The Legendary Parkway Label

© Robert Pruter, Robert L. Campbell, and Mark Mumea

Latest revision: November 25, 2022


Little Walter,
From the collection of Victor Pearlin

Revision note. Amazingly, another Parkway might be out there. Keltie Harding (email, September 8, 2022) just pointed us to Parkway 201, by Marty Geertz, who recites two bad poems over harp and organ accompaniment. Parkway 201 rode under the radar until 2018; Parkway 1 keeps eluding us. We now cover any sides that were either sold to Regal after Parkway recorded them or recorded for Regal by Parkway. We have added more about Fred Mendelsohn's ups and downs in the record business after the fall of Regal: besides his days at Herald, Mendelsohn had two tours of duty at DeLuxe under Sid Nathan, two tours at Regent/Savoy under Herman Lubinsky, a year at a start-up called Arrow, a couple of years at another start-up called United Telefilm (Tel, Warwick), and a few months at a label called Duane. But his second tour at Savoy was for keeps. We have added a discography of the Linden, New Jersey-based Regal label and its subsidiaries (see Appendices B through J): the company emerged from Merit and DeLuxe in August 1949, acquired Tots 'n' Teens and part of Roost in 1950, bought masters from Parkway and other sources in 1950, licensed others from Jazz Ltd. and Sensation, irreversibly overexpanded in the first few months of 1951, underwent progressive collapse in the summer, sent some of its artists to OKeh in October, and in November 1951 was partly reabsorbed into DeLuxe, fatally undermining Monroe Passis' Record Distributors Inc. as it went down. Our coverage of the main and subsidiary release series on Regal, Merit, R. F. D., (part of) Roost, even Tots 'n' Teens is now the most complete that can be found anywhere.


Parkway is one of those small Chicago postwar blues labels that developed a legendary reputation from a handful of recorded sides. Parkway was officially in business for 7 months; ongoing relationships between its owner, Monroe Passis, and Fred Mendelsohn of the New Jersey-based Regal company probably extended its involvement in recording out to 15 months. In all, the Parkway-Regal nexus produced 45 titles (not counting sides unissued on singles or surviving alternate takes): four by the Baby Face Leroy Trio, four by the Little Walter Trio, four by Memphis Minnie, one by Jimmy Rogers, two by Marty Geertz, two by Robert Jenkins (who may or may not have played the harmonica), three by Eddie Boyd, ten by Roosevelt Sykes, two by Essie Sykes, four by St. Louis Jimmy, and four by Sunnyland Slim. Of these, 33 were released on singles between March 1950 and May 1953. Most of the releases were on Regal or Herald; a couple more followed on Savoy.

Just six singles ever carried an original Parkway label—with one exception, which we're nonetheless obliged to cover, what extraordinary records they were.

The Baby Face Leroy Trio (featuring vocals by Leroy Foster) and Little Walter sides were recorded in one 8-tune session (which we have broken down below, for readability, into Pk1 and Pk2). Most outstanding of the four Baby Face sides was the two-part "Rollin’ and Tumblin’," which ranks as one of the most exhilarating products of the Chicago postwar bar-band blues explosion (Muddy Waters and Little Walter were both in the band). The notable Little Walter Trio release featured blues harpist Little Walter on "Just Keep Lovin’ You" and "Moonshine Blues." Two other Little Walter sides were sold to Fred Mendelsohn and not released on Parkway; they showed up later on Regal or Herald.


Baby Face Leroy Trio,
Courtesy of Big Joe Louis

The Memphis Minnie session, almost certainly done back-to-back with the Baby Face Leroy, produced four sides, two of which were released on Regal; unlike the Little Walter release they showed up on Regal while Parkway was still officially in business. Either in between the Baby Face Leroy and Memphis Minnie sessions, or at the tail end while everyone was still present, Minnie's long-time associate Jimmy Rogers got a chance to cut as a leader, though his effort was left in the can, finally emerging two decades later under rather mysterious circumstances.

Two sides by Marty Geertz were recorded at a different session and given a release with an extremely short pressing run (after drawing zero reissue interest, and no other notice whatsoever, it waited to be rediscovered in 2018). The Robert Jenkins sides, which did occasion some reissue interest, were recorded at another session, released on Parkway and never dealt to anyone else, so far as we can tell. Finally, 4 sides cut by jazz trombonist Bennie Green, in the last known session done with a release on Parkway in mind, never saw release anywhere and may be lost.

The rest of Parkway's output was either recorded by Monroe Passis for Fred Mendelsohn of Regal Records, or promptly dealt to Mendelsohn after Passis recorded it: sessions by Roosevelt Sykes from March 1950 (when Sykes was not yet under contract to Regal) and Eddie Boyd from July, then a runof sessions from April 1951 (more Roosevelt Sykes, Essie Sykes, St. Louis Jimmy, and Sunnyland Slim), when Passis was not officially running Parkway but Mendelsohn and his company held a substantial stake in Passis' second distribution enterprise, Record Distributors, Inc. Any window there might still have been for recording snapped shut in November 1951, when Regal closed, ensuring that Passis didn't have many days remaining in the music business.


Monroe Passis, who headed Chord Distributors at 2320 South Michigan, founded the label in January of 1950. Two African-American brothers, Ernie and George Leaner, who were managers at Chord Distributors, were assigned to run the label. A Billboard story, datelined January 28, 1950, announced the formation of the firm and said that Passis has "set up his own Parkway disks, which will be exclusively a blues and rhythm diskery. Passis will operate the label as a separate subsidiary under Hit Record Distributors, 2320 South Michigan Avenue." (See "Passis in Chicago Sets Up Own Label for Blues, Rhythms," Billboard, Febuary 4, 1950, p. 45. The article ominously noted that Parkway had two distributors outside of Chicago: one in Cincinnati and one in New York City. We doubt the label had time to acquire more.)

This is a complicated set-up for such a small label. But Hit Record Distributors, it appears, was the Leaner brothers’ proprietary firm under Chord. It had the same address as Chord. Passis in a 1984 interview with blues researcher Jim O’Neal said the Leaners operated Hit Record (but mangled some of the details). The Billboard article listed the Parkway officers as Passis, president; Ernie Leaner, vice president in charge of artists and repertoire; and George Leaner, in charge of sales and promotion. The article related that the label already has "two artists on its tee-off release," namely the Little Walter Trio and the Baby Face Leroy Trio.

Passis's statement to O’Neal in 1984 that the Leaners had no association with Parkway and had left his firm two years earlier is incorrect, stemming from his imperfect effort to recall events involving a tangle of enterprises three decades earlier. In fact, the Leaners probably gave the label its name. South Parkway was not only the main north-south thoroughfare through the black community. It had also been the location of the Groove Record Shop (4708 South Parkway), which the brothers formerly operated with their sister, Bernice.


Nesting such a small business as Parkway under Hit Distributors, then nesting Hit Distributors under Chord Distributors, may seem needlessly complex. As we've slowly learned over time, that wasn't the half of it. Before Passis brought the Leaners into Chord, he was already working with East Coast record man Fred Mendelsohn, and the connection would continue after Parkway had officially ceased to exist. Mendelsohn never owned a piece of Chord, or of Hit. He may have acquired an interest in Parkway, though if he did this never became public knowledge. He did have multiple connections with both Chord and Parkway; he and his company (Regal) did take a direct interest in Chord's successor, Record Distributors Inc.; and Mendelsohn was releasing Parkway material on Regal on at least two occasions while Parkway was still in business. Let's hold off on Mendelsohn's back story until we've introduced Monroe Passis, George Leaner, and Ernie Leaner.


The Principals


Monroe B. Passis was born on May 11, 1914, in Racine, Wisconsin. The 1930 census shows the Passis family living in Chicago, with the 15-year-old Monroe identified as "Morris." By the late 1930s he was in the record distribution business, handling the Columbia label. According to his daughter, Rene Thaler, Passis produced for six record labels, notably Black & White, recorded Lena Horne, among others, and was an associate producer on Bing Crosby’s "White Christmas." Thaler was an infant during these years, and some of these stories may be mere family lore. However, we have spotted a reference to Monroe B. Passis as a "regional supervisor" for Black & White, in a Cash Box record industry column (January 20, 1947, p. 13; he had been in New York City to promote Jack McVea's version of "Open the Door, Richard!")


Chord Distributors listing

After World War II, with the rise of independent labels, there was a concomitant growth in indie distribution firms. Probably in the middle of 1947, Passis formed Chord Distributors to exploit this growing market. One of its first clients was the rising Miracle label, which put Chord as its Chicago distributor in a display ad in Billboard for August 23, 1947. In September, Chord announced it was the exclusive Midwest distributor for Bullet. In Billboard's June 19, 1948 list of record companies and their distributors, Chord was identified as the Chicago distributor for Atlantic, Bibletone, Disc, Embassy, Rocking Horse, Signature, and Super Discs (Bullet and Miracle didn't submit entries in 1948; of the two, at least Miracle had changed distributors). Chord was originally located at 2406 South LaSalle, the address given in Billboard in June 1948. Though the company probably maintained a presence on LaSalle, in October 1948 (see Cash Box, October 2, 1948, p. 23; see also the Signature Records ad in Billboard's Juke Box Supplement, January 22, 1949, p. 6), Passis moved his main office several blocks east to join the other distributors on Michigan Avenue, occupying the 2320 address.

On August 1, 1949 Passis brought George and Ernie Leaner into his firm, and reflecting his background, told Jim O’Neal, "They were nice black boys, I liked them. They were sales men for another company and I brought them into mine." Passis had picked them up from Milt Salstone's M S Distributing and made Ernie vice president and general manager and George secretary. The article in Billboard presented the story as a major push by Passis into distributing R&B. Getting two young and aggressive African-American talents into his firm was a part of the push, along with adding new manufacturing lines.

Chord Distributors in the March 1948 telephone directory listed its lines as "popular, race, religious, and kiddy records." Billboard advertisements and announcements show us that that the company was handling such labels as Signature (which it had had for a while) and Damon; a blurb in Billboard (March 20, 1948, p. 19) about a new catalogue Passis had prepared claimed that he was handling "approximately" 20 labels in 5 states. The same issue of Bilboard ("Gem Adds 5 Distribs, p. 17) announced that Chord was now handling Nat Cohn's label out of New York. By July, Passis was showing further interest in R&B, picking up Apollo (Chord was formally announced as an Apollo distributor in Billboard, July 17, 1948, p. 41). Passis told O’Neal, "I was interested in the blues. Loved them. I used to go down to Indiana Avenue, 47th Street, 33rd Street, 31st Street, I was all over the South Side; 51st, 53rd, 55th. Traveled up and down that area."

In 1949 Chord was distributing such labels as Bravo, a New York-based polka specialist, and Crystalette, a pop label out of Los Angeles (Billboard, May 14, 1949, p. 27; July 2, 1949, p. 23). The company sustained $17,000 in damage after a fire (the Mercury distributor in Milwaukee burned down the same week, and Aristocrat would suffer its own fire in August, which allegedly was set by burglars; Billboard, May 28, 1949, p. 37). With the Leaners on board, Chord quickly picked up more imprints that would appeal to black record buyers; by the end of September, these included Exclusive, New Jazz, Sunrise (then, unfortunately, on its last legs), and Coleman (Billboard, October 1, 1949, p. 42; Cash Box was two weeks late with the same announcement, October 15, p. 9). When Don Robey launched Peacock, Chord was its first distributor in Chicago ("Peacock Disks into Blues, Rhythm Field," Billboard, December 24, 1949, p. 40).


Groove Record Shop listing

The Leaner brothers were born in Mississippi—George, on June 1, 1917, and Ernie on August 15, 1921. They came up to Chicago in the late 1930s and entered the record business during the 1940s when they joined their sister Bernice in operating the Groove Record Shop. George and Ernie were nephews of famed disc jockey Al Benson (whose real name was Arthur Leaner). George began working as an assistant to blues producer Lester Melrose in 1946, and both brothers joined M S Distributors in 1947. In their move to Monroe Passis’ Chord Distributors they were assuming management positions.

Based in New Jersey, Fred Mendelsohn was an entrepreneur, manager, A&R person, and salesman in the recording business. He was born on May 16, 1917. Judging from a 1954 remark about him in Cash Box, Mendelsohn got into the business as a "coin man," meaning a juke box operator or servicer. In the fall of 1947, he opened a label called Regent, with offices at 1184 Elizabeth Avenue in Elizabeth, New Jersey (Cash Box, October 6, 1947, p. 15). Advertising on the first four Regents (Cash Box, October 13, 1947, p. 26; October 20, 1947, p. 28) boasted that they were "Made for Juke Box Operators by Operators" (this prefigured the sales pitch for Oriole, a Chicago label that operated in 1950 and 1951).

As would be the case with each of Mendelsohn's ventures into the record business, Regent was undercapitalized. The second Petrillo ban couldn't have helped. It doesn't appear that Regent did any stockpiling in advance of January 1, 1948; it probably couldn't afford any. In June 1948, Herman Lubinsky of Savoy acquired a part interest. There may have been an option attached to the deal; Lubinsky never shared such details with the press. By February 1949, Cash Box was complaining in "'Round the Wax Circle," "Wonder what happened to Freddie Mendelsohn, prexy of Regent Records? Haven't heard from the lad" (February 12, 1949, p. 7). After a year during which the two were separated by a "Chinese wall" maybe a foot high, Mendelsohn let Lubinsky buy him out. Regent would spend the rest of its natural life as a Savoy subsidiary.

Mendelsohn announced in a story bylined June 18, 1949 that he had sold his remaining share and was starting his own new company, Merit ("Label Set up by Mendelsohn," Billboard, June 25, 1949, p. 17; "Fred Mendelsohn Bows with New Indie Label," Cash Box, June 25, p. 19). Its offices were at 1184 Elizabeth Avenue in Newark, right where Regent had been (in the interim, town lines had been adjusted). Merit reportedly recorded 40 masters (there could have been more; we don't know exactly when Mendelsohn realized he was recording for Regal). Merit proved incapable of getting records out, most likely because it, too, was undercapitalized; there were 2 releases, from July 1949. Merit 300 and 301, which were announced when the company was founded and started being distributed in the first week of July, were by a duo, the Bailey Brothers, who would get a third release on Regal. The two Merits were announced as new releases on July 16, 1949, p. 39; the brothers did a then-faddish organ and bones thing, which didn't impress the Billboard reviewer a week later (July 23, 1949, p. 31). As an independent venture, Merit lasted maybe five weeks.

In the first week of August 1949, Mendelsohn joined with Dave and Jules Braun, who had founded the DeLuxe label in 1944 and were tired of an arrangement just as awkward as Mendelsohn's had been. DeLuxe is often remembered today for scouting in New Orleans, where in 1947 it began recording Paul Gayten and Roy Brown. In fact, DeLuxe had been highly active for nearly four years, recording jazz, pop, polka, gospel, and Country for multiple release series, when disaster struck: on November 22, 1947, DeLuxe's pressing plant burned down, taking a bunch of masters with it (before pressing could resume, many sides had to be remastered from safety acetates). Taking a further hit from James Caesar Petrillo's second recording ban, DeLuxe filed under Chapter 11 in 1948. It was resuscitated in September of that year by Sid Nathan of King Records, who acquired 51% of it. Since October 1948, the Brauns, recording (at a somewhat slower pace) for most of their old release series and even adding a Jewish-themed series (the 8100s), an "International" series (mostly polka, the 9100s), and a Tex-Mex series (the 200s), had effectively been working for Sid Nathan. In March 1949, Nathan, over the Brauns' objections, had moved DeLuxe out to King's headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. A few months later, the Brauns and Mendelsohn started a new company called Regal, using DeLuxe's old offices in Linden, New Jersey. Mendelsohn's contribution to the startup was reportedly $5000 that he'd decided not to spend on Merit releases. Obviously he also brought Merit masters with him.

In two stories, datelined August 6, 1949, we learn that the first releases on Regal "will be out next week" ("Split Reported between King & DeLuxe Firms," Billboard, August 13, 1949, p. 18; a follow-up story ran on September 3, "King & DeLuxe Split Confirmed by Sid Nathan," p. 14). For its main release numbering system, Regal picked up exactly where DeLuxe had left off: Deluxe 3328 was followed by Regal 3229. Regal's pop and Country lines, even its Tex-Mex line, also picked up where the DeLuxe series had left off.

The trades were unclear whether the Brauns were going to buy Sid Nathan out and regain control of DeLuxe, or Nathan was going to buy them out and keep DeLuxe for himself. Obviously Nathan bought the Brauns out (the buyout has been dated February 1951 by some sources, but if this has any meaning, it's that Nathan had been paying for the Brauns' 49% in installments). For the next two years DeLuxe releases kept appearing. The pace was ridiculously slow: 21 new DeLuxes in two years. (There were also a few re-pressings of older DeLuxe releases.) Roy Brown was the main artist and the only reason to keep the label alive. The 1000 DeLuxe release series for pop and the 5000 series for Country were discontinued (as were the 8100s and the 9100s and even the 200s for Tejano); the DeLuxe 2000 series had already died.

In the surviving main DeLuxe series the release numbers were bumped up to 3300. Simultaneously, the DeLuxe matrix series was restarted at 1500. In August 1949, such changes of number effectively eliminated confusion with Regal. By the early months of 1951, however, DeLuxe had done so little new recording that its newest matrix numbers were in the 1530s and Regal's newest numbers were about to catch up. In the last quarter of 1950, with Regal was putting out 7 times as many releases per month, release numbers in Regal's main series passed 3300.

The Billboard story announcing the launch of Regal said the "first sides available" on the new label would be by bop vocalist Buddy Stewart and a gospel group, the Mount Vernon Men's Choir. One of the first two releases on the new label was jazz single by George Wallington featuring Buddy Stewart as the vocalist on one side (Regal 1196). Meanwhile, Regal 3329 was by Edna Gallmon Cooke with The Mount Vernon Men's Choir of Washington, DC; it was the only other record to use the same label design. The new company of course had bigger priorities that it wasn't ready to announce. Sides already recorded for DeLuxe were occasionally being used; the other two from the Cooke/Mt. Vernon session were already out on that label. Did anyone think Sid Nathan wouldn't catch on?

But what really got under Nathan's skin, as he assumed ownership of DeLuxe, was Regal's diversion of one of the most successful DeLuxe artists: New Orleans pianist and bandleader Paul Gayten. Paul Gayten, along with a new band singer, Larry Darnell, whom he picked up in September 1949, would be Regal's most commercially successful artists. Gayten's band often backed other Regal headliners in the studio, making him Regal's most recorded artist; pianist and arranger Howard Biggs, who led the studio orks on a bunch of other sides, came in a close second. Gayten's female singer, Annie Laurie, had done well on DeLuxe and did pretty well for Regal, too.

Gayten did have to form a new band in January 1950. One story is that all of his New Orleans-based musicians left to go on tour with local singer Jewel King. Jewel King had scored a hit on Imperial with "3 x 7 = 21," a song that had been pitched to Regal with a demo by Annie Laurie and Dave Bartholomew's band (and apparently turned down). Bartholomew then went with Imperial, which started recording in New Orleans. A conflicting story goes that King's husband was so jealous he didn't want her to go on the road with a bunch of male musicians. It might just be that DeLuxe had been recording in New Orleans, Regal wasn't, and most of the band didn't want to keep traveling to Linden, New Jersey, or New York City. Gayten recruited top-notch musicians from the Apple and kept going.

Other DeLuxe artists who went with Regal included pop singer Ted Martin and R&B artist Chubby Newsom. Papa Celestin may not have realized that Regal was using unreleased sides from his October 1947 session for DeLuxe; Erline Harris got one 78 on Regal (it, too, came out of a session intended for DeLuxe). But she stayed with Nathan and her releases past September 1949 (one was a remake of "Jump and Shout" from Regal 3233) would be for the company that Nathan controlled. A band singer named Lee Richardson, about whom we know virtually nothing, stayed with Nathan's operation; so did a gospel choir director, Prof. J. Earle Hines.

The longer of the two Billboard stories, out of Chicago, went on to state that "A check of local distributors revealed that Chord Distributing Company, local distributor of rhythm and blues platters, is handling Regal. A rep of Chord said that the Braun brothers had contacted the firm when they took over the line." Not hard to arrange: Monroe Passis and Fred Mendelsohn knew each other, and Chord was a Merit distributor.


The Musicians

Muddy Waters was born McKinley A. Morganfield, on 4 April 1913, near Rolling Fork, Mississippi. He was raised on Stovall's Plantation, just outside of Clarksdale. His voice and guitar were first heard on Library of Congress field recordings, cut in 1941 and 1942 by folk music researcher Alan Lomax. In 1943 Waters moved up to Chicago, working mainly at house parties, as there was virtually no market at this time for country blues in the clubs. In 1944 he switched from acoustic guitar to electric. As the migration of southern blacks increased after World War II, a market for his style of blues began to develop. To be able to play in the higher-profile clubs, Waters joined Musicians Union Local 208 in September 1945, and by the following year was working regularly with Little Walter and Jimmy Rogers in an informal group called the Headcutters or Headhunters, at times bringing in Leroy Foster on drums. In 1946 Waters made one recording for J. Mayo Williams (which was credited to the wrong artist on release by the 20th Century label) and some recordings for Lester Melrose (which Columbia left in the can).

Waters began his association with Aristocrat in September 1947, when he was entrusted with two sides at the tail end of a Sunnyland Slim session. They didn't sell much, but the company decided to try him again. His second session in December established Waters commercially. "I Can’t Be Satisfied" became a local hit when released in June 1948, and the flip, "I Feel Like Going Home," became a national hit. In June 1950, Aristocrat would morph into Chess, which became a leading independent partly built on the sales of Muddy Waters records.

While building his career at Aristocrat, Waters was still recording as a sideman for other companies, notably for Tempo-Tone (which put his name on the label) in May of 1949. By the time he made those extraordinary sides for Parkway, the company found it advisable to keep his name off the label as a performer (but credited him as songwriter on "Rollin’ and Tumblin’").

Guitarist Jimmy Rogers was born James A. Lane on June 3, 1924, in Ruleville, Mississippi. He began performing on harmonica. Shortly after arriving in Chicago in 1945, Rogers in short order was performing with Muddy Waters and then Little Walter, and then all three together as the Headhunters. With Walter dominant on harmonica, Rogers switched to rhythm guitar to play with the group. Rogers first recorded, on harmonica, for Mayo Williams' Harlem label, but the single side featuring him was mislabeled (as being the work of Memphis Slim) and his presence was not recognized for many years. Rogers next recorded on guitar for Ora Nelle in 1947, backing Little Walter on his single, and recording a number under his own name, which went unreleased. Rogers' next two recording opportunities, for Tempo-Tone and JOB (promptly unloaded to Apollo), also went unreleased at the time. Though a regular in Muddy Waters' band, he had yet to appear on any of Muddy's sessions for Aristocrat when the Parkway opportunity cropped up.

Harpist Little Walter in the 1950s would become one of the giants of Chicago’s postwar blues boom. He was born Marion Walter Jacobs on May 1, 1930, in Marksville, Louisiana. Walter left his home with his harmonica at the young age of 13 to become an itinerant street musician, going to New Orleans, then up to Memphis, then St. Louis, reaching Chicago in 1946. He took up performing in Chicago’s famed open air flea market on Maxwell Street. The following year he made his first recordings for the tiny Ora Nelle label, owned by Bernard Abrams of Maxwell Street Radio and Record. Walter backed Othum Brown and Jimmy Rogers on their sides and then took the lead on one number. His next session would be for Tempo-Tone in May 1949, followed by the Parkway sides in January 1950.


Baby Face Leroy Foster
Baby Face Leroy Foster

The multitalented Baby Face Leroy Foster was born on 12 February 1923, in Algoma, Mississippi. He was one of the pioneers of the post-World War II southern blues resurgence in Chicago, arriving in the city in 1945. His vocals, drumming, and guitar picking can be found on some of the greatest Chicago bar-band blues records. Before joining Muddy Waters' band, he worked with Sunnyland Slim and John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson. He first recorded on two sessions (1945 and 1946) with pianist Lee Brown for J. Mayo Williams; two sides were released on Williams' Chicago label, two (with misleading label copy) on Harlem; and two more ended up on Sid Nathan's Queen label. He also recorded with James Clark and Muddy Waters for Columbia in 1946 (but only Clark's records were released). His next appearance on record was probably as the guitarist on two sides that Sunnyland Slim did for the Opera label, under the pseudonym Delta Joe; these could have been done in December 1947, but a 1948 date can't be ruled out. Foster made his first recording in his own name for Aristocrat in November 1948, when he recorded two titles with Muddy Waters as "Leroy Foster & Muddy Waters." In May 1949, he was in the studio for Tempo-Tone, singing on two unreleased sides that heretofore have been totally unknown to discographers. (Foster played guitar on these and several other Tempo-Tone sides, not drums as stated in previous discographies.) Following the Tempo-Tones, Leroy Foster would appear (playing guitar with two hands and as much of a drum kit as he could handle with two feet) on one more of Muddy Waters' sessions for Aristocrat, in September 1949. But he got no opportunity to sing on that occasion, since Muddy was sharing the lead vocals with pianist Johnny Jones. As it turned out, the last recording Foster would make with Muddy was for Parkway.

Trombonist Bennie Green was born in Chicago on April 16, 1923. Like so many Chicago-based jazzmen, he graduated from DuSable High School, where he played in the band under Captain Walter Dyett. After graduating from DuSable, he played in local groups, joining Earl Hines' big band in 1942. Unfortunately, this edition of the Hines band, which included Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sarah Vaughan, did not record. After service in an Army band during World War II (1943-1946), Green returned to the Hines orchestra, remaining there until early 1948. He appeared on two sessions with Hines, one of them made in Chicago for Sunrise. He then spent a little time in Gene Ammons' combo before joining Charlie Ventura's outfit. Green recorded with Ventura for National (October 1948) and RCA Victor (several sessions in 1949); he also appeared with Ventura in a "Just Jazz" concert (May 1949) that was picked up by Decca. "Pennies from Heaven" was his ballad feature, but an earlier Ventura group had recorded a version featuring Kai Winding and Green did not get an opportunity to redo the number. He had recently left Ventura when Parkway picked him up, offering him his first session as a leader.

Tenor saxophonist Claude McLin was born in Chicago on December 27, 1925. Also a DuSable product, he was a member of Levi Sayles' "baby band" in 1944, playing alongside Johnny Griffin. He served in the Army from 1944 to 1946, and began working as a leader in the clubs on returning to Chicago. He was also featured in the Sunday dances that McKie Fitzhugh put on at the Pershing Ballroom, where he appeared in tenor battles with Gene Ammons, Tom Archia, Johnny Griffin, Von Freeman, and even his idol, Lester Young. From 1947 through 1949 his band found regular work in South Side clubs. In March 1949, after his combo had played the Macomba Lounge for about a month, Aristocrat used his band to back singer/pianist Laura Rucker. The Green session for Parkway, done at a time when he was scuffling for gigs, was McLin's second studio recording.

Willie Jones, known in his heyday as the "piano wrecker," was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, on February 21, 1920. He served in the military during World War II, and joined Local 208 in Chicago in November 1945. By October 1946 he was working in a combo led by drummer Wally Hayes. He made his first recording with Buster Bennett for Columbia in June 1947. After joining King Kolax's combo, he appeared on Kolax's Opera session (late 1947 or 1948). By October 1948, when he recorded for Aristocrat with Tom Archia's All Stars, he was a regular member of Archia's group at the Macomba Lounge; he was still in residence there when he got the call for the Parkway session. Jones played in the locked-hands style made popular by Milt Buckner, but drew some of his inspiration from 20th century classical music, such as the works of Lukas Foss. Both Sun Ra and Andrew Hill counted him as an influence.

Gene Wright was born in Chicago on May 29, 1923. He first learned the cornet and later switched to string bass. In 1943 and 1944 he led a group called the Dukes of Swing. After returning from military service, he revived the Dukes in 1946. In 1947, he made his first recording for Mercury as a member of Gene Ammons' combo. In 1948, he spent a few weeks subbing for Walter Page in the Count Basie band, then returned to Chicago in October to organize another Dukes of Swing band that included such up and coming musicians as Hobart Dotson (trumpet), Johnny Avant (trombone), Melvin Scott (tenor sax), and Sonny Blount (later known as Sun Ra, piano); the group recorded for Aristocrat in December. But Wright disbanded this orchestra around Christmas 1948 and went back on the road with Count Basie until the summer of 1949. At the time of the Parkway session, Wright was once again gigging around town with Gene Ammons' group, among others.

About Dorell Anderson, we know the least. His name often showed up in advertisements as "Darnell," but fellow drummers Vernel Fournier and Alvin Fielder have verified that his name was Dorell. Anderson came on the scene in the late 1940s, when, according to Fielder, he was considered the number 2 bebop drummer in Chicago after Ike Day. Like Day, however, Anderson had little success getting recorded. The Parkway outing is his first known studio session.


The Sessions

The legendary first Parkway session involved most of Muddy Waters’ regular working band: Baby Face Leroy Foster on drums, Little Walter on harmonica. Jimmy Rogers was around for part of the proceedings, as we will see, but did not play on the Foster and Walter tracks. Instead, Foster played guitar on some of the sides while operating the bass drum and high-hat with pedals. Waters had been playing in clubs with this lineup in the previous months, and was frustrated by Leonard Chess’s lack of interest in recording it. The session, reportedly, did not take place in a regular studio. Muddy Waters' biographer, Robert Gordon, declared that it took place in a "warehouse." On the Delmark reissues, the location is given as Chord Distributors, but the basis for that attribution is not clear.


Baby Face Leroy Trio,
Courtesy of Big Joe Louis

The session was cut on nine 16-inch lacquers, which contained alternate takes of all of the pieces except "Rollin' and Tumblin'" and "Bad Actin' Woman." The original lacquers were all thought to be lost, but around a decade ago three were located (it looks as though Fred Mendelsohn brought them to DeLuxe after Regal folded in November 1951). One of the lacquers contains all 3 takes of "Boll Weevil," plus a false start to an unknown title; a second contains the single takes of parts 1 and 2 of "Rollin' and Tumblin'," numbered as on the original release; the third includes the last two takes of "Just Keep Lovin' Her." In 2012, these lacquers were used for the Parkway 45-rpm releases on Louis Records.

The overall order in which the lacquers were recorded is still not known. Take 2 of "Boll Weevil" broke down after a minute and a half, in part because the two guitars weren't properly balanced.

Not knowing which tracks were made when, we've disassembled the session into the four Leroy Foster tracks, followed by the four Little Walter tracks, and used the matrix numbers that appeared on the first release of each side. (Lacking a better idea, we assume that the H prefix stood for Hit.)


Pk1. Baby Face Leroy Trio | Vocal by Baby Face Leroy* / Baby Face Leroy Trio | Vocal Leroy Foster^ / Baby Face** / Little Walter***

Leroy Foster (eg -2; voc, d); Little Walter (hca); Muddy Waters -1 (eg).

Chord Distributors, Chicago, January 1950

H-512 [tk. 1] Boll Weevil (Foster) -1
Parkway 505 (45 rpm)
H-512 [tk. 2 - inc] Boll Weevil (Foster) -1, 2
unissued
H-512 [tk. 3] Boll Weevil (Foster) -1, 2
Parkway 104^, Herald 404***, Blues Classics LP 8, P-Vine Special [J] PLP 9038, Delmark DL-648, P-Vine Special [J] PLP-364, Delmark DD 648 [CD]
H-513 [tk. 1] Rollin’ and Tumblin’ Part I (Waters) -1*
Parkway 501 (78 rpm)*, Blues Classics LP 8, P-Vine Special [J] PLP 9038, Delmark DL-648, P-Vine Special [J] PLP-364, Delmark DD 648 [CD], Parkway 501 (45 rpm)
H-514 [tk. 1] Rollin’ and Tumblin’ Part 2 (Waters) -1* / Rollin' Blues***
Parkway 501 (78 rpm)*, Herald 404***, Blues Classics LP 8, P-Vine Special [J] PLP 9038, Delmark DL-648, P-Vine Special [J] PLP-364, Delmark DD 648 [CD], Parkway 501 (45 rpm)
H-515 [tk. 3] Red Headed Woman (Foster) -1, 2
Parkway 104^, Savoy 1122 A**, Savoy 1501 A**, Muskadine 1, Muskadine M 100, XTRA [Br] 1133, P-Vine Special [J] PLP 9038, Delmark DL-648, P-Vine Special [J] PLP-364, Delmark DD 648 [CD]

Blues Classics LP 8 is Chicago Blues: the Early 1950’s (it was released in 1965). Muskadine 1 (c. 1969), Muskadine M 100 (1971), and XTRA 1133 were all titled On the Road Again: An Anthology of Chicago Blues 1947-1954. P-Vine Special PLP 9038, Down Home Blues, a Japanese release from 1982, is the direct forerunner of the Delmark LP, using the same tracks in the same order. Delmark DL-648 (LP) and DD 648 (CD) are The Blues World of Little Walter (1984 and 1993, respectively). P-Vine Special PLP-364 is the Japanese version of Delmark DL-648—with different cover art that includes two photos of Baby Face Leroy.

Leroy Foster on this session was given credit on four sides, two of which made up a remarkable performance of "Rollin' and Tumblin'." He also took the opportunity to rerecord his two Tempo-Tone numbers, "Red Headed Woman" and "Boll Weevil," which he had done in May of 1949. It was undoubtedly gratifying to Foster to see these titles released—or at least given much greater visibility.


Baby Face Leroy Trio,
From the Big Joe Louis collection

"Red Headed Woman" and "Boll Weevil" were paired for release on Parkway 104. "Red Headed Woman" is a spirited workout, and over the pulsating rhythm, Foster sings with a swing in his voice and Walter blows exuberantly. In "Boll Weevil" the proceedings are brought down to a slow tempo, with Walter’s wailing harp establishing the atmospherics around Foster’s insinuating vocals. (The first take, with just Muddy's guitar, was not selected for release on account of Foster's mannered vocal, but it makes a good account of itself as finally released on Parkway 505.) Despite the excellence of the two sides, Parkway 104 sold poorly. (It was probably issued after Parkway 501 and Parkway 103; exact dates are unrecoverable, because Parkways got so little attention from the trade papers.) But the company felt strongly about the Foster sides, and released all of them within 4 months.


Baby Face Leroy Trio,
From the Big Joe Louis collection

"Rollin’ and Tumblin" was based on an old blues theme, first recorded in 1929 by Hambone Willie Newbern as "Roll and Tumble Blues" for OKeh. (Muddy Waters had already used the tune, though not the words, for his "Down South Blues," made for Aristocrat.) The number is a two-sided recording, labeled Part 1 and Part 2. But unlike most such releases that are divided into parts, "Rollin’ and Tumblin’ was really two takes of the song, one with sung lyrics and the other with wordless moaning. The song gets its powerful drive from Muddy Waters' slide guitar playing. We’re going to quote the description of the song as it appeared in Tony Glover, Scott Dirks, and Ward Gaines’ Little Walter biography:

The tone is set by an insistent instrumental lead-in, guitar and harp together playing the sinuous, hypnotically droning riff. Foster sings with passion as Muddy moans wordlessly behind Foster’s vocals, and Foster even quotes the "Baby’s going to jump and shout, when the train come wheeling up, and I come walking out" verse that Muddy used in his hit "I Can’t Be Satisfied" a year and a half earlier. Walter plays with fire, sometimes echoing, sometimes answering Muddy’s biting lead lines. The take is so hot that they immediately continued on with another take, this one with wordless vocals, Foster and Waters moaning in unison lines, Foster taking the high end. Walter carries the lead melody on a few choruses, his harp tone fat and funky. The result is a compelling two-sided release, with an insistent groove that just won’t quit.

The original Parkway release listed the moaning take as Part 1 and the take with lyrics as Part 2. Glover, Dirks, and Gaines reversed the order, as did Delmark Records, in its Blues World of Little Walter album. The rationale for the change is that the take with the lyrics shows a cleanly developed lead in, while the lead in on the moaning take is somewhat messy and unfocused, as though the musicians were interrupted and then allowed to resume what they had started. However, the session lacquer for "Rollin' and Tumblin'" consists of the moaning take followed by the take with lyrics, and the 2012 reissue on Parkway 501 presents them in that order.

Also, the complete moaning take ran to 3:19. The session lacquer carries instructions to "Fade Out Cut 1 about 2:45," which were followed on the original Parkway release. Some subsequent reissues also cut the introduction to the track. The 2012 reissue of Parkway 501 restores the unedited take as its Part 1.

The "Rollin’ and Tumblin’" release on the original Parkway 501, which came out in March, was such a remarkable production that it even caught the attention of the Chicago Defender. The Defender nearly always ignored citified country blues artists in Chicago—the most representative of whom at the time were Muddy Waters, Little Walter, and Baby Face Leroy. In his "About the Records" column for March 11, Edward Myers held up his magnifying glass to Parkway 501, as though were an exotic specimen: "The first record I’d like to mention is ‘Rollin’ and Tumblin’’ on [the] Parkway label with Parts one and two. This record is unique in that it has the sound and beat of African chant. Must have been taken from one of our earliest American Negro folk songs. The second part takes on a vocal that is typical blues." The next three records discussed in the column were by artists Myers usually wrote about—Mahalia Jackson, Sonny Stitt, and Bud Powell.


Little Walter,
From the Big Joe Louis collection

Fred Mendelsohn acquired the first Parkway session from Passis. According to Mike Rowe in his history of Chicago blues, this was to settle a debt. (As will be discussed below, Mendelsohn may have acquired a piece of Parkway while it was still in operation. Mendelsohn, at least in his capacity as a principal at Regal, was would be involved in Passis' Record Distributors, Inc., the successor to Chord.) Regal powered down in October 1951 and announced its closure in November. After working for the DeLuxe label (still a subsidiary of King), probably on a one-year contract, Mendelsohn conducted a recording session in New York in August 1952, and in October 1952 opened Herald Records in the city. Meanwhile Little Walter had become a huge star in the R&B world. After taking pressing plant executives Al Silver and Jack Braverman on as partners in February 1953, which enabled him to release more material that he controlled, Mendelsohn put out four of the Parkway sides under Walter's name. Two of these were the Baby Face Leroy Trio’s "Boll Weevil" (H-512) and "Rollin’ and Tumblin’ Pt. 2" (H-514), the latter renamed "Rollin’ Blues." Nearly all of the surviving Herald 403s and 404s are 78s, including the DJ copies. According to Barry Soltz, both of the Heralds that bore Little Walter's name also came out on 45 rpm. While releases under Walter's name made sense, between February and May 1953 Mendelsohn and his partners in Herald still lacked the means to put anything behind the Walters and the other Chicago blues releases on the label, so sales were poor. Herald started making money on the strength of a doowop record, Herald 410 by the Embers, that Al Silver, Jack Angel, and Jack Braverman brought to the label in May 1953.


Little Walter,
From the Big Joe Louis collection

From the collection of Barry Soltz

Baby Face,
From the Big Joe Louis collection

In June 1953, with Herald enjoying its first hit record and getting coverage in the trade papers, Silver, Braverman, and Angel bought out Mendelsohn's share in the company. In December 1953, Fred Mendelsohn was hired by Herman Lubinsky to work at Regent (though almost immediately he was also involved in Savoy projects). He took Parkway sides there with him, as he had previously at DeLuxe and at Herald. "Red Headed Woman" reappeared in March 1954, not long after Mendelsohn started working for the company, as Savoy 1122, which was released on both 78 and 45 rpm (it was reviewed in Cash Box on March 6, 1954, p. 26). The flip was the Little Walter track, "Moonshine Blues" (renamed "Moonshine Baby"). Both sides were credited to Foster, as "Baby Face." In October 1956, the single was reissued, again in both formats, as Savoy 1501; Billboard, not noticing any differences, actually reviewed it under its old number.


Baby Face,
From the Big Joe Louis collection

Parkway 501 (45 rpm version) and 505 (also in 45 rpm) are 7-inch 45 rpm singles released in May 2012 by Louis Records. Parkway 505 couples the recently discovered take 1 of "Boll Weevil" with the previously unissued take 3 of "Just Keep Lovin' Her" (see the next listing below). Parkway 501 presents "Rollin' and Tumblin'" with an unedited Part 1 (the original Parkway release was faded at 2:46 into the track). There is no chance of confusion between the Louis products and the original Parkway releases—which were on 78 rpm only.


Little Walter,
From the collection of Victor Pearlin

Pk2. Little Walter Trio | Vocal by Little Walter* / Little Walter Trio^ / Little Walter** / Baby Face***

Little Walter (voc; eg -1; hca -3); Muddy Waters (eg); Leroy Foster (eg -2; d).

Chord Distributors, Chicago, January 1950

H-511 [tk. 3] Just Keep Lovin' Her (Jacobs) -2, 3
Parkway 505 (45 rpm)
H-511 [tk. 4] Just Keep Lovin' Her (Jacobs) -2, 3
Parkway 502*, Herald 403**, Muskadine 1, Muskadine M 100, XTRA [Br] 1133, Nighthawk LP 102, P-Vine Special [J] PLP 9038, Delmark DL-648, P-Vine Special [J] PLP-364, Black Gold Heritage [It] BGH 3370, Delmark DD 648 [CD]
H-516 [tk. 2]
R 1356^
Muskadine Blues^ / Take a Walk with Me** -1
Regal 3296^, Herald 403**, Blues Classics LP 8, P-Vine Special [J] PLP 9038, Delmark DL-648, P-Vine Special [J] PLP-364, Black Gold Heritage [It] BGH 3370,, Delmark DD 648 [CD]
H-517 [tk. 1] Moonshine Blues* / Moonshine Baby*** (Jacobs) -1
Parkway 502*, Savoy 1122 B***, Savoy 1501 B***, Muskadine 1, Muskadine M 100, XTRA [Br] 1133, P-Vine Special [J] PLP 9038, Delmark DL-648, P-Vine Special [J] PLP-364, Black Gold Heritage [It] BGH 3370, Delmark DD 648 [CD]
R-1357 [tk. 1] Bad Actin' Woman^ -1
Regal 3296^, Muskadine 1, Muskadine M 100, XTRA [Br] 1133, P-Vine Special [J] PLP 9038, Delmark DL-648, P-Vine Special [J] PLP-364, Black Gold Heritage [It] BGH 3370, Delmark DD 648 [CD]

Blues Classics LP 8 is Chicago Blues: The Early 1950’s (1965). Muskadine 1, Muskadine M 100, and XTRA 1133 were all titled On the Road Again, and released around 1969, in 1971, and in 1973, respectively. Nighthawk 102 is Chicago Slickers 1948-1953, an LP released in 1976. P-Vine Special PLP 9038 is an LP relesed in Japan in 1982, Delmark DL-648 (LP) and Delmark DD 648 (CD) are The Blues World of Little Walter (1984 and 1993). P-Vine Special PLP-364 was the Japanese reissue of Delmark DL-648. Black Gold Heritage BGH 3370 was a 7-inch 33 rpm LP released in in Italy in 1990, as a bonus to a 3-LP set titled Little Walter: Neglected Masters.

Parkway released only two of the Little Walter tracks, "Just Keep Lovin' Her" (H-511) and "Moonshine Blues" (H-517), both as by the Little Walter Trio. Chicago bar band blues in the immediate postwar era was very much a folk form, where musicians used verses, melodies, and riffs from other songs to build new songs. So the the tunes on the Parkway session were fully or partly derivative. Extraordinarily, on three of the four Walter sides the greatest blues harmonica talent in the world put down his harp to play guitar. Though Walter's guitar sound is heavy, almost doom-laden, his work on these sides is more than acceptable.

The one song where his harmonica prevailed was the best of the four, the highly propulsive and swinging "Just Keep Lovin' Her," which was a remake of his Ora Nelle side from 1947. The originally issued take is clearly the better of the two still extant; take 3 is noticeably shortened (at 2:14) because the band muffed the beginning. On "Moonshine Blues" Walter sings about his girl’s fondness for moonshine, using the melody from a 1938 Sonny Boy Williamson song, "Whiskey Headed Woman." Muddy Waters took over the lead on the instrumental chorus. "Muskadine" represented an even heavier borrowing, in which the Walter used the melody, chorus, and one of the verses from Robert Junior Lockwood’s 1941 tune "Take a Little Walk with Me." The last Walter number, "Bad Actin’ Woman," is a medium tempo blues that Glover, Dirks, and Gaines describe as a journeyman effort, saying that it borrowed "generic verses from the blues stockpile."


Little Walter,
From the collection of Victor Pearlin

The Little Walter tracks, like Leroy Foster's, had a rather convoluted history, as they followed Fred Mendelsohn from label to label. Under Mendelsohn’s Regal imprint, two of the trio’s sides that never saw release on Parkway, "Muskadine Blues" (H-516); and "Bad Actin' Woman" (no H-500 number; it was given the number R-1357 by Regal), appeared in September 1950. No composer credits were shown for either side.


Little Walter,
From the collection of Victor Pearlin

Little Walter,
From the Big Joe Louis collection

Little Walter,
From the Big Joe Louis collection

In 1953, Little Walter was riding high as a solo artist for Checker, with the number one "Juke" and other hits under his belt. Mendelsohn, now trying to put oomph into his new Herald operation, thought he might garner a little green by releasing some of the Parkway sides. He put out two singles as by "Little Walter." One single paired "Muskadine Blues," which Herald retitled as "Take a Walk with Me" (H-516), with "Just Keep Lovin' Her" (H-511). The other "Little Walter" single, as explained above, actually consisted of two of Foster’s numbers.


Baby Face,
From the Big Joe Louis collection

In March 1954, with Mendelsohn now at Savoy, a Leroy Foster release attributed to "Baby Face" showed up on Savoy 1122, mistakenly pairing Little Walter's "Moonshine Blues," which was called "Moonshine Baby," with "Red Headed Woman." The single was reissued in October 1956 as Savoy 1501.


Baby Face,
From the Big Joe Louis collection

Parkway 505 (45 rpm) is a 7-inch single released in May 2012 by Louis Records. Parkway 505 couples the recently discovered take 1 of "Boll Weevil" (see previous listing) with the previously unissued take 3 of "Just Keep Lovin' Her."


Now we have two blues mysteries. Passis told Jim O'Neal that Sunnyland Slim had recorded for the label—what happened to his sides? Memphis Minnie was identified as a Parkway artist in a Down Beat item—what happened to hers? The Minnies have been hiding in plain sight for all these years, and Sunnyland Slim played on them (he would get his own session in April 1951). Fred Mendelsohn issued some material from them on Regal, and many years later sold the masters to others. The reissues have all misidentified the tracks as having been recorded by Regal, and have sometimes given wildly inaccurate recording dates. Jimmy Rogers also recorded for Parkway, but not on the Leroy Foster sesson as we had previously thought—instead, he sang and played one number, either in between the Leroy Foster session and the Memphis Minnie session, or at the end of some combined proceedings, while Muddy Waters and Little Walter were still on the premises. Our thanks to Wayne Goins (communication of December 13, 2007) for helping to sort out these messes.


Memphis Minnie, 'Kidman Blues' on Regal 3259

From the collection of Robert L. Campbell


Pk3. Memphis Minnie and her Jumping Boys

Memphis Minnie [Lizzie Douglas] (voc, eg); Little Son Joe [Ernest Lawlars] (eg); Sunnyland Slim (p); Ernest "Big" Crawford (b); Leroy Foster (d).

Chord Distributors, Chicago, late January 1950

R 1214-1 Down Home Girl
Biograph LP 12035, Biograph BCD 124, Wolf WBCD-010
R 1215-1 Night Watchman Blues
Biograph LP 12035, Biograph BCD 124, Wolf WBCD-010
R 1215-2 Night Watchman Blues
Biograph LP 12035, Biograph BCD 124, Wolf WBCD-010
R 1216-1 Why Did I Make You Cry
Regal 3259, Biograph LP 12035, Biograph BCD 124, Wolf WBCD-010
R 1217-1 Kidman Blues
Regal 3259, Wolf WBCD-010
R 1217-2 Kidman Blues
Savoy MG 16000, Biograph LP 12035, Biograph BCD 124, Wolf WBCD-010

This session has previously been dated 1949 in most discographies (Fancourt and McGrath hedge to "1949/50"). In all cases, it has been credited as recorded by Regal.

But Memphis Minnie was announced in a press release as a Parkway artist. And Mendelsohn had a licensing deal with Parkway while it was still running—if he hadn't also acquired a piece of the operation. Later he bought most of the company's mortal remains, either by paying for Parkway recording sessions or buying the masters after the fact.

Only two sides from this session were released in 1950. They appeared on Regal 3259, the first on that label to be derived from Parkway—in April 1950, while Parkway was still letting everyone know it was in business. Regal 3259 was included in a company advertisement ("Ten Best Sellers") in Billboard on April 8, 1950 (p. 46); the same ad ran in Cash Box on April 15 (p. 16). On May 13, Billboard (p. 139) reviewed 3259 alongside 3258 by Paul Gayten with Annie Laurie, which had been included in the same batch of releases. There was no further action at Regal, and there would be none during Mendelsohn's months at Herald, but another side from the session (the second take of "Kidman") first appeared on a Savoy LP while Fred Mendelsohn was working there.


Memphis Minnie, 'Why Did I Make You Cry' on Regal 3259

From the collection of Robert L. Campbell


Here's how we reconstruct the lease (or outright purchase) of the Memphis Minnie sides. They were recorded on the same occasion as the Baby Face Leroy items. But by the time Parkway was getting its first record (501) into the stores, Leonard Chess had gotten Muddy Waters to redo "Rollin' and Tumblin'" for Aristocrat, so Aristocrat 412 was also arriving. Misssion: to step on sales of the Parkway; it was accomplished. Probably the same week as the bad news arrived about the Aristocrat, Passis got notices from the Leaners, who were leaving Chord to start a competitor. So he turned to Fred Mendelsohn to find an outlet for the Memphis Minnie sides he had recorded but not yet scheduled for release on Parkway. And he would do the same with the sides from his next session, by Roosevelt Sykes from March 14, 1950—if Mendelsohn wasn't already helping him pay for it.

"Down Home Girl" and the two takes of "Night Watchman" were released in 1971 on Blind Willie McTell / Memphis Minnie: Love Changin' Blues, Biograph LP 12035. The rest of Side B consisted of "Ludella" by Jimmy Rogers (Pk4); Side A was given over to six of Blind Willie McTell's Regal sides, which were recorded in Atlanta.

Biograph BCD 124, Memphis Minnie: Early Rhythm & Blues 1949, was a various-artists CD released in 1992. The subtitle was typically inaccurate. Only the tracks by Pee Wee Hughes (definitely) and Little Brother Montgomery (probably) were recorded in 1949.

Wolf WBCD-010, Memphis Minnie: The Complete Postwar Recordings Volume 3, was released in 1992. It includes her complete last session for Columbia, her complete Parkway/Regal session, nearly her complete session for Checker (an alternate take of "Me and My Chauffeur" showed up on a 15-CD Chess collection after the Wolf came out), and her and Little Son Joe's tracks from the October 1953 session for JOB.

Memphis Minnie tried to recall this session (which she remembered as done for Regal) in a letter to Mike Leadbitter. After she had had a stroke and been confined to a nursing home, her memory wasn't always good. She put Black Bob at the piano for this session (the mystery pianist had not appeared on record for years by this time) and "Bell" on the bass. Knowing who else was working for Parkway has made it a lot easier to figure out who was present here.

The studio ambiance is unusual, with lots of whooping and hollering in evidence (for instance, on "Kidman Blues" where Minnie breaks out in raucous laughter after vocally imitating a train leaving the station). Most likely, these sides immediately followed the legendary Baby Face Leroy and Little Walter sessions. This would also make sense of the story that Jimmy Rogers arrived late for the session, because he is not playing on the Leroy and Walter sides.

What's more, the drumming seems to be work of Leroy Foster, mainly relying on his feet. Discographers haven't previously recognized that the drummer is present, albeit recessed, on all of the tracks.


Pk4. Jimmy Rogers

Jimmy Rogers (eg, voc); Muddy Waters (eg); Little Walter (hca); Sunnyland Slim (p); Ernest "Big" Crawford (b); Leroy Foster (d).

Chord Distributors, Chicago, late January 1950

"R 1218-2" Ludella
Biograph LP 12035, Boogie Disease BD 101/102, Biograph BCD 124

The single track by Jimmy Rogers, "Ludella," has proven enigmatic. For starters, the matrix number assigned to it in later years puts it at the end of the Memphis Minnie session, but the original R 1218 came from six tracks (R 1218 to R 1223) by a gospel group, The Harmony Kings, who recorded for Regal in February 1950 (see Appendix J below). "Leanin' on Jesus," released on Regal 3279, carried R 1218.

It turns out (now that we've seen Regal 3265) that the Regal session by Floyd Taylor probably extended to four sides, R 1210 through R 1213, and definitely ended at R 1213. Big Joe Louis suggested that maybe this track was meant to be R 1213, which now appears unlikely.

The truncated track, whatever its matrix number, was first released in 1971 on Blind Willie McTell / Memphis Minnie: Love Changin' Blues, Biograph LP 12035. The rest of Side B consisted of the Memphis Minnie tracks from Pk3. (Side A was given over to six of Blind Willie McTell's Regal sides, which were recorded in Atlanta in 1949.) It next appeared on Boogie Disease BD 101/102, Take a Little Walk with Me: The Blues in Chicago 1948-1957, a limited-edition 2-LP set from 1972, where it was billed "Ludella No. 2." The surviving take has lost nearly all of its instrumental introduction (what's left comes in just before Rogers starts singing, and it quits after a measly 2:00). Mark Mumea identifies the lead guitarist as Muddy Waters and the second guitarist as Jimmy.

Jimmy Rogers had worked with Memphis Minnie in the late 1940s, and claimed to have recorded with her—but the when and where were long unclear.


We've been hoping for another Parkway in someone's collection. We've also been hoping it would be Parkway 1 by Bennie Green (for which, see below). Latter-day discoveries don't always work out as hoped. A Parkway nobody had ever mentioned was made available at archive.org in 2018; more recently, we learned about it from Keltie Harding (email of September 8, 2022). Parkway 201 is, without a doubt, extremely rare; Harding describes it as "a small run vanity release" done as a favor to somebody who knew Monroe Passis. (Having heard it, we don't think 201 was done for someone who knew George or Ernie Leaner.)

We place it here without being entirely sure whether 201 was cut prior to Parkway 103, or, for that matter, before the Roosevelt Sykes sides that got dealt to Regal. We do know that 201 is a 78 with bona fide Parkway labels, suggesting it was recorded early in 1950. Style and logo on the label, though not the colors, match what we see on Parkway 501 and 502, not on Parkway 103 or on 104. We get nothing further out of the matrix numbers, which employ a G prefix and don't line up with anything in the H's or the P's.

G could stand for the named artist, one Marty Geertz, who recites two romantic poems. "Phantom Love" is credited to Les Boret, while "Love's Question" is the work of Marcella Hooe Alexander (we're assuming the label spelled her name right). Who were these people? The poems are not good; "Love's Question" is unanswerably awful. Accompaniment on both sides is by a harpist and an organist. The organist could have found work on any radio or TV soap opera then running; maybe he or she already held such a job. Who Marty Geertz thought was going to buy the record puts severe strain on the imagination. The only commercial release out of Chicago we can relate this to is a Vee-Jay single, several years down the road, on which The Magnificent Montague performs two monologues of his own devising, to backing by gospel organist Maceo Woods. Except for three small things: Despite their schmaltz and preachiness, Montague's texts are better. As an experienced radio announcer, Montague delivers them better. And Woods is easier to listen to.


Pk5. Marty Geertz | Narrator

Marty Geertz (recitation); unidentified (harp); unidentified (org).

Chicago, early 1950

G224 Phantom Love (Les Boret)
Parkway 201
G225 Love's Question (Marcella Hooe Alexander)
Parkway 201

Robert Jenkins,
From the collection of Helge Thygesen

The next session to produce an actual Parkway release (which could have been the last release—that depends on what happened to the Bennie Green single) was probably the one that featured Robert Jenkins. We know essentially nothing about Robert Jenkins. He has been identified as the harmonica player, but we're not sure about that either.

Leadbitter and Slaven say the harmonica player on the session was Robert Jenkins and the lap steel guitar was played by Gene Pierce.

The harmonica player, experts all agree, is an adept of the John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson style, and an accomplished one. After that the agreement stops. In 1950 in Chicago there were many practitioners of the Sonny Boy I style. One of them was Little Walter, who of course was already a Parkway artist. Junior Wells and Billy Boy Arnold were too young to be making records yet. There were many more, and comparisons are hard because most of these musicians would never made a commercial recording. Was Robert Jenkins among them?

While we're speculating, we ought to mention that Jimmy Rogers played the harmonica in a similar style, before he switched to guitar.

According to Mark Mumea, the harmonica work on side B is most likely the work of Little Walter. According to Scott Dirks, it probably isn't Little Walter, on the grounds that he had advanced beyond this manner of playing in 1950.

Which leaves other mysteries. If Robert Jenkins was the leader, one would expect him to appear on both sides of the record. The harmonica player plays on one side. OK, so what did Jenkins play? The lap steel guitar is said to be the work of Gene Pierce. So was Jenkins the second guitarist? The drummer?

Worse yet, no one seems to know anything about either Jenkins or Pierce, suggesting neither of them stuck around Chicago for long. The lap steel is played in a Country style, suggesting the performer was not exactly at the center of the Chicago blues scene—or of any other blues scene. The trail is old and cold.

There's the matter of a composer credit to "Monroe." Monroe Passis did not take composer credit on other Parkway sides, so this must be someone else whose last name was Monroe. A band member?

Then there's the ending to Side B, P 106, where it appears the harmonica player has been taken out and shot. The track quits in the middle of a solo. Maybe they ran out of tape (out of lacquer space, if they were still cutting to disk) and didn't attempt another take?


Pk6. Robert Jenkins and Trio

poss. Little Walter (hca -1); poss. Gene Pierce (lap steel eg); unidentified (eg); unidentified (d); Robert Jenkins (unidentified instrument).

Chord Distributors, Chicago, early 1950

P 105 Steelin’ Boogie Pt. 1 (Jenkins-Monroe)
Parkway 103, Negro Rhythm 107
P 106 Steelin’ Boogie Pt. 2 -1 (Jenkins-Monroe)
Parkway 103, Negro Rhythm 107

This session could have been made in the Chord Distributors warehouse; if anything, the sound is cruder than on Pk1 through Pk4. Does the switch to a P series (for Passis?) signify that the Leaners (and Hit) were now gone?

These sides have developed only mild reissue interest. The one that we know of is an LP from 1978, Negro Rhythm 107, Goin' to Chicago Blues! The notes give the standard personnel with Jenkins on harmonica and Gene Pierce on the steel guitar. The other tracks on this various-artists assemblage were by Robert Jr. Lockwood, L. C. McKinley, J. B. Lenoir, Forest City Joe, Willie Mabon, and Sunnyland Slim (his two sides for his own Sunny label, from later in 1950). Every credit on the LP is pseudonymous ("Photos: Dudlow Tutwiler Archives"); in fact, it was the work of the late George Paulus.

Chris Bentley's review of the LP reissue in Blues Unlimited (1978) was none too encouraging about the Jenkins sides:

...this record is super-rare and deservedly so. After a loud explosion-type noise at the beginning...the listener is subjected to a boring couple of minutes of monotonous drumming, two-note boogie guitar providing the rhythm and a lead guitar producing Hawaiian-type licks. Anyone thinking this is anything like Elmo's classic ["Hawaiian Boogie"], beware: it's more like a senile Steve McGarrett. "Part 2" is at least redeemed by a good harp player who is emasculated in mid-stride.

Helge Thygesen (email communication, June 9, 2006) is more sympathetically inclined, at least toward Pt. 2: "the harmonica side is not that bad in my opinion. Maybe because it is so unlike anything else from the Chicago blues scene I find it interesting and I enjoy listening to it. It is a more primitive recording than anything else to come out on Parkway."


Robert Jenkins,
From the collection of Helge Thygesen

In early March, Passis joined with J. Mayo Williams in forming a personal management enterprise. Williams was between record labels; he had shut down his Harlem/Chicago/Southern/Ebony operation, dealing some of his sides away to Apex and others to Decca, and would not be starting his new-model Ebony label until the beginning of 1952. "Thus far they have Memphis Minnie, Muddy Waters, Sunnyland Slim, Jimmy Rodgers [sic], Little Walter, Baby-Face Leroy, and St. Louis Jimmy under contract" (Billboard, March 11, 1950, p. 22). Right around this same time (the Billboard mention sits on the same page, immediately above the one about Passis and Williams) the Leaner brothers left Chord Distributors to set up their own company, United Record Distributors. Cash Box noted on March 25 (p. 11) that Earnie Leaner was the president of United. United was the country’s first major black-owned distribution firm. It got off to a running start, with Prestige, New Jazz, and Swing Time among the labels it initially carried.

The Leaners had brought New Jazz (of which Prestige was an offshoot) to Chord and they promptly took it away. Years later, Ernie Leaner recalled that Monroe Passis needed him more than he needed Passis:

There was another fellow named Monroe Passis, who had a place called Chord Distributors, who was on his last leg in business. He didn't really have the financing. He was at one time a sales manager for a company called The Sampson Company [3201 S. Michigan], which distributed Columbia Records. He really didn't have a feel for what the Black thing was all about. Black recordings were called race records, which later became rhythm and blues. Monroe had some good lines, such as Atlantic and a few others. I brought over a number of the labels that M.S. was distributing when I left. George and I made Monroe, in almost a couple or three months, very healthy. (Interviewed by Charles Walton, November 1979)

Leaner had a point, but Passis had gotten other good lines besides Atlantic before Ernie and George came to Chord. Regal was considered a decent line at the time.

Still, the advent of United altered the competitive balance among distributors in Chicago. Others were also biting into Chord's business. In April Chord lost its Apollo account partly to the Leaners at United and partly to another competitor, Hy Frumkin of Frumkin Sales ("Apollo Records Announce Nine Distributor Changes," Cash Box, April 22, 1950, p. 18). Meanwhile Cash Box (April 1) had already announced the loss of Imperial—to Art Sheridan's American Record Distributors. In June American picked up Modern, another label Chord surely wanted for itself (Cash Box, July 1, 1950, p. 9).


Roosevelt Sykes, 'Rock It' on Regal 3269

From the collection of Robert L. Campbell

Roosevelt Sykes, 'Blues n' Boogie

From the collection of Robert L. Campbell


Although he was not an announced Passis-Williams client, a session by Roosevelt Sykes came along just after their announcement, and gives every indication of being a Parkway product released on Regal. A 6-tune session with just Sykes and drummer Jump Jackson is dated March 1950 by Fancourt and McGrath, and March 14, 1950 on the Delmark reissue CD. If accurate, the date falls within Parkway's initial span of activity. And, having booked it some time in advance (we don't know which studio, which would give us a better idea of the waiting period), Passis was cutting 6 sides having just been apprised of two, er, developments: (1) George and Ernie Leaner were leaving Chord to start a competitor. (2) Leonard Chess had gotten Muddy Waters to rerecord "Rollin' and Tumblin'" for Aristocrat and the record was in the stores at the same time as Parkway 501.


Pk7. Roosevelt (Honeydripper) Sykes* / Roosevelt Sykes

Roosevelt Sykes (voc except -1, p); Armand "Jump" Jackson (d).

Chicago, March 14, 1950

R 1224 Drivin' Wheel (Sykes)
Regal 3286, Delmark DD 773 [CD]
R 1225-1 Rock It (Sykes)
Delmark DD 773 [CD]
R 1225-2 Rock It (Sykes)*
Regal 3269, Delmark DD 773 [CD]
R 1226 West Helena Blues (Sykes)
Regal 3286, Delmark DD 773 [CD]
R 1227 Mail Box Blues
Regal 3306, Delmark DD 773 [CD]
R 1228 Winter Time Blues
Regal 3306, Delmark DD 773 [CD]
R 1229 Blues n' Boogie (Sykes)* -1
Regal 3269, Delmark DD 773 [CD]

Dave Braun, as sales manager for Regal, announced the signing of Roosevelt Sykes to the label in a story datelined July 1, 1950. Also "signed" was an even older blues artist referred to rather directly as "Blind Willie," not by his initial recording handle of Pig 'n' Whistle Red ("R. & B. Blue Notes," Billboard, July 8, 1950, p. 32). The first Sykes release, on Regal 3269, pre-dated Braun's announcement. Regal did not advertise it in Billboard, but on June 10, 1950, a Regal ad for new singles by Larry Darnell, the company's biggest selling artist, and others ran as high as 3274; a similar ad had run in Cash Box on June 3 (p. 16). And as we know from ads for Memphis Minnie's release on Regal 3259, the company was already up to 3262 in early April. Regal 3269 finally caught a mention in a display ad in Cash Box, on July 15, 1950 (p. 31); after a month, the highest numbered release was still 3274. For some reason, Regal never had a photo of Roosevelt Sykes on hand, as is awkwardly apparent from a couple of the company's advertisements.

In November, Regal saw fit to advertise Sykes on his second release, Regal 3286 ("Drivin' Wheel" b/w "West Helena Blues," Billboard, November 11, 1950, p. 42); the record also got a mention in a Cash Box ad (November 11, 1950, p. 17). The final release from the session, Regal 3306, was surely timed to go with one of the titles ("Winter Time Blues")—the end of the year seems right, and Regal 3309 and 3310 were announced as New Year's releases for 1951 (Cash Box, January 6, 1951, p. 14). Regal 3309 was reviewed two weeks later, Cash Box, January 20, 1951, p. 18), while Regal 3302 and 3309 were among the "Advance Rhythm & Blues Releases" in Billboard for January 20, 1951 (p. 24).

Sides from this session have been reissued on Document (a 1994 CD) and Delmark. The Delmark adds an alternate take. The Delmark CD, Chicago Boogie, gives March 14, 1950 as the date for the session.


Roosevelt Sykes, 'Winter Time Blues' on Regal 3306

From the collection of Robert L. Campbell


Roosevelt Sykes, 'Mail Box Blues' on Regal 3306

From the collection of Robert L. Campbell


More Roosevelt Sykes material, actually done while he was under contract, would see release on Regal. It is from April 1951 and will be covered below (see Re10, Re11, and Re13).


In April Passis signed the Blues Rockers, a band that included pianist Willie Mabon. They had recorded for Aristocrat toward the end of 1949. The item in Billboard (April 15, 1950, p. 28) that mentioned this signing (calling the band the "Rhythm Rockers") also stated that Passis was considering signing trombonist Bennie Green, which would constitute his first "jazz acquisition" according to the magazine. The "Rhythm Rockers" signing ("formerly with Aristocrat") also caught a mention in Cash Box (April 22, 1950, p. 11).

Green was recorded. We have no evidence for a Parkway session by the Blues Rockers. It's interesting, however, that the group's second session for Aristocrat did not lead to a documented release on that label (later, a release was briefly scheduled as Chess 1483, but promptly withdrawn; one of the its sides was finally heard during the CD era). Was Leonard Chess unhappy about something?


If the personnel list that has come down to us is correct, the Bennie Green session featured some of the best young jazzmen in Chicago.


Pk8. Bennie Green's Band

Bennie Green (tb); Claude McLin (ts); Willie Jones (p); Gene Wright (b); Dorell Anderson (d).

Chicago, April 10, 1950


Pennies from Heaven
Parkway 1 [?]

unidentified title
Parkway 1 [?]

2 unidentified titles
unissued

This enigmatic listing is drawn from Tom Lord's Jazz Discography. Lord got it from Walter Bruyninckx. Bruyninckx seems to have derived his, in turn, from Jørgen Jepsen, who identified the group as "Bennie Green's Band" but listed only "Pennies from Heaven." The three unidentified titles were mentioned in the Jazz Directory for February 1952, and incorporated into Bruyninckx' discography. Our thanks to Howard Rye for tracing the history of this discographical entry so far back in time.

A contemporary announcement of the recording session was a two-paragraph blurb in Down Beat for May 5, 1950. It ran on page 4 under the title "Record Distributor Waxes Benny Green":

Chicago—Record distributor Monroe Passis, whose Parkway label has heretofore been limited to such artists as Muddy Waters, Memphis Minnie, Sunnyland Slim, and so on, planned to record Benny [sic] Green's new band for its first pop release.
Among the four sides cut April 10 was Pennies from Heaven, tune most closely associated with former Ventura trombonist Green.

The alleged release number (with no B side title) and the band personnel must have come from another source not yet traced.

Was a Parkway 1 ever released? If so, does anyone possess such a rare artifact? Could tapes still be extant?


Parkway was still in business in July 1950. Monroe Passis attended a record industry trade show in Chicago and, as a company executive, his presence was duly noted in Billboard. The only new recording activity, however, was an Eddie Boyd session that took place during the week of the show. It was actually mentioned in Billboard (July 22, 1950, p. 16) as a Regal project. We know that it was done for Regal, that Dave Braun had been in town in June (Cash Box, June 24, 1950, p. 11), and that both Brauns and Fred Mendelsohn were in the city when the session took place. We don't know for sure that Passis was involved, but he had multiple business relationships with Mendelsohn, and attended the same convention. Of further interest: during the same visit, Mendelsohn announced an agreement, probably arrived at during Dave Braun's excursion in June, to lease sides from another small Chicago operation, Jazz Ltd.. This would lead to one of two 10-inch LPs for Regal, LP 11 (the other, Roost LP 10 by Erroll Garner, was a product of the Regal-Roost alliance that we'll get to later).

What Eddie Boyd got out of the session was one release on Regal and, much later, one on Herald.


Pk9. Eddie Boyd

Eddie Boyd (p, voc); unidentified (tp); undidentified (ts); Sam Casimir (eg); unidentified (b); unidentified (d).

Chicago, c. July 13, 1950

R 1326 Why Don't You Be Wise, Baby
Regal 3305, Blues Collection [Fr] 16002 [CD]
R 1327
H 1016*
I Gotta Find My Baby (Lonesome for My Baby*)
Regal 3305, Herald 406*, Blues Collection [Fr] 16002 [CD]
H 1017 I'm Goin' Downtown
Herald 406, Blues Collection [Fr] 16002 [CD]

An article in Billboard about doings at and around the National Association of Music Manufacturers convention in Chicago, which took place July 11 through 15, 1950, mentions that Dave and Jules Braun and Fred Mendelsohn were all present and that "While in Chi, the firm cut Eddie Boyd, local blues singer" ("NAMM Men Alerted for Biz; Distributors Flock to View New Lines, Labels, and Plans," July 22, 1950, p. 16). Monroe Passis was also there—it was the last time he would be identified in print as a record company executive.

Little is known about this outing. It's either the most obscure or the second most obscure in Eddie Boyd's entire output. Three tracks survive from it, with no alternates. Boyd's last session for RCA Victor had taken place on June 29, 1949. None of those four sides caught a release on Victor (three eventually appeared over half a century later, on the Blues Collection CD noted below). Then Boyd had to stand at the back of a long line of blues artists who were dropped by the label. Regal gave him his first recording opportunity in a year—not long afterward, he took his famous day job at the steel mill.

The notes to the only CD reissue, Eddie Boyd: The Complete Recordings 1947-1950 (Blues Collection 160002, released in France in 2001), fail to recognize that the Regal and the Herald release come from the same session. They put Bill Casimir on tenor sax on R 1326 and 1327. This can't be Bill—he never sounded nearly so rough. They put Bill's brother Sam on guitar, a much more credible identification. They identified Alfred Elkins as the bassist and Judge Riley as the drummer, on what basis we do not know. For H 1016 and 1017, Sam Casimir got a possible, none of the others were identified, and a baritone sax was credited when none can be heard.

As it turns out, "I Gotta Find My Baby" and "Lonesome for My Baby" are the same take of the same song. The only difference is that this side of the Regal release (if the Blues Collection reissue reproduced it accurately) plays too slowly, running 14 seconds longer than the Herald, which sounds right to us. "Why Don't You Be Wise" does appear to be playing at the correct speed, so we're not sure what was going on with Regal 3305.

Regal 3305 was released in December 1950; Herald 406 some time between February and May 1953. As Herald 403 and 404, credited to Little Walter, tried to take advantage of his big recent sales on Checker, Herald 406 tried to capitalize on big hits that Eddie Boyd had made for JOB and was making for Chess.

The liners to the Blues Collection CD refer to the session that produced Regal 3305 as "bordélique" (a hot mess). Boyd is said to have regretted the release. But the same notes speak more favorably of Herald 406—which is from the same session. What we notice today is that the sides sound OK when played at the correct speed, but the raspy trumpet and buzzy tenor sax are a bit too prominent, Boyd's piano is recessed, and the rhythm is a little loose. It would be interesting to know who actually played on the session; besides Boyd and Sam Casimir, we really have no clue. In our opinion, the session came out decent, though we would not call it inspired.


In March 1950, Mendelsohn and the Brauns acquired a part interest in a small New York jazz label named after the famed bop club, the Royal Roost. Releases in the Regal-Roost configuration were out by June 1950. The matrix numbers (see Appendix G and Appendix J) tell us that Regal started recording material for the new Roost operation in March and April. A belated announcement of the deal took place in July, with the added information that Jack Cook, who owned Roost, would do A &R for the combined operation.

The Roost deal was peculiar in more than one respect. What had been previously been the regular Royal Roost label (white on pale blue) kept right on going, independently of the Regal-affiliated Roost (whose silver on dark blue labels didn't use the word "Royal"). Both labels carried the slogan "Music of the Future." Roost, with 500 as its initial release, used a space-filling Roost logo in white on a light blue background. Royal Roost extended the 500 series for what the trades were still calling "hot jazz"; it featured such artists as Stan Getz, Bud Powell, and Coleman Hawkins. The only change to the label was the addition of Royal in smaller but still chunky letter above a slightly smaller Roost logo. Meanwhile, the Regal Roosts took over the old design with a big Roost at the top, except the space-filling Roost was now often gold instead of white, and the background was a dark blue. Regal Roost ran an, umm, experimental release numbered 270, one release in a 400 series, and all the rest in a 600 series; nearly all of its sides were by Erroll Garner (some of whose sides had been recorded in 1949 for 3 Deuces), Little Jimmy Scott, and Al Jackson. There was one Regal Roost by someone going as "Jim Dandy" (masters again acquired from 3 Deuces). The oddity among the releases was Roost 270 by Sammy Cotton (a blues artist whose signing to Regal was announced along with the Roost deal; his first record circulated a lot more widely as Regal 3270). Simultaneous activity by Royal Roost and Regal Roost confused people then and confuses people now. Although Erroll Garner rated a 10-inch LP from Roost, he did not stay with the label (had Garner stayed with any label over the preceding two or three years?). Before 1950 was out, Garner signed with Columbia, making Little Jimmy Scott Regal Roost's main artist.

Regal's other announced initiative in July 1950 was a series of mini-albums for children. The Tots 'n' Teens line was presented in the same announcement (Billboard, July 22, 1950, p. 16) as brand new. It wasn't, either on the Regal side or the Tots 'n' Teens side. Fred Mendelsohn was recording children's material during his Merit days, or the Brauns were recording it before leaving DeLuxe. By March 1950 Regal was already in the children's record business, with three mini-albums or "packages" out on its flagship label. These started with a Christmas release from October or November 1949; it was eventually numbered as Regal 32. Regal 30, the only package in the series to catch a review in the trades, hit the shelves in March 1950 (Billboard, March 25, 1950, p. 41). All three Regal packages (30, 31, and 32) would be re-pressed with Tots 'n' Teens labels on their 78s. On March 4, 1950, Regal announced the signing of Boyd Heath, a Country artist who would cut children's records for the company; Melvin Price, also mentioned as newly signed, was already active in the 5067 series ("Regal Records Hops to Oaters, Hillbilly," Cash Box, March 11, 1950, p. 47).

Tots 'n' Teens had originated in 1949, with Graham Manufacturing of New York City. Graham, in turn, made use of the production services offered by Hugo Peretti (going in those days as Hugh Perette). Peretti was running his own children's record company in northern New Jersey, which was called Mayfair, and doing other kiddie productions on the side. We don't know whether the original Tots 'n' Teens (we've seen one 78 so far) were sold in 4-packs, but they had the same logo and type of label copy that Regal took over, and their releases started at 101 (which would leave room for two 4-packs before Regal's children's disks commenced at 109). Another Peretti kiddie production, on a 7-inch 78, appeared on Spear 105 (the artist, Jack Russell, had been on TNT 101, and the release number makes it look like a continuation of the Tots 'n' Teens series). Peretti would go on to do children's records for Mercury and then to high-profile pop A & R, with such artists as Sam Cooke, He was not expecting to keep Mayfair going forever; his productions kept appearing in multiple venues. A Peretti deal with still another label was announced in the same issue of Billboard as Regal's Tots 'n' Teens acquisition. If Regal offered the Peretti productions (presumably numbered 101 through 108) in its Tots 'n' Teens "packages," we haven't seen them.

Regal, later Tots 'n' Teens, "kidisk" offerings were miniature 4-pocket albums of 7-inch 78s, pressed, of course, on plastic. Suggested retail on these was $1.00. The July 1950 announcement projected 8 packages. Five were by Ireene Wicker, "The Singing Lady," who had a long-running children's show on radio in New York City (at the time, she also had a TV show, and she had already made children's records for other other companies). Two were by Boyd Heath, who had been signed in March 1950 (he had previously recorded "hillbilly" for RCA Victor). And there was one by Murray Phillips, the "Gay Musician" (which in 1949 did not carry the same meaning in mainstream culture as it did on the South Side of Chicago). Phillips' sides had matrix numbers in the AM series, and were most likely released before the end of 1949. Everything had been recorded prior to the announcement; it's possible everything had been released as well.

In sum 8 mini-albums (Tots 'n' Teens 30 through 37) appeared as promised; in the trailoff area, the individual records were neatly stamped with RE 1 through RE 32. Another 12 "packages" were projected for 1951; Regal was spending a lot of time in the studio, so maybe some tracks were laid down for them, but no such albums materalized.


Probably one or more of the principals at Regal was in town at the beginning of September 1950, when Record Distributors, Inc., was being set up to take over from Chord (and Fred Mendelsohn was readying Little Walter masters for release on Regal 3296). Cash Box (September 9, 1950, p. 7) talked up "a whopper" of a lineup at the Regal Theatre, featuring Toni Harper, Larry Darnell, and Chubby Newsome. Darnell and Newsome were Regal artists.


At the end of 1950 and beginning of 1951, there was a flurry of activity at Regal. Those who ran the company made it appear that Regal was making a lot of money; in fact, Regal's run on the Cash Box regional R&B charts ("Hot in New Orleans," "Hot in Harlem") was about to end. The company drew some press by picking up a couple of established artists. It signed Savannah Churchill, who recorded for the label in December. It signed and recorded veteran jazz singer and bandleader Cab Calloway, and then there was this bit: "Regal execs Jules Braun and Fred Mendelsohn took off last week for a six-week tour of the country; they will visit distrib points and hit the deejay routes as well" (Billboard, January 20, 1951, p. 24).

These activities were duly "hypoed" and "ballied." Regal cut one session on Savannah Churchill, leading to two releases. The singer's hits had been for Manor, she had not sold so well for Arco, and she would not pull in any green at Regal. By September 1951, Savannah Churchill was with RCA Victor (which took out a full-page ad to promote her first release, Cash Box, September 15, 1951, p. 9). The timing tells us she had obtained a release from her Regal contract. Calloway was likewise good for one session (January 1951, before his band boarded a plane for a special engagement in Montevideo, Uruguay) and two releases. A new artist signed to the company, Mary Lou Green, got to be on one side of one release as the company was about to close.

The remaining sessions on this page were done in Chicago, after the six-week tour. All came near the end of Regal's activity in the recording studio (after May 1951 the company could no longer afford session time anywhere for anything). All plausibly involve a Regal-Parkway or a Regal-Record Distributors nexus. Vague or conflicting dates have been given for them. At one time we thought the Sunnyland Slim session belonged to a group with the others that launched Parkway in January 1950. But from the evidence of commercial releases on Regal and the numbers affixed to them (not always right away) in the now familiar D-M-R (DeLuxe-Merit-Regal) matrix series (see Appendix J), we've inferred they were clustered fairly tightly in April 1951. We don't know whether Fred Mendelsohn was in town when they were done. We do know that Monroe Passis was there the whole time.



Re10. Roosevelt Sykes

Roosevelt Sykes (p, voc); J. T. Brown (ts); Ransom Knowling (b); Armand "Jump" Jackson (d).

Chicago, April 10, 1951

R 1501 Green Onion Top
Regal 3324, Delmark DD 773 [CD]
R 1502 Wonderin' Blues
Regal 3324, Delmark DD 773 [CD]

Chicago Boogie
Delmark DD 773 [CD]

Security Blues
Delmark DD 773 [CD]

Regal matrix numbers are extant for the two sides released on Regal 3324. The other two sides, we reasonably infer, were meant to be R 1500 and 1503, not that we can tell which was which.

A 4-tune session, on which Roosevelt Sykes and Jump Jackson are joined by J. T. Brown on tenor sax, is said to be from April 1951; the Delmark CD reissue says April 10. Local 208 files show that on April 5, the saxophonist, freshly back in town from 6 to 8 weeks down South, had just contracted for 6 weeks at the Hollywood Rendezvous.

Regal's release rate kept decelerating: Regal 3321 (the second Cab Calloway single) was reviewed in Cash Box on May 5, 1951 (p. 15). Sykes' single on Regal 3324 was annnounced in Billboard on June 16, 1951 (p. 82) and reviewed on June 30 (p. 31). Meanwhile Cash Box reviewed it on June 16 (p. 13). Regal got it out just in time: the next month Sykes, identified as "ex-Victor and Regal" ("Mum Is Word of Execs," Billboard, July 28, 1951) was recording for United. Assuming Sykes signed for one year with Regal around July 1, 1950, his contract had just had time to expire.

"Chicago Boogie" is a short instrumental, probably done impromptu at the session, but "Security Blues" is already a developed performance. Sykes would remake the piece for United. If Regal was interested in putting these sides out, it ran out of time. And during Mendelsohn's next window of opportunity, a Herald release of "Security Blues" would have had to compete with one on United.


Re11. Essie Sykes

Essie Sykes (voc); Roosevelt Sykes (p); unidentified (eg); unidentified (b); unidentified (d).

Chicago, prob. April 1951

R 1504 Easy Walkin' Papa
Regal 3330
R 1505 Please Don't Say Goodbye
Regal 3330

An Essie Sykes is listed in the 1940 US census as Roosevelt's wife; supposedly 23 years old, born in Mississippi, and a 1935 resident of Memphis, Tennessee. That same year, Roosevelt Sykes cut "Essie Mae Blues" (Decca 7769 B), which sounds autobiographical. Miss Essie Mae was the love of his life, he sings, and he met her in Tennessee. On the other hand, he supposedly stole her from one Bill McKay—in 1929. (Did he take some liberties with the time frame?) Most likely, then, the singer was Mrs. Sykes, around age 34 when she recorded these sides.

The R series numbers suggest the same session as Re10, or one following close in time. But the identity of the guitarist is still under discussion, and the other musicians have not been identified.

We don't know whether more Essie Sykes sides were recorded. We also don't know of Regal tracks with matrix numbers between R 1506 and R1512.

Both Robert Nighthawk and Robert Jr. Lockwood have been nominated for the guitar role, but, as Big Joe Louis has noted, the solo on "Easy Walkin' Papa," though essaying some imitation of Lockwood's style, just isn't up to his level technically. There is no discernible resemblance to anything by Robert Nighthawk. While Lockwood is on the Sunnyland Slim sides (next session), there is no guitarist at all on the Roosevelt Sykes tracks (previous session).

Regal 3329 (by Paul Gayten) was reviewed in Cash Box on August 18, 1951 (p. 17). Which makes 3330 the very last Regal 78 in the company's main series. And an obscure 78: the 4-volume R&B Indies ends its Regal listing at 3329.


Re12. Sunnyland Slim

Sunnyland Slim (p, voc); Oliver Alcorn (ts); Robert Jr. Lockwood (eg); Ernest "Big" Crawford (b); Alfred "Fat Man" Wallace (d).

Chicago, April 19, 1951

R 1512 I Done You Wrong
P-Vine Special [J] PLP 9038, Airway AR-4279, Delmark DL 648, P-Vine [J] PLP-364, Delmark DD 648 [CD], Classics 5035 [CD]
R 1513 Orphan Boy Blues
Regal 3327, Airway AR-4279, Classics 5035 [CD]
R 1514 When I Was Young
Regal 3327, Biograph LP 12010, Classics 5035 [CD]
R 1514 [alt.] When I Was Young
Biograph LP 12010, Biograph BCD 124
R 1514 B (Low Down) Sunnyland Train
P-Vine Special [J] PLP 9038, Airway AR-4279, Delmark DL 648, P-Vine [J] PLP-364, Delmark DD 648 [CD], Classics 5035 [CD]

These sides have always been credited as new recordings for Regal, but with suspiciously varying dates (April 19, 1949 or April 19, 1951).

Regal 3326 by Billy Ford was reviewed in Cash Box on June 30, 1951 (p. 18). Regal 3327 was reviewed in Billboard on August 18, 1951 (p. 74).

Given Sunnyland's role in the Memphis Minnie/Jimmy Rogers session, he could have recorded his own material in early 1950. We thought the "room" sound on "Orphan Boy Blues" (especially) and "Sunnyland Train" pointed to the warehouse, but the other tracks from the session don't have it. It must be the sound of differential mastering. The personnel are as listed in Fancourt and McGrath. Robert Jr. Lockwood is easily recognized, and the drummer on this session is definitely not Leroy Foster.

There are two compelling arguments for a 1951 date for these sides. First, Robert Jr. Lockwood is on them. Second, the R series numbers that were attached to them prior to their release on Regal put them in between the Roosevelt Sykes numbers from April 1951 and the St. Louis Jimmy sides with Sykes and Lockwood. Had they been cut for DeLuxe in April 1949, they would have carried numbers in the D 900s.

After Mendelsohn decided what to release on Regal, the tracks from this session ended up being split three ways. Two went to Delmark and its Japanese licensee, P-Vine Special, though P-Vine beat Delmark to market. Then they found their way to Sunnyland's own Airway label. Two appeared on Biograph. "Orphan Boy Blues" was released on Regal, then sat until Airway picked it up in 1983.

Biograph LP 12010, After Hour Blues, was released in 1969. The LP was split among St. Louis Jimmy and Sunnyland Slim (Side A), and Little Brother Montgomery (Side B), with Fred Mendelsohn the obvious source for everything but two Paramount sides by Little Brother. On the LP, the two takes of R 1514 are labeled "When I Was Young (Shake It Baby)." Sunnyland combines elements of both songs (which have the same melody and rhythm).

Biograph BCD 124,Memphis Minnie: Early Rhythm & Blues 1949 was a various-artists CD released in 1992. Only the tracks by Pee Wee Hughes (definitely) and Little Brother Montgomery (probably) were recorded in 1949. Just the alternate of "When I Was Young" was included from this session.

The P-Vine/Delmark compilations (all including the same tracks) were titled Down Home Chicago Blues: Black Music in the 1950s Volume 5 (P-Vine Special PLP-9038, released 1982), and The Blues World of Little Walter (Delmark DL 648, released 1984; Delmark DD 648, released 1993, and P-Vine Special PLP-364).

Sunnyland Slim started his own label, Airway, in 1973. Airway AR-4279, Be Careful How You Vote, was an LP compilation of his sides from 1950-1951 (the liners said 1949), 1954, and 1983; it was released in 1983. In his own notes, Sunnyland gave the same personnel we have listed above, except he referred to the saxophonist as Oliver "Crawford."

The entire session (minus one alternate take) was finally brought back together on Classics 5035, Sunnyland Slim 1949-1951, which was released in 2001.



Re13. St. Louis Jimmy

St. Louis Jimmy (voc); Roosevelt Sykes (p); Robert Lockwood Jr. (eg); Ernest "Big" Crawford (b).

Chicago, April 19, 1951

D 1538 [?]
H 1018
Hard Luck Boogie (Hard Work Boogie)
Herald 407, Biograph LP 12010, Biograph BCD 124, Document DOCD-5235
D 1539
H 1019
Good Book Blues (Tryin' to Change My Ways*)
Herald 407, Savoy LP 16000, Document DOCD-5235*
D 1540
H 1028
Your Evil Ways
Herald 408, Biograph LP 12010, Biograph BCD 124, Document DOCD-5235
D 1541
H 1029
Whisky Drinkin' Woman (I Sit Up All Night*)
Herald 408, Biograph LP 12010*, Biograph BCD 124*, Document DOCD-5235*

State Street Blues
Biograph BLP 12010, Biograph BCD 124, Document DOCD-5235

This session has been dated June 19, 1949, which is not credible, and April 19, 1951, which is. First, Robert Jr. Lockwood is on guitar. He wasn't recording in Chicago in 1949. He was in 1951. Second, Roosevelt Sykes is the pianist, and he was recording for Parkway and Regal during 1950 and the first half of 1951. In June 1949, Sykes was still under contract to RCA Victor. Third, St. Louis Jimmy was announced in March 1950 as an artist represented by Monroe Passis and Mayo Williams; in 1949, he had been recording for a bunch of other labels, and in June of that year he and Joe Brown were about to open JOB. Fourth, the matrix numbers that Mendelsohn assigned to these sides, either on the spot or a little after the fact, come after the sessions by Roosevelt Sykes, Essie Sykes, and Sunnyland Slim in the Regal matrix series. DeLuxe masters from June 1949 would have been in the D 900s; Merit masters started in the high M 900s. When Regal closed, at the beginning of November 1951, Mendelsohn, like the Braun brothers, worked for a while at DeLuxe, a King subsidiary. He could have attached D prefix during this period. The last R series numbers we can associate with a new release on Regal are R 1525 and R 1526 (from Regal 3326 by Billy Ford and R. F. D. 5082 by Mr. Sunshine).

Herald 408 was the only pre-410 release to draw a review from a trade publication. It rode in the draft of Herald 410 by the Embers, which the company bought ads for. Because 410 was selling, 408 caught ink in both trades (Billboard, May 9, 1953, p. 40; Cash Box, May 16, 1953, p. 20). The reviews confirm that "Whiskey Drinkin' Woman" was the original title to D 1541; the Cash Box reviewer, who liked the record, thought "Whiskey" wasn't just the same tune but the same performance that St. Louis Jimmy had recently cut for Duke. A pardonable mistake, considering Herald wasn't telling anyone that this was material from 2 years back. The H numbers belonged to the label's own matrix number series, and were purely a function of when Herald prepared the sides for release.

On "State Street Blues," which didn't see release till Biograph acquired this material from Fred Mendelsohn, the snapback bass work is obviously Big Crawford's (further snaps can be heard on "Hard Work Boogie"). And the pianist on this track isn't Sykes. Suspicion must fall on St. Louis Jimmy himself (for years, he'd avoided entanglement with the Musicians Union by not playing on his record dates).

Biograph LP 12010, After Hour Blues, was released in 1969. The LP was split among St. Louis Jimmy and Sunnyland Slim (Side A), and Little Brother Montgomery (Side B), with Fred Mendelsohn the obvious source of everything but two Paramount sides by Little Brother.

Biograph BCD 124,Memphis Minnie: Early Rhythm & Blues 1949 was a various-artists CD released in 1992. Only the tracks by Pee Wee Hughes (definitely) and Little Brother Montgomery (probably) were recorded in 1949. Document DOCD-5235, St. Louis Jimmy Oden Volume 2: 1944-1955 was released in 1994. The credits to the Document make no mention of Herald 408, either because no one had heard of it or because the compilers weren't sure which tracks had been on it. But then the liner notes described Herald as a Chicago-based label and implied that it was active between 1949 and 1951. Oh well.


By the time these sessions were done, Regal was about to quit booking studio time and had six months left as a company. Its R. F. D. subsidiary, announced at the beginning of the year, wound down quickly. Melvin Price, who led a Country band in eastern Maryland, the Santa Fe Rangers, was first a Regal artist, garnering releases on Regal 5068, 5069, and 5070. The Santa Fe Rangers consisted of Price, fiddle and guitar; Merritt Murphy, steel guitar; Bill Smith, rhythm guitar; Bob Fluharty, rhythm guitar; and Ernie Seiler, bass (Billboard, June 25, 1949, p. 23). Price reemerged as an R. F. D. artist, in the same 5000 series.

Ed McMullen and his wife Sally Clark, who performed regularly in the New York area, were already associated with Price, who recorded some of their songs. McMullen was announced as the new label's music director (according to Billboard for April 14, 1951). To our knowledge the only other Country acts that McMullen had time to sign were country DJ "Grandpappy" Earl Davis and Carl "Mr. Sunshine" Swanson. (The "Elbow Benders" look like the Big Ben Trio, renamed; we haven't heard them, so we don't know whether they would qualify as a Country act.) Cash Box reviewed Davis's R. F. D. 5078 (May 12, 1951, p. 10). There was an R. F. D. by big band leader Bob Chester, who in 1950 and 1951 was attempting a comeback. He must have thought he was recording for Regal, and two of the sides had appeared in the 1196 pop series. Two more pop sides by Ted Martin, who had also gotten a release in Regal's 1196 series, were hastily slotted into R. F. D.'s release schedule.

Mendelsohn had briefly operated the Merit label, for six weeks in 1949; in May 1951, Regal tried to revive it as a budget line with 49 cent singles. The company put the new Merits out on 45 rpm (these were pressed by the same company that did Tots 'n' Teens) along with the usual 78s. This effort was good for maybe another six weeks ("Two New Labels Set to Issue Disks at 49c Retail with Special Price to Ops," Cash Box, May 5, 1951, p. 11). Merit 307, a pop record by one Bobby Hart, was reviewed on June 9, 1951, p. 18; Merit 308 would follow, probably with little delay (anyhow, it was a straight reissue of a polka record that had once been Regal 1202). There were more releases on the second Merit.

In July "Julie" Braun and Fred Mendelsohn were in Chicago for the NAMM convention (Cash Box, July 28, 1951, p. 9), but this time around they neither leased anything from local labels nor did any recording. R. F. D. was kaput, after 12 releases if there were no gaps in the series. On July 28, Billboard ("Folk Talent and Tunes," p. 56) noted that McMullen and Clark were performing in New York, and ready to "go with Decca in September." On August 4, Cash Box mentioned Savannah Churchill singing at the Hi Note in Chicago, referring neither to Regal or nor to her two 78s for the company. She'd probably been released from her Regal deal and was about to sign with RCA Victor.


After Parkway—The Musicians

Leonard Chess assessed Muddy Waters' appearance on Parkway as multiple counts of off-contract behavior. It wasn't like moonlighting for Tempo-Tone in 1949. There'd been no fear of Tempo-Tone pulling sales away from Aristocrat. Anyway, the Chess brothers weren't the sole owners yet. Whereas by the beginning of 1950 the Chess brothers were staking the company's survival on two performers: Gene Ammons and Muddy Waters. Muddy wasn't actually named as an artist on the record, as he had been at Tempo-Tone. But his fervent guitar playing (after one vigorous lick, Little Walter shouts "Lord have mercy!"), his verbal whoops and interjections ("Play a looong time!"), even his humming, made his presence obvious. Walter and Leroy each referred to him by name on the records, and the company gave him the composer credit for "Rollin' and Tumblin'."

Some of the musicians told Chess about the session. Said Passis, "They went and told him what they had done and Chess said, ‘Let’s record it and kill it.’"

Almost immediately (as soon as session time was open; we figure no more than two weeks after the Parkway outing), Leonard Chess had Muddy at Univeral Recording cutting a new version of "Rollin' and Tumblin'" with bassist Big Crawford for release on Aristocrat. Another two-part recording, this too was excellent, but it didn't match the primal force of the Foster version (few other blues records ever have). Waters was surging in popularity when the Aristocrat hit the shelves and there is little doubt that his version substantially outsold the Foster version.

Aristocrat, despite recording later, got 412 into the stores around the same time as Parkway 501 (and Aristocrat's distribution was better). The Defender reviewed the Parkway on March 11, 1950. On that same date, Aristocrat was promoting 412 in Cash Box (up to that point, Aristocrat had been making its advertising push for 411 by Gene Ammons—412 suddenly joined it). Cash Box did review the Parkway—but not until April 8 (p. 16), and the review was surprisingly tepid.

This February session for Aristocrat also produced "Rollin’ Stone," the first Waters side to be released on the Chess imprint. Waters was now the preeminent blues artist from Chicago. We can also be sure that the Chess brothers put the kibosh on Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers, and Little Walter remaining under the personal management of Monroe Passis and J. Mayo Williams.

In August 1950, the Chess brothers finally acknowledged the broader lesson from the Parkway episode. They began including Little Walter on Waters' recording sessions; Jimmy Rogers shared the session with Muddy on August 15 and began playing on Muddy's own sides starting in October 1950. Recording for Chess, Muddy Waters put 15 songs on the national R&B charts from 1951 to 1958. In the 1960s, Chess tried to broaden Waters’ audience with folk-styled and rock-styled albums, which were sometimes commercial if not critical successes. Remaining with the label after the sale of the company and the death of Leonard Chess, Waters eventually signed with Blue Sky, where under the production aegis of Johnny Winter he recorded four albums in a more traditional manner from 1977 to 1981. Waters died on 30 April 1983, in Westmont, Illinois.

After his Parkway session, Jimmy Rogers signed with Chess Records, which used his smooth vocals on many terrific recordings, beginning with "That's All Right" from the August 1950 session done back to back with Muddy's. Rogers continued as rhythm guitarist in Waters' band until 1955, appearing on most of Waters' Chess recordings during that period, and recorded under his own name for Chess until 1959. He was mostly retired from the music business during the 1960s, but returned to recording in 1972 on the Shelter label. Other LPs followed, for Black and Blue (1973), JSP (1982), Antone's (1990), and Bullseye (1994). Jimmy Rogers died in Chicago on December 19, 1997.

Little Walter after the Parkway recordings concentrated on his harmonica to the greater benefit of the blues world (he would make just two further appearances on guitar, on two sides he cut with Muddy Waters in 1951). But he would not record as a leader again for some two years. From July 1950 to August 1952, Walter performed and recorded with the Waters band; he was also used on Chess sessions with Jimmy Rogers, Floyd Jones, Eddie Ware, and Memphis Minnie. But he recorded his gigantic hit, "Juke," for Checker in May 1952, going one to one of the most successful recording careers of any Chicago blues artist, scoring 14 Top Ten R&B hits. By the end of the 1950s, Walter’s hitmaking was at an end. The 1960s saw blues decline in the black community, along with Walter’s descent into alcoholism and bar fights. After one blow to the head too many, Walter died in Chicago on February 15, 1968.

Leaving Muddy's group for good,Leroy Foster cut three sessions for JOB in 1950, 1951, and 1952. Chess reissued Foster's first JOB single, but didn't sign him. He backed Mildred Richards and Snooky Pryor on their 1950 sessions for JOB; backed J. B. Lenoir on his debut session (made in 1950 for JOB but promptly dealt to Chess); and accompanied Sunnyland Slim on two sides cut in October 1950 for the Sunny label. Foster's 1952 sides, which included the ominous title "Blues Is Killing Me," went unissued for two decades, and he never recorded again, dissipating his career in alcoholism. He died in Chicago, on 26 May 1958.

Parkway's failure to do anything with his first session as a leader did no discernible harm to Bennie Green's career. He didn't hang around town waiting for his single to be released. By April 26, he was in New York City recording with Gene Ammons for Prestige; on May 18 and 19 he was part of an all-star ensemble that backed Sarah Vaughan for Columbia. (In fact Green would record in Chicago on just one further occasion, when he made four titles with strings for Prestige in 1952.) In his next opportunity as a leader, Bennie Green made 4 sides for Jubilee in August 1950; all were released, with "La Vie en Rose" and "Blues Is Green," which had been recorded, as the ads said, "in echo chamber," getting the rush treatment. In 1951 and 1952 he led sessions for Prestige. From 1951 to 1953 he was a member of Earl Hines' last big band, which for a time also included John Gilmore on tenor saxophone. Green then worked for over a decade as a leader of quintets; he shared the front line with such tenor saxophonists as Frank Foster, Charlie Rouse, Jimmy Forrest, and Johnny Griffin. After leaving Hines in 1953, he made a 10-inch LP for Decca. He did three LPs for Prestige (1955 and 1956), four for Blue Note (1958 and 1959), and one each for Vee-Jay (1959), Enrica (1960), Time (1960), Bethlehem (1960), and Jazzland (1961), not counting numerous sideman appearances in the studio. His last sides as a leader were done for Prestige in 1967. For two stretches in 1968 and 1969 he performed and recorded with Duke Ellington. Later in 1969, he settled in Las Vegas, where he worked regularly in hotel bands. He made his last appearance on record in 1972, during a Newport in New York festival, and died in San Diego on March 23, 1977.

After Parkway sessions, Claude McLin's fortunes improved for a while when Chess recorded his version of "Mona Lisa" in July 1950—it would be his only hit. "Tennessee Waltz," cut in October 1950, was intended as a follow-up but Schoolboy Porter's rendition on Chance outsold it. McLin also appeared on a fan's tape recording of an October 1950 Charlie Parker set at the Pershing Ballroom. After another session for Chess in 1951, McLin became fed up with the lack of steady work in Chicago; early in 1952, he moved his family to Los Angeles. There he found plentiful gigs in clubs and occasional studio work, appearing on an Amos Milburn session for Aladdin (1954) and cutting for small labels such as Golden Tone (1958), Dootone (also 1958), his own Mac-Jac enterprise (1960 and 1963), and Allegro/C&C (1962). But his final effort, for Dootone in 1963, found him attempting garage rock. The demand for Claude McLin's music dried up after 1965 and he took a job driving a bus for Avis Rent-a-Car at the Los Angeles International Airport. Claude McLin retired from Avis around 1993 and died in Los Angeles on July 21, 1995.

Willie Jones remained at the Macomba until the club burned down in October 1950. For the next decade he enjoyed steady work in various Chicago-area clubs with quartets and trios. He picked up occasional studio gigs backing doo-wop groups (the Five Blue Notes for Sabre in 1953, the Five Echoes for the same label in 1954 and the Flamingos for Chance that same year, the Flamingos for Parrot later in 1954, and three sessions for Parrot/Blue Lake in 1955). He got his sole opportunity to record as a leader, for Vee-Jay in 1954. Because "My Thing" and "My Other Thing" were precursors to the music of Cecil Taylor, Vee-Jay had no idea who to sell them to and Vee-Jay 121 is an extremely rare record. Willie Jones also appeared on the LPs that Clark Terry and Paul Gonsalves cut for the Chess brothers' Argo label in 1957. Jones continued his piano playing and singing in the clubs during the 1960s and early 1970s (regrettably, we don't know of a single instance of his singing being recorded). His last appearances on record were with Tommy "Madman" Jones for the saxophonist's M&M label (1963 and early 1970s). After 1972, Willie Jones' health declined; he died of arteriosclerosis in Chicago on December 31, 1977.

Gene Wright next recorded with Gene Ammons, on the saxophonist's last session for Aristocrat (May 1950). He was Ammons' regular bassist until May 1951, appearing on both of the tenor man's sessions for Chess. Subsequently, he moved to the West Coast, where he worked with Buddy DeFranco, Red Norvo, and Cal Tjader. He reached the height of his fame as a member of Dave Brubeck's quartet from 1957 to 1967, acquring the nickname "Senator" along the way. In his later years Wright has been active as a musician, a teacher, and a composer.

Dorell Anderson remained on the scene until the mid-1960s. Although more durable than the truly snakebit Ike Day, Anderson had a comparable series of run-ins with the Union:

Erased member Dorel [sic] Anderson, 9233 South Wentworth Avenue, appeared before the Board requesting permission to work with Union members and pay his $100.00 fine in weekly installments.
Anderson was given a severe reprimand by the Board for his lax attitude.
On motion, the Board ruled that Dorel Anderson shall be given permission to work and pay his $100.00 fine weekly on the following conditions:
  1. Anderson shall not be permitted to draw or make tabs.
  2. His salary shall be collected by the business agent and brought into the Local.
  3. If he insists on doing things detrimental to himself, he can be dismissed and the entire balance of his fine becomes due and payable immediately.
  4. He shall not have the benefit of any notice, which means the first time he is late or fails to appear on an engagement, he shall be dismissed immediately. (Board meeting minutes of Local 208, November 18, 1954, p. 1)

Dorell Anderson can be heard to advantage on a 1965 Charlie Parker memorial concert that was recorded by Mercury's Limelight subsidiary. Not long after that, he was murdered; according to Alvin Fielder, his body was found in the Chicago River.


After Parkway—The Principals

The departure of the Leaner brothers led Monroe Passis to reconsider his commitment to putting out records on his own label. Not only did he lose two managers, he lost a bunch of his business to United and other distributors, such as American and Frumkin Sales. (Nobody signed "no-compete" clauses in the music business of the early 1950s.) By the Bennie Green session of April 10, 1950, Passis had already sold or leased two sides from the Memphis Minnie session to Regal, and was about to do the same with the Roosevelt Sykes session from March; it's even possible that he got Fred Mendelsohn to invest in the company after the Leaners left. Monroe Passis was still identified as the president of Parkway when he attended the NAMM show at the Palmer House in July. In September, however, Fred Mendelsohn released two Little Walter sides from the first Parkway session (one of them previously unissued) on Regal 3296.

The December 1950 telephone book shows no listing for Chord Distributors. That's because in September (the same month that Mendelsohn released two more of his masters) Passis shut Chord down and started a new company, unimaginatively called Record Distributors, Inc. It was a joint project of four companies: Atlantic, National, Regal, and Jubilee. Regal's direct participation speaks for itself.

In a story out of New York City, dated September 9, Billboard announced the formation of Record Distributors ("4 N. Y. Diskers Form Chicago Distrib Pool," Billboard, September 16, 1950, p. 15). "The participants—Atlantic, Jubilee, National, and Regal—have put up $9,000 in merchandise and $1,000 in cash. Passis has chipped in with an unspecified amount of cash." Continuing its unusual clarity about a business arrangement, Billboard noted that, "Stock is being held in escrow by the waxeries. Passis has the opportunity to buy it back out of profits." Just getting caught up, on September 30 Cash Box (p. 7) announced that "Chord" had landed the four labels; in the October 7 issue (p. 19) there was an ad for Record Distributors. The new company was given 120 days to prove that it could make money. It passed the test. On January 1, Record Distributors, Inc., was not merely going to the satisfaction of the four principal labels. Passis got the green light to acquire another distributor (Sam Margolis's General Distributing Company; "From Chicago: Personal Notes,"Billboard, January 20, 1951, p. 14) and to add Tempo and Seeco to the lines he was carrying ("Rhythm and Blues Notes," Billboard, January 20, 1951, p. 24).

Passis had gotten a significant injection of capital and was handling four record lines that at the time all seemed to be enjoying commercial success. Problem was, a joint venture with four record companies depended on the health of each one severally. National wasn't getting enough revenue back from its distributors and its costs (for instance, for pressings) were rising. In June 1951, Al Green suddenly closed National down and sold or leased a piece of it to his son, Irving, who ran Mercury. We don't know the date, as the sale received no public announcement whatsoever—National simply evaporated out of the trade papers after its last ad in Cash Box (June 9, 1951, p. 15). This was not a straight sale to Mercury, though Mercury did reissue some National items deemed commercially viable. A 1955 article about Mercury's jazz subsidiary, EmArcy, bluntly stated that "Mercury owned the old National and Keynote masters" ("Mercury's Jazz Label, Headed by Bobby Shad, Making Big Dent in Specialized Jazz Market," Cash Box, February 26, 1955, p. 20). Keynote was a permanent acquisition. Whereas in time nearly all of National's masters ended up with Savoy. Savoy's purchase was not announced until 1957—and, as was often the case, there was no mention of the source Herman Lubinsky was buying from.

National was down. Regal would be the next to fall. The company had overinvested in country music with its R. F. D. subsidiary. It tried to revive Merit as a budget label, aimed specifically at juke box operators ("Two New Labels Set to Issue Disks at 49 Retail with Special Price to Ops," Cash Box, May 5, 1951, p. 11). Distributors didn't care for the special low price for operators ("Merit to Sell Direct to Ops," Cash Box, June 2, 1951, p. 16). The experiment lasted all of 4 weeks. By now, Regal was also ready to sell back the piece it had acquired of the Roost label. And its executives were convinced that distributors were ripping them off on their kidisk packages, which sold in volume but kept losing money. (We wonder a little about the volume, considering how there was a lot of competition, Tots 'n' Teens basically didn't get reviewed in the trades, and nothing on the subsidiary ever cracked the kiddie Top Ten.) The last straw was being hit with Federal excise taxes on both the Tots 'n' Teens records and their packaging, which led the Brauns to file an unsuccessful court case. Recording was over in May 1951. The company's release stream slowed to a trickle, then dried up in September.

Regal officially shut down at the beginning of November 1951, leaving Passis with Jubilee, Atlantic, plus Tempo, Seeco, maybe another small label or two—and making a barely audible whimper about reviving his record company. Hence, in Billboard for November 3, 1951, "Monroe Passis, the r.&b. distribber, is reactivating his Parkway label" (p. 52). Cash Box for the same date (Sam Evans, "Kickin' the Blues Around," p. 20) had "Monte" Passis handing out cigars because of the way the latest by the Clovers was selling. The Clovers were an Atlantic act; they might have given Passis his last opportunity to hand out cigars over record sales.

Meanwhile, we don't know exactly what was happening with Jubilee, but the company was operating in the black. Its owner, Jerry Blaine, was in the distribution business for himself—he owned Cosnat, whose headquarters were in New York City and various branches were in other northeastern cities. It surely crossed Blaine's mind that Cosnat, which pre-dated Jubilee, carried a name that honored two dead record companies—Cosmo and National—and he could rearrange his label's distribution network whenever he liked, with minimal fanfare. If Blaine didn't make his jump when Regal closed, he wouldn't require a second signal after Passis lost Atlantic. On March 1, 1952, Billboard announced that Atlantic had gone with James Martin in Chicago (there was no mention of Jubilee in the article) and that Passis' days as a distributor were over. Cash Box's directory of distributors for June 1952 shows Martin also handling Jubilee (June 28, 1952, p. 70). Blaine later opted for a joint custody arrangement: in the directories that Cash Box published in July 1953 and 1954, Sheridan Distributing, the successor to American, was handling Jubilee's pop; Aristocrat, as the Chess brothers still called that branch of their operation, had the R&B.

The ghost of Record Distributors, Inc., gave off distant wails in the trades, but only because of a small New York-based record company called Clipper that had been in business in 1950 and 1951, and didn't bother to send an SOS to Billboard or Cash Box when all hands boarded the lifeboats. The ectoplasmic distributor was still haunting its Marie Celeste in Cash Box's 1952, 1953, and 1954 directories.

Most likely any unsold Parkway 78s still in inventory were destroyed when Passis closed Record Distributors, Inc.

Passis moved into running trade shows. In this new sphere he went as Ray Passis (in his music business days, the trades nearly always referred to him as Monroe). From the mid-1950s through the 1970s, operating Transworld Exhibits, he was one of the industry leaders, running the annual discount store trade show, and handling the huge housewares show on Navy Pier. Ray Passis died on January 29, 2004, in Rancho Mirage, California.


During the 1950s, Ernie and George Leaner prospered with United Distributors. From 1962 to 1968, George operated the Oneder-ful/M-Pac!/Mar-V-lus label complex, recording such hard soul acts as McKinley Mitchell, Harold Burrage, Otis Clay, the Five Dutones, the Sharpees, Johnny Sayles, and Dorothy Prince, as well as a huge dance record star, Alvin Cash. Blues artists recording for the company included Lonnie Brooks, Big Daddy Rogers, and Andrew Tibbs. Following the closing of Oneder-ful, Ernie Leaner teamed with his son Tony to form Toddlin’ Town, which experienced moderate success recording such proto-funk acts as Bull and the Matadors and Thomas East. It closed in 1971.

As the majors reclaimed a greater share of the record business, the Leaner brothers shut down United Distributors in 1974, turning the operation into a one-stop. They also opened up a chain of retail stores. By the end of the decade, both George and Ernie were largely out of the music business. George died September 18, 1983, in Chicago; and Ernie died April 17, 1990, in Kalamazoo, Michigan.


Fred Mendelsohn had had several connections with Monroe Passis: Chord Distributors distributed Mendelsohn's short-lived Merit label before he started Regal; Chord got Regal the day the company started and kept it after the Leaners left; Regal was one of the four record companies that partnered with Passis in his new venture, Record Distributors, Inc., which replaced Chord in September 1950. Meanwhile Mendelsohn had picked up the Memphis Minnie sides from January 1950, the Roosevelt Sykes tracks from March, the Eddie Boyds from July 1950, and a slew of Roosevelt Sykes/Essie Sykes/St. Louis Jimmy/Sunnyland Slim items, all from April 1951. Most important of all, he had acquired the Leroy Foster sides from January 1950. When and how Mendelsohn paid for all these tracks we don't know, but he had relied on Passis to record most or all of them.

Slicing all the way through Mendelsohn's tangle of business relationships with Passis was his and the Brauns' decision to close Regal, in November 1951. Before Mendelsohn left to run DeLuxe as a King subsidiary (far as we can tell, the Brauns didn't join him there), Regal cut a deal with Danny Kessler, the A&R man for Columbia's OKeh subsidiary: OKeh got Larry Darnell, Paul Gayten, and Titus Turner ("OKeh Signs Regal Artists," Cash Box, November 17, 1951, p. 20). Darnell and Gayten had been Regal's top sellers; Gayten had previously been a DeLuxe artist. RSRF member Billy Vera, in his 1989 notes to a reissue of Paul Gayten's Regal sides (Regal Records in New Orleans, Specialty SPCD-2169), stated that Regal owed Columbia money for custom pressings. (Some Regal 78s from 1950 and 1951 do look like products of Columbia's plant in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Columbia was still pressing on shellac in 1951, presumably to use up the mass quantities it had stored at the site; the filler for such 78s, when exposed, looks like reinforced cardboard.) Vera added Annie Laurie's contract and Broadway Bill Cook's to those transferred. Kessler was recording Titus Turner for OKeh on October 16, 1951; Paul Gayten on October 31, 1951 (while Regal was still officially in business); Larry Darnell with a different band on November 8, 1951; and Annie Laurie with still a different band on November 21. Debts to Columbia aside, the Braun brothers obviously didn't want these artists to end up under contract to Sid Nathan.

As we've seen, Passis was not able to restart Parkway afterward. Instead, losing Regal crippled his distribution business, which had to shut down in March 1952.


When Regal closed, all that was left for Mendelsohn was the Tots 'n' Teens "kidisks." They weren't going to King. They weren't going to other labels he'd arranged for Regal artists to transfer to. We don't actually know that the children's records lasted another minute. It appears the Tots 'n' Teens line was sold off to a company called Crest, with headquarters on Long Island. We've encountered Crest issues of the 78s from 3 "packets": the records kept the Tots 'n' Teens logo and the label art (though Crest saved money by using fewer colors on the labels). The Crests were on opaque burnt orange plastic, like Tots 'n' Teens 101 (pre-Regal), or some pressings of later Tots 'n' Teens packages for Regal; they were pressed at the same plant Regal had used; and they carried the Regal master numbers, down to the designation of each single as RE1 through RE32. It appears that Crest got the masters for all the children's records, along with any metal parts that Regal had on hand. Such work as needed doing for the DeLuxe label (a torpid subsidiary of King since August 1949, barely managing 10 new singles per year) kept Mendelsohn sort of occupied for around a year. (We infer that a one-year contract with DeLuxe was part of the set of deals.) We'd thought that maybe Jules and David Braun signed contracts with Sid Nathan, but the level of activity at DeLuxe was so low that there was nothing for them to do. Most likely November 1951 got both of them out of the music business. According to Billy Vera, in his 1989 liner notes to the Paul Gayten reissue CD on Specialty, Dave Braun moved into another "coin man's" activity, manufacturing game machines in Florida. Jules Braun became an attorney in Toms River, New Jersey.

In the same 1989 notes, Vera reports that Fred Mendelsohn brought Big Maybelle to OKeh, and produced her first session there. Though she hadn't recorded for Regal, Mendelsohn wouldn't have wanted Nathan to know anything about it. She had been a King artist (see our Tom Archia page for a couple of the sessions she made for Nathan). She scored hits on OKeh.


While Sid Nathan owned all of it and neither the Braun brothers nor Fred Mendelsohn were involved with it, DeLuxe had made no attempt to keep up with King's busy release schedule. Nor did it try to keep up with Federal's, after King opened that subsidiary. Between September 1949, when Nathan took over, and September 1952, when Mendelsohn left, the main release series advanced from 3300 no farther than 3323. (King was also selling some DeLuxes from the company's back catalog.) There were just 3 known releases under Mendelsohn's tenure. DeLuxe 3321 was a new recording by Fats Noel. DeLuxe 3322 by Annie Laurie, reissued old DeLuxe masters: "One Sweet Letter from You" had been out as the B side to both DeLuxe 1131 and DeLuxe 1170 and "Ghost of a Chance" had been the A side of DeLuxe 1106. DeLuxe 3323 was the last by Roy Brown from masters cut for Sid Nathan's DeLuxe: "Brown Angel," the "AA" side, was from a session done on September 27, 1952. Fred Mendelsohn was probably gone before 3323 was released. Before Mendelsohn came on board, DeLuxe 3320 had already reused two Paul Gayten masters, one previously released as the A side of DeLuxe 1170, the other previously... on Regal 3230.

For six months or so 1949-1950, DeLuxe did try a new label design. The new design looked nothing like any of its predecessors. It hyhenated the name, into De-Luxe. If one took the time to read the fine print around the rim of the label, De-Luxe's location was given as Cincinnati, Ohio. The D-L design was used on later pressings of DeLuxe 3300 and remained in force through 3312. The label then reverted to the design had been using for all but Tex-Mex releases in the summer of 1949. King took the 1946-1949 DeLuxe logo, yanked "Records" and "Linden, New Jersey," out from under it, and replaced them with thick underlines.

The main function of DeLuxe, since Nathan took over, had been to record Roy Brown. Brown got 12 releases out of 24 (if all of the numbers were used), including the first and the last. The others were by Paul Gayten and Annie Laurie (one each, as described above), Fats Noel (as described above), Erline Harris (two releases), Prof. J. Earle Hines (a gospel performer, one release), Lee Richardson (three releases), and Roosevelt Wardell (one release). DeLuxe 3315 by Richardson and 3317 by Wardell have a most peculiar feature: matrix numbers in the 1400s instead of the 1500s. Both 78s came out in 1951 while Regal was still in business. By then, Regal had recorded a bunch of masters with numbers in the 1400s. In fact, their matrix numbers occupy otherwise blank spaces in the D-M-R series. Did Sid Nathan buy the sides? Meanwhile, a few back-catalog DeLuxe 78s were re-pressed and given new labels (we've seen DeLuxe 1091, by Ruth Wallis, with a D-L label on it; there must be others).

When Mendelsohn "ankled," DeLuxe became completely dormant. Roy Brown was still under contract, but his new releases would be on King. (Brown remained with King until June 1955, eventually suing the company for withholding royalties.) Well into 1953, Sid Nathan cut a deal with producer Henry Stone, then operating in South Florida, to revive DeLuxe. Stone reportedly got 50%. He launched a 6000 release series that mixed new material with reissues of old DeLuxe masters; it was accompanied by a far less active 2000 series for Country. Over a year later, with DeLuxe 6062, Stone scored a hit with a record by The Charms. DeLuxe would remain open as long as King was still in business.



DeLuxe 3321, released in January 1952 when the label was doing hardly a thing, featured a tenor saxophonist from Connecticut named Orville "Fats" Noel. Less than a year after Regal closed, Mendelsohn started Herald Records, a New York-based company. Cliché has it that Herald opened in 1953, but Billboard referred to its first release in November 1952. Herald couldn't afford to take out its own ads, so the ad belonged to a music publisher: Fats Noel, on Herald 401, was one of 22 artists who had cut "You Belong to Me" (Billboard, November 22, 1952, p. 48). Noel's session had been made at Beltone Studios in New York, on August 26, 1952; we don't think Fred Mendelsohn told Sid Nathan about it. All four sides were issued, on Herald 401 and 402; an October release date is most likely for both. Three tracks from Noel's session were reissued out on a P-Vine Special LP in 1981, and the entire thing was reunited on Delmark DL-438, Honkers & Bar Walkers Volume 1, in 1988 (DD-438, with 6 added tracks, was a CD released in 1992).



Meanwhile, on the strength of his first Checker release in August 1952, Little Walter had become a huge star in the R&B world. After taking on pressing plant executives Al Silver and Jack Braverman as partners in February 1953—this, wrongly, has been the date cited for the beginning of Herald—Mendelsohn put four of the Parkway sides on Herald under Walter's name. The first article about Herald in the trades was a two-paragraph item in Cash Box ("Form 'Herald Records,' New R&B Label," February 21, 1953, p. 16), which used the familiar trick of presenting the company as brand new. "First releases," Cash Box said, "will include Little Walter pressings," confirming that with his own meager capital Mendelsohn hadn't been able to get past Herald 401 and 402.

Two of these were the Baby Face Leroy Trio’s "Boll Weevil" (H-512) and "Rollin’ and Tumblin’ Pt. 2" (H-514), the latter renamed "Rollin’ Blues." Virtually all surviving copies of Herald 403 and 404 are 78s, but according to Barry Soltz, both of the Heralds that bore Little Walter's name also came out on 45 (he has provided photos of 404; photos of 403 have surfaced more recently). Eddie Boyd had hit for JOB in 1952 and was hitting for Chess in 1953. Consequently, Mendelsohn put two tracks from the July 1950 session (one previously unissued, the other merely retitled) on Herald 406. Finally, in May 1953 Herald tried four previously unissued St. Louis Jimmy sides, from the last of the Regal/Parkway sesions. There surely was a market for Herald 403, 404, 406, 407, and 408, but between February and May 1953 Mendelsohn and his partners couldn't afford to put anything behind their records, and sales on all were disappointing. The trades ignored them all, except the second St. Louis Jimmy. For reasons soon to become apparent, Herald 408 scored reviews in Billboard on May 9 (p. 40) and in Cash Box on May 16.

Herald started making money on the strength of the Embers' release of "Paradise Hill" (Herald 410), which Jack Angel had helped to write and Al Silver had brought to the label. Only with the release of 410 would any of Mendelsohn's blues records (Herald 408 and 411 came out around the same time) get coverage in Billboard or Cash Box. As Silver was the partner with demonstrably profitable notions about artists and repertoire, Silver, Braverman, and Angel bought Mendelsohn out of the company before the end of June. The last Heralds that Mendelsohn had recorded were 411 by bluesman Blind Billy Tate, cut in New Orleans in 1953, and 412 by a gospel group, probably also cut in 1953. Herald would score more hits that year—Herald 416, "Shake a Hand" by Faye Adams, was a monster. The company became a financially solid independent, staying alive until 1964; for most of the label's existence, doowop was its mainstay. In 1954, 1955, and 1956, there would be more Herald blues releases. But these were by Lightnin' Hopkins, recorded in March and April 1954. They came from an independent producer in Houston (possibly Henry Stone), and Mendelsohn had nothing to do with them.


For 5 years, Fred Mendelsohn had fought off becoming an employee of Savoy, but in the end the gravitational forces were too strong. Could he have found Herman Lubinsky easier to work for than Sid Nathan? In December 1953 Mendelsohn took a new job reporting to Lubinsky—initially for Regent, the label he had once owned. The announcements noted that he would be handling classical, pop, and children's records, excluding responsibilities for Savoy's R&B and gospel lines. But Mendelsohn got his foot in the door soon enough. A month after he was hired, Cash Box acknowledged Mendelsohn's ups and downs: "Savoy prexy, Herman Lubinsky, in town [Chicago] this week with his A&R man Freddie Mendelson [sic]. If anyone knows the juke box biz—that's Freddie. Came up the hard way from juke box service man..." (January 23, 1954, p. 19).

In 1955 Mendelsohn produced "Don't Be Angry" by Nappy Brown, along with records by Varetta Dillard. Larry Darnell showed up as a Savoy artist. So did Little Jimmy Scott (see the review of Savoy 1154 in Cash Box, March 26, 1955, p. 26). Scott was inveigled into a contract that would tie him down to Savoy for the next 20 years. After a while it mainly prevented other companies that wanted to record Scott from releasing anything. Far as we know, though, Lubinsky did the inveigling.

After three years, Mendelsohn decided maybe Sid Nathan was easier to work for. Toward the end of 1956, he returned, for a bit more than a year, to Nathan's operation ("DeLuxe Signs Three New Acts," Billboard, November 3, 1956, p. 18): he became head of A&R for DeLuxe, where Annie Laurie, former DeLuxe and former Regal artist, scored a hit. (It would be her last; after her second spell at DeLuxe she quit recording.) Some months later, Mendelsohn signed tenor saxophonist King Curtis to DeLuxe (Cash Box, July 13, 1957, p. 40).

In 1958, Mendelsohn achieved escape velocity where Sid Nathan was concerned. Now he was the general manager of a new outfit, Arrow Records, of which he had purchased a share ("Mendelsohn Exits DeLuxe for Arrow," Billboard, January 27, 1958, p. 34; "Mendelsohn Named General Manager of Arrow Records," Cash Box, February 1, 1958, p. 52). Arrow evolved a subsidiary called Bow, which picked up a single by Detroit R&B artist T. J. Fowler (Billboard, November 17, 1958, p. 12). Then Arrow fell back to earth.

Mendelsohn's next move was to United Telefilm, started by former MGM Records executive Morty Craft and largely owned by a Canadian firm ("Craft Helms New Diskery, United Telefilm Records," Billboard, March 16, 1959, p. 18). United Telefilm's record labels were Tel and Warwick. Meanwhile, Colpix Records was releasing a single that had been made for Arrow (Cash Box, March 28, 1959, p. 40).

Tel and Warwick did prove more durable than Bow and Arrow. In March 1959, Mendelsohn was in Chicago. We think it was to record an LP by Andrew Hill for Warwick. In 1959, Larry Darnell got a single on Warwick—presumably Mendelsohn had something to do with that, too. On June 28, 1960 (Billboard, July 4, 1960, p. 21), Mendelsohn produced a session by the Fireside Gospel singers for United Telefilm.

Mendelsohn made his exit as the year ended. He took over as president of Duane, a small label in New York (Billboard, December 26, 1960, p. 21), which he was said to be reorganizing ("Mendelson [sic] Named Duane Prexy," Cash Box, January 7, 1961, p. 33).

In the end… Mendelsohn decided that Herman Lubinsky was the safer bet after all ("Fred Mendelson [sic] Rejoining Savoy," Billboard, September 11, 1961, p. 12). On his third go-round, the first artist he signed was Faye Adams, who'd started making money for Herald right after he got bought out. Mendelsohn produced sessions for Savoy through the 1960s, going with the flow as Lubinsky concentrated more and more on gospel music (Lubinsky was said to be partial to gospel because he didn't have to pay gospel DJs to play it on the air). In the end Mendelsohn became the company's president. He outlived Herman Lubinsky, who died in 1974, and stayed with the imprint after Arista purchased the company from Lubinsky's estate for $1.8 million. Fred Mendelsohn died on April 28, 2000.


The records live on. The original Parkways are extremely rare today, and nearly all have become highly sought-after collectors' items: "Rollin’ and Tumblin’" in 2005 was being offered at a starting bid of $2,000. The same auction was offering the Little Walter on Regal for a minimum bid of $1,000. The other Parkway-derived Regals aren't too cheap in our time; neither are the Heralds. Those not enamored of paper and plastic at such prices fondly appreciate the great music from the legendary Parkway sessions; they are fortunate that Fred Mendelsohn acquired and preserved most of the masters, licensed some to Biograph, and many years later sold everything he still had to Delmark. (According to Bob Koester, the transaction was conducted at the old Savoy warehouse, where Mendelsohn was still keeping his Regal and Herald masters.) It's because of Fred Mendelsohn that the masters survived from the Baby Face Leroy, Jimmy Rogers, Memphis Minnie, Sunnyland Slim, Roosevelt Sykes, and St. Louis Jimmy sessions. He doesn't seem to have picked up the Robert Jenkins and Bennie Green masters from Parkway; we can only hope they weren't thrown away.


Appendix A. Non-Parkway-Non-Regal Sessions

After we learned about Passis' (and Regal's) participation in Record Distributors, Inc., we incorporated several sessions from 1951 into our main listing (we'd formerly believed that Passis was out of the music business in September 1950, when Chord Distributors closed). Consequently our main story now stretches across what we used to call the "Parkway penumbra" and adds sessions by Eddie Boyd, Roosevelt Sykes, and Essie Sykes that we hadn't previously considered. Still, there are a couple of other blues sessions that we know were plausibly cut in Chicago, ended up in the possession of Fred Mendelsohn, and were eventually dealt to Biograph or Delmark. We'll review them quickly here. In our opinion, they were done before Fred Mendelsohn joined Regal. (Of course, blues items recorded in Atlanta and sold to Regal, recorded in Detroit and leased to Regal, or cut at the home location in New Jersey are not relevant here. Neither are the new blues and gospel items that Mendelsohn recorded for Herald during his 7 or 8 months there.)

Four piano solos by Eurreal "Little Brother" Montgomery were supposedly recorded in Chicago on April 19, 1949. They were first released on Biograph BLP 12010 (three tracks reissued on Biograph BCD 124). These have apparently never had matrix numbers attached to them, but if they were made on April 19, 1949, Fred Mendelsohn was still at Regent. DeLuxe wasn't recording in Chicago in 1949. A distinct possiblity, if the date is accurate, is that they were recorded by Mayo Williams, whose Ebony/Harlem/Chicago/Southern company was winding down, then dealt to Mendelsohn later. Williams, as we've seen, briefly collaborated with Monroe Passis in 1950, and Little Brother Montgomery would be an Ebony artist during the company's second incarnation, which started in 1952.

Two sides from a session by harmonica player Pee Wee Hughes, done in New Orleans in 1949, are on Biograph BLP 12009 and BCD 124. The other two sides from the same session were released on DeLuxe before the Brauns left. Right before they left, on DeLuxe 3228; the Hughes single showed up on the Billboard list of new releases on August 20, 1949 (p. 30) and was reviewed in Cash Box on August 27 (p. 14). The sides were definitely made for DeLuxe: the DeLuxe release carried matrix numbers 1012 and 1013 with an AM suffix, indicating that the session took place in July 1949. On the original release, Paul Gayten got credit for two blues that he didn't write. In July 1949, Gayten had a business relationship with the Brauns; he probably hadn't met Fred Mendelsohn yet. The Braun brothers brought the Hughes masters to Regal, but didn't use them while the label was in business. If, as happened with some other older DeLuxe masters, the Braun brothers turned them over to Sid Nathan's DeLuxe in November 1951 (while the label was in super slo-mo, releasing a tiny fraction of the material it had on hand), Mendelsohn took them with him in October 1952, on his way out the door.


Appendix B. Merit Records 300 Series (1949)

We've added tables of all known Merit, Regal, Tots 'n' Teens, and R. F. D. releases, with some comments about the provenance of certain items. (In addition to its involvement with Parkway, Regal bought sides from independent producers in Atlanta, made a short-lived deal with Sensation out of Detroit, licensed sides from Jazz Ltd., and participated in a longer-term arrangement with Roost out of New York City).

Although many more sides (Mendelsohn said he'd recorded 40) were intended for release on the first edition of his Merit label, there would be just two 78s, both by the Bailey Brothers. The labels used a silver on medium blue design, nothing like the DeLuxe labels then in use and also quite different from label style that would be quickly adopted by Regal. The M1000 matrix series was promptly folded into an AM1000 series, which included sides recorded for Merit or for DeLuxe but released on Regal. However, there are D prefixed items on DeLuxe in the same short range that Merit briefly occupied (1000 through 1003); other Merit masters weren't brought into the AM series until Mendelsohn closed his company;


Bailey Brothers, 'Ain't She Sweet' on Merit 301 A

From the collection of Robert L. Campbell


Matrix Release Number Artist Title Recording Date Release Date

Merit 300 Bailey Brothers Crackerjack Polka
Jun-49

Merit 300 Bailey Brothers Maybe
Jun-49
M1000 Merit 301 A Bailey Brothers Ain't She Sweet
Jun-49
M1002 Merit 301 B Bailey Brothers Shiek [sic] of Araby
Jun-49

Bailey Brothers, 'Sheik of Araby' on Merit 301 B

From the collection of Robert L. Campbell


Appendix C. Regal Records 1196 Series (1949-1950)

The Regal 1196 release series opened right away in August 1949. We hadn't really considered why it started at 1196. DeLuxe under Dave and Jules Braun had run a 1000 series, starting in 1944, that evolved into a pop series (although records in other genres were tossed in). After Sid Nathan bought a chunk of the company, 1000 series releases slowed conspicuously. The last one, recorded around the beginning of 1949, was DeLuxe 1185, by Bruce Hayes and the DeLuxe Organ Trio. The Braun brothers must have added 10 before continuing at Regal.

The first 78 in the Regal series, a jazz item by bop pianist George Wallington, might have been recorded with DeLuxe in mind, or with Merit in mind (we haven't seen a copy and don't know which letters are in the trailoff area). It sported a super-plain version of the Regal label, otherwise seen only on Regal 3329, which was from a session that had led to a release on DeLuxe. Then maybe Regal 1197 was skipped.


Bailey Bros., 'Stumbling' on Regal 1199

With the standard Regal label. From the collection of Robert L. Campbell


Regal 1198 and 1199 (the latter by the group that had previously scored two releases for Merit) came out in October 1949, with standard silver on black Regal labels; the sides had been recorded as Regal was being launched. Then there were 1201, derived from a DeLuxe session all the way back in 1947 (it was flagged as a "Collector's Special" on the label), and 1202, newly recorded for Regal. "Collector's Special" was a designation that the Brauns had occasionally used; for instance, on DeLuxe 2001 by Billy Eckstine's big band.


Bailey Bros., 'Bailey's Boogie' on Regal 1199

From the collection of Robert L. Campbell


Big Ben Trio, 'Dancing My Fanny Around' on Regal 1206

From the collection of Robert L. Campbell


The last four in the series, now with a striking gold on red Regal label, were released in a batch in the final quarter of 1950, from sessions done somewhat earlier. These were numbered 1204, 1205, 1206, and 1207. Some copies of 1205 have standard Regal labels instead.


Big Ben Trio, 'Allagazoo, Allagazam' on Regal 1206

From the collection of Robert L. Campbell


No one's tried to follow this motley series. Consequently, we won't be shocked if a Regal 1200 or 1203 turns up somewhere.

Matrix Regal Number Artist Title Recording Date Release Date
985 1196 George Wallington Band | Bop Vocal - Buddy Stewart Knockout! 9-May-49 Aug-49
988 1196 George Wallington Trio Racing 9-May-49 Aug-49












R 1059 1198 Jerry Sellers and the Serenaders Starlight Serenade Aug-49 Oct-49
R 1060 1198 Jerry Sellers and the Serenaders Goodnight Waltz Aug-49 Oct-49
R 1082 1199 Bailey Bros. Bailey's Boogie Sep-49 Oct-49
R 1081 1199 Bailey Bros. Stumbling Sep-49 Oct-49












501 1201 Papa Celestin with Celestin's Original Tuxedo Orchestra Marie Laveau 1947
503 1201 Papa Celestin with Celestin's Original Tuxedo Orchestra Maryland My Maryland 1947
R 1131 1202 Walter Kross and His Orchestra You're the One Polka Dec-49
R 1133 1202 Walter Kross and His Orchestra Barbara Polka Dec-49












R 1331 1204 Durning String Band America I Love You Jul-50
R 1332 1204 Durning String Band Sally in Our Alley Jul-50
R 1360 1205 Ted Martin and his Orchestra Don't Say You Care Aug-50 Nov-50
R 1361 1205 Ted Martin and his Orchestra You Ought to Hang Your Heart in Shame Aug-50 Nov-50
R 1346 1206 Big Ben Trio with Lou Hogan Orch. Dancing My Fanny Around Jul-50 Oct-50
R 1348 1206 Big Ben Trio with Lou Hogan Orch. Allagazoo, Allagazam Jul-50 Oct-50
R 1372 1207 Bob Chester Orchestra | Ballad Vocal Alan Foster You're the One Love Sep-50 Nov-50
R 1374 1207 Bob Chester Orchestra | Novelty Vocal Jack Adrian Henpecked Joe Sep-50 Nov-50

Appendix D. Regal Records 3229 Series (1949-1951)

Here we reach the globe's axis. In fact, the Regal 3229 series is the only one that most people know. 3329 picked up, in August 1949, right after DeLuxe left off at 3328. It kept going, minus four gaps, through Regal 3330 two years later. The gaps are between Regal 3290 and 3293, because Regal decided not to release everything it got from Bernie Besman and Sensation; at 3299, maybe for the same reason; at 3320, a puzzler; and at 3325, also a puzzler. There were 95 releases in all. Every one of them appeared on 78; as a one-time experiment, Regal 3315 was also briefly available as a 45 (with a label style copped from Regal LP 11). Any other 45s with a Regal label are vocal group "repros."

The earliest releases often carried an M or AM prefix. (The discerning reader may notice that the Brauns snuck in a side with the D prefix still on it. When DeLuxe 3320 came out in August 1951, with that very same side on it, it might have been bearing a warning from Sid Nathan.) Going forward the prefix was R. It was even applied retroactively to masters that pre-dated the company.


Edna Gallmon Cooke, 'Handwriting on the Wall' on Regal 3229

From the collection of Robert L. Campbell

Regal 3229 used the plain label.


Edna Gallmon Cooke, 'Handwriting on the Wall' on Regal 3229

The plain Regal label. From the collection of Robert L. Campbell



Regal 3230 and 3231 were initially released with a silver on black label featuring a large black-print Regal logo crossed diagonally with a scepter. "Dr. Daddy O" was a hastily retitled remake of "Back Trackin'," which Gayten had previously cut for DeLuxe with his trio (it was released as DeLuxe 3177-B). Jack Scott, the composer, played guitar on both versions. The band even shouts "Back Trackin'" on Regal 3230; the company made the title change to butter up a DJ in New Orleans.


Paul Gayten, 'You Don't Know' on Regal 3230

A scepter label. From the collection of Robert L. Campbell


Paul Gayten, 'Dr. Daddy O' on Regal 3230

From the collection of Robert L. Campbell


James Locks, 'Blazer Boy' on Regal 3231 scepter

Another scepter label. From the collection of Robert L. Campbell


James Locks, 'Mistreated Blues' on Regal 3231 scepter

From the collection of Robert L. Campbell


James Locks, 'Blazer Boy Blues' on Regal 3231 standard

A gold on black standard label. From the collection of Robert L. Campbell


James Locks, 'Mistreated Blues' on Regal 3231 standard

From the collection of Robert L. Campbell


The standard label, with a large "Regal" logo in thick script, began with the first pressing of 3232 and later pressings of 3231. The standard labels started out silver on black or gold on black; in 1950, gold on black became more prevalent.



1951 releases often used gold or silver on green. The first green label we've seen is for Regal 3303, and the last is for Regal 3328. It doesn't look as though every single past 3303 in the main series got a green label. And we don't know whether any release appeared with the green label exclusively (there are copies of 3303 with gold and black labels).


Occasional black on white labels have been seen (everyone thinks they were DJ copies; we think they're right, though nothing was printed or stamped on the labels to indicate their status). At least once (for Regal 3240, which was a hit), the company tried a blue on white label, in a style otherwise seen only on a Christmas set of children's records from the company.


Matrix Regal Number Artist Title Recording Date Release Date
M978-1CA 3229 Edna Gallmon Cooke and The Mt. Vernon Men's Choir of Washington, D. C. Handwriting on the Wall Apr-49 Aug-49
M979-1CA 3229 Edna Gallmon Cooke and The Mt. Vernon Men's Choir of Washington, D. C. I Promised the Lord Apr-49 Aug-49
AM 1030 3230 Paul Gayten and his Orchestra Dr. Daddy O Aug-49 Aug-49
D 904 3230 Paul Gayten and his Orchestra You Don't Know Jan-49 Aug-49
AM 1025-5 3231 James (Blazer Boy) Locks with the Four Drifters Blazer Boy Blues Aug-49 Sep-49
AM 1029-2 3231 James (Blazer Boy) Locks with the Four Drifters Mistreated Blues Aug-49 Sep-49
AM-1056 3232 Dennis McMillon Poor Little Angel Girl Aug-49 Sep-49
AM-1058 3232 Dennis McMillon Goin' Back Home Aug-49 Sep-49
AM-1015 [alt.] (Delmark DE-715) Erline Harris with the Johnson Brothers' Combo Jump and Shout Jul-49
AM-1015 3233 Erline Harris with the Johnson Brothers' Combo Jump and Shout Jul-49 Sep-49
AM-1016 3233 Erline Harris with the Johnson Brothers' Combo Never Missed My Baby Jul-49 Sep-49
R 1069 3234 Paul Gayten and His Orchestra | Ballad Paul Gayten Vocal Confused 3-Sep-49 Sep-49
R 1074 3234 Paul Gayten and His Orchestra Fishtail
[Fishtails on some pressings]
3-Sep-49 Sep-49
R 1064-3 3235 Annie Laurie With Paul Gayten Orchestra My Rough and Ready Man 3-Sep-49 Sep-49
R 1077-1 3235 Annie Laurie With Paul Gayten Orchestra Cuttin Out 3-Sep-49 Sep-49
R 1083 3236 Larry Darnell I'll Get Along Somehow (Part One) Sep-49 Oct-49
R 1084 3236 Larry Darnell I'll Get Along Somehow (Part Two) Sep-49 Oct-49
R 1096 3237 The Magichords Cherry Tree Sep-49 Oct-49
R 1095 3237 The Magichords The Game of Broken Hearts Sep-49 Oct-49
R 1097 3238 The Magichords Darling Sep-49 Oct-49
R 1094 3238 The Magichords I Beeped When I Shoulda Bopped Sep-49 Oct-49
R 1026 3239 James (Blazer Boy) Locks New Orleans Woman Blues Aug-49 Dec-49
R 1028 3239 James (Blazer Boy) Locks Baby Lovin' Blues Aug-49 Dec-49
R 1078 3240 Larry Darnell Lost My Baby Sep-49 Oct-49
R 1085 3240 Larry Darnell For You My Love Sep-49 Oct-49
R 1103-2 3241 Teddy Brannon and His Orchestra | Vocal by Duckie [sic] Thompson Everybody Get Together Oct-49 Dec-49
R 1105 3241 Teddy Brannon and His Orchestra Felix the Cat Oct-49 Dec-49
R 1106-3 3242 Wild Bill Moore Dynaflow 26-Oct-49
R 1109 3242 Wild Bill Moore Mean Old World 26-Oct-49
R 1110 3243 Betti Mays and Her Swingtet | Novelty Vocal by Betti Mays Mays' Haze 4-Nov-49 Dec-49
R 1111 3243 Betti Mays and Her Swingtet Slow Rock 4-Nov-49 Dec-49
R 1020 3244 The Keys of Heaven Movin' In Jul-49
R 1022 3244 The Keys of Heaven Something within Me Jul-49
R 1073 3245 Paul Gayten and His Orchestra Cook's Tour 3-Sep-49 Jan-50
R 1068 3245 Paul Gayten and His Orchestra You Shouldn't 3-Sep-49 Jan-50
R 1063 3246 Annie Laurie Baby What's New 3-Sep-49 Jan-50
R 1071 3246 Annie Laurie Blue and Disgusted 3-Sep-49 Jan-50
R 1117 3247 Bill Cook Christmas in Heaven Nov-49 Dec-49
R 1118 3247 Bill Cook A Letter to Santa Nov-49 Dec-49
R 1121 3248 Doc Sausage and His Mad Lads Please Don't Leave Me Now 29-Nov-49 Feb-50
R 1120 3248 Doc Sausage and His Mad Lads She Don't Want Me No More 29-Nov-49 Feb-50
R 1125 3249 Ernie Fields and His Orchestra | Vocal Teddy Cole T. Town Blues 29-Nov-49 Mar-50
R 1123 3249 Ernie Fields and His Orchestra Baritone Shuffle 29-Nov-49 Mar-50
R 1139 3250 Chubby Newsome And Her Hip Shakers Hard Lovin' Mama (Anytime) 19-Dec-49 Mar-50
R 1140-1 3250 Chubby Newsome And Her Hip Shakers I'm Still in Love with You
[I'm Still in Love for You on some pressings]
19-Dec-49 Mar-50
R 1141 3251 Doc Sausage and His Mad Lads Rag Mop 2-Jan-50 Jan-50
R 1142 3251 Doc Sausage and His Mad Lads You Got Me Cryin' 2-Jan-50 Jan-50
R 1158 3252 Alberta Hunter Midnight Blues Jan-50 May-50
R 1160 3252 Alberta Hunter I Got a Mind to Ramble Jan-50 May-50
R 1183-1 3253 Melody Echoes Jesus Hits like an Atomic Bomb Jan-50 Mar-50
R 1184-1 3253 Melody Echoes What Are They Doing in Heaven Jan-50 Mar-50
R 1186 3254 Melody Echoes Savior Don't Pass Me By Jan-50
R 1185 3254 Melody Echoes I Will to Know Jan-50
R 1196 3255 Paul Gayten and orchestra Bellboy Boogie Feb-50
R 1195-2 3255 Broadway Bill with Paul Gayten and orchestra Broadway's on Fire Feb-50
R 1144 3256 Doc Sausage and his Mad Lads Sausage Rock 2-Jan-50 Apr-50
R 1143 3256 Doc Sausage and his Mad Lads I've Been a Bad Boy 2-Jan-50 Apr-50
R 1055 3257 Dennis McMillon I Woke up One Morning Aug-49
R 1057 3257 Dennis McMillon Paper Wooden Daddy Aug-49
R 1203 3258 Annie Laurie and Paul Gayten and His Orchestra I'll Never Be Free Feb-50 May-50
R 1070 3258 Paul Gayten and His Orchestra You Oughta Know 3-Sep-49 May-50
R 1217
[Parkway]
3259 Memphis Minnie Kidman Blues Jan-50 Apr-50
R 1216
[Parkway]
3259 Memphis Minnie Why Did I Make You Cry Jan-50 Apr-50
R 1156 3260 Larry Darnell and Orchestra Pack Your Rags and Go Jan-50 Apr-50
R 1155 3260 Larry Darnell and Orchestra God Bless the Child Jan-50 Apr-50
R 1221 3261 The Harmony Kings There Must Be a Heaven Feb-50 May-50
R 1219 3261 The Harmony Kings The Same Jesus Feb-50 May-50
R 1086
1186 on label
3262 Larry Darnell I Love You So Sep-49 Apr-50
R 1206 3262 Larry Darnell Why Do I Love You Feb-50 Apr-50
R 1222 3263 Minnie Henderson with The Harmony Kings God Answers Prayers Feb-50 May-50
R 1223 3263 Minnie Henderson with The Harmony Kings Halleluyah Train Feb-50 May-50
R 1232 3264 Jimmy (Blazer Boy) Locks They Say Mar-50
R 1233 3264 Jimmy (Blazer Boy) Locks Adorable One Mar-50
R 1212-2
749
3265 Floyd Taylor and his Band Loch Lomond Feb-50
R 1213
750
3265 Floyd Taylor and his Band Barbeque Feb-50
R 1102 3266 Teddy Brannon Orchestra | Vocal Dickie Thompson Don Newcomb Really Throws That Ball Oct-49
R 1104-1 3266 Teddy Brannon Orchestra Mixin' with Dixon Oct-49
R 1249 3267 Vanita Smythe [with King Porter] Lonesome for You Apr-50 May-50
R 1250 3267 Vanita Smythe [with King Porter] I Want My Baby Back Apr-50 May-50
R 1137-4 3268 Chubby (Hip Shakin') Newsome Poor Dog 19-Dec-49 Jul-50
R 1138-1 3268 Chubby (Hip Shakin') Newsome Better Find a Job 19-Dec-49 Jul-50
R 1229
[Parkway]
3269 Roosevelt (Honeydripper) Sykes Blues n' Boogie 14-Mar-50 Jun-50
R 1225
[Parkway]
3269 Roosevelt (Honeydripper) Sykes Rock It 14-Mar-50 Jun-50
R 1290 3270
Roost 270
Sammy Cotton with Paul Gayten and his orchestra Cool Playin' Mama May-50 Jun-50
R 1287 3270
Roost 270
Sammy Cotton with Paul Gayten and his orchestra Heart Full of Pain May-50 Jun-50
R 1262
[source in Atlanta]
3271 Little David [Wylie] Shackles 'round My Body Aug-49
R 1263
[source in Atlanta]
3271 Little David [Wylie] You're Gonna Weep and Moan Aug-49
R 1285
[source in Atlanta]
3272 Blind Willie [McTell] It's My Desire Aug-49
R 1286
[source in Atlanta]
3272 Blind Willie [McTell] Hide Me in Thy Bosom Aug-49
R 1204A 3273 Annie Laurie - Paul Gayten with the Paul Gayten Orchestra I Ain't Gonna Let You In Feb-50 Jun-50
R 1205 3273 Annie Laurie I Need Your Love Feb-50 Jun-50
R 1300 3274 Larry Darnell I Love My Baby May-50 Jun-50
R 1302 3274 Larry Darnell My Kind of Baby May-50 Jun-50

3275 Paul Gayten My Last Goodbye Feb-50 3-Sep-49

3275 Paul Gayten The Camel Walk Feb-50

3276 Alberta Hunter The Man I Love Jan-50

3276 Alberta Hunter Reckless Blues Jan-50
R 1272
[source in Atlanta]
3277 Pig 'n Whistle Band
[Blind Willie McTell]
Talkin' to You Mama Aug-49
R 1270
[source in Atlanta]
3277 Pig 'n Whistle Band
[Blind Willie McTell]
Love Changin' Blues Aug-49
R 1154 3278 Larry Darnell My Baby Don't Love Me Jan-50
R 1301 3278 Larry Darnell Sundown May-50
R 1218 3279 Harmony Kings Leanin' on Jesus Feb-50
R 1220 3279 Harmony Kings The Lord Is My Shepherd Feb-50
R 1283
[source in Atlanta]
3280 Blind Willie [McTell] River Jordan Aug-49
R 1284
[source in Atlanta]
3280 Blind Willie [McTell] How about You Aug-49
R 1329-2 3281 Paul Gayten and His Orchestra | Vocal Accompaniment Coleman Bros. Goodnight Irene Jul-50 Aug-50
R 1330-1 3281 Paul Gayten and His Orchestra Ooh La La Jul-50 Aug-50
R 1333 3282 Paul Gayten & his Orchestra | Alto Sax Solo Edward Barefield Gold Ain't Everything Jul-50
R 1334 3282 Paul Gayten & his Orchestra | Alto Sax Solo Edward Barefield Suzette Jul-50
R 1119 3283 Doc Sausage Doormat Blues 29-Nov-49
R 1122 3283 Doc Sausage Poor Man's Blues 29-Nov-49
R 1322 3284 Sammy Cotton It's So Hard Jun-50
R 1324-4 3284 Sammy Cotton You've Been Mistreating Me Jun-50
R 1114 3285 Billy Taylor and His Quintet | Instr. Featuring Big John Hardee Tenor Sax The Dirt Bug Nov-49
R 1116 3285 Billy Taylor and His Quintet | Instr. Featuring Big John Hardee Tenor Sax Take the A Train Nov-49
R 1224
[Parkway]
3286 Roosevelt Sykes Drivin' Wheel 14-Mar-50 Nov-50
R 1226
[Parkway]
3286 Roosevelt Sykes West Helena Blues 14-Mar-50 Nov-50
R 1342 3287 Little Mr. Midnight Got a Brand New Baby Jul-50
R 1343 3287 Little Mr. Midnight Four O'Clock Blues Jul-50
R 1248 3288 Vanita Smythe Until I Fell for You Apr-50
R 1251 3288 Vanita Smythe You Got Me Crying Again Apr-50
R1352
[Sensation B 8031]
3289 Kitty Stevenson It Ain't Right Feb-50 Oct-50
R 1353
[Sensation B 8032]
3289 Kitty Stevenson It Couldn't Be True Feb-50 Oct-50
















































[Sensation B 8045] 3294 Todd Rhodes Brenda May-50
[Sensation B 8047] 3294 Emitt Slay Beulah May-50
REGAL 1354
[Sensation B 7039]
3295 John Lee Hooker and his guitar Miss Eloise

REGAL 1355
[Sensation B 8037]
3295 John Lee Hooker and his guitar Boogie Chillun #2 28-Apr-50
R 1356
[Parkway]
3296 Little Walter Trio Muskadine Blues Jan-50
R 1357
[Parkway]
3296 Little Walter Trio Bad Actin' Woman Jan-50
R 1369-1 3297 The Colemans I Don't Mind Being All Alone Aug-50 Nov-50
R 1368-2 3297 The Colemans You Know I Love You, Baby Aug-50 Nov-50
R 1381 3298 Larry Darnell Christmas Blues Oct-50 Oct-50
R 1369 [?] 3298 (I) Larry Darnell It's Going to Be a Blue Christmas Aug-50 Oct-50
R 1381-2 3298 Larry Darnell Christmas Blues Oct-50 Oct-50
R 1380-4 3298 (II) Larry Darnell Oh, Babe! Oct-50 Oct-50












R 1363 3300 Annie Laurie Now That You're Gone Aug-50 Nov-50
R 1362 3300 Annie Laurie Just One More Chance Aug-50 Nov-50
R 1377 3301 Jubilators
[Selah Jubilee Singers]
Mother Called My Name 5-Oct-50 Oct-50
R 1378 3301 Jubilators
[Selah Jubilee Singers]
Seek and Ye Shall Find 5-Oct-50 Oct-50
R 1393 F 3302 Paul Gayten and His Band I'm So Crazy for Love Oct-50 Jan-51
R 1392 F 3302 Paul Gayten and His Band If You Got the Money, Honey, I Got the Time Oct-50 Jan-51
R 1394 F 3303 Milt Larkin and his X-Rays Tennessee Waltz Oct-50 Nov-50
R 1395 F 3303 Milt Larkin and his X-Rays
Featuring Billy Ford, Trumpet
Best Friend Blues Oct-50 Nov-50
REGAL 1400
[Sensation B 8048]
3304 John Lee Hooker and his guitar Notoriety Woman May-50
REGAL 1401
[Sensation B 8049]
3304 John Lee Hooker and his guitar Never Satisfied May-50
R 1326
[Parkway]
3305 Eddie Boyd Why Don't You Be Wise, Baby 13-Jul-50 Dec-50
R 1327
[Parkway]
3305 Eddie Boyd I Gotta Find My Baby 13-Jul-50 Dec-50
R 1227
[Parkway]
3306 Roosevelt Sykes Mail Box Blues 14-Mar-50 Jan-51
R 1228
[Parkway]
3306 Roosevelt Sykes Winter Time Blues 14-Mar-50 Jan-51
R 1402 3307 Banks Brothers Nothing Between Dec-50 Feb-51
R 1405 3307 Banks Brothers Every Day Dec-50 Feb-51
R 1385 3308 The Colemans I Ain't Got Nobody Oct-50
R 1387 3308 The Colemans If You Should Need Me Oct-50
R 1409 3309 Savannah Churchill with The Striders Once There Lived a Fool 24-Dec-50 Jan-51
R 1410 F 3309 Savannah Churchill with The Striders When You Came Back to Me 24-Dec-50 Jan-51
R 1299 3310 Larry Darnell Don't Go, Don't Go May-50 Jan-51
R 1382 3310 Larry Darnell That Old Feeling Oct-50 Jan-51
R 1417 3311 Cab Calloway and His Orchestra Shot Gun Boogie Jan-51
R 1419 F 3311 Cab Calloway and His Orchestra One for My Baby Jan-51
R 1426 3312 Paul Gayten & His Orchestra | Vocal by Paul Gayten Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Jan-51 Feb-51
R 1427 3312 Paul Gayten & His Orchestra | Vocal by Paul Gayten | Whistling by Bill Each Time Jan-51 Feb-51
R 1411 3313 Savannah Churchill and The Striders Wedding Bells Are Breaking Up That Old Gang of Mine 24-Dec-50 Mar-51
R 1408 3313 Savannah Churchill and The Striders And So I Cry 24-Dec-50 Mar-51
R 1230 3314 Jimmy Locks Bad Luck Blues Mar-50 Mar-51
R 1231 3314 Jimmy Locks Someday Darlin' Mar-50 Mar-51
R 1412(-4) F
R 45-1412
3315
[78 and 45 rpm]
Larry Darnell Why Did You Say Goodbye 24-Dec-50 Mar-51
R 1413(-1) F
R45-1413
3315
[78 and 45 rpm]
Larry Darnell Nobody Cares-Nobody Knows 24-Dec-50 Mar-51
R 1379 3316 Jubilators I've Got Heaven on My Mind 5-Oct-50 May-51
R 1376 3316 Jubilators Get on the Road to Glory 5-Oct-50 May-51

3317 Milton Larkin and Howard Biggs Orchestra Blue Moon


3317 Milton Larkin and Howard Biggs Orchestra Somebody Tell Me I'm Wrong

R 1442 P 3318 Bill Johnson Mad Money Blues Feb-51
R 1440 3318 Bill Johnson I'd Give the World to Know How I Stand with You Feb-51
R 1434 3319 Chubby Newsome Where's the Money, Honey 23-Feb-51 May-51
R 1435 3319 Chubby Newsome Little Fat Woman with the Coconut Head 23-Feb-51 May-51












R 1418 3321 Cab Calloway and his Orchestra Frosty Morning Jan-51 Apr-51
R 1416 3321 Cab Calloway and his Orchestra Que Pasa Chica (What's Happening) Jan-51 Apr-51
R 1462-F 3322 Titus Turner Stop Trying to Make a Fool of Me Mar-51 May-51
R 1463-F 3322 Titus Turner Let's Forget the Whole Thing Mar-51 May-51
R 1460 3323 Fred Jackson and his Orchestra Sentimental Blues
May-51
R 1461 3323 Fred Jackson and his Orchestra Buck Fever
May-51
R 1501
[Parkway]
3324 Roosevelt Sykes Green Onion Top 10-Apr-51 Jun-51
R 1502
[Parkway]
3324 Roosevelt Sykes Wonderin' Blues 10-Apr-51 Jun-51












R 1524 3326 Joan Shaw - Billy Ford and Orchestra Pretty Eyed Baby
Jun-51
R 1525 3326 Billy Ford and Orchestra Marcheta
Jun-51
R 1514
[Parkway]
3327 Sunnyland Slim When I Was Young 19-Apr-51 Aug-51
R 1513
[Parkway]
3327 Sunnyland Slim Orphan Boy Blues 19-Apr-51 Aug-51
R 1414(-3) 3328 Larry Darnell - Mary Lou Greene Do You Love Me, Baby 24-Dec-50 Aug-51
R 1415(-2) 3328 Larry Darnell Sad and Lonesome 24-Dec-50 Aug-51
R 1444 3329 Paul Gayten and his Orchestra Baby I'm Alone Feb-51 Aug-51
R 1445 3329 Paul Gayten and his Orchestra Little Girl, Little Girl Feb-51 Aug-51
R 1504
[Parkway]
3330 Essie Sykes Easy Walkin' Papa Apr-51
R 1505
[Parkway]
3330 Essie Sykes Please Don't Say Goodbye Apr-51

On September 30, 1950, Regal entered a deal with Sensation Records in Detroit ("Sensation Suspends Pressing, Leases Out," Billboard, October 7, 1950, p. 15). Sensation was run by Bernie Besman and John Kaplan. They also owned Pan-American Distributors, an outfit with which Mendelsohn and the Braun brothers were quite familiar. It had been their Detroit distributor since April 1950. This wasn't the first lease deal that Sensation had entered into; from the summer of 1947 until the other company went broke, Sensation had shared masters with Vitacoustic, and for much of 1948 and 1949, Sensation leased a bunch of masters to King. From 1948 through 1950, Sensation leased or sold other maters to Modern. But during the Vitacoustic and King deals, Sensation had still pressed singles for its local market.

In 1950, Sensation announced a halt to pressing records: "The principal reasons for the stoppage were the growing scarcity of both shellac and vinylite and the increasingly poor credit risk presented by record dealers." Although vinyl did become more expensive during the Korean War, this didn't deter other companies from using it. We're thinking the decision was more about Bernie Besman's increasing disaffection with the record business. "Around 400" masters were said to have been leased to Regal and to Modern, "with each firm taking about three masters weekly under the present preliminary arrangement, which goes into effect this week."

Under this arrangement Modern did a lot more with the masters that came its way. The first Sensation-based Regal was 3289 by Kitty Stevenson, which arrived as expected, later in October 1950. But then Regal 3290 through 3293, presumably also meant to be from Sensation, were skipped over. The remaining releases, Regal 3294 (split between Todd Rhodes and Emitt Slay) and 3295 and 3304 (by Sensation's biggest draw, John Lee Hooker), were probably out by the end of the year. In the meantime Regal also seems to have given up on 3299. (It's hard to know exactly when any of these items were released, because Regal didn't bother to advertise 3294, 3295, and 3304, and the trades didn't bother to review them.) We are also not sure how much longer the deal with Regal remained in effect before Sensation started pressing its own records again (it resumed at some point in 1951, before Besman took his ultimate leave and the company closed.)



Appendix E. Regal Records 205 Series (1949 or 1950)

We had no idea there was a Regal 205 series until 2022. We still have no idea whether this lasted past one release. It looks as though Regal 205 picked up where another (almost as obscure) DeLuxe series had left off.

There are DeLuxe releases in a short Tex-Mex series. The two 78s presently so documented were by Ragul y Pedro, or, in one case, by Ragul y Juan with the same band; they were numbered DeLuxe 202 and 203, and their labels were printed in black on orange. The matrix numbers on the DeLuxe releases are adjacent to those that appear on Regal 205, which is by Ragul y Pedro and has labels printed in black on orange. The standard Regal logo is the same one that first appeared on Regal 1198, 3232, and 5067.

The matrix numbers indicate that the Ragul sides were recorded for DeLuxe, around April of 1949. The label design we've seen for these DeLuxe issues is not the one that DeLuxe was using for other releases in 1949. It's akin to the design that DeLuxe used for 3300 (later pressings) through 3312, from the last quarter of 1949 part way into 1950 (Nathan's DeLuxe subsequently reverted to the 1949 design, with "Records" and "Linden, New Jersey" replaced by an enhanced underline). The 200 series label hyphenates De-Luxe but doesn't introduce the D-L seen on the 3300s. But Regal's other series that picked up where DeLuxe left off originated in August 1949. In each case the last DeLuxe (3228, 5066, and, well, 1185) had come out shortly before the first Regal (3229, 5067, 1196).

Regal 205 is most likely a September 1949 release, possibly following a DeLuxe 204 that appeared in August. It's worth noting that the special Tex-Mex DeLuxe labels on 202 and 203 give the company's location as Cincinnati, Ohio. Sid Nathan reportedly moved DeLuxe there in March 1949. The Brauns may have been trying out a new label design in the Tex-Mex series before they left. Quién sabe.

Matrix Regal Number Artist Title Recording Date Release Date
AM 960 205 Ragul y Pedro La Ramera (The Lady in the Flower Canoe) Apr-49 Sep-49
AM 964 205 Ragul y Pedro Oralia Vals (Oriole Waltz) Apr-49 Sep-49

Appendix F. Regal/R. F. D. 5067 Series (1949-1951)

The company showed a little interest in Country music in the fall of 1949. The first release, Regal 5067, was by Billy Strickland and the Hillbilly Kings. By all indications it's a rare record, but Cash Box, seldom captivated by such offerings from Regal, reviewed it. Three releases followed by Melvin Price. By the middle of 1950, the Regal 5067 series had gone dormant.

The R. F. D. series, with Ed McMullen as producer, picked up at 5071; a rural route mailbox appeared on the label. Sides originally intended for R. F. D. were cut between January and May of 1951. R. F. D. 78s were issued with gold on green labels as well as with gold on magenta labels; we haven't seen enough copies to know whether any R. F. D. came out in one label color only. R. F. D.'s with the same label design in black and white exist (we assume they were DJ copies). But to our knowledge, the only Regal product ever designated for DJs on the label was a version of R. F. D. 5072 carrying an extremely plain black on white label. It lacked the layout of a regular R. F. D. label; it also lacked the mailbox.

Despite such group names as "Santa Fe Rangers," R. F. D. artists were primarily from the Northeast or the mid-Atlantic. Melvin Price's home base was eastern Maryland; he had a program on a radio station in Annapolis. Sally Clark and Ed McMullen (a married couple) frequently worked in New York City. Mr. Sunshine, real name Carl Swanson, was a Norwegian immigrant who played the mandolin. He did radio work in several Eastern states; when R. F. D. recorded him, he was DJing on a station in Utica, New York. It does, however, seem that Earl Davis was from Kentucky. After the company gave up on the motley 1196 series, sides that had been intended for it (releases by Ted Martin and Bob Chester) were dumped onto the R. F. D. label, despite the lack of Country or Western content. For that matter, the Elbow Benders, as they were called on R. F. D. 5074, look like the Big Ben Trio under a different name. R. F. D.'s being for the most part very rare, we aren't sure whether 5076 and 5079 were purposely skipped.

Why did the series start at Regal 5067? DeLuxe had maintained a fairly busy 5000 Country series, starting in 1945 when it was entirely the Brauns' company. Because of the Brauns' interest in recording in New Orleans, the series same to include some Cajun fiddling as well. Regal's investment in Country would be far more modest. Not one Country artist who is known to have recorded for DeLuxe was picked up by Regal (Sid Nathan's DeLuxe didn't want any of them either). The 1949 releases in the DeLuxe 5000s had mostly been of material recorded in 1947 and 1948. Yet a single recorded in mid-1949, DeLuxe 5066, by a Louisiana band called Happy Fats, Doc and the Boys, was the final release in the old series.

Matrix Regal / R. F. D. Number Artist Title Recording Date Release Date
1080 Regal 5067 Billy Strickland and the Hillbilly Kings What a Way to Say You Love Me
Oct-49
1079 Regal 5067 Billy Strickland and the Hillbilly Kings All Because of My Jealous Heart
Oct-49
R 1098 Regal 5068 Melvin Price and The Santa Fe Rangers What a Way to Say You Love Me

R 1101 Regal 5068 Melvin Price and The Santa Fe Rangers The Game of Broken Hearts

R 1169 Regal 5069 Melvin Price and The Santa Fe Rangers A Heart of Stone Jan-50 Mar-50
R 1170 Regal 5069 Melvin Price and The Santa Fe Rangers For You My Love Jan-50 Mar-50
R 1100 Regal 5070 Melvin Price You Tore Your Pants

R 1099 Regal 5070 Melvin Price Ships with Purple Bands

R 1421 R. F. D. 5071 Eddie Mc Mullen Flap Jack Heart

R 1422 R. F. D. 5071 Eddie Mc Mullen Tell It to the Jury

R 1420 R. F. D. 5072 Sally Clark Last Night My Heart Crossed the Ocean
Mar-51
R 1423 R. F. D. 5072 Sally Clark It Happens Ev'ry Day
Mar-51
R 1359 R. F. D. 5073 Ted Martin and his Orchestra I'm Making Believe I Don't Care Aug-50
R 1358 R. F. D. 5073 Ted Martin and his Orchestra | Vocal by Ted Martin I've Got That Lonesome Feelin' Aug-50












R 1428 R. F. D. 5075 Clark & McMullen Mocking Bird Hill Feb-51 Mar-51
R 1429 R. F. D. 5075 Clark & McMullen Behind the Chapel Wall Feb-51 Mar-51












R 1375 R. F. D. 5077 Bob Chester Orchestra | Vocal Alan Foster Singing a Happy Song Sep-50 May-51
R 1373 R. F. D. 5077 Bob Chester Orchestra | Vocal Alan Foster Take Back Your Heart Sep-50 May-51
R 1466-1 F R. F. D. 5078 Earl Davis Eight Nine Ten
Jun-51
R 1468 F R. F. D. 5078 Grandpappy Earl Davis Grandpappy's Hot Rod Blues
Jun-51












R 1496 R. F. D. 5080 Melvin Price and the Santa Fe Rangers | Vocal by Bob Fluharty I Hate Myself

R 1497 R. F. D. 5080 Melvin Price and the Santa Fe Rangers | Vocal by Bob Fluharty Don't Stay Too Long

R 1494 R. F. D. 5081 Melvin Price and the Santa Fe Rangers | Vocal by Bob Fluharty I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love with You)

R 1495 R. F. D. 5081 Melvin Price and the Santa Fe Rangers | Vocal by Bob Fluharty Howling at the Moon

R 1526 R. F. D. 5082 Mr. Sunshine & his Guitar Pickers Marijuana, The Devil's Flower Apr-51

R. F. D. 5082 Mr. Sunshine & his Guitar Pickers There's Something Nice about You Apr-51

Appendix G. (Regal) Roost 400 and 600 Series (1950-1951)

Regal struck a deal with a label already in operation called (Royal) Roost. Royal Roost had its own releases out prior to the Regal deal, during the deal, and after the deal. Some Regal Roost sides, however, had been recorded for Royal Roost prior to the deal. How confusing is all of that?

Royal Roost originated with the proprietor of the jazz club of same name in New York City, Monte Kay, and three business partners. It was quickly acquired by Jack Hooke and Teddy Reig. Hooke and Reig operated the company during 1949, concentrating on jazz releases in a 500 series.

The Regal-Roost alliance seems to have started in March 1950, marked by a Little Jimmy Scott session on March 20. The first Regal Roost 78s, initially with R series matrix numbers in the 1200s, appeared no later than June of that year. These have a distinctive label design, gold on dark blue with Roost in space-filling letters. Over time, Regal Roosts would also appear in gold on green. (While the deal was in force, Royal Roost releases displayed the same Roost logo, but somewhat smaller, with Royal above it, in the same white on light blue in the same 500 series that Roost was already putting out.) Regal's house publisher (Merit) shows up on some Regal Roost sides; Teddy Reig's publisher (Theodore) shows up on others.

Regal Roost releases were being advertised in June 1950. The alliance was finally announced in the trades (Billboard, July 8, 1950, p. 32) as though Regal was merging with the entire Roost operation. Obviously it wasn't.

The Regal-affiliated series probably started with a one-off, Roost 400. It then ran from Roost 601 through Roost 617. (Around the same time as 400 and 601, if not slightly later, there was a stray Roost 270, better known to posterity as Regal 3270.) Regal Roost 601 and 602 were jazz releases. Roost 601 featured Howard McGhee's Afrocuboppers and was a straight reissue of Royal Roost 502. Roost 602 was by Bud Powell, a straight reissue of Royal Roost 509. Each hardly circulated and the joint venture quickly transitioned to new records by different artists. Regal Roosts were issued on Erroll Garner, Little Jimmy Scott, Al Jackson (a blues shouter newly signed to the joint venture), and whoever "Jim Dandy" was. The joint venture acquired a few masters (on Erroll Garner and "Jim Dandy") that had been made in the fall of 1949; these were originally recorded for the 3 Deuces label.

The regular pale blue Royal Roost label kept right on going, with 500-series releases concentrating on what the trades called "hot jazz." Royal Roost 512 by Stan Getz was out in August (reviewed in Billboard, August 19, 1950, p. 113). It was joined in November (Billboard reviews, November 11, 1950, p. 80) by Royal Roost 518 (Bud Powell) and Royal Roost 519 (Coleman Hawkins), and in December (Billboard new releases, December 30, 1950, p. 21) by Royal Roost 520 (Stan Getz) and Royal Roost 521 (Bud Powell). In 1951 Royal Roost kept putting out releases in the 520s.

Regal Roost recorded Erroll Garner once (April 12, 1950; around the same time it picked up masters he'd done in September 1949 for 3 Deuces). It recorded Al Jackson at one session (in May 1950). In a while those artists' material ran out. Little Jimmy Scott got three sessions (March 20, 1950; October 1950; March 1951), enabling the company to keep his singles going through August 1951 (with Roost 617).

Roost 617 marked the end of the partial joint venture. Little Jimmy Scott's very next release, reviewed in Billboard on October 6, 1951, was pale blue Royal Roost 530. According to Billy Vera, in his 1989 notes to Little Jimmy Scott | The Paul Gayten Band: Regal Records Live in New Orleans (Specialty SPCD-2170), Fred Mendelsohn sold Scott's contract and his Regal Roost masters to Jack Hooke. Included in the deal were both sides that would appear on Royal Roost 530. However, the masters were given new numbers in Royal Roost's 1000 series. (We do not list the Little Jimmy Scott tracks that appeared on the Specialty CD here, because they were not intended for release on Regal or Roost. Fred Mendelsohn taped them off the vocal mike at Rip's Playhouse in New Orleans; they are said to be from 1951 but Scott sings none of the titles that he would make at his last Regal Roost session.) In December, Royal Roost 536 appeared, with newly recorded by Hooke and Reig. To our knowledge, none of of the singer's Regal Roost releases were reissued on Royal Roost. Royal Roost 78s would carry that same label design until the 500 series ended in 1957.

The simultaneous operation of Regal Roost and Royal Roost has gotten everyone mixed up. So has Little Jimmy Scott's sudden hop from the Regal Roost roster to the Royal Roost roster. Using information from Fred Mendelsohn, Billy Vera, in both sets of 1989 notes, treated Little Jimmy as a Regal artist (he wasn't exactly). Most other chroniclers have treated Little Jimmy Scott as a Royal Roost artist (he wasn't until August 1951). Eventually, the original Roost 500 series would reach into the (non-Regal) Roost 600s, leading discographers to treat sides recorded between September 1949 and March 1951 as though they were from 1952 or later.

Regal Roost also made an LP: Roost LP 10. As was then customary, it was a 10-incher. Erroll Garner was the artist and all 8 tracks had appeared on Roost singles. But Royal Roost put out its own 10-inch LP on Bud Powell, possibly while the deal with Regal was still in force.

Matrix Roost Number Artist Title Recording Date Release Date
R 1290 Roost 270 Sammy Cotton with Paul Gayten and his orchestra Cool Playin' Mama May-50 Jun-50
R 1287 Roost 270 Sammy Cotton with Paul Gayten and his orchestra Heart Full of Pain May-50 Jun-50






R 1255 Roost 400 Erroll Garner The Quaker 12-Apr-50
R 1256 Roost 400 Erroll Garner Minor with the Trio 12-Apr-50
























R 1244 Roost 603 Little Jimmy Scott Why Do You Cry 20-Mar-50 Jun-50
R 1241 Roost 603 Little Jimmy Scott I'll Close My Eyes 20-Mar-50 Jun-50
R 1254 Roost 604 Erroll Garner Trio Relaxing at Sugar Ray's 12-Apr-50 Jun-50
[1016-A2] Roost 604 Erroll Garner Trio Deep Purple 8-Sep-49 Jun-50
R 1243 Roost 605 Little Jimmy Scott After I'm Gone 20-Mar-50 Jun-50
R 1247 Roost 605 Little Jimmy Scott Dearest Darling 20-Mar-50 Jun-50
[1012-A] Roost 606 Erroll Garner Trio What Is This Thing Called Love 8-Sep-49
R 1257 Roost 606 Erroll Garner Trio No Moon 12-Apr-50
R 1296 Roost 607 Al Jackson Jelly Roll May-50 Jun-50
R 1297 Roost 607 Al Jackson Let's Drink Some Whiskey May-50 Jun-50
R 1295 Roost 608 Al Jackson It Ain't Gonna Be like That May-50 Aug-50
R 1298 Roost 608 Al Jackson Look Cruel Mama May-50 Aug-50
[1009-A2] Roost 609 Erroll Garner Trio Scatterbrain 8-Sep-49
R 1252 Roost 609 Erroll Garner Trio Bonny Boy 12-Apr-50
R 1339
[Roost 1011-A4]
Roost 610 Erroll Garner Again 8-Sep-49 Jun-50
R 1258 Roost 610 Erroll Garner Cologne 12-Apr-50 Jun-50
R 1345 Roost 612 Little Jimmy Scott with Paul Gayten and his Orchestra Anytime, Any Day, Anywhere Jul-50 Oct-50
R 1245 Roost 612 Little Jimmy Scott Rain in My Eyes 20-Mar-50 Oct-50
R 1242 Roost 613 Little Jimmy Scott It's the Talk of the Town 20-Mar-50 Dec-50
R 1389 Roost 613 Little Jimmy Scott The Loneliest House on the Street Oct-50 Dec-50
R 1253 Roost 614 Erroll Garner Trio Tippin' Out with Erroll 12-Apr-50
R 1259 Roost 614 Erroll Garner Trio Lazy River 12-Apr-50
R 1388 Roost 615 Little Jimmy Scott I'll Be Seeing You Oct-50 Feb-51
R 1390 Roost 615 Little Jimmy Scott I Won't Cry Anymore Oct-50 Feb-51
R 1469 Roost 616 Little Jimmy Scott Story of Love Mar-51 Jun-51
R 1470 Roost 616 Little Jimmy Scott Changeable You Mar-51 Jun-51
R 1391 Roost 617 Little Jimmy Scott When Your Lover Has Gone Oct-50 Aug-51
R 1472 Roost 617 Little Jimmy Scott Give a Broken Heart a Break Mar-51 Aug-51
(1072) (Royal Roost 530) Little Jimmy Scott The Masquerade Is Over Mar-51 (Oct-51)
(1071) (Royal Roost 530) Little Jimmy Scott I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) Mar-51 (Oct-51)


Appendix H. Regal and Tots 'n' Teens 109 Series (1949-1951)

The Tots 'n' Teens label was originally under different ownership. The records were 7-inch 78s pressed on plastic; we haven't seen enough of them to know whether they were sold in "packages." We've noticed a similar record (with one of the singers from TNT 101, and the same producer) on Spear 105, which again might have been part of a package: 101 through 104 and 105 through 108 would make two. Meanwhile, Regal issued plastic 7-inch 78s in three packages of its own before the Brauns and Mendelsohn bought Tots 'n' Teens. The three Regal packages were rebranded.

An odd feature of the early Regal "kidisks" was that different songs were given different matrix numbers, even when two were banded on what was already a short side of a record. When Regal started recording for new Tots 'n' Teens packages, it quit doing this; each side, no matter how many ditties it contained, was recorded as one track and given one matrix number.

Tots 'n' Teens records survive today; the 78s are usually seriously worn from multiple plays. It's hard to know how they sold. A package went for $1.00 in 1950. Regal released (or reissued) all of the packages it had announced for 1950. None of those announced for 1951 ever materialized. Years later, Fred Mendelsohn told an interviewer that the number of Tots 'n' Teens packages sold was in the hundreds of thousands. In 1950 and 1951 the market for children's records was highly competitive, and the major labels had all gotten into it. Hundreds of thousands? We think it unlikely.

Matrix Release Number Artist Title Recording Date Release Date Album Number and Title
101A Tots 'n' Teens 101 A Judy Williams and Jack Russell With the Honey Dreamers | Orch. Conducted by Hugh E. Perette Round the Mulberry Bush


101B Tots 'n' Teens 101 B Judy Williams and Jack Russell With the Honey Dreamers | Orch. Conducted by Hugh E. Perette Here We Go Looby Loo
















Spear 105 A Jack Russell With Orchestra Conducted by Hugh E. Perette Buffalo Gals / Down in the Valley


4B Spear 105 B Jack Russell With Orchestra Conducted by Hugh E. Perette Whoopee Ti Yi Yo / Skip to My Lou
















AM 1044 Regal / Tots 'n' Teens 109 Murray Phillips Pony Boy


AM 1052 Regal / Tots 'n' Teens 109 Murray Phillips I've Been Working on the Railroad


AM 1048 Regal / Tots 'n' Teens 110 Murray Phillips Down in the Valley


AM 1050 Regal / Tots 'n' Teens 110 Murray Phillips Skip to My Lou


AM 1049
AM 1047
Regal / Tots 'n' Teens 111 Murray Phillips Clap, Clap, Bow / Paw Paw Patch


AM 1053 Regal / Tots 'n' Teens 111 Murray Phillips The Gay Musician


AM 1054
AM 1045
Regal / Tots 'n' Teens 112 Murray Phillips Little Boy Blue / Old King Cole


AM 1046
AM 1051
Regal / Tots 'n' Teens 112 Murray Phillips Twinkle Twinkle Little Star / Simple Simon






























1042 Regal / Tots 'n' Teens 115 A Song Story By The Singing Lady | Ireene Wicker "Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Part 1"
Mar-50
1043 Regal / Tots 'n' Teens 115 A Song Story By The Singing Lady | Ireene Wicker "Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Part 2"


1031 Regal / Tots 'n' Teens 116 A Song Story By The Singing Lady | Ireene Wicker Jack and the Beanstalk


1034 Regal / Tots 'n' Teens 116 A Song Story By The Singing Lady | Ireene Wicker Cinderella


AM 1032 Regal / Tots 'n' Teens 117 A Song Story By The Singing Lady | Ireene Wicker Little Red Riding Hood


1033 Regal / Tots 'n' Teens 117 A Song Story By The Singing Lady | Ireene Wicker A Dillar a Dollar


1041 Regal / Tots 'n' Teens 118 A Song Story By The Singing Lady | Ireene Wicker Hi Diddle Diddle


AM 1040 Regal / Tots 'n' Teens 118 A Song Story By The Singing Lady | Ireene Wicker Cinderella


1035 Regal / Tots 'n' Teens 119 Ireene Wicker The Singing Lady The Night before Christmas, Part 1


1036 Regal / Tots 'n' Teens 119 Ireene Wicker The Singing Lady The Night before Christmas, Part 2
















R 1087 Regal* / Tots 'n' Teens 121 Ireene Wicker The Singing Lady | Music by Allan Grant* Dicken's [sic] Christmas Carol, Part 1


R 1088 Regal* / Tots 'n' Teens 121 Ireene Wicker The Singing Lady | Music by Allan Grant* Dicken's [sic] Christmas Carol, Part 2


R 1089 Regal / Tots 'n' Teens 122 Ireene Wicker The Singing Lady Silent Night


R 1090 Regal / Tots 'n' Teens 122 Ireene Wicker The Singing Lady Jingle Bells


R 1091 Regal* / Tots 'n' Teens 123 Ireene Wicker The Singing Lady | Music by Allan Grant* "O Come, All Ye Faithful"


R 1092
R 1093
Regal* / Tots 'n' Teens 123 Ireene Wicker The Singing Lady | Music by Allan Grant* Deck the Halls | I Saw Three Ships


R 1162 Tots 'n' Teens 124 Ireene Wicker Mistress Mary, Lavender Blue, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star


R 1146 Tots 'n' Teens 124 Ireene Wicker Three Blind Mice, Ride a Cock Horse, Ding Dong Bell, I Have a Little Pussy


R 1166 Tots 'n' Teens 125 Ireene Wicker Old King Cole, Tommy Tucker, Lazy Mary


R 1150 Tots 'n' Teens 125 Ireene Wicker The Owl and the Pussycat, To Market to Market to Buy a Fat Pig, Hi Diddle Diddle


R 1167 Tots 'n' Teens 126 Ireene Wicker Jack and Jill, Pea's [sic] Porridge Hot, Crooked Man


R 1152 Tots 'n' Teens 126 Ireene Wicker Little Cock Sparrow, Robin and the Wren, Whose Dog Art Thou


R 1163 Tots 'n' Teens 127 Ireene Wicker Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater, Seesaw Marjory Daw, Little Jack Horner, If All the World Was Paper


R 1148 Tots 'n' Teens 127 Ireene Wicker Where Has My Little Dog Gone, There Were Three Crows, Johnny Had a Little Dog


R 1175 Tots 'n' Teens 128 Ireene Wicker Lullaby (Brahms)


R 1180 Tots 'n' Teens 128 Ireene Wicker Sleep, Oh My Darling, Sleep


R 1176 Tots 'n' Teens 129 Ireene Wicker Sweet and Low


R 1177 Tots 'n' Teens 129 Ireene Wicker All through the Night


R 1179 Tots 'n' Teens 130 Ireene Wicker Rockabye Baby, Sleep My Little One


R 1178 Tots 'n' Teens 130 Ireene Wicker Mighty lak a Rose


R 1182 Tots 'n' Teens 131 Ireene Wicker Curly Headed Baby


R 1181 Tots 'n' Teens 131 Ireene Wicker Kentucky Babe


R 1168 Tots 'n' Teens 132 Ireene Wicker Mary Had a Little Lamb, Pop Goes the Weasel, There Was a Little Woman


R 1151 Tots 'n' Teens 132 Ireene Wicker Pussy Cat, A Secret, I Had a Little Horse


R 1149 Tots 'n' Teens 133 Ireene Wicker Coo Coo Coo Coo, This Little Pig Went to Market, Little Robin Red Breast


R 1161 Tots 'n' Teens 133 Ireene Wicker Little Boy Blue, Little Miss Muffit, Little Bo Peep, Jack Be Nimble



Tots 'n' Teens 134 Ireene Wicker Humpty Dumpty, Sing a Song of Six Pence, Polly Put the Kettle On



Tots 'n' Teens 134 Ireene Wicker Hickory Dickory Dock, Ba Ba Black Sheep, Three Little Kittens



Tots 'n' Teens 135 Ireene Wicker I Had a Little Hen, Goosey Goosey Gander, I Love Little Pussy



Tots 'n' Teens 135 Ireene Wicker ABCD, 30 Days Hath September, One Two, Button My Shoe


R 1188 Tots 'n' Teens 136 Boyd Heath Blue Tail Fly


R 1189 Tots 'n' Teens 136 Boyd Heath Old Folks at Home


R 1187 Tots 'n' Teens 137 Boyd Heath Little Brown Jug


R 1190 Tots 'n' Teens 137 Boyd Heath A Froggy Would A Wooin' Go


R 1194 Tots 'n' Teens 138 Boyd Heath Oh! Suzanna


R 1193 Tots 'n' Teens 138 Boyd Heath Turkey in the Straw


R 1191 Tots 'n' Teens 139 Boyd Heath Comin' Round the Mountain


R 1192 Tots 'n' Teens 139 Boyd Heath Polly Wolly Doodle


R 1310 Tots 'n' Teens 140 Boyd Heath | Directed by Danny Mendelsohn Red River Valley


R 1305 Tots 'n' Teens 140 Boyd Heath | Directed by Danny Mendelsohn Sweet Betsy from Pike


R 1306 Tots 'n' Teens 141 Boyd Heath | Directed by Danny Mendelsohn The Gal I Left Behind Me


R 1309 Tots 'n' Teens 141 Boyd Heath | Directed by Danny Mendelsohn Home on the Range


R 1307 Tots 'n' Teens 142 Boyd Heath | Directed by Danny Mendelsohn I Was Born Ten Thousand Years Ago


R 1308 Tots 'n' Teens 142 Boyd Heath | Directed by Danny Mendelsohn Big Rock Candy Mountain


R 1303 Tots 'n' Teens 143 Boyd Heath | Directed by Danny Mendelsohn Old Chisholm Trail


R 1304 Tots 'n' Teens 143 Boyd Heath | Directed by Danny Mendelsohn Whoopee Ti Yi Yo



Appendix I. Merit 300 Series (1951)

The revived Merit series had a brief run in 1951. Some material was newly recorded for it, but Regal 1202, from December 1949, was given a straight-up reissue as Merit 308. Why did Biff Johnson, a Country performer, end up on Merit, instead of R. F. D.?. It made sense to someone at the time. Labels were purposely plain: "Merit" in script, white or silver print, on a dark blue background.

Unlike other Regal products, the new Merits were available in 78 and 45 rpm (the 45s apparently came from the same plant that pressed Tots 'n' Teens records; the script on the 45 labels was fancier than on the 78 labels). As best we can determine, the new series ran from 303 to 308. We haven't found a Merit 306, but this doesn't mean much; until 2022 we didn't know about Merit 304 or 308.


Matrix Release Number Artist Title Recording Date Release Date












R 1520 F
R 45 5A
Merit 303 Biff Johnson On Top of Old Smokey
May-51
R 1523 P
R 45 5B
Merit 303 Biff Johnson Kentucky Waltz
May-51
R 1521
R 45 4 A
Merit 304 Biff Johnson It Is No Secret
May-51
R 1522
R 45 4 B
Merit 304 Biff Johnson Shenandoah Waltz
May-51
R 1480 Merit 305 Max Pollikoff, Violin | Swinging Strings | Orch. Conducted by Howard Biggs The Syncopated Clock
May-51
R 1479 Merit 305 Max Pollikoff, Violin | Swinging Strings | Orch. Conducted by Howard Biggs The Hot Canary
May-51












1481 Merit 307 Bobby Hart | Vocal with Orch. conducted by Howard Biggs Jezebel
May-51
1482 Merit 307 Bobby Hart | Vocal with Orch. conducted by Howard Biggs The Loveliest Night of the Year
May-51
R 1131 Merit 308 Walter Kross and His Orchestra You're the One - Polka Dec-49
R 1133 Merit 308 Walter Kross and His Orchestra Barbara Polka Dec-49

Appendix J. The DeLuxe/Merit/Regal Matrix Series (1949-1951)

When Regal opened in August 1949, the Brauns and Mendelsohn had on hand as many as 100 DeLuxe masters. They were in no hurry to update Sid Nathan about these. King took possession of hundreds of older DeLuxe masters, but what DeLuxe recorded between January and August 1949 was, in most cases, not turned over. (For instance, an Ace CD from 2015, Beef Ball Baby! The New Orleans R&B Sessions, CDTOP 1435, which uses DeLuxe acetates out of the King vault, does not include anything that Dave Bartholomew recorded for DeLuxe in 1949; a search turned up zero acetates from those sessions. CDs on Specialty and Delmark, on the other hand, have included some of Bartholomew's 1949 sides, which those companies obtained from Fred Mendelsohn). DeLuxe matrix numbers going as far back as 501 would appear on Regal. Nearly all, however, belonged to sides starting around 870 in the original DeLuxe matrix series. In June 1949, when Mendelsohn released his two 78s on Merit, the matrix numbers started at M 1000 for the one session that he ended up using. Knowing of a 1000, a 1001, and a 1003 that saw release on DeLuxe around the same time as the two Merits, we see that the series hadn't been coordinated yet. But Mendelsohn claimed to have cut another 36 masters for Merit. When Mendelsohn began collaborating with Dave and Jules Braun (i.e., as soon as he knew Merit 300 and 301 weren't going anywhere), Merit and DeLuxe masters were collated in an AM series. From released material on Regal we know of AM matrix numbers starting at 960; between that point and the 1010s, some sides had been intended for Merit and some for DeLuxe; past AM 1020 it looks as though everything was collaborative and was meant to end up on Regal.

We don't know whether Regal 5067 used the R series; we know that the second Country release on 5068 did. R prefixes became standard with Regal 1198, Regal 3234, and Regal / Tots 'n' Teens 121. The R series continued all the way to R 1530 or so. The St. Louis Jimmy session from April 1951 was never released on Regal; its matrix numbers extended the series past 1530 but Fred Mendelsohn, while working for DeLuxe under Sid Nathan, attached the old D prefix. There may have been some thought of releasing them on DeLuxe between October 1951 and September 1952, but nothing by St. Louis Jimmy would appear there.

The DeLuxe/Merit/Regal matrix series almost certainly harbors genuine empty spaces, along with blocks of matrix numbers allotted to untraced, unreleased masters, possibly even masters up through the 1020s that Mendelsohn and the Brauns ended up turning over to Sid Nathan.

Another source of difficulty is that reissues on Delmark/P-Vine have supplied matrix numbers; so have most on Ace. Another group of reissues has not. Circa 1989, Fred Mendelsohn made a deal with Fantasy that resulted in a couple of important CDs. One focused on Paul Gayten and Annie Laurie's work for Regal; the other on a live session recorded in New Orleans with Little Jimmy Scott and the Gayten band in April 1951. Both appeared on the latter-day Specialty imprint. RSRF member Billy Vera compiled the tracks for the Specialty releases and wrote extrememely valuable notes in 1989 for Specialty SPCD-2169, Paul Gayten and Annie Laurie: Regal Records in New Orleans. A truncated version may have appeared earlier on LP; the CD, with 27 tracks, was released in 1991. Vera was able to interview Fred Mendelsohn and Paul Gayten about the tracks chosen for the CD (Gayten listened to each one and commented on it). Whether Mendelsohn didn't supply matrix numbers, or he provided them and Fantasy didn't want to put them in the leaflet, the result was a CD that gives approximate recording dates when known, plus Regal release numbers when the tracks had been released. Consequently, we can now attach one side of the super-obscure Regal 3275 to a session when we still don't know its matrix number; and we can attach one unissued track and an alternate take on an issued track to sessions. Then there are two sides that were recorded for Regal but not released that we can't give dates to (we've attached them to Paul Gayten's last session for the label; anyone who know Jules Braun's birthday can help with one of them). The Paul Gayten CD also includes a demo by the Gayten band, three by Annie Laurie, and two by Dave Bartholomew that never entered the D-M-R series. There are two stray sides by Roy Brown that look like products of his last session for the Brauns ("Ridin' High" was released on DeLuxe before Regal opened).

Despite these deficiencies, the D-M-R series deserves as full a listing as we can provide. It stretches with occasional breaks in continuity (and a known duplication of matrix numbers at 1000-1003) from 870 in January 1949 to 1541 in April 1951. Roughly 400 sides were recorded for Regal and the company acquired roughly a hundred more. This was a lot of activity for a small record company.

Matrix Release Number Artist Title Recording Date Release Date
500 DeLuxe 1123-A Papa Celestin with Celestin's Original Tuxedo Orchestra Hey La Ba Oct-47
501 Regal 1201 Papa Celestin with Celestin's Original Tuxedo Orchestra Marie Laveau Oct-47
502 DeLuxe 1123-B Papa Celestin with Celestin's Original Tuxedo Orchestra My Josephine Oct-47
503 Regal 1201 Papa Celestin with Celestin's Original Tuxedo Orchestra Maryland My Maryland Oct-47






























870










872 (Ace CDTOP 1423) Roy Brown Fanny Brown's Wedding Day Jan-49
873 DeLuxe 3212-B Roy Brown with His Mighty-Mighty Men Judgement Day Blues Jan-49
























878 DeLuxe 3205-A (Prof.) J. Earl Hines and His Goodwill Singers Only a Look Jan-49






880-3 (Ace CDTOP 1423) Roy Brown Special Lesson #1 Jan-49
881 DeLuxe 3212-A Roy Brown with His Mighty-Mighty Men Rockin' at Midnight Jan-49
882-2 DeLuxe 3128-B Ethel Morris [sic] with the Mighty-Mighty Men Miss Fanny Brown Jan-49
883 [sic] DeLuxe 3128-A Roy Brown with His Mighty-Mighty Men Mighty, Mighty Man Jan-49
883-3 DeLuxe 1185-B Bruce Hayes and the DeLuxe Organ Trio Much as I Love You Jan-49












886 DeLuxe 1185-A Bruce Hayes and the DeLuxe Organ Trio Beautiful Eyes Jan-49






888 DeLuxe 3214-A Lee Richardson Lover Let Me Be Jan-49
889 DeLuxe 3214-B Lee Richardson Restless over You Jan-49












892 DeLuxe 3213-B Chubby "Hip-Shakin" Newsom and Her Hip Shakers Close to Train Time Jan-49
893 DeLuxe 3213-A Chubby "Hip-Shakin" Newsom and Her Hip Shakers New Orleans Lover Man Jan-49
894-2 (Ace CDTOP 1423) Roy Brown China Blues Jan-49






896 DeLuxe 9155-A Russ Binert and His Polka Band | Vocal in Polish Girlfriend Polka Jan-49






898 DeLuxe 9155-B Russ Binert and His Polka Band Sunshine Polka Jan-49
899 DeLuxe 3209-A Eddie Gorman Telephone Blues Jan-49
900 (Ace CDTOP 1435) Eddie Gorman Hey Now Jan-49
901 (Ace CDTOP 1435) Eddie Gorman You Don't Move Me No More Jan-49
902 DeLuxe 3209-B Eddie Gorman Beef Ball Baby Jan-49
K 903 DeLuxe 3215-A Paul Gayten and Band Can't Help Lovin' That Gal Jan-49
D 904 Regal 3230
DeLuxe 3320-AA
Paul Gayten and his Orchestra You Don't Know Jan-49 Sep-49
K 905 DeLuxe 3215-B Paul Gayten and Band Creole Gal Jan-49
K 906 DeLuxe 3210-A Paul Gayten and Band Hard to Go through Life Alone Jan-49
K 907 DeLuxe 3210-B Paul Gayten and Band Gayten's Nightmare Jan-49






K 909 DeLuxe 3211-A Annie Laurie with Paul Gayten and Band Waiting for You Jan-49
K 910 DeLuxe 3211-B Annie Laurie with Paul Gayten and Band Annie's Blues Jan-49






912 DeLuxe 9156-A The Polka Rascals Bumble Bee Polka Feb-49
913 DeLuxe 9156-B The Polka Rascals Dew Drop Polka Feb-49
































































































930 DeLuxe 3216-A King Perry and His Sextet Going to California Blues

931 DeLuxe 3216-AA King Perry and His Sextet Sarah, Sarah!













934 DeLuxe 3223-AA Dave Bartholomew and His Orchestra Mr. Fool

935 DeLuxe 3223-A Dave Bartholomew and His Orchestra Country Boy

K 936 DeLuxe 3217-A Dave Bartholomew and His Orchestra High Society Blues

K 937 DeLuxe 3217-AA Dave Bartholomew and His Orchestra Girt Town

938 DeLuxe 3218-AA Lolly-Pop Jones and Ethel Morris What's on Your Mind

939 DeLuxe 3218-A Lolly-Pop Jones and Ethel Morris Aviator Papa































































































































AM 960 Regal 205 Ragul y Pedro La Ramera (The Lady in the Flower Canoe) Apr-49


















AM 964 Regal 205 Ragul y Pedro Oralia Vals (Oriole Waltz) Apr-49
























976 DeLuxe 3222-AA Edna Gallmon Cooke and The Mt. Vernon Men's Choir Old Ship of Zion Apr-49 Jul-49
977 DeLuxe 3222-A Edna Gallmon Cooke and The Mt. Vernon Men's Choir Angels, Angels, Angels! Apr-49 Jul-49
M978-1CA Regal 3229 Edna Gallmon Cooke and The Mt. Vernon Men's Choir of Washington, D. C. Handwriting on the Wall Apr-49 Sep-49
M979-1CA Regal 3229 Edna Gallmon Cooke and The Mt. Vernon Men's Choir of Washington, D. C. I Promised the Lord Apr-49 Sep-49






























985 Regal 1196 George Wallington Band | Bop Vocal - Buddy Stewart Knockout! 9-May-49












988 Regal 1196 George Wallington Trio Racing 9-May-49






































































































M1000 Merit 301 A Bailey Brothers Ain't She Sweet
Jun-49






M1002 Merit 301 B Bailey Brothers Shiek [sic] of Araby
Jun-49




























































1010




























AM-1015 Regal 3233 Erline Harris with the Johnson Brothers' Combo Jump and Shout Jul-49 Sep-49
AM-1016 Regal 3233 Erline Harris with the Johnson Brothers' Combo Never Missed My Baby Jul-49 Sep-49


















R 1020 Regal 3244 The Keys of Heaven Movin' In Jul-49






R 1022 Regal 3244 The Keys of Heaven Something within Me Jul-49












AM 1025-5 Regal 3231 James (Blazer Boy) Locks with the Four Drifters Blazer Boy Blues Aug-49 Sep-49
R 1026 Regal 3239 James (Blazer Boy) Locks New Orleans Woman Blues Aug-49 Dec-49






R 1028 Regal 3239 James (Blazer Boy) Locks Baby Lovin' Blues Aug-49 Dec-49
AM 1029-2 Regal 3231 James (Blazer Boy) Locks with the Four Drifters Mistreated Blues Aug-49 Sep-49
AM 1030 Regal 3230 Paul Gayten and his Orchestra Dr. Daddy O Aug-49 Sep-49
1031 Regal 116
Tots 'n' Teens 116
A Song Story By The Singing Lady | Ireene Wicker Jack and the Beanstalk

AM 1032 Regal 117
Tots 'n' Teens 117
A Song Story By The Singing Lady | Ireene Wicker Little Red Riding Hood

1033 Regal 117
Tots 'n' Teens 117
A Song Story By The Singing Lady | Ireene Wicker A Dillar a Dollar
Mar-50
1034 Regal 116
Tots 'n' Teens 116
A Song Story By The Singing Lady | Ireene Wicker The Magic Hen

1035 Regal 119
Tots 'n' Teens 119
Ireene Wicker The Singing Lady A Night before Christmas (Part One)

1036 Regal 119
Tots 'n' Teens 119
Ireene Wicker The Singing Lady A Night before Christmas (Part Two)



















AM 1040 Regal 118
Tots 'n' Teens 118
A Song Story By The Singing Lady | Ireene Wicker Cinderella

1041 Regal 118
Tots 'n' Teens 118
A Song Story By The Singing Lady | Ireene Wicker Hi Diddle Diddle

AM 1042 Regal 115
Tots 'n' Teens 115
A Song Story By The Singing Lady | Ireene Wicker Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Part One)

AM 1043 Regal 115
Tots 'n' Teens 115
A Song Story By The Singing Lady | Ireene Wicker Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Part Two)

AM 1044 Regal 109
Tots 'n' Teens 109
Murray Phillips Pony Boy

AM 1045 Regal 112 (a2)
Tots 'n' Teens 112 (a2)
Murray Phillips Old King Cole

AM 1046 Regal 112 (b1)
Tots 'n' Teens 112 (b1)
Murray Phillips Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

AM 1047 Regal 111 (a2)
Tots 'n' Teens 111 (a2)
Murray Phillips Paw Paw Patch

AM 1048 Regal 110
Tots 'n' Teens 110
Murray Phillips Down in the Valley

AM 1049 Regal 111 (a1)
Tots 'n' Teens 111 (a1)
Murray Phillips Clap, Clap, Bow

AM 1050 Regal 110
Tots 'n' Teens 110
Murray Phillips Skip to My Lou

AM 1051 Regal 112 (b2)
Tots 'n' Teens 112 (b2)
Murray Phillips Simple Simon

AM 1052 Regal 109
Tots 'n' Teens 109
Murray Phillips I've Been Working on the Railroad

AM 1053 Regal 111
Tots 'n' Teens 111
Murray Phillips The Gay Musician

AM 1054 Regal 112 (a1)
Tots 'n' Teens 112 (a1)
Murray Phillips Little Boy Blue

R 1055 Regal 3257 Dennis McMillon I Woke up One Morning Aug-49
AM-1056 Regal 3232 Dennis McMillon Poor Little Angel Girl Aug-49 Sep-49
R 1057 Regal 3257 Dennis McMillon Paper Wooden Daddy Aug-49
AM-1058 Regal 3232 Dennis McMillon Goin' Back Home Aug-49 Sep-49
R 1059 Regal 1198 Jerry Sellers and the Serenaders Starlight Serenade Aug-49 Oct-49
R 1060 Regal 1198 Jerry Sellers and the Serenaders Goodnight Waltz Aug-49 Oct-49












R 1063 Regal 3246 Annie Laurie Baby What's New 3-Sep-49 Jan-50
R 1064-3 Regal 3235 Annie Laurie With Paul Gayten Orchestra My Rough and Ready Man 3-Sep-49 Sep-49


















R 1068 Regal 3245 Paul Gayten and His Orchestra You Shouldn't 3-Sep-49 Jan-50
R 1069 Regal 3234 Paul Gayten and His Orchestra | Ballad Vocal Paul Gayten Confused 3-Sep-49 Sep-49
R 1070 Regal 3258 Paul Gayten and His Orchestra You Oughta Know 3-Sep-49 May-50
R 1071 Regal 3246 Annie Laurie Blue and Disgusted 3-Sep-49 Jan-50






R 1073 Regal 3245 Paul Gayten and His Orchestra Cook's Tour 3-Sep-49 Jan-50
R 1074 Regal 3234 Paul Gayten and His Orchestra Fishtail
[Fishtails on some pressings]
3-Sep-49 Sep-49

Regal 3275 Paul Gayten and His Orchestra My Last Goodbye 3-Sep-49






R 1077-1 Regal 3235 Annie Laurie With Paul Gayten Orchestra Cuttin Out 3-Sep-49 Sep-49
R 1078 Regal 3240 Larry Darnell Lost My Baby Sep-49 Oct-49
1079 Regal 5067 Billy Strickland and the Hillbilly Kings All Because of My Jealous Heart
Oct-49
1080 Regal 5067 Billy Strickland and the Hillbilly Kings Hillbilly Wolf
Oct-49
R 1081 Regal 1199 Bailey Bros. Stumbling
Oct-49
R 1082 Regal 1199 Bailey Bros. Bailey's Boogie
Oct-49
R 1083 Regal 3236 Larry Darnell I'll Get Along Somehow (Part One) Sep-49 Oct-49
R 1084 Regal 3236 Larry Darnell I'll Get Along Somehow (Part Two) Sep-49 Oct-49
R 1085 Regal 3240 Larry Darnell For You My Love Sep-49 Oct-49
R 1086
1186 on label
Regal 3262 Larry Darnell I Love You So Sep-49 Apr-50
R 1087 Regal 121*
Tots 'n' Teens 121
Ireene Wicker The Singing Lady | Music by Allan Grant* Dicken's [sic] Christmas Carol, Part 1

R 1088 Regal 121*
Tots 'n' Teens 121
Ireene Wicker The Singing Lady | Music by Allan Grant* Dicken's [sic] Christmas Carol, Part 2

R 1089 Regal 122
Tots 'n' Teens 122
Ireene Wicker The Singing Lady Silent Night

R 1090 Regal 122
Tots 'n' Teens 122
Ireene Wicker The Singing Lady Jingle Bells

R 1091 Regal 123*
Tots 'n' Teens 123
Ireene Wicker The Singing Lady | Music by Allan Grant* O Come, All Ye Faithful

R 1092 Regal* 123 (b1)
Tots 'n' Teens 123 (b1)
Ireene Wicker The Singing Lady | Music by Allan Grant* Deck the Halls

R 1093 Regal 123 (b2)*
Tots 'n' Teens 123 (b2)
Ireene Wicker The Singing Lady | Music by Allan Grant* I Saw Three Ships

R 1094 Regal 3238 The Magichords I Beeped When I Shoulda Bopped Sep-49 Oct-49
R 1095 Regal 3237 The Magichords The Game of Broken Hearts Sep-49 Oct-49
R 1096 Regal 3237 The Magichords Cherry Tree Sep-49 Oct-49
R 1097 Regal 3238 The Magichords Darling Sep-49 Oct-49
R 1098 Regal 5068 Melvin Price and The Santa Fe Rangers What a Way to Say You Love Me

R 1099 Regal 5070 Melvin Price Ships with Purple Bands

R 1100 Regal 5070 Melvin Price You Tore Your Pants

R 1101 Regal 5068 Melvin Price and The Santa Fe Rangers The Game of Broken Hearts

R 1102 Regal 3266 Teddy Brannon Orchestra | Vocal Dickie Thompson Don Newcomb Really Throws That Ball Oct-49
R 1103-2 Regal 3241 Teddy Brannon and His Orchestra | Vocal by Duckie [sic] Thompson Everybody Get Together Oct-49 Dec-49
R 1104-1 Regal 3266 Teddy Brannon Orchestra | Vocal Dickie Thompson Mixin' with Dixon Oct-49
R 1105 Regal 3241 Teddy Brannon and His Orchestra Felix the Cat Oct-49 Dec-49
R 1106-3 Regal 3242 Wild Bill Moore Dynaflow 26-Oct-49
R 1107-1
Wild Bill Moore unidentified title 26-Oct-49
R 1108-1 (P-Vine Special PLP-9042) Wild Bill Moore and His Band Wild Bill's Bounce 26-Oct-49
R 1109 Regal 3242 Wild Bill Moore Mean Old World 26-Oct-49
R 1110 Regal 3243 Betti Mays and Her Swingtet | Novelty Vocal by Betti Mays Mays' Haze 4-Nov-49 Dec-49
R 1111 Regal 3243 Betti Mays and Her Swingtet Slow Rock 4-Nov-49 Dec-49












R 1114 Regal 3285 Billy Taylor and His Quintet | Instr. Featuring Big John Hardee Tenor Sax The Dirt Bug Nov-49






R 1116 Regal 3285 Billy Taylor and His Quintette | Instr. Featuring Big John Hardee Tenor Sax Take the A Train Nov-49
R 1117 Regal 3247 Bill Cook Christmas in Heaven Nov-49 Dec-49
R 1118 Regal 3247 Bill Cook A Letter to Santa Nov-49 Dec-49
R 1119 Regal 3283 Doc Sausage Doormat Blues 29-Nov-49
R 1120 Regal 3248 Doc Sausage and His Mad Lads She Don't Want Me No More 29-Nov-49 Feb-50
R 1121 Regal 3248 Doc Sausage and His Mad Lads Please Don't Leave Me Now 29-Nov-49 Feb-50
R 1122 Regal 3283 Doc Sausage Poor Man's Blues 29-Nov-49
R 1123 Regal 3249 Ernie Fields and His Orchestra Baritone Shuffle 29-Nov-49 Mar-50
R 1124 (P-Vine Special PLP-9041) Ernie Fields and His Orchestra BB 29-Nov-49
R 1125 Regal 3249 Ernie Fields and His Orchestra | Vocal Teddy Cole T. Town Blues 29-Nov-49 Mar-50
R 1125 [alt.] (P-Vine Special PLP-9041) Ernie Fields and His Orchestra T. Town Blues 29-Nov-49
R 1126 (P-Vine Special PLP-9041) Ernie Fields and His Orchestra Big Lou 29-Nov-49
R 1127 (P-Vine Special PLP-9041) Ernie Fields and His Orchestra Ride Mr. Trombone 29-Nov-49
R 1128 (P-Vine Special PLP-9041) Ernie Fields and His Orchestra Baby 29-Nov-49






1130








































R 1137-4 Regal 3268 Chubby (Hip Shakin') Newsome Poor Dog 19-Dec-49 Jul-50
R 1138-1 Regal 3268 Chubby (Hip Shakin') Newsome Better Find a Job 19-Dec-49 Jul-50
R 1139 Regal 3250 Chubby Newsome And Her Hip Shakers Hard Lovin' Mama (Anytime) 19-Dec-49 Mar-50
R 1140-1 Regal 3250 Chubby Newsome And Her Hip Shakers I'm Still in Love with You
[I'm Still in Love for You on some pressings]
19-Dec-49 Mar-50
R 1141 Regal 3251 Doc Sausage and His Mad Lads Rag Mop 2-Jan-50 Jan-50
R 1142 Regal 3251 Doc Sausage and His Mad Lads You Got Me Cryin' 2-Jan-50 Jan-50
R 1143 Regal 3256 Doc Sausage and his Mad Lads I've Been a Bad Boy 2-Jan-50 Apr-50
R 1144 Regal 3256 Doc Sausage and his Mad Lads Sausage Rock 2-Jan-50 Apr-50


















R 1148 Tots 'n' Teens 127 Ireene Wicker Where Has My Little Dog Gone, There Were Three Crows, Johnny Had a Little Dog







1150






















R 1154 Regal 3278 Larry Darnell My Baby Don't Love Me Jan-50
R 1155 Regal 3260 Larry Darnell and Orchestra God Bless the Child Jan-50 Apr-50
R 1156 Regal 3260 Larry Darnell and Orchestra Pack Your Rags and Go Jan-50 Apr-50






R 1158 Regal 3252 Alberta Hunter Midnight Blues Jan-50 May-50






R 1160 Regal 3252 Alberta Hunter I Got a Mind to Ramble Jan-50 May-50






R 1162 Tots 'n' Teens 124 Ireene Wicker Mistress Mary, Lavender Blue, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

























R 1167 Tots 'n' Teens 126 Ireene Wicker Jack and Jill, Pea's [sic] Porridge Hot, Crooked Man







R 1169 Regal 5069 Melvin Price and The Santa Fe Rangers A Heart of Stone Jan-50 Mar-50
R 1170 Regal 5069 Melvin Price and The Santa Fe Rangers For You My Love Jan-50 Mar-50






















































1180
















R 1183-1 Regal 3253 Melody Echoes Jesus Hits like an Atomic Bomb Jan-50 Mar-50
R 1184-1 Regal 3253 Melody Echoes What Are They Doing in Heaven Jan-50 Mar-50
R 1185 Regal 3254 Melody Echoes I Will to Know Jan-50
R 1186 Regal 3254 Melody Echoes Savior Don't Pass Me By Jan-50
R 1186 Regal 3262 Larry Darnell I Love You So Jan-50
R 1187 Tots 'n' Teens 137 Boyd Heath Little Brown Jug

R 1188 Tots 'n' Teens 136 Boyd Heath Blue Tail Fly

R 1189 Tots 'n' Teens 136 Boyd Heath Old Folks at Home

R 1190 Tots 'n' Teens 137 Boyd Heath A Froggy Would A Wooin' Go

R 1191 Tots 'n' Teens 139 Boyd Heath Comin' Round the Mountain

R 1192 Tots 'n' Teens 139 Boyd Heath Polly Wolly Doodle

R 1193 Tots 'n' Teens 138 Boyd Heath Turkey in the Straw

R 1194 Tots 'n' Teens 138 Boyd Heath Oh! Suzanna

R 1195-2 Regal 3255 Broadway Bill with Paul Gayten and orchestra Broadway's on Fire Feb-50
R 1196 Regal 3255 Paul Gayten and orchestra Bellboy Boogie Feb-50


















1200
















R 1203 Regal 3258 Annie Laurie and Paul Gayten and His Orchestra I'll Never Be Free Feb-50 May-50
R 1204 Regal 3273 Annie Laurie with the Paul Gayten Orchestra I Ain't Gonna Let You In Feb-50 (Specialty SPCD-2169)
R 1204A Regal 3273 Annie Laurie - Paul Gayten with the Paul Gayten Orchestra I Ain't Gonna Let You In Feb-50 Jun-50
R 1205 Regal 3273 Annie Laurie I Need Your Love Feb-50 Jun-50
R 1206 Regal 3262 Larry Darnell Why Do I Love You Feb-50 Apr-50


















R 1210-4 (P-Vine Special PLP-9042) Floyd Taylor and his Band Baritone Boogie

R 1211
Floyd Taylor and his Band unidentified title Feb-50
R 1212-2
749
Regal 3265 Floyd Taylor and his Band Loch Lomond Feb-50
R 1213
750
Regal 3265 Floyd Taylor and his Band Barbeque Feb-50
R 1214-1
[Parkway]
(Biograph LP 12035) Memphis Minnie Down Home Girl Jan-50
R 1215-1
[Parkway]
(Biograph LP 12035) Memphis Minnie Night Watchman Blues Jan-50
R 1215-2
[Parkway]
(Biograph LP 12035) Memphis Minnie Night Watchman Blues Jan-50
R 1216-1
[Parkway]
Regal 3259 Memphis Minnie Why Did I Make You Cry Jan-50 Apr-50
R 1217-1 Regal 3259 Memphis Minnie Kidman Blues Jan-50 Apr-50
R 1712-2
[Parkway]
(Savoy MG 16000) Memphis Minnie Kidman Blues Jan-50
"R 1218-2"
[Parkway]
(Biograph LP 12035) Jimmy Rogers Ludella Jan-50
R 1218 Regal 3279 Harmony Kings Leanin' on Jesus Feb-50
R 1219 Regal 3261 The Harmony Kings The Same Jesus Feb-50 May-50
R 1220 Regal 3279 Harmony Kings The Lord Is My Shepherd Feb-50
R 1221 Regal 3261 The Harmony Kings There Must Be a Heaven Feb-50 May-50
R 1222 Regal 3263 Minnie Henderson with The Harmony Kings God Answers Prayers Feb-50 May-50
R 1223 Regal 3263 Minnie Henderson with The Harmony Kings Halleluyah Train Feb-50 May-50
R 1224
[Parkway]
Regal 3286 Roosevelt Sykes Drivin' Wheel 14-Mar-50 Nov-50
R 1225-1
[Parkway]
(Delmark DD 773 [CD]) Roosevelt Sykes Rock It 14-Mar-50
R 1225-2
[Parkway]
Regal 3269 Roosevelt (Honeydripper) Sykes Rock It 14-Mar-50 Jul-50
R 1226
[Parkway]
Regal 3286 Roosevelt Sykes West Helena Blues 14-Mar-50 Nov-50
R 1227
[Parkway]
Regal 3306 Roosevelt Sykes Mail Box Blues 14-Mar-50 Jan-51
R 1228
[Parkway]
Regal 3306 Roosevelt Sykes Winter Time Blues 14-Mar-50 Jan-51
R 1229
[Parkway]
Regal 3269 Roosevelt (Honeydripper) Sykes Blues n' Boogie 14-Mar-50 Jul-50
R 1230 Regal 3314 Jimmy Locks Bad Luck Blues Mar-50 Mar-51
R 1231 Regal 3314 Jimmy Locks Someday Darlin' Mar-50 Mar-51
R 1232 Regal 3264 Jimmy (Blazer Boy) Locks They Say Mar-50
R 1233 Regal 3264 Jimmy (Blazer Boy) Locks Adorable One Mar-50




































1240




R 1241 Roost 603 Little Jimmy Scott I'll Close My Eyes 20-Mar-50 Jun-50
R 1242 Roost 613 Little Jimmy Scott It's the Talk of the Town 20-Mar-50 Dec-50






R 1244 Roost 603 Little Jimmy Scott Why Do You Cry 20-Mar-50 Jun-50
R 1245 Roost 612 Little Jimmy Scott Rain in My Eyes 20-Mar-50 Oct-50






R 1247 Roost 605 Little Jimmy Scott Dearest Darling 20-Mar-50 Jun-50
R 1248 Regal 3288 Vanita Smythe [with King Porter] Until I Fell for You Apr-50
R 1249 Regal 3267 Vanita Smythe Lonesome for You Apr-50 May-50
R 1250 Regal 3267 Vanita Smythe I Want My Baby Back Apr-50 May-50
R 1251 Regal 3288 Vanita Smythe You Got Me Crying Again Apr-50
R 1252 Roost 609 Erroll Garner Trio Bonny Boy 12-Apr-50
R 1253 Roost 614 Erroll Garner Trio Tippin' Out with Erroll 12-Apr-50
R 1254 Roost 604 Erroll Garner Trio Relaxing at Sugar Ray's 12-Apr-50 Jun-50
R 1255 Roost 400 Erroll Garner The Quaker 12-Apr-50
R 1256 Roost 400 Erroll Garner Minor with the Trio 12-Apr-50
R 1257 Roost 606 Erroll Garner Trio No Moon 12-Apr-50
R 1258 Roost 610 Erroll Garner Cologne 12-Apr-50 Jun-50
R 1259 Roost 614 Erroll Garner Trio Lazy River 12-Apr-50
R 1260
[Atlanta source]
(Biograph BLP 12009) Little David [Wylie] Baby You Don't Mean Me No Good Aug-49
R 1261
[Atlanta source]
(Biograph BLP 12009) Little David [Wylie] Baby, You're Gonna Change My Mind Aug-49
R 1262
[Atlanta source]
Regal 3271 Little David [Wylie] Shackles 'round My Body Aug-49
R 1263
[Atlanta source]
Regal 3271 Little David [Wylie] You're Gonna Weep and Moan Aug-49












R 1266
[Atlanta source]
(Biograph BLP 12008) Blind Willie McTell Don't Forget It Aug-49
R 1267
[Atlanta source]
(Savoy MG 16000) Blind Willie McTell A to Z Blues Aug-49
R 1268
[Atlanta source]
(Biograph BLP 12008) Blind Willie McTell Good Little Thing Aug-49
R 1269
[Atlanta source]
(Biograph BLP 12008) Blind Willie McTell You Can't (Get) Stuff No More Aug-49
R 1270-1
[Atlanta source]
Regal 3277 Pig 'n Whistle Band [Blind Willie McTell] Love Changin' Blues Aug-49
R 1271-1
[Atlanta source]
(Biograph BLP 12035) Blind Willie McTell Savannah Mama Aug-49
R 1272-1
[Atlanta source]
Regal 3277 Pig 'n Whistle Band [Blind Willie McTell] Talkin' to You Mama Aug-49
R 1273-1
[Atlanta source]
(Biograph BLP 12035) Blind Willie McTell East St. Louis Aug-49
R 1274-1
[Atlanta source]
(Biograph BLP 12035) Blind Willie McTell Wee Midnight Hours Aug-49












R 1277-1
[Atlanta source]
(Biograph BLP 12035) Blind Willie McTell Pal of Mine Aug-49
R 1278
[Atlanta source]
(Biograph BLP 12008) Blind Willie McTell Pal of Mine Aug-49
R 1279
[Atlanta source]
(Biograph BLP 12008) Blind Willie McTell Honey It Must Be Love Aug-49
R 1280-1
[Atlanta source]
(Biograph BLP 12008) Blind Willie McTell Sending Up My Timber Aug-49
R 1280-2
[Atlanta source]
(Biograph BLP 12008) Blind Willie McTell Sending Up My Timber Aug-49
R 1281
[Atlanta source]
(Biograph BLP 12008) Blind Willie McTell Lord Have Mercy If You Please Aug-49
R 1282
[Atlanta source]
(Biograph BLP 12008) Blind Willie McTell Trying to Get Home Aug-49
R 1283
[Atlanta source]
Regal 3280 Blind Willie [McTell] River Jordan Aug-49
R 1284
[Atlanta source]
Regal 3280 Blind Willie [McTell] How about You Aug-49
R 1285
[Atlanta source]
Regal 3272 Blind Willie [McTell] It's My Desire Aug-49
R 1285 alt.
[Atlanta source]
(Delmark DE 755 [CD]) Blind Willie [McTell] It's My Desire Aug-49
R 1286
[Atlanta source]
Regal 3272 Blind Willie [McTell] Hide Me in Thy Bosom Aug-49
R 1287 Regal 3270 Sammy Cotton with Paul Gayten and his orchestra Heart Full of Pain May-50 Jun-50












R 1290 Regal 3270 Sammy Cotton with Paul Gayten and his orchestra Cool Playin' Mama May-50 Jun-50
























R 1295 Roost 608 Al Jackson It Ain't Gonna Be like That May-50 Aug-50
R 1296 Roost 607 Al Jackson Jelly Roll May-50 Jun-50
R 1297 Roost 607 Al Jackson Let's Drink Some Whiskey May-50 Jun-50
R 1298 Roost 608 Al Jackson Look Cruel Mama May-50 Aug-50
R 1299 Regal 3310 Larry Darnell Don't Go, Don't Go May-50 Jan-51
R 1300 Regal 3274 Larry Darnell I Love My Baby May-50 Jun-50
R 1301 Regal 3278 Larry Darnell Sundown May-50
R 1302 Regal 3274 Larry Darnell My Kind of Baby May-50 Jun-50
R 1303 Tots 'n' Teens 143 Boyd Heath | Directed by Danny Mendelsohn Old Chisholm Trail

R 1304 Tots 'n' Teens 143 Boyd Heath | Directed by Danny Mendelsohn Whoopee Ti Yi Yo

R 1305 Tots 'n' Teens 140 Boyd Heath | Directed by Danny Mendelsohn Sweet Betsy from Pike

R 1306 Tots 'n' Teens 141 Boyd Heath | Directed by Danny Mendelsohn The Gal I Left Behind Me

R 1307 Tots 'n' Teens 142 Boyd Heath | Directed by Danny Mendelsohn I Was Born Ten Thousand Years Ago

R 1308 Tots 'n' Teens 142 Boyd Heath | Directed by Danny Mendelsohn Big Rock Candy Mountain

R 1309 Tots 'n' Teens 141 Boyd Heath | Directed by Danny Mendelsohn Home on the Range

R 1310 Tots 'n' Teens 140 Boyd Heath | Directed by Danny Mendelsohn Red River Valley

















































R 1319
[Jazz Ltd.]
Regal LP 11 (Side A) Muggsy Spanier and Sidney Bechet


R 1320
[Jazz Ltd.]
Regal LP 11 (Side B) Doc Evans and Sidney Bechet








R 1322 Regal 3284 Sammy Cotton It's So Hard Jun-50






R 1324-2 Regal 3284 Sammy Cotton You've Been Mistreating Me Jun-50
R 1325-3 (P-Vine Special PLP 9043) Paul Gayten Orchestra Yellow Dog Jun-50
R 1326
[Parkway]
Regal 3305 Eddie Boyd Why Don't You Be Wise, Baby 13-Jul-50 Dec-50
R 1327
[Parkway]
Regal 3305 Eddie Boyd I Gotta Find My Baby 13-Jul-50 Dec-50






R 1329-2 Regal 3281 Paul Gayten and His Orchestra | Vocal Accompaniment Coleman Bros. Goodnight Irene Jul-50 Aug-50
R 1330-1 Regal 3281 Paul Gayten and His Orchestra Ooh La La Jul-50 Aug-50
R 1331 Regal 1204 Durning String Band America I Love You Jul-50
R 1332 Regal 1204 Durning String Band Sally in Our Alley Jul-50
R 1333 Regal 3282 Paul Gayten & his Orchestra | Alto Sax Solo Edward Barefield Gold Ain't Everything Jul-50
R 1334 Regal 3282 Paul Gayten & his Orchestra | Alto Sax Solo Edward Barefield Suzette Jul-50






R 1336
[Parkway H 511]
(Herald 403) Little Walter Trio [Little Walter] Just Keep Lovin' Her Jan-50












R 1339
[Roost 1011-A4]
Roost 610 Erroll Garner Again 8-Sep-49
1340









R 1342 Regal 3287 Little Mr. Midnight Got a Brand New Baby Jul-50
R 1343 Regal 3287 Little Mr. Midnight Four O'Clock Blues Jul-50






R 1345 Roost 612 Little Jimmy Scott with Paul Gayten and his Orchestra Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere Jul-50 Oct-50
R 1346 Regal 1206 Big Ben Trio with Lou Hogan Orch. Dancing My Fanny Around Jul-50 Oct-50
R 1347 F R. F. D. 5074 The Elbow Benders If You Did Half as Much Flirtin' Jul-50
R 1348 Regal 1206 Big Ben Trio with Lou Hogan Orch. Allagazoo, Allagazam Jul-50 Oct-50






1350










R1352
[Sensation B 8031]
Regal 3289 Kitty Stevenson It Ain't Right Feb-50 Oct-50
R 1353
[Sensation B 8032]
Regal 3289 Kitty Stevenson It Couldn't Be True Feb-50 Oct-50
REGAL 1354
[Sensation B 7039]
3295 John Lee Hooker and his guitar Miss Eloise

REGAL 1355
[Sensation B 8037]
Regal 3295 John Lee Hooker Boogie Chillun #2 28-Apr-50
R 1356
[Parkway H-516 tk. 2]
Regal 3296 Little Walter Trio Muskadine Blues Jan-50
R 1357 [tk. 1]
[Parkway]
Regal 3296 Little Walter Trio Bad Actin' Woman Jan-50
R 1358 R. F. D. 5073 Ted Martin and his Orchestra I've Got That Lonesome Feelin' | Vocal by Ted Martin Aug-50
R 1359 R. F. D. 5073 Ted Martin and his Orchestra I'm Making Believe I Don't Care Aug-50
R 1360 Regal 1205 Ted Martin and his Orchestra Don't Say You Care Aug-50 Nov-50
R 1361 Regal 1205 Ted Martin and his Orchestra You Ought to Hang Your Heart in Shame Aug-50 Nov-50
R 1362 Regal 3300 Annie Laurie Just One More Chance Aug-50 Nov-50
R 1363 Regal 3300 Annie Laurie Now That You're Gone Aug-50 Nov-50

(Specialty SPCD-2169) Paul Gayten and his Orchestra Bear Hug Aug-50












R 1369[?] Regal 3298 (1) Larry Darnell It's Going to Be a Blue Christmas Aug-50 Oct-50
R 1368-2 Regal 3297 The Colemans You Know I Love You, Baby Aug-50 Nov-50
R 1369-1 Regal 3297 The Colemans I Don't Mind Being All Alone Aug-50 Nov-50
1370


































R 1376 Regal 3316 Jubilators [Selah Jubilee Singers] Get on the Road to Glory 5-Oct-50 May-51
R 1377 Regal 3301 Jubilators [Selah Jubilee Singers] Mother Called My Name 5-Oct-50 Oct-50
R 1378 Regal 3301 Jubilators Seek and Ye Shall Find 5-Oct-50 Oct-50
R 1379 Regal 3316 Jubilators I've Got Heaven on My Mind 5-Oct-50 May-51
R 1380-4 Regal 3298 (2) Larry Darnell Oh, Babe! Oct-50 Oct-50
R 1381-2 Regal 3298 Larry Darnell Christmas Blues Oct-50 Oct-50
R 1382 Regal 3310 Larry Darnell That Old Feeling Oct-50 Jan-51












R 1385 Regal 3308 The Colemans I Ain't Got Nobody Oct-50






R 1387 Regal 3308 The Colemans If You Should Need Me Oct-50
R 1388 Roost 615 Little Jimmy Scott I'll Be Seeing You Oct-50 Feb-51
R 1389 Roost 613 Little Jimmy Scott The Loneliest House on the Street Oct-50 Dec-50
R 1390 Roost 615 Little Jimmy Scott I Won't Cry Anymore Oct-50 Feb-51
R 1391 Roost 617 Little Jimmy Scott When Your Lover Has Gone Oct-50 Aug-51
R 1392 F Regal 3302 Paul Gayten and His Band If You Got the Money, Honey, I Got the Time Oct-50 Jan-51
R 1393 F Regal 3302 Paul Gayten and His Band I'm So Crazy for Love Oct-50 Jan-51
R 1394 F Regal 3303 Milt Larkin and his X-Rays Tennessee Waltz Oct-50 Nov-50
R 1395 F Regal 3303 Milt Larkin and his X-Rays | Featuring Billy Ford, Trumpet Best Friend Blues Oct-50 Nov-50
























REGAL 1400
[Sensation B 8048]
Regal 3304 John Lee Hooker and his guitar Notoriety Woman May-50
REGAL 1401
[Sensation B 8049]
Regal 3304 John Lee Hooker and his guitar Never Satisfied May-50
R 1402 Regal 3307 Banks Brothers Nothing Between Dec-50 Feb-51












R 1405 Regal 3307 Banks Brothers Every Day Dec-50 Feb-51












R 1408 Regal 3313 Savannah Churchill and The Striders And So I Cry 24-Dec-50 Mar-51
R 1409 Regal 3309 Savannah Churchill with The Striders Once There Lived a Fool 24-Dec-50 Jan-51
R 1410 F Regal 3309 Savannah Churchill with The Striders When You Came Back to Me 24-Dec-50 Jan-51
R 1411 Regal 3313 Savannah Churchill and The Striders Wedding Bells Are Breaking Up That Old Gang of Mine 24-Dec-50 Mar-51
R 1412(-4) F
R45-1412
Regal 3315 Larry Darnell Why Did You Say Goodbye 24-Dec-50 Mar-51
R 1413(-1) F
R45-1413
Regal 3315 Larry Darnell Nobody Knows-Nobody Cares 24-Dec-50 Mar-51
R 1414 Regal 3328 Larry Darnell - Mary Lou Greene Do You Love Me, Baby 24-Dec-50 Aug-51
R 1415 Regal 3328 Larry Darnell Sad and Lonesome 24-Dec-50 Aug-51
R 1416 Regal 3321 Cab Calloway and his Orchestra Que Pasa Chica (What's Happening) Jan-51 Apr-51
R 1417 Regal 3311 Cab Calloway and His Orchestra Shot Gun Boogie Jan-51
R 1418 Regal 3321 Cab Calloway and his Orchestra Frosty Morning Jan-51 Apr-51
R 1419 F Regal 3311 Cab Calloway and His Orchestra One for My Baby Jan-51
R 1420 R. F. D. 5072 Sally Clark Last Night My Heart Crossed the Ocean
Mar-51
R 1421 R. F. D. 5071 Eddie Mc Mullen Flap Jack Heart

R 1422 R. F. D. 5071 Eddie Mc Mullen Tell It to the Jury

R 1423 R. F. D. 5072 Sally Clark It Happens Ev'ry Day
Mar-51












R 1426 Regal 3312 Paul Gayten & His Orchestra | Vocal by Paul Gayten Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Jan-51 Feb-51
R 1427 Regal 3312 Paul Gayten & His Orchestra | Vocal by Paul Gayten | Whistling by Bill Each Time Jan-51 Feb-51
R 1428 R. F. D. 5075 Clark & McMullen Mocking Bird Hill Feb-51 Mar-51
R 1429 R. F. D. 5075 Clark & McMullen Behind the Chapel Wall Feb-51 Mar-51
1430






















R 1434 Regal 3319 Chubby Newsome Where's the Money, Honey 23-Feb-51 May-51
R 1435 Regal 3319 Chubby Newsome Little Fat Woman with the Coconut Head 23-Feb-51 May-51
1436 (DeLuxe 3315-A) Lee Richardson Just Call My Name



















R 1440 Regal 3318 Bill Johnson I'd Give the World to Know How I Stand with You Feb-51






R 1442 P Regal 3318 Bill Johnson Mad Money Blues Feb-51






R 1444 Regal 3329 Paul Gayten and his Orchestra Baby I'm Alone Feb-51 Aug-51
R 1445 Regal 3329 Paul Gayten and his Orchestra Little Girl, Little Girl Feb-51 Aug-51
























1450


























































R 1460 Regal 3323 Fred Jackson and his Orchestra Sentimental Blues
May-51
R 1461 Regal 3323 Fred Jackson and his Orchestra Buck Fever
May-51
R 1462-F Regal 3322 Titus Turner Stop Trying to Make a Fool of Me Mar-51 May-51
R 1463-F Regal 3322 Titus Turner Let's Forget the Whole Thing Mar-51 May-51












R 1466-1 F R. F. D. 5078 Earl Davis Eight Nine Ten
Jun-51






R 1468 F R. F. D. 5078 Grandpappy Earl Davis Grandpappy's Hot Rod Blues
Jun-51
R 1469 Roost 616 Little Jimmy Scott Story of Love Mar-51 Jun-51
R 1470 Roost 616 Little Jimmy Scott Changeable You Mar-51 Jun-51






R 1472 Roost 617 Little Jimmy Scott Give a Broken Heart a Break Mar-51 Aug-51
(1071) (Royal Roost 530) Little Jimmy Scott I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) Mar-51 (Oct-51)
(1072) (Royal Roost 530) Little Jimmy Scott The Masquerade Is Over Mar-51 (Oct-51)
























R 1479 Merit 305 Max Pollikoff, Violin | Swinging Strings | Orch. conducted by Howard Biggs The Hot Canary
May-51
R 1480 Merit 305 Max Pollikoff, Violin | Swinging Strings | Orch. conducted by Howard Biggs The Syncopated Clock
May-51
1481 Merit 307 Bobby Hart | Vocal with Orch. conducted by Howard Biggs Jezebel
May-51
1482 Merit 307 Bobby Hart | Vocal with Orch. conducted by Howard Biggs The Loveliest Night of the Year
May-51










































1490






















R 1494 R. F. D. 5081 Melvin Price and the Santa Fe Rangers | Vocal by Bob Fluharty I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love with You)

R 1495 R. F. D. 5081 Melvin Price and the Santa Fe Rangers | Vocal by Bob Fluharty Howling at the Moon

R 1496 R. F. D. 5080 Melvin Price and the Santa Fe Rangers | Vocal by Bob Fluharty I Hate Myself

R 1497 R. F. D. 5080 Melvin Price and the Santa Fe Rangers | Vocal by Bob Fluharty Don't Stay Too Long













1500




R 1501
[Parkway]
Regal 3324 Roosevelt Sykes Green Onion Top 10-Apr-51 Jun-51
R 1502
[Parkway]
Regal 3324 Roosevelt Sykes Wonderin' Blues 10-Apr-51 Jun-51






R 1504
[Parkway]
Regal 3330 Essie Sykes Easy Walkin' Papa Apr-51
R 1505
[Parkway]
Regal 3330 Essie Sykes Please Don't Say Goodbye Apr-51
























1510










R 1512
[Parkway]
(P-Vine Special PLP-9038) Sunnyland Slim I Done You Wrong 19-Apr-51
R 1513
[Parkway]
Regal 3327 Sunnyland Slim Orphan Boy Blues 19-Apr-51 Aug-51
R 1514
[Parkway]
Regal 3327 Sunnyland Slim When I Was Young 19-Apr-51 Aug-51
R 1514 alt.
[Parkway]
(Biograph LP 12010) Sunnyland Slim When I Was Young 19-Apr-51
R 1514 B
[Parkway]
(P-Vine Special PLP-9038) Sunnyland Slim (Low Down) Sunnyland Train 19-Apr-51






























R 1520 F
R 45 5 A
Merit 303 Biff Johnson On Top of Old Smokey
May-51
R 1521
R 45 4 A
Merit 304 Biff Johnson It Is No Secret
May-51
R 1522
R 45 4 B
Merit 304 Biff Johnson Shenandoah Waltz
May-51
R 1523 P
R 45 5 B
Merit 303 Biff Johnson Kentucky Waltz
May-51
R 1524 Regal 3326 Joan Shaw - Billy Ford and Orchestra Pretty Eyed Baby
Jun-51
R 1525 Regal 3326 Billy Ford and Orchestra Marcheta
Jun-51
R 1526 R. F. D. 5082 Mr. Sunshine & his Guitar Pickers Marijuana, The Devil's Flower Apr-51


















1530














































D 1538
[Parkway]
(Herald 407) St. Louis Jimmy Hard Luck Boogie (Hard Work Boogie) 19-Apr-51
D 1539
[Parkway]
(Herald 407) St. Louis Jimmy Good Book Blues (Tryin' to Change My Ways*) 19-Apr-51
D 1540
[Parkway]
(Herald 408) St. Louis Jimmy Your Evil Ways 19-Apr-51
D 1541
[Parkway]
(Herald 408) St. Louis Jimmy Whisky Drinkin' Woman (I Sit Up All Night*) 19-Apr-51

[Parkway]
(Biograph BLP 12010) St. Louis Jimmy State Street Blues 19-Apr-51

(P-Vine Special PLP-9043) Paul Gayten Orchestra featuring Chubby Newsome and Sam Butera Hip Shakin' Mama 15-Apr-51

(P-Vine Special PLP-9043) Paul Gayten Orchestra featuring Chubby Newsome and Sam Butera He May Be Your Man 15-Apr-51

(P-Vine Special PLP-9043) Paul Gayten Orchestra featuring Chubby Newsome and Sam Butera Perdido 15-Apr-51

(P-Vine Special PLP-9043) Paul Gayten Orchestra featuring Chubby Newsome and Sam Butera The Big Date 15-Apr-51

(P-Vine Special PLP-9043) Paul Gayten Orchestra featuring Chubby Newsome and Sam Butera Belle Vista Jam 15-Apr-51

(P-Vine Special PLP-9043) Paul Gayten Orchestra featuring Chubby Newsome and Sam Butera Don't Cry Little Girl 15-Apr-51

Sources

In writing about releases on Parkway, we've relied heavily on researchers who preceded us. The best and most astute history of the first Parkway session appeared in Tony Glover, Scott Dirks, and Ward Gaines, Blues With a Feeling: The Little Walter Story (New York: Routledge, 2002). For quotations from and information about Monroe Passis we made heavy use of Jim O’Neal's liner note essay to The Blues World of Little Walter, Delmark DD-648, 1993, plus email correspondence with Monroe’s daughter and the late Eric LeBlanc that he shared with us. For biographical information on Bennie Green, we consulted the entry on him by Mark Gardner in Barry Kernfeld (Ed.), The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (2nd edn., London: Macmillan, 2002, Volume 2, p. 85) and his section in Tom Lord's Jazz Discography, Volume 8 (Redwood, NY: Cadence Jazz Books, 1994).

We found further good background on the first Parkway session from Muddy Waters’ viewpoint in Robert Gordon’s Can’t Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 2002): 99-100. Also indispensable was Mike Rowe, Chicago Breakdown (London: Eddison Press, 1973): 74-76.

Primary sources on Parkway and Chord Distributors include "Leaners Leave M&S for Chord," Billboard, 13 August 1949; Edward Myers, "About the Records," Chicago Defender, 11 March 1950; "Music—As Written," Billboard, 11 March 1950, p. 22; "Music—As Written," Billboard, 15 April 1950, p. 28; and "Record Distributor Waxes Benny Green," Down Beat 5 May 1950, p. 4. Many more are cited above.

For the intertwined fates of Chord Distributors, Record Distributors, Inc., Regal, and the earliest edition of Herald, we were largely on our own. Fortunately, the trades paid enough attention to Regal that we were able to date the formation of the company out of Merit and DeLuxe, track its main release series, and document its stake in Record Distributors. (The trades didn't pay enough attention to Herald while Mendelsohn was there, but we were still able to learn something about its early months.) The notes that RSRF member Billy Vera contributed in 1989 to Paul Gayten and Annie Laurie: Regal Records in New Orleans (first an LP on the latter-day Specialty, then a 1991 CD with a slew of "bonus tracks") have been invaluable. Vera relied on Fred Mendelsohn and Paul Gayten for his information; Jules and Dave Braun had been out of the music business for decades, Mendelsohn had taken the masters that Regal had in its possession, and the brothers' whereabouts were imperfectly known. The only drawback is that after so many years Mendelsohn had developed a tendency to telescope DeLuxe and Regal together (the Brauns had gone to New Orleans in 1947 and recorded for DeLuxe there on multiple occasions; Mendelsohn's first visit to New Orleans for Regal took place in September 1949, and Regal recorded Paul Gayten and his vocalists in New Jersey or New York City; Mendelsohn wasn't the only principal at Regal who supervised sessions). The notes to the Paul Gayten CD make no reference to Merit Records, to the Regal/Roost deal, or to Mendelsohn's first time at Sid Nathan's DeLuxe after Regal folded. Decrypting the Regal matrix and release series has required a lot of discographical research, comparing releases on DeLuxe from January through August 1949 with releases on Regal from the remainder of the year.

For discographical information on the blues items we turned to Mike Leadbitter and Neil Slaven, Blues Records 1943-1970, Volume One, A to K (London: Record Information Services, 1987); Mike Leadbitter, Leslie Fancourt, and Paul Pelletier, Blues Records 1943-1970, Volume Two, L to Z (London: Record Information Services, 1994), and Fancourt and McGrath. Helping us to determine what was on the labels we relied on Bob McGrath’s The R&B Indies Volume One (West Vancouver, Canada: Eyeball Productions, 2000), and The R&B Indies Volume Two (West Vancouver, Canada: Eyeball Productions, 2000). For the Biograph LPs, the LP compilation on Negro Rhythm 107, and the Wolf Memphis Minnie CD, we relied on Stefan Wirz's comprehensive treatment at http://www.wirz.de/music/american.htm.

We owe to Wayne Goins the observation that the Chicago blues recordings that appeared on Regal were not originally recorded for that label (only the Eddie Boyd session was identified in the trade press as a session for Regal in Chicago). Goins convinced us that two blocks of material (one by Sunnyland Slim and another by Memphis Minnie) were of Parkway origin. The late Steve Franz pointed out the April 1950 release of Regal 3259 by Memphis Minnie, showing us that Fred Mendelsohn was dealing with Parkway while Passis was still operating it as a label. As noted above, Regal did very little recording on its own away from Linden, New Jersey (company HQ) and New York City. DeLuxe recorded Paul Gayten in New Orleans; Regal recorded him in the New York area, and when he had to rebuild his band he hired New York musicians. Regal bought its Blind Willie McTells (and some other material) from sources in Atlanta; other than the Jazz Ltd. sides that it leased from Bill and Ruth Reinhardt, it got its Chicago material from Monroe Passis. It got material recorded in Detroit from Bernie Besman and Sensation. The only other off-site recording for Regal that we can verify is a single session in Detroit (April 1950) with King Porter and Vanita Smythe; even this one seems to have been tied up with a deal between Regal and Bernie Besman (during the same visit, Regal changed distributors and went with Pan-American). The live tracks by Paul Gayten's band from New Orleans and by Little Jimmy Scott with the Gayten band, also from New Orleans (April 1951) ended up in Fred Mendelsohn's possession but it doesn't follow that he recorded them. We've included them in Appendix J because they were made while Regal was in business and Mendelsohn got them; it's unlikely that any live sides were being considered for release on Regal.


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