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Amsterdam Russ

Billy McGregor: Mr Shy label variations

Posted (edited)

Following on from Tlscapital's thread about the multiple label variations of Sunday's Al-teen release 'Ain't got no problems'/'Where did he come from' (see link below), the subject now turns to Billy McGregor's 'Mr Shy'/'Fall on my knees' on the Flash record label.

This is the label on my copy. There are no matrix numbers stamped or etched into the runout grooves. Instead 'MR SHY' is scratched on the side carrying that song, and FOMK on the flip (with the 'O' being hardly visible).

@Tlscapital has identified three label variations, and mine differs from those, meaning four separate pressings of the 45 have been identified so far.

1828867555_BillyMcGregor.thumb.jpg.8dee2ee49bb84e3e75ad102c5bab26b3.jpg

Any others?

Edited by Amsterdam Russ

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OK Russ, but aren't all of those FLASH records not bearing the VAPAC publisher's credit the same as yours ? The Discogs entry for this release's matrix tells like yours; scratched in 'MR SHY' & 'FOMK' in run out groove.

It's only recently that I've find out on those small variations on this long time owned record. If I can dig out mine, I will tell if it's either this one or the one with the timing on the left and with the VAPAC publisher's credit.

Since I have few friends here who want a copy, I just purchased for the first time a bold logo FLASH (without records) and the 'misspelt' Clay name missing the 'L' as Cay for myself. I'll see then which copy I'll keep.

Comparing the label variations here lead me to believe that this 'misspelt' copy to be the first. Then the records logo with the timing on the left second then the one without VAPAC and the timing on the right in third in place.

Those 3 releases come from the same pressing plant and so came in a chronology with a public demand growing and growing. Maybe Robb could give us some insights and tasty testimony bits around this record 😉

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51 minutes ago, Tlscapital said:

...aren't all of those FLASH records not bearing the VAPAC publisher's credit the same as yours ? 

Post up the pic with the three label scans on and I'll point out the differences between mine and the other one without the VAPAC credit. :thumbsup:

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Posted (edited)

1800469763_Capturedcran2020-05-0310_02_14.thumb.png.2c58238bd694942cdaac0ac61359ec83.png

misspelt Cay no records - correct Clay and records under Flash - VAPAC publisher's credit disappear

Edited by Tlscapital

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Former member of the Antennas, Billy did well with "Mr.Shy" eventually going 

Top 10 on this Chicago radio station - 

 

McG.jpg

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Here are the differences between the label variant you posted and mine (r-h-side):

771992725_BillyMcGregorMrShylabelvariationscopy.png.71a30994423a504bd3d03cded632be88.png

1: The label on left has "BMI" while mine on the right has B.M.I. (ie, has full stops between the letters)

2. Flash Records. On the left the word 'Records' is centred under 'Flash'. On mine the word is ranged left (although not perfectly left) rather than centred.

3. On the left label, 'Prod.' has a full stop after it, while on the right it does not.

4. The time on the left label correctly uses a colon to separate minutes and seconds. The label on the right is missing the colon.

Et voila - four label variations.

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Now 4 slight label variations, thanks to Russ for the last presented copy, attesting at least 4 batch of pressings to satisfy a growing public demand. The revised label informations might have a story to tell behind... At least for the VAPAC publisher credit removal or addition if the story unveil that the other way around.

957926657_Capturedcran2020-05-0318_25_57.thumb.png.554b0fe718673b4f5bb58373d49efb27.png

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, Amsterdam Russ said:

A list of songs published by Vapac...

https://www.discogs.com/label/577462-Vapac-Music

Yes, OK, but what do we do with that and the fact that on this very record it got removed (or added if ever) ? What could be the story behind that here ? I w👁️nder

Edited by Tlscapital

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Here's a theory about the Vapac credits. When "Shy Guy" first came out, it was independently distributed.

When it started selling One-Derful got involved with the distribution and got part of the publishing credits? 

one.jpg

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Posted (edited)

As I remember it, Flash Records was owned by Don Clay and William "Flash" McKinley.  Vapac Music was owned by The Leaner Brothers (George and Ernie), who owned One-derful, Ma-V-lus, M-Pac, and Toddlin' Town Records, as well as United Record Distributors.  Naturally, when Clay produced the record, rather than go directly to his bosses at One-derful, to make a distribution deal, he would first have a small press run to give some to local DJs, and to hawk to the regular R&B/Soul record shops, so he could get airplay, and early sales, to be in a better bargaining position, to get a better regional or national distribution deal with The Leaner's United Record Distributors.  Thus, the first pressing wouldn't include Vapac Music, because The Leaners had no part in the record's early action.  The label misprint initiated a new pressing (which probably would have occurred, anyway, due to initial good reviews, lots of airplay on Chicagoland radio stations, and early sales to stores.  Once the distribution deal with United was made, all, or a good chunk of The Leaners' portion would come in the form of the royalties payments for Vapac Music's share of the publication rights.  I think Vogue Music was co-owned by Clay and McKinley.  If not, then by Clay, alone.

Clay had a good relationship with most of the key Chi-Town DJs, because he had known most of them through The Leaners' uncle, legendary Chicago R&B DJ, Al Benson.

 

Edited by Robbk
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Posted (edited)

Thanks guys, makes sense somehow. That way it's this likely this order with the two closest label templates lay-outs just before the distribution deal and right after. Leaving the most distinctive ones likely furthest appart.

133426150_Capturedcran2020-05-0323_20_28.thumb.png.65c4e80be495d934866b66a5e158db5a.png

1st issue self distributed  2nd issue self & revised  3rd One-Derful distributed  4th & last w/new logo

Edited by Tlscapital
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Another reason for the label variations is that the 45 took a long time to build. Four months 

after it peaked in Chicago, it got up to # 5 in Louisville, Kentucky - 

 

April.jpg

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Posted (edited)

I bought the 2nd and 3rd issues. The first one I got (2nd issue) at United Distributors for 50¢ (I had a friend who worked there, so I bought all my new records wholesale), and found the second one in a thrift shop, maybe a year later.  I was still attending university in L.A., so, only returned to Chicago during Thanksgiving week, Christmas Break, Spring Break or early June.  But, I do remember "Mr. Shy" on heavy rotation on WVON, and selling well in shops when I returned, and it hadn't made the radio nor been in shops in L.A. 

Based on my flipping through hundreds of thousands of 45s between 1967 and 1972, I would guess that the 4th issue (with "Flash" in larger font) is, by far the rarest, with the first issue (with "Records" lined up to the beginning of The "F" in "Flash" being the 2nd rarest.

Edited by Robbk
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Same experience here. It's only lately that I've seen those bold Flash non-records logo. Mind you they seem to have pop-up here and there. Meaning NOS copies have been found... Logically the first release should also be a tad rarer.

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21 hours ago, Tlscapital said:

Yes, OK, but what do we do with that and the fact that on this very record it got removed (or added if ever) ? What could be the story behind that here ? I w👁️nder

The Yank and Robbk have answered the second part of your question now, and my adding the link to part of the Vapac catalogue was simply to provide some additional interest for everyone in highlighting the importance of the company in Chicago soul music. :thumbsup:

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Next question...how did the backing track end up with Phil Orsi who would produce at least 5 versions of "Love Is Slipping Away" with it????

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Soulskate said:

Next question...how did the backing track end up with Phil Orsi who would produce at least 5 versions of "Love Is Slipping Away" with it????

 

Maybe Orsi knew Don Clay, and/or Flash McKinley, and asked them if they had any extra background tracks he could use to make a new record, and he couldn't afford to pay for a recording session, and didn't want to share the profits with a label owner (wanted it to come out on his own label), and could write the words to an existing tune (but wasn't any good at writing music), and they, or one of them needed cash and could take in needed money, with Corsi singing new words over it, there would be little chance of anyone recognising it as "Mr. Shy".  They knew there was little chance of Orsi getting a monster hit with it.  Orsi could also have gotten it from Marshall Thompson, who had been the arranger, and may have ended up with a tape copy (it may even be an alternate take or preliminary mix of it.  He could possibly have gotten it from a friend who worked in the recording studio where it was made (One-derful's, Ter-Mar (Chess'), or Universal); and it may have been unlabled, and no one knew what it was, so they said the worker could have it.  Eventually, recording studios toss out unlabled, unclaimed old tapes, because they need the shelf space to store things from on-going jobs.  And, so, the friend sold it to Corsi to make a little money, and help out his friend.  Didn't Ed Cody work at Chess' Ter-Mar Studio before founding his own United Technique Studio?  Cody may have had the extra preview mix left over and a few years after "Mr. Shy", let Corsi use it.  There are lots of possibilities. 

Edited by Robbk

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Phil Orsi did work with Billy on another Flash 45 - 

 

Phil.jpg

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3 minutes ago, The Yank said:

Phil Orsi did work with Billy on another Flash 45 - 

 

Phil.jpg

So Orsi may have been a partner in Flash, and had a 1/3 ownership in the tape.  In any case, Clay and McKinley probably knew about it and didn't mind.

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I believe Don Clay owned Wise World and Phil recorded for that label- 

 

WW.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Phil Orsi 'love i slipping away' was only issued in 1977 as a 'B' side of a single dedicated to Elvis memorial's just past his death and so might have passed unnoticed by those who knew 'Mr Shy' in 1966.

Happiness-Is's version of 'love is slipping away' also using 'Mr Shy' backing track released on Banner could have been issued anywhere between late 6T's or early 7T's but sounds even more 'white'. 

Edited by Tlscapital

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On 03/05/2020 at 08:56, Tlscapital said:

Those 3 releases come from the same pressing plant

The plant was Apex Record Pressing at 7247 S. Racine, owned in part by Sunny Sawyer. If one were to own every record pressed at Apex, they would certainly have a premier collection of 60s soul and garage from the Illinois-Wisconsin-Indiana tri-state area. A quick list of Apex-pressed soul monsters includes COD's "She's Fire" and Combinations on Kellmac, Walter & The Admerations on La-Cindy, Ben Brown on Steeltown, Emeralds on Vick, Del-Tours on Starville, Aspirations on Peaches, and on and on. Apex seems to have been the go-to for smaller indies in Chicago in the 60s, as the other plants like Sheldon and United were likely clogged with orders from the larger operations in the city like Chess and the Leaner stable of labels.

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I take it that this is the same Sunny Sawyer ? -

 

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20 hours ago, The Yank said:

I believe Don Clay owned Wise World and Phil recorded for that label- 

 

WW.jpg

I never was under the impression that Don Clay owned Wise World.  That label seemed to have pressed up productions from unrelated indie producers from all over The City.  I wonder if Wise World was just owned by a wealthy businessman who wanted to get into the music business, and just leased productions from independent producers, hoping a few of them would hit it big.  They didn't seem to have a single A&R man running the label.

Can we get together a discography of that label, and scans of all the releases, so we can try to patch its history together?

 

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5 minutes ago, Robbk said:

 

Can we get together a discography of that label, and scans of all the releases, so we can try to patch its history together?

 

Scans and label ownership can be found here -     www.discogs.com

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very long thread on 'MR SHY' which I need to sit down and read, but have all these variations got the hiss in one part of the vinyl? Ive bought this track several times looking for a clean one, they all have that hiss in one part of the press, I gave up in the end 😞

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Do like I ; live with the coming and going "hisses"... 😉

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Can’t say I’ve ever noticed a hiss on mine. Maybe I need to listen to it more closely!

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Posted (edited)

Not a "hiss" (cue burn or high frequencies saturation) per say. More of a sound engineer take issue with an 'open' unused channel (mike) left open out loud at the recording take giving a 'blow' noise floor effect kinda thing that is part of the recording and so show on the mastering. I believe...

Edited by Tlscapital

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2 hours ago, Mal C said:

very long thread on 'MR SHY' which I need to sit down and read, but have all these variations got the hiss in one part of the vinyl? Ive bought this track several times looking for a clean one, they all have that hiss in one part of the press, I gave up in the end 😞

I bought mine when it was out (2nd of 4 press runs), and it had no hiss.  I found another copy in a thrift store, with slight wear (3rd pressing).  That one also had no hiss.

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3 hours ago, The Yank said:

Scans and label ownership can be found here -     www.discogs.com

It DOES say there that Don started the label.  But that doesn't make any sense to me.  Neither his name, nor any of his music publishers' names even appears ONCE on ANY of their releases.  I seem to remember seeing a couple other Wise World releases, both of which also are unrelated to any of these others.  There are 2 records related to Eddie and Mary Silvers, and 2 that are loosely related to each other one to Joshie Armstead, and one to Ric Williams/Bridges/Knight/Eaton (the 2 of which had worked together at a few Chicago labels).  But Williams/Armstead never worked with Silvers.  This smacks to me as a label owned by a non-music industry wealthy person, who leased tapes from various small independent producers, who wanted badly to get a record out fast, already had recorded it, but didn't have the extra money to get it pressed up.  And so they leased their tape, hoping it would get airplay and some sales action, and that they could get a major label to pick it up.

I can't EVER remember even ONE instance in which Don Clay was solo owner, or partner in a record label in which he was not the man running the label, or co-running it as the top A&R man and top producer, or one of 2 or 3 top producers (and getting label credit for himself, songwriting credits, and his music publisher was either his alone, or a partnership between him and his other label-owning partner or partners).  He just didn't operate the way Wise World seemingly was run.  And it also seems strange that I was around town then, and didn't hear that Don was the owner.  Why did I never hear who the owner was?  Why did I never hear who the head producer and A & R man was?  Why didn't I know who the in-house songwriting staff was?  Or where they regularly recorded their sessions?  Or who their regular arranger(s) was (or were)? Because there were none of any of those people.  Don Clay didn't HIRE Eddie Silvers to produce a session for him, and didn't hire Jo Armstead and Bridges, Knight and Eaton to work for him; and IF he hired Phil Orsi to cut a record on himself, you can bet he'd have put his own name on the record as executive producer, or co-producer, if Phil insisted on getting producer credit.  The whole operation is just too disjointed. It seems to have been mainly a "paper organisation".

Therefore, I am still skeptical, and believe that that "information" placed on Discogs came from hearsay, and long-time false "corroboration" by having been copied and used hundreds of times on The Internet.  I would feel better about that bit of "information" if I read or heard it come from an interview of someone in the industry who had worked with Don, done by someone like Bob A. or another trustworthy professional interviewer.  Personally, not only am I skeptical about Don Clay having started that label and having been the solo owner or part owner; I am even skeptical that he had any connection to it, until I see evidence to the contrary. 

I would bet that evidence is sitting in the recorded interviews on "Sitting In The Park".  I remember that Bob interviewed Eddie Silvers (or someone close to him), and The Antennas, and some of the people who worked with him at One-derful, as well as people who worked with Ric Williams, and at least one of Bridges, Knight, and Eaton. 

But, before I spend many hours re-listening to all those interviews, maybe someone else on this thread can point me to some more concrete proof.  I am not saying that Discogs is not a reliable source for what they print.  They are a great resource for information.  But, I have seen a LOT of things in print that originally came from conjecture, then turned to hearsay by someone credible, who was unaware of the original source.

 

 

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43 minutes ago, Robbk said:

It DOES say there that Don started the label.  But that doesn't make any sense to me.  Neither his name, nor any of his music publishers' names even appears ONCE on ANY of their releases.  I seem to remember seeing a couple other Wise World releases, both of which also are unrelated to any of these others.  There are 2 records related to Eddie and Mary Silvers, and 2 that are loosely related to each other one to Joshie Armstead, and one to Ric Williams/Bridges/Knight/Eaton (the 2 of which had worked together at a few Chicago labels).  But Williams/Armstead never worked with Silvers.  

 

Never say never - 

 

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1 hour ago, Robbk said:

 

But, before I spend many hours re-listening to all those interviews, maybe someone else on this thread can point me to some more concrete proof.  

 

 

I hope you'll accept the word of Robert Pruter. On page 251 of "Chicago Soul", he writes that

Don Clay formed the Wise World label in 1967 with Phil Orsi.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, The Yank said:

I hope you'll accept the word of Robert Pruter. On page 251 of "Chicago Soul", he writes that

Don Clay formed the Wise World label in 1967 with Phil Orsi.

That's good enough for me.  Bob is a long-time friend of mine, and nobody knows more about Chicago Soul than he does.  I guess the reason Don didn't write songs for Wise World, and didn't produce records and run sessions for them is that he was busy working for Chess all through Wise World's run.  I guess he and Phil thought they could make some extra money by using their connections with DJs and distributors to take other independent producers' productions, and pay for their pressing, and market them to get some local and regional hits. This was very unlike how he worked at his Boss Records (partnered with Ric Williams), Flash Records (partnered with Flash McKinley), and Clay Records (partnered with a financier), in which HE was chief A&R man and producer, and each of those companies wrote their own songs, published their own music, and produced their own recording sessions.  

Actually I was just looking through my copy of Bob's book to find that page.  I couldn't remember if he had gone into any depth on Wise World.  So, thanks for saving me some more work. 🙂

Edited by Robbk

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, The Yank said:

Never say never - 

 

Jo Ed.jpg

I had forgotten about that one.  I do have that record.  But, that's not what I meant.  My point was that none of those producers worked together at Wise World, to further strengthen my point that Wise World only leased finished productions from other independent producers, because Wise World didn't have a production staff of their own (therefore, owned only by investors).  It turns out that I was, more or less, on the right track.  But it was Clay and Corsi who were the money partners, who didn't have time to produce their own records at Wise World.  But they DID have extra cash to press records for "poorer" indie producers, and they thought they also had connections with DJs and distributors to give their clients' records more push than Silvers, Armstead/Collins, and those other fellow indie producers could get on their own.  However, it turned out that NONE of those Wise World records did well.  The only one I remember even being on the radio in a decent rotation for a decent amount of time, at all, was The Classics' release, and The Foxy and The 7 Hounds was tested as a "newy"  for a few plays over a week or maybe two.  And I'm not convinced that Silvers couldn't have done that well with it without Clay's help. 

Edited by Robbk

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