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. Jon Hartley Fox tells the story of a small outsider record company in Cincinnati, Ohio, that attracted an extremely diverse roster of artists, including the Stanley Brothers, Grandpa Jones, Redd Foxx, Earl Bostic, Bill Doggett, Lonnie Johnson, Ike Turner, Roy Brown, Freddie King, Eddie Vinson, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, and even a young James Brown. While other record companies of the day made their fortunes by concentrating on one style of music, King Records was active in virtually all genres of vernacular American music, from blues and R & B to rockabilly, bluegrass, western swing, and country._x000B__x000B_Founded by Cincinnati businessman Sydney Nathan in the mid-1940s, King Records led the way for the hundreds of independent record companies of the 1940s and 1950s. Fox weaves together the elements of King's success, focusing on the dynamic personalities of the artists, producers, and key executives such as Nathan, Henry Glover, and Ralph Bass. Drawing on personal interviews, research in contemporary newspapers and periodicals, and deep access to the King archives, this book captures a sense of the inspired mayhem that permeated King Records in its glory days. _x000B__x000B_A progressive company in a reactionary time, King Records was also an early pioneer in racial integration, with 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. Analyzing the record industry's corporate culture and the national context of King's music, Fox assesses the meaning of King Records in postwar America and discusses the label's decline after 1968, when Nathan died and the company was acquired by Starday Records. With a foreword by legendary guitarist, singer, and songwriter Dave Alvin, King of the Queen City fondly looks back at an influential, innovative, and inspirational enterprise in American music.
- Publication Date:
- 03 / 09 / 2009