King Records' Country Roots

Aug 29, 2016

September is King Records month as the former Cincinnati label turns 73 years old. Three dozen activities are planned. They are listed here and include everything from a traveling exhibit to a gospel lunch to a listening party.

What many people don't know is the recording company started out doing country music, featuring singers like:

  • Cowboy Copas - known as the "country gentleman of song," he was a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Copas died in the same plane crash that killed Patsy Cline.
  • Hawkshaw Hawkins - his vocals were drawn from blues, boogie and honky-tonk, and like Copas, he was a member of the Grand Ole Opry and was killed in the plane crash with Cline.
  • Delmore Brothers - performed "Hillbilly Boogie," proclaimed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a precursor to rock and roll.
  • Brother Claude Ely - Pentecostal preacher in Appalachia who influenced Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.

Brother Claude Ely's great nephew has written a book based on over 1,000 personal interviews he conducted. He'll speak at the main branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County on September 10 at 1:00 p.m.

WVXU's Lee Hay has produced four specials celebrating the historic King Records' Jump Blues Artists. Here's the schedule:

9/3 – 11pm – Bull Moose Jackson – his daughter, Margaret Fort; musician Jymie Merritt; manager Carl Grefensette.
9/10 – 11pm - Wynonie Harris – author Tony Collins; Wesley Devereaux, his son.
9/17 – 11pm - Roy Brown – author John Broven.
9/24 – 11pm - Henry Glover –songwriter/producer for King Records – Sherry Lynn Thompson Scott, his daughter; music historian Billy Vera; composer Artie Butler; and Seymour Stein, President of Sire Records, Vice President of Warner Bros. Records, and former King Records employee.