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Englewood; A Really Funky Place ?


Can any of our knowledgeable US based listies explain why Englewood, New Jersey seemed to attract so much 'soul action' in the 1960's ??

I guess it had something to do with the fact that the place had great transport links to New York (just across the River Hudson) and yet property rents there must have been way cheaper than in Manhattan (or even Harlem I guess).

ALSO, it was most likely a location where blacks felt safe living / working. Many of the other river front New Jersey towns down to Hoboken in the south were 'white working class' areas and blacks weren't welcome in those places back in the day.

The likes of Wilson Pickett, Jimi Hendrix and the Isleys based themselves in the area after they relocated to New York to be nearer the 'centre of things'  music biz wise (though the Isley Bros themselves soon moved to the adjacent Teaneck area).

There were numerous jazz & soul record labels based out of there PLUS a good number of recording studios too.

Tru-Glo-Town had their studio (Town Sound Studios) in Englewood. Loads of soul singers recorded there -- Lou Courtney, Benny Gordon, etc.

Sylvia Robinson (& husband Joe) had her studio there (Soul Sound Studios) and All Platinum / Sugarhill Records were based there & they fetched even more acts into their studio to lay down tracks.

Loads of top jazz tracks over a long period were cut at Van Gelder studios (445 9th St. Englewood Cliffs).

Bert Berns lived / worked out of the place (though the official address for Bang / Shout Records was in New York).

I also believe that Law-ton Records was from the area (though again their official address was in Manhattan).

Loads more soul singers were based in the area but at present my brain is playing up so I can't recall who they all were.


The place & its surrounding suburbs were also (I seem to recall) where many 80's / 90's indie labels that put out soul 12" releases were  based or at least where outfits they that distributed those labels were from.


There are current proposals to extend the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system (trams to us Europeans) that runs from Jersey City, Hoboken & North Bergen up to Englewood and if that occurs, no doubt the area will become more gentrified. 


... AND ... just to reinforce the funky nature of the name .... Englewood, CHICAGO was home to lots of soul folk too !!!

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Posted (edited)

As stated above, Tru-Glo-Town Records and their 'in-house' Town Sound Studios were located in Englewood.

TRU-GLO-TOWN was owned by TRUde Heller, GLOria Toote and Ed TOWNsend. Trude Heller being the odd one out.

She was a middle aged Jewish woman who had escaped from Austria with her parents just before WW2 kicked off. She established a life in New York and by the 60's was  promoting music shows & running clubs. She had a famous Manhattan club that just became known as Trude Hellers (at Sixth Avenue and 9th Street). In 1965, she promoted a big Supremes show at the Lincoln Centre Philharmonc Hall in New York. In 1967, she opened a 2nd club in New York, the Trik (at Broadway & 49th St). Here she had live groups on and just about always had either Eddie Jacobs & his Mighty Soul Rockers (who became the Eddie Jacobs Exchange) or Benny Gordon & the Soul Brothers on live. She obviously got close to Benny Gordon as he was allowed to record at Town Sound Studios. She also booked him & his group to play live at just about the biggest / swankiest private party ever staged in NY .... Truman Capote's Black & White Ball. Like the clientelle at her clubs, only the very top celebs (500 guests) were invited to attend this event staged at the swanky Plaza Hotel in 1966. 

Other acts who she had on at her clubs included the Sandpipers (T-G-T artists), Otis Redding, Ben E. King, Joey Dee & the Starlighters and Sam The Sham & the Pharaohs.

But Trude, like many rich New Yorkers, got into the habit of flying down to Florida in the winter time. She soon opened a club there as well and quit New York altogether for a few years. She kept her NY clubs though but went with musical fashion and seemed to loose interest in soul acts before the end of the 60's.

Still, in the time that soul music had been fashionable, she had booked & helped many acts plus of course had helped finance Tru-Glo-Town and their Englewood based studio.


Edited by Roburt

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... AND ... just to reinforce the funky nature of the name .... Englewood, CHICAGO was home to lots of soul folk too !!!


OT a bit, but recently watched a documentary on Englewood, Chicago, called The Interrupters, really superb and five star recommended viewing, although fair to say, there's nothing left and is now a wasteland.

You can probably get it on Youtube if you search for it.

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If we could go back in time to see Trude Heller's club back then Roburt know both of us at Dig Deeper would pick the night we have an old ad for when our favourite singer Tommy Dent played there, dream on... 


Plus obvious connection between her and All Platinum is Sylvia Robinson had an early 45 on TruGloTown 108.

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I know this thread is 8 years old

But thought would share info on Gloria Toote ( an amazing woman)

Gloria E.A. Toote, attorney and real estate developer, was born on November 8, 1931, in New York City. Toote had been advisor to four American presidents. She was a graduate of Howard University where she received her B.A. degree in 1952 and went on to receive her J.D. degree in 1954. To complete her studies, she also attended Columbia University, where she received her M.A. degree in 1956. Toote, a conservative Republican, has held positions in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan presidential administrations.

From 1966 to 1970, Toote served as president of Toote Town Publishing Company and Town Recording Studios, Incorporated. From 1971 to 1973, she was Assistant Director of ACTION, and from 1973 to 1975, she was Assistant Secretary for Equal Opportunity in the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. In 1976, she served as an uncommitted New York State delegate to the Republican National Convention and gave the seconding nominating speech for Reagan as president. During the Reagan administration, Toote was vice chairman of the United States Office of Private Sector Initiatives. She is a founding member of the board of governors of the National Black United Fund and a member of the steering committee for Citizens for the Republic. In the late 1980s when Toote began developing real estate in New York City, she became the president of TREA Estates and Enterprises, Incorporated, an apartment building operating firm.

Toote received special achievement awards from the National Association of Black Women Attorneys; and in 1992, the National Political Congress of Black Women recognized her contributions for furthering the participation of African American women in the political process.

Toote lived in New York City. 

Toote passed away on May 18, 2017.

soul Gloria

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Interesting that the same area was so good influencial in the late 80's and early 90's great to see the region is finally getting bthe recognition it deserves.

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