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Roburt

Rare Us Major Label Soul 45's - How Come

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There are rare 45's on many US major labels from the 60's .... BUT how / why did this come about.

Perhaps the easiest to explain are the rare Wand 45's .... lots of these were picked up from local labels and Scepter / Wand had lost interest in lots soon after they had licensed them. I guess they sent out many promo copies to radio stns on the original local label and when no stn playlisted the cuts, they just failed to press up many copies on Wand itself.

By the mid 70's, many 45's were being recycled due to the oil crisis, so lots of stuff originally released say from 72 to 75 disappeared into the plastic mincer.

But why are many MGM / Verve soul 45's so rare ................ I know the company had no idea how to promote such releases, but from the 1000's of 60's Verve / MGM soul 45's that were mass imported into the UK in the 70's it is obvious that they pressed up 100's of copies of the majority of their singles.

So why are some of their 45's so rare ???

RCA were in a similar position to MGM in the 60's .... lots of stuff released, hardly anything effectively promoted.

So which are the rare RCA 60's soul 45's and why ???

Warners / Loma again have similar releases (some that are listed just don't seem to exist at all !!)

The Atlantic family seem to have few if any such 45's (& yet they licensed in a very high % as did Wand).

Rare Motown 45's only seem to be those that were withdrawn before 'official' release.

Are there many rare Capitol family rare 60's soul 45's (& I don't mean rare coz more collectors desire copies than have come onto the open market).

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Some Wands were only issued in a certain area to try them out (e.g. Ohio) and so the copies all went to a single promo man. If he trashed them, then it would be pretty rare.

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What about Columbia / Epic / Date ..... many rare 60's 45's on those labels ?

Same for Amy -Mala - Bell -- some do seem to be rare items ... but which are the rarest ?

.... and (though not really a major as such) Chess / Checker / Cadet / Argo ?

NOT rare coz so many collectors want a copy but genuinely rare singles please.

Some labels seemed to use Ohio cities as a test bed & so only sent some 45's there .....

Baltimore was another major 'breakout city' where many 45's were sent to test their popularity, which labels just sent some 45's there ?

Edited by Roburt

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There was some scam going on with MGM/Verve, their reps, pluggers and returns. Someone explained this to me a few years back but unfortunately I forgot who it was. Might have been Kev Roberts.

But why were some records hits and some not on major labels? All down to radio programming. If they didn't make the playlists, they weren't promoted any longer.

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Having worked at a few majors since the mid 70's, I can tell you that the overiding practise since the early 60's for most majors was essentially to release tons of records every week on the basis that something will eventually stick. When they had a hit record it would sell in such volume that it would cancel out all the stiffs. This policy was A&R led and long before the days when the accountants took over so there was a constant 'churn' of releases.

With the bigger companies like RCA, MGM, Columbia, Warners etc, they all had huge machines to keep going with nationwide Sales and Racking operations, PR departments, national and regional Promotion offices, Pressing plants etc, etc, so to keep the machine going they needed multiple releases every week. One major hit would wipe out any losses on the other 50 releases each month. Elvis Presley and Perry Como effectively subsidised Lorraine Chandler and Metros releases for RCA, the Beach Boys and the Beatles subsidised Alexander Patton and Patrice Holloway for Capitol, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin subsidised Linda Jones and Ben Aiken for Warners and Connie Francis and Eric Burdon subsidised the Charades and the Tymes for MGM. We should be thankful that the music business was so rich back then that they could easily support so many releases.

Also I'm constantly surprised at hearing some of the sales figures for regional hits in the U.S. Just this week I've been researching the Gospel output and sales of some indie labels and I'm always staggered when I get told,"hey we did 50,000 in Cleveland alone' or similar sentiments. A lot of these sales were through 'Mom & Pop' stores which seldom contributed to the Billboard sales chart so some big sellers were out there which were not necessarily reflected in the national charts. Back then you could actually sell over 250,000 records regionally without having a national hit.

Essentially America is just so big that when a record did take off it could bring in a fortune. We're incredibly lucky that we got to be the recipients of such great quality flops!

Ian D :D

Edited by Ian Dewhirst

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.........But why were some records hits and some not on major labels?

...... That wasn't my query ..........

I wanted to know why some none hit 45's were common, whilst others remain very rare (seemingly only getting pressed in very limited quantities ?)

What was the logic behind this situation & why (SAY) was one failed MGM 45 around in the 100's whilst the Velours 45 wasn't ??

Are there rare Mercury / Phillips / Fontana soul 45's ?

What about ABC ?? (ABC managers were so 'useless' they junked all unissued track master tapes coz they were 'taking up storage space' -- go figure !!).

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I am sure the Velours 45 was pressed up in quantity unless it was a vanity release (it wasn't), it's just that the vast majority of stockers never got out of the company warehouse or diustributor, whereas other 45s were distributed all over. Could be a dozen reasons for it - no radio plays, contractual dispute emerges, group sign a new contract (or change their name :yes:) etc etc.

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I wanted to know why some none hit 45's were common, whilst others remain very rare (seemingly only getting pressed in very limited quantities ?)

What was the logic behind this situation & why (SAY) was one failed MGM 45 around in the 100's whilst the Velours 45 wasn't ??

Good question and there's no easy answers unfortunately. I think when Bostocks in Bradford bought the entire contents of the MGM/Verve warehouse most of that stock ended up in the UK. For all the hundreds of copies of April Stevens, Clara Ward, Dottie Cambridge, The Tymes, Spyder Turner, The Charades, the Superiors, The Triumphs, The Ambers, Billy Woods, The Shalimars, Terri Bryant, Beti Webb, The Righteous Brothers Band and the King Davis House Rockers that were there, I still never found The Embers, Howard Guyton, Tony Middleton, Youngblood Smith, The Jewels, The High Keys or The Velours, which you would have thought would have turned up as well. There was a period where I almost wouldn't buy a Verve or MGM release because I was convinced they'd eventually turn up at Bostocks but history has proved that there's no apparent formula.

Are there rare Mercury / Phillips / Fontana soul 45's ?

Yep, plenty. Some of these major label 45's are rarer than many indies IMO.Also, I don't think a lot of these labels have been trawled completely either. In the last few weeks alone I've heard several great major label 45's by artists I've never heard of! Also a couple of real surprises from known artists who had the misfortune to have a release just before a label was discontinued. These are massively rare records which haven't made it into any guides thus far.

What about ABC ?? (ABC managers were so 'useless' they junked all unissued track master tapes coz they were 'taking up storage space' -- go figure !!).

There's still stuff on ABC for sure. I heard a record the other week which was a vintage Robert Bateman Detroit production on ABC by a totally unknown group with a name that no one would ever bother with believe me. It's brilliant. Vintage Northern Soul from 1969 produced by a legend, yet few people are aware of it! Not in any guides and mega rare. So they're still out there.

I honestly think that there's more great stuff to find on many of the major labels. I was staggered when I got to go through the complete Bell/Amy/Mala listings a few years back. You'd need a couple of years just to go through all those releases believe me. Just checking the discographies of most of the U.S. majors between, say, 1964-1969 and looking at the sheer volume of releases, I know there's still gold in them there hills. I've heard some unbelievably great major label records in the last few weeks so the glass is definitely half-full tonight LOL....

Ian D :D

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good, interesting thread this, I've wondered about the majors too, I think we have to separate the wheat from the chaff though, or the desirable and pricey from the proper rare. I also wonder what sort of quantity the flops in general were pressed in, Say for a disc that sells for around £100, Bobby Sheen, Patrice Hollaway on Capitol or a cavilers on rca, 5000? 10,000 or more?

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I am sure the Velours 45 was pressed up in quantity unless it was a vanity release (it wasn't), it's just that the vast majority of stockers never got out of the company warehouse or diustributor, whereas other 45s were distributed all over. Could be a dozen reasons for it - no radio plays, contractual dispute emerges, group sign a new contract (or change their name :yes:) etc etc.

Weirdly enough, in the early 80's I used to go out with a lovely girl from Leeds called Emma Haywood who was in the Fantastics. Her dad was Don Haywood who was in the Velours when he lived in the U.S. I talked to Don about "I'm Gonna Change" but I can't recall the conversation. Back then most Americans were always genuinely shocked that we even knew the records so he was probably trying to figure out how I even knew about the Velours leave alone how friendly I was getting with his daughter LOL....

The worst thing was, I always preferred the Four Seasons version to the Velours because it was much punchier. I thought the Velours version was kinda lame to be honest. And I thought they were white LOL....

Ian D :D

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good, interesting thread this, I've wondered about the majors too, I think we have to separate the wheat from the chaff though, or the desirable and pricey from the proper rare. I also wonder what sort of quantity the flops in general were pressed in, Say for a disc that sells for around £100, Bobby Sheen, Patrice Hollaway on Capitol or a cavilers on rca, 5000? 10,000 or more?

Good question. Where's Rouncy when we need him? :lol:

I think it's entirely possible that more demos were pressed than issues with a lot of the flops. I'd guess that the big majors would press a thousand demos, see if there was any traction anywhere and then press the issues to demand, which for the most part would be nil.

One also has to consider the size and regionalism of the USA. Major regional biases were huge in the 60's and 70's. Brunswick, Mercury and Curtom thrived on their Chicago power base, Motown and Ric-Tic/Golden World owned Detroit, Duke/Peacock/Backbeat had Texas, King had Cincinatti, Mirwood had L.A. and Cameo, Arctic and later, Philadelphia International, controlled Philly etc, etc. Regionalism rules America. Even 30 years later in the Rap arena you had Def Jam/Bad Boy in New York, Death Row in L.A., Luke Skywalker in Florida etc, etc.

When I was researching stuff about 20 years ago I was stunned to be told that Al Johnson & Jean Carn's "I'm Back For More"- a No.1 U.S. R'n'B hit was purely down to it's huge sales in some parts of the South and Florida. The same record didn't translate to the rest of the USA but the surge from some of the Southern states and Florida propelled it to No.1 R'n'B. Wow.

Some of the more well-known regional anomalies are fairly well-documented. "Brandy (You're A Fine Girl)" by Looking Glass from Jersey was successfully transferred from a local into a national hit. Rockin' Sydney's "My Toot Toot" from New Orleans sold phenomenally locally and sparked a national pop hit for Denise LaSalle. "Disco Duck" by Rick Dees & His Cast Of Idiots was released by Fretone (home of Lillian Hale) before it was picked up by RSO and sold a million.

And what about Nashville? How many Nashville records translated to either of the U.S. coasts or the North? Maybe 0.000001%?

It's really incredible how much there is to still hear. That's the beauty of it really.

Ian D :D

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You Brits who just know what is common in Britain (and not know what was going on in the shops in USA and on the radio there) have a very distorted view of the music business in USA during the '60s. The stock of '60s 45s that ended up in Britain is certainly more representative of what was NOT sold, than of what was sold.

RCA, MGM, Columbia, WB and Capitol didn't know how to market Soul music. But, they had executives who got the notion into their heads that they should tap the burgeoning Soul market. They produced a LOT of Soul music, but never were willing to put money into pressing up store stock, as they didn't see any interest from potential buyers of those records, as they were never able to get those songs played on Black-Community radio stations, and were rarely able to get those records into local shops-with the shop workers knowing what they sounded like. The shop workers played what they heard on the radio, and what Soul company reps brought to them and played for them. As a Soul record buyer, I went into local Ghetto record shops and asked for records with songs I heard on the radio, as well as new releases by artists I knew and on record labels I liked (R&B labels). I didn't have the time to ask to hear every new RCA, Columbia, MGM, Capitol and WB Soul release. The record shop clerk wouldn't have been able to find them for me in any case. But, that same clerk surely COULD (and DID) find me all the new Chess, VJ, Atlantic, Motown, Modern/Kent, Specialty, Aladdin, Imperial, releases. Mercury and ABC were better at marketing their Soul releases than were the other Majors.

As stated above, often there were many more DJ copies pressed than store stockers, and in many cases, ONLY DJs.

What ended up arriving to UK was completely due to quirks of history, rather than original numbers of records pressed.

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There's still stuff on ABC for sure. I heard a record the other week which was a vintage Robert Bateman Detroit production on ABC by a totally unknown group with a name that no one would ever bother with believe me. It's brilliant. Vintage Northern Soul from 1969 produced by a legend, yet few people are aware of it! Not in any guides and mega rare. So they're still out there.

I bet it's that Mizak & the Flizaps or whatever it's called, I already knew this and had had it, so others would have already known it too. Not everyone needs a price guide :D

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There's still stuff on ABC for sure. I heard a record the other week which was a vintage Robert Bateman Detroit production on ABC by a totally unknown group with a name that no one would ever bother with believe me. It's brilliant. Vintage Northern Soul from 1969 produced by a legend, yet few people are aware of it! Not in any guides and mega rare. So they're still out there.

On ABC by Bateman in 1969. Are you sure it was produced (recorded) in Detroit, rather than New York? I suspect that they were done in NY. Bateman didn't record anymore in Detroit by 1967 (as far as I remember. The Flo Ballard cuts must have been recorded in NY, as they were arranged by Bert DeCouteaux. They don't sound like the Detroit artists I know. They sound like Richard Tee's artists session players that Bateman used in New York to re-create The Detroit Sound.

I bet it's a record I passed up because the group name looked too "modern", and like a rock group rather than Soul group name. Although, with Robert Bateman's name on it, I'd have given it a listen. It's really weak, boring Soul. So, I may have even heard it and not bought it, as I didn't like it.

Can anyone post a link to, or post an MP3 of the flip? Maybe I'll like that better.

Edited by RobbK

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On ABC by Bateman in 1969. Are you sure it was produced (recorded) in Detroit, rather than New York? I suspect that they were done in NY. Bateman didn't record anymore in Detroit by 1967 (as far as I remember. The Flo Ballard cuts must have been recorded in NY, as they were arranged by Bert DeCouteaux. They don't sound like the Detroit artists I know. They sound like Richard Tee's artists session players that Bateman used in New York to re-create The Detroit Sound.

I bet it's a record I passed up because the group name looked too "modern", and like a rock group rather than Soul group name. Although, with Robert Bateman's name on it, I'd have given it a listen. It's really weak, boring Soul. So, I may have even heard it and not bought it, as I didn't like it.

Can anyone post a link to, or post an MP3 of the flip? Maybe I'll like that better.

think the flip follows on on the ebay clip

or maybe can hear it in full via here - listed but not checked

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I bet it's that Mizak & the Flizaps or whatever it's called, I already knew this and had had it, so others would have already known it too. Not everyone needs a price guide :D

was up on here a few years ago

one of the many interesting 45s that member hudsoul used to post up

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I'd guess that the ABC 45 had strong DC connections as well ....... the name MizAX probably being derived from Max (Kidd), the writer of the song.

DC soul was in transition in 1969; the earlier era of soul singers / groups such as Billy Stewart, the Unifics, Summits, Carltons, Emanons, Epsilons, 4 Bars seemed to die out after the big D.C. riots of 1968 that destroyed much of the local record biz (buildings, stock, etc). By the early 70's, funk was the big influence on local outfits such as the Soul Searchers who would spearhead the evolution into Go Go music.

Max Kidd was hooked up with Curtom (probably via Donny Hathaway & LeRoy Hutson who were at college in DC) and had secured the Stridells a deal with the Chicago label. But with the majority of local labels out of business after the riots, Max probably took this outfit up to New York to get them a record deal.

Anyone know in detail what Max Kidd was up to in 1968 & 1969 ??

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think the flip follows on on the ebay clip

or maybe can hear it in full via here - listed but not checked

Yes, it follows, and it is MUCH, MUCH better than "Test Me" (the faster, but "B" side). I would have kept it, so, I guess I never had it. I guess I never had a chance to buy it, and was unable to hear it. It's okay, but yet one of Bateman's poorer efforts.

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On ABC by Bateman in 1969. Are you sure it was produced (recorded) in Detroit, rather than New York? I suspect that they were done in NY. Bateman didn't record anymore in Detroit by 1967 (as far as I remember. The Flo Ballard cuts must have been recorded in NY, as they were arranged by Bert DeCouteaux. They don't sound like the Detroit artists I know. They sound like Richard Tee's artists session players that Bateman used in New York to re-create The Detroit Sound.

You're probably right Robb.

Ian D :D

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I bet it's that Mizak & the Flizaps or whatever it's called, I already knew this and had had it, so others would have already known it too. Not everyone needs a price guide :D

Sold two in the last two months

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