Masters of the Groove: Earl Bostic, Bill Doggett and The Honkin' Tenors 103; 9. I'll Sail My Ship Alone: Country Music on King Records, Part 3 120; 10. Record Man: Ralph Bass and Federal Records 140; 11. The Sixty-Minute Men: Rhythm & Blues Vocal Groups on King Records 153; 12. You Give Me Fever: Solo R & B Singers on King Records 176; 13. Every Time I Feel The Spirit: Black Gospel Music on King Records 191; 14. How Mountain Girls Can Love: Bluegrass Music on King Records 207; 15. Let's Have A Natural Ball: The Blues on King Records 226; 16. That Ain't Nothin' But Right: Rockabilly and Rock and Roll on King Records 248; 17. The Hardest Working Man in Show Business: Mr. James Brown 269; 18. Brother Claude Ely and Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis: The Rest of the Catalog 290; 19. Life After Death: King Records, 1968-2007 299; 20. 'We Broke the Shit Down': The Meaning of King Records 318; Chapter Notes 333; Sources 352; Indexshow more

Rating details

20 ratings
4.25 out of 5 stars
5 45% (9)
4 40% (8)
3 10% (2)
2 5% (1)
1 0% (0)
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