Air Week: July 6-12, 2020

King Records, Pt. 6: 1952

This week, it’s part 6 of a multi-part feature on the great King Record Label, out of Cincinnati. Syd Nathan, who began putting out records under the King logo in 1943, developed King as a hillbilly music label. After seeing the sales potential in the Rhythm & Blues market, Nathan launched the Queen Records subsidiary in 1945, but folded it into King in 1947 and transferred his R&B acts over. King established itself in the R&B field with Bull Moose Jackson, Ivory Joe Hunter, Wynonie Harris and Lonnie Johnson all scoring enormous hit records. This week in part 6, we take a look at King’s spectacular releases during 1952. The great Sonny Thompson has his final 2 career charting singles in ’52 and Bill Doggett begins his long stint with King, though he wouldn’t have a hit until ’56. Even though Todd Rhodes didn’t have a hit this year, he is all over this week’s “Juke” with a risque number, “Rocket 69” with Connie Allen on lead and “Trying” with LaVern Baker on lead. Rhodes also backs up Wynonie Harris on “Keep on Churnin'” and Moose Jackson on “Big Ten Inch Record.” We’ll also dig on 2 tunes that would become much bigger hits for other artists later; The Swallows’ version of “I Only Have Eyes For You” and Dave Bartholomew’s original “My Ding-A-Ling.” Matt The Cat’s got ’em all and he’s loading those blue label King Records into this week’s “Juke In The Back.”