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Mothers Records & The Snarf Company


Roburt

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This label, which was owned by a Jay Ward & based in LA, sprung into life in 1967, burnt bright for some months and then disappeared in 1970. All its releases were credited to Jay Ward Productions but I don't believe that Jay was very 'hands-on' in the studio. 

H B Barnum seemed to be the guy who guided the artists through the recording process, though the label's output didn't really enjoy great commercial sales levels back then.

The mix of artists signed to the label was all over the place. Jazz singer Teri Thornton had the first single to come out on 'Mothers' and her outing has fans on here. The B side of her 45 was just recently posted up on another thread (Soul Source Record Club).

Round Robin (Lloyd) had been around a while in recording terms also. He had cut for Domain in the mid 60's and had appeared on the Lloyd Thaxton TV show. Round Robin's "Kick That Little Foot Sally Ann" had been a hit with UK mods in the mid 60's. His later outings on Stax's Truth label (the Round Robin Monopoly) have also garnered many fans down the years.

Little Gary Ferguson was (if my memory ain't playing tricks) originally from the south (Dallas, Texas) and he first cut there for Red Bean Records. He really sprang to fame after he moved to the Nashville area. Back then, he was just 6 years old and seemed to be marketed as a rival to 'Little' Stevie Wonder (though he based his stage act around James Brown tunes). Another of his top live performance songs back then was "Midnight Hour". Gary made a few appearances on 'the Beat' TV show in 1966 and as these have survived, lots of soul fans now know of this kid's high profile back then. After his spell in Nashville, he headed out to LA to perform and was signed eventually to 'Mothers'. After his stint with 'Mothers', he was signed to (Ike & Tina's) Pompeii Records and the NS biggie "There's A Gift" was released. 

Gene Diamond I know little about other than that he cut other stuff for TAG ("I'm Only A Man") and his 'Mothers' 45 featured a Frank Wilson (of Motown fame) song. He also seemed to have powerful friends (Bill Cosby, Sammy Davis Jr, etc) when it came to political issues. Via Mothers & Snarf, he put out a campaign single supporting local Major Bradley. In February 1970, the LA Times reported on a live club appearance he had done. Their reporter thought that Gene had possibilities but still seemed to be searching for his own sound. 

Jazz lady Spanky Wilson had the most releases on the label and she would go onto bigger things via her Eastbound / Westbound Records releases in the mid 70's.

Sharon Cash made her start with 'Mothers' towards the end of the label's life. She then cut for Playboy Records before becoming a member of the Honeycones (Hot Wax) in the mid 70's. Michael 'Love'Smith worked with her at Hot Wax.

 

A partial run-down on the labels releases can be found here ........ 

https://www.discogs.com/label/Mothers+Records+%26+The+Snarf+Company

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Sharon got to appear on a few TV shows back then.

She appeared on 'Allen Ludden's Gallery' TV show in August 69 (Spanky Wilson had also on the show 6 weeks earlier). In November 1970, she was featured on the 'Rosey Grier Show' (his series was on US TV for over a year).

I wonder if clips from either show have survived ?

 

A Sharon Cash 'Mothers' LP track ..........

Edited by Roburt
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.......... INFO OFF THE NET ...............

Round Robin was a Los Angeles-based singer who got his start in the early 60’s with the regional hit ‘Do the Slauson’, and was for a time (thanks to a lot of exposure on the Lloyd Thaxton TV show*) something of a West Coast, dance-craze Chubby Checker. In fact, so popular was ‘The Slauson’ that he devoted sides of his first three 45s to the ‘Slauson’ (a street in LA)  -- ‘Slauson Shuffle Time’, ‘Slauson Party’ and ‘Do the Slauson’. He recorded more than a dozen 45s between 1963 and 1975, running the gamut from R&B/twist party. His only Capitol 45 featured "The Vulture". The record has a deceptively slow, spoken opening before Round Robin drops in with a loud, overwrought and vaguely out of tune shout of ‘The Vulture’ and the tune hits a solid four on the floor dancers beat, with just enough vibes and baritone sax in the background. All this in addition to the fact that the record was produced by the mighty David Axelrod.

........ LLoyd Thaxton was a major LA-based TV and radio personality, whose dance party show was syndicated for a time in the 60s. Round Robin apparently released a couple of albums for Thaxton, so the chances are that there are in fact even more ‘Slauson’ tunes. Interestingly enough, Bob & Earl reportedly looked to ‘Slauson Shuffle Time’ for inspiration when they whipped up the mighty ‘Harlem Shuffle’.

 

........ MORE OFF THE NET ...........

I played bass for Round Robin for several years from 1969 through 1975. He was a really good guy. We traveled from L.A. to Miami, to Chicago, New York, Texas, Colorado & all stops in between. We had a kick butt band with two guitars, Larry Green, who played & sang great, from Fort &Worth, and Dub Craft from L.A. who we called Zero. For a while, we even had two drummers. One of the drummers was Ollie Lamey who later resided in Las Vegas. The other drummer was from Cuba, and played conga drums when he wasn’t needed on the trap set. On sax was Arnold Barry, we called him Stunigan, and he hailed from New York City. He was a good singer, too. We also had a trumpet player, his name escapes me, and a trombone player, Rex White from Florida. We played James Brown, Chicago type music and everything funky from the times. The house was always packed no matter where we were. Robin wound up in Dallas building huge, wonderful, custom homes in the Plano area and then I lost track of him. Dallas seemed to be his home base as his act was truly loved there. Robin was kind and always tried to keep every band member happy, which is a very hard thing to do. Robin was very funny during the shows we performed, he danced light on his feet and belted out tunes with his soul.     Thanks,   Ray Brown; bass player,

 

Round Robin (wonder how he got his name !?!) appearing on the Lloyd Thaxton TV show ........

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Spanky Wilson was born in Philly but brought up in Pittsburgh. 

She hit it big as a singer after moving to LA. She started playing live gigs around the town and one venue she appeared at was Shelly's Manne-Hole. That first night she was just the featured vocalist with the Jimmy Smith Trio (May 67). However, her impact on the local jazz scene was so great that by March 69 she was starring at the club in her own right.  

By 1973, her profile on the US jazz scene was so strong that she was one of the nominated artists in Ebony Magazine for Female Jazz Singer of the Year.

She had a decent CD out from Ace. 

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Edited by Roburt
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By June 1969, Spanky Wilson was appearing on top rated US TV shows (see TV review below) ........

By that time, she had already been into Paramount Studios (with HB) to cut her first tracks for 'Mothers'.  

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By 1970, Spanky was knocking them dead at the LA Playboy Club (though strangely it would later be label mate Sharon Cash who would be signed to their record label). In 1980, she was still the darling of the local LA club scene;. By then she was wowing audiences (along with O C Smith) at the Memory Lane Supper Club.

A 1970 newspaper piece on Spanky and her recent (back then) achievements .........

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This label was owned by Jay Ward, the super creative mastermind behind the Bullwinkle and Rocky cartoons. He started the label after the R&B cartoon series was ended. At the time he was also producing the George Of the Jungle cartoon (for which I got teased about). You could contact his daughter who seems to be running the operation (he died a long time ago). The record logo was drawn by him, it's supposed to be a caricature of his real mother....

Edited by George G
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Sharon got to appear on a few TV shows back then.

She appeared on 'Allen Ludden's Gallery' TV show in August 69 (Spanky Wilson had also on the show 6 weeks earlier).

Did some checking and it seems that these two singers appearing on the 'Allen Ludden's Gallery' TV show seems right & appropriate.

H B Barnum produced their 'Mothers & Snarf' tracks AND who led the resident band on Alan Ludden's show ..........

.............. right, it was H B Barnum !!!!

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