The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
SEARCH:
skip navigation
May 2008

What’s New · King Records: A Cincinnati Legacy

King Records

Celebrate the 65th Anniversary of King Records! Join us for two panel discussions that will highlight the history and achievements of the legendary Cincinnati record label, as well its contributions to pop culture, the music industry, and our city. These discussion will explore the work of the artists and musicians who contributed to King’s rich heritage and examine the label’s impact on the fields of Country, Bluegrass, Blues, and R&B.

The panel discussions will take place at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 10 in the Main Library Atrium.

Panel One: The Early Years: Country and Bluegrass

Moderator: Randy McNutt. Randy is a former independent record producer who discovered the hit songwriter Wayne Perry and produced many singles for the Avco-Embassy, Fraternity, and Counterpart labels. He is the author of the music books Guitar Towns, Too Hot to Handle, and We Wanna Boogie. His latest book, The Cincinnati Sound, is a photo collection of the Cincinnati music scene throughout the decades.

Panelist: Darren Blase. Darren is an authority on local music, and the author of The King Records Story. He is owner of Shake It Records, a Northside store that promotes local bands and offers the area’s largest selection of independent music. He was involved in the compilation, Straight Outta Boone County, a CD tribute to WLW’s Boone County Jamboree and the Midwestern Hayride, two long-running live country music radio shows that aired in Cincinnati from 1938 through the 1960s. His Shake It label has been reissuing local and regional soul, R&B, and Funk music as part of its Cincinnati Soul Spectrum Series.

Panelist: Steve Halper. Steve is the nephew of King Records founder Syd Nathan. He has participated in other King Records programs, including Syd Nathan’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 and WVXU’s King Records radio series. A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, Mr. Halper is a lawyer for Katzman, Logan, Halper & Bennett and has practiced law since 1975.

Panelist: Cathy Hughes. Cathy is the daughter of King artist Cowboy Copas. She sang on several of her father’s songs recorded at the King Records Studio and was a regular performer for the Grand Ole Opry. She currently lives in Nashville.

Panelist: Bonnie Lou. Bonnie Lou is the legendary TV personality of WLW TV, and co-host of the Paul Dixon Show. She began working in 1945 at WLW radio on the Midwestern Hayride show, where many of her costars such as Louis Innis, Zeke Turner and Charlie Gore recorded at King Records as artists and session players. Bonnie Lou herself was a King recording artist from 1953 – 1958 with several hits including “Seven Lonely Days,” “Doin’ the Tennessee Walk” and “Daddy-o.”

Panelist: Dr. John Simon, Ph.D. Dr. Simon is the author of the upcoming biography, Cowboy Copas and the Golden Age of Country Music. Dr. Simon, a native of Scioto County, is a Professor at both Rio Grande University and Shawnee State University, and teaches classes on the history, culture, and tradition of the Appalachian area and its music. The 27th Sorghum Festival featuring old time music takes place on John Simon’s farm on Oct 3, 2008.

Panel Two: The Later Years: R&B and the Blues

Moderator: Larry Nager. Larry began his career as a professional musician before becoming a music critic. He has covered music for the Cincinnati Post, The Cincinnati Enquirer, and The Memphis Commercial Appeal. He authored a book, Memphis Beat, about that city’s music scene. He also co-produced the 1993 musical documentary Bill Monroe: Father of Bluegrass Music. “The King is Dead, Long Live the King,” his article about King Records was published in the March issue of Cincinnati Magazine. Currently, he lives and writes in Nashville.

Panelist: Ed Conley. Ed, a Covington, Kentucky native, played bass on many R & B, Blues, and Country recordings at King Records with artists such as Lonnie Johnson, Bonnie Lou, Bill Doggett, and Little Willie John. He continues to perform with the Billie Walker Trio at the Cincinnatian Hotel on Saturday evenings.

Philip Paul. Philip was the legendary studio drummer for King Records from 1952 to 1964, during some of its most productive years. He played on over 350 recordings including Little Willie John’s “Fever,” Hank Ballard’s “The Twist,” and Freddie King’s “Hide Away.” Philip Paul released a jazz CD in 2003, titled It’s about Time, which featured Peter Frampton on guitar. Mr. Paul performs with the Billie Walker Trio at the Cincinnatian Hotel every Saturday evening.

Panelist: Otis Williams. Otis is the lead singer of The Charms, a vocal group discovered while still students at Withrow High School in Cincinnati. The group had several hits for King’s subsidiary label, DeLuxe, including “Hearts of Stone,” which was # 1 on the R&B charts for nine weeks. The group had further R&B chart success with “Two Hearts” and “Ivory Tower.” Mr. Williams continues to perform with a new Charms group. Currently, a documentary is being made about Mr. Williams and his recording career.

King CDs in Our Collection