King of the Queen City

King of the Queen City : The Story of King Records

4.25 (20 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

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.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 280 pages
  • 146 x 224 x 18mm | 399.99g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252080556
  • 9780252080555
  • 1,701,347

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

"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 Heritage "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."--About.com: Blues "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 Timesshow 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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