Thursday, June 18, 2009
King Records of Cincinnati
Starting with a few songs and a dream in 1943, King Records—a leading American independent—launched musical careers from a shabby brick factory on Brewster Avenue in Cincinnati’s Evanston neighborhood. Founder Sydney Nathan recorded country singers Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Wayne Raney, and others and later added black acts such as James Brown and the Famous Flames, Bull Moose Jackson, Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, Lonnie Johnson, and Freddy King. Meanwhile, King also explored polka, jazz, bluegrass, comedy, gospel, pop, and instrumental music—anything that Nathan could sell. Although King’s Cincinnati factory closed in 1971, the company’s diverse catalog of roots music had already become a phenomenon. Its legacy lives on in hundreds of classic recordings that are prized by collectors and musicians.