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Cenco Records....info please...big label

Posted (edited)

I am new to this site so I apologise if this has been covered before (please direct me to any threads)

I read the great story on Kell Osbourne

https://chalkster101.wordpress.com/the-kell-osborne-story/

This lead me to Robb K (thanks again) stating that Leon Rene owned the label Spry Records (maybe there is a connection)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_René

I then looked at the releases and found out that there are quite a lot that have no info about the groups such as The Turbines and Fred And The Turbins (both big $$$$) on the "scene"

The first release on the label was Ike and Tina Turners LP showing the address as 

1610 Argyle Street 
Hollywood 
California 
USA

Most of the release are here (some gaps)

http://www.soulfulkindamusic.net/cenco.htm

Any info would be superb and I feel this could be a big thread for us anoraks (but I guess and hope that this site is for this sort of thing 😀)

 

 

soul Turbines

soul Ike Front

Edited by Blackpoolsoul

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Posted

Can you refer me to where Robb says Leon Rene owned the label please? News to me 

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Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, ady croasdell said:

Can you refer me to where Robb says Leon Rene owned the label please? News to me 

It was on Soulful Detroit and maybe I got it wrong (I should have been more accurate Ady) as he mentioned Spry Records., which I believe Cenco was a sub label, so I assumed (and we know what assuming does)

It's about 3/4 down

https://soulfuldetroit.com/showthread.php?9464-Black-owned-record-companies-in-the-60s-and-70s

Edited by Blackpoolsoul

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Posted

Quite a few of the releases the publishing is through Class, that is Leon Rene’s label. 

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Posted
11 minutes ago, Chalky said:

Quite a few of the releases the publishing is through Class, that is Leon Rene’s label. 

Interesting thanks 

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Posted
2 hours ago, Blackpoolsoul said:

It was on Soulful Detroit and maybe I got it wrong (I should have been more accurate Ady) as he mentioned Spry Records., which I believe Cenco was a sub label, so I assumed (and we know what assuming does)

It's about 3/4 down

https://soulfuldetroit.com/showthread.php?9464-Black-owned-record-companies-in-the-60s-and-70s

Thanks, nice thread. I’ve asked him if there’s any more evidence, we didn’t find them in the Class tapes 

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Posted (edited)

The Cenco label was around a few years before the Ike and Tina album. Here's some info from Cashbox in 1962 and a release from around 

that time. While there is no mention of Spry Record Corp., It does appear to be the same label . 

soul Cenco

soul address

Edited by The Yank
  • Up vote 1

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Posted

I don't think many of the early ones mentioned Spry.

I've just looked the label up in R&B Indies and it has Mike Gradny as the owner.

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Posted

a comment on 45cat....

Quote

Hard to pin down dates with this label but Cenco was owned by Mike Gradney (Gradny), a black Los Angeles veteran who had previously been A&R man (and partner?) at Larry Mead's Vita/Mambo labels and had managed Mead's Perfection Plastics pressing plant. Gradney started his Spry label in 1957 and Cenco came along some time in the 1960s. Judging by the constant appearance of "Class Publishing" on Cenco labels I'd guess Class was also a Gradney firm (nothing to do with Leon Rene's Class Records). Class Publishing also pops up on other L.A, indies including Gardena/Case, Allied, Lute and Delco. Anyway, this Jackie Kelso record is the usual throw-it-against-the-wall session-musician workout. As far as I can see nobody ever bothered to register it for copyright. It's a fair bet that Rene Hall was the guitarist and of course Kelso played sax. Kelso played on a lot of west coast sessions.

 

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Posted

After skimming through many of the early releases, I didn't see any Class Music but did see a lot of this publisher -

 

soul Belvin

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, Chalky said:

Cenco was owned by Mike Gradney (Gradny), a black Los Angeles veteran who had previously been A&R man (and partner?) at Larry Mead's Vita/Mambo labels and had managed Mead's Perfection Plastics pressing plant. Gradney started his Spry label in 1957 and Cenco came along some time in the 1960s. Judging by the constant appearance of "Class Publishing" on Cenco labels I'd guess Class was also a Gradney firm (nothing to do with Leon Rene's Class Records).

 

 

THAT false connecting of "Class Music" with Leon Rene , and the fact that Roy Milton and Charles Brown and Johny Moore's Four and Three Blazers had also recorded for Leon Rene in the past, must have been why I thought that Spry Records may have been at least partly owned by Rene.  It must have been totally Gradny's, with no connection to Rene or his Class Records.  I had thought that Gradny's Spry was originally distributed by Vita, but Rene may have been a partner.  But now I see that that was just a coincidence that Class Music was the same name as Class Records, but there was no connection, whatsoever. 

Edited by Robbk

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Posted
3 minutes ago, The Yank said:

After skimming through many of the early releases, I didn't see any Class Music but did see a lot of this publisher -

 

soul Belvin

Recordo Music was Leon Rene's personal publisher, used as in-house publishers by his Excelsior, Exclusive, and Class Records labels.

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Posted

112 has Class publishing as have the fowling two or three, I didn't look no further after 114.

https://www.45cat.com/label/cenco-us

roy-milton-orchestra-i-wonder-cenco.jpg.dd7df69f7eb88a737e2dbcf8e49c0d71.jpg

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, Chalky said:

a comment on 45cat....

 

I believe that Spry Records ran from 1957-1958.  Cenco seems to have started in 1961, and I've seen records from that label through about 1968.

Edited by Robbk

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Posted
12 minutes ago, Chalky said:

112 has Class publishing as have the fowling two or three, I didn't look no further after 114.

https://www.45cat.com/label/cenco-us

roy-milton-orchestra-i-wonder-cenco.jpg.dd7df69f7eb88a737e2dbcf8e49c0d71.jpg

ALL the Cenco Records from 1961-66 had Class Music as their publisher.  That must have been owned 100% by Gradny.  The first Cenco record NOT published by Class was Ike & Tina Turner's 1967 release, using Ike's Placid Music.

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Posted

It looks like Spry was briefly reactivated for a few releases in '60 / '61 . There's Class Music again - 

 

soul Spry

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Posted (edited)

Here's Global Dog's 45 discography of Spry Records:

101  Lorenzo Holden - Pie A La Mode /Top Hat (57)

102 Frankie Marshall - Walk With Me/ Remembrance (57)

103 Harmonica Slim - Thought I Didn't Love You/ Going Back Home (57)

104 Jackie Kelso - Jumpin' Gee /Cooler Please (57)

105 Jack Rodgers - Train Whistle Blues/ ? (57)

106 Martin Dedrick - Don't Lead Me On/ Heartsick And Lonely (57)

107Nick Green & Don Jackson - San Antonio Rock/ Tall Quiet Stranger (58)

108 Johnny Woodson & The Crescendos - Dreamers From My Heart/ All That's Good (58)

109 The Deville Sisters - Alone Why Must I Be Alone/ (Oh) My Love (58)

110 Reuben Grundy - Every Word/ Sail Away (58)

111 The Deville Sisters - Love And Desire/ ? (58)

112 Frankie Marshall - I Found Out/ How Long Will It Last (58)

113 Gene Lamarr - Crazy Little House On The Hill/ You Don't Love Me Anymore (59)

114 Gene Lamarr - You Can Count On Me/ Just A Little Bit Longer (59)

115 Gene Lamarr - Close To Me/ Moon Eyes (59)

116 The Carousels - I've Cried Enough/ Did I Cry Enough (62)

117 Gene Ross - Rockin' China Doll /Please Forgive Me (61)

118 The Jesters - To Be Or Not To Be /Meet The Beat (62)

119 Les "Carrot Top" Anderson - Johnny Sorrow/ Brenda Lee (62)

120 Jackie Lee Cochran - Pity Me Endless Love (recorded 59) (released 62?)

121 The Carousels - Rendezvous/ Drive In Movie (62?)

122 Chavez and Chaney - Be My Love/ Picadilly Rose (63?)

© 2005 Global Dog Productions. All rights reserved

 

The 1000 series (including Johnny Woodson 1008, must have operated in 1963 from the looks of the label and vinyl pressing job.  I'm sure there were more, looking at the label reminds me that I saw a few more of Spry records with that design on a 1000 series.  Several of them may have been re-releases of 100 Series material.  So Spry and Cenco operated at the same time for a few years in the early 1960s.

Edited by Robbk

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Posted (edited)

Discogs has the above mentioned list,  the Johnny Woodson and this 45 - 

Cashbox wrote about the flip side of  this 45 in an August, 1960 issue. 

soul Spry 2

Edited by The Yank

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Posted

Cenco recording artist Hank Carbo is around and very approachable on Facebook if you want to ask him anything.

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Posted (edited)
On 11/10/2019 at 19:35, Robbk said:

ALL the Cenco Records from 1961-66 had Class Music as their publisher.  That must have been owned 100% by Gradny.  The first Cenco record NOT published by Class was Ike & Tina Turner's 1967 release, using Ike's Placid Music.

I am beginning to wonder if the label was a "takeover" thing (by Spry later) (what with the dates)

And to confuse matters even more same numbers on these 2 

Were the brothers Chick and Chuck (The Spiders) ? Ray Jackson (Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd St Rhythm Band)

 

 

soul Carbo

soul Leftovers

 

Edited by Blackpoolsoul

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Posted (edited)

The label's releases do get a bit crazy- besides the two 109's, there are two #111's,  two #114's, three #115's, and 3 #116's.

Edited by The Yank

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Posted

Carbo Brothers are Hank and Claude. Chick and Chuck were their older brothers and were in the Spiders. What a family!

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Posted (edited)

    

2 hours ago, weingarden said:

Carbo Brothers are Hank and Claude. Chick and Chuck were their older brothers and were in the Spiders. What a family!

       Actually the Carbo brothers  were Hayward "Chuck" Carbo and Leonard "Chick" Carbo , The rest of the Spiders were

      Joe Maxon, Matt West and Oliver Howard. When Maxon and West left they were replace by Bill Moore and Issacher Howard. 

Edited by The Yank

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Posted
On 12/10/2019 at 23:05, Blackpoolsoul said:

I am beginning to wonder if the label was a "takeover" thing (by Spry later) (what with the dates)

And to confuse matters even more same numbers on these 2 

Were the brothers Chick and Chuck (The Spiders) ? Ray Jackson (Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd St Rhythm Band)

Why would it be a "takeover", when Mike Gradney had started and owned BOTH labels.  He started Spry first, and ran it in 1957-59.  Then it became inactive.  Then, he started Cenco in early 1961.  He revived Spry in late 1961.  Both ran concurrently, with some overlap in releases.  The confusion in release record numbers seems to have started when both labels were running, and continued with Cenco after Spry was shut down the final time.  Maybe it just became difficult for his tiny staff (probably himself and no more than 2 or 3 others, at most) to keep track of everything while running 2 different labels.

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