In Hollywood / Hollywood Records - An R & B Split Personality
Part One : Recorded In Hollywood Records
Recorded In Hollywood was begun in 1950 by record store owner and music personality John Dolphin. His record store Dolphin's Of Hollywood was a prime factor in the emergence of rhythm & blues music on the West Coast by its sales of records and as being the location of landmark R &B radio broadcasts by Hunter Hancock and Dick "Huggie Boy" Hugg.
Jazz pianist Errol Garner leads off the label with #110 - "Lotus Blue" and Six p.m." In June of 1950 the label releases #111 by Percy Mayfield with the Monroe Tucker Orchestra called "Two Years Of Torture" bw "Half Awoke". The recording was purchased from the Supreme label and is heavily hyped at the record shop and on radio. It becomes a huge hit, and Mayfield instead of staying with the new label opts to sign with Specialty Records. Maggie Hathaway and The Robins record "Race Of A Man" and "Bayou Baby Blues" on #112. Young find and vocalist Jesse Belvin records "Dream Girl" and "Hang Your Tears Out To Dry" on #120. Maggie Hathaway returns with #121 - "A Falling Star", Errol Garner records "New York Concerto" and "This Is My Beloved" on #128. In November of 1950 Imogene Myers records "So Help Me If Only You Meant The Things You Said" and "How Come Baby" and The Mellowmoods record "Indian Waters" and "Everything's Wrong From A To Z".
Red Callendar who is also the A & R man for the label records "Dolphin Street Boogie" and "Poinciana" on #141. Jimmy Grissom records "Once There Lived A Fool" and "I'll Still Keep Loving You" on #143 which sells more than twenty thousand copies during the first week of release. Jimmy Grissom returns with "I Lost My Inspiration" and "Once In Love Blues" on #149.Dolphin's of Hollywood Records is now open around the clock in a new marketing innovation.Tenor sax whiz Illinois Jacquet records "Jacquet Blows The Blues (parts one & two)" on #157.
In July of 1951 the King Record Company purchases twenty masters from Recorded In Hollywood and plans to issue them on Federal. The Hollywood Four Flames record "I'll Always Be A Fool" and "She's Got Something" on #164 and they return with a cover of the Five Keys hit "Glory Of Love" and the flip side was "Young Girl" on #165. The Red Callender Sextet records "All Of Me" / "September In The Rain" on RIH #166. Blues singer Smokey Hogg does "Penitentiary Blues (parts one & two) " on #170. Scatman Crothers with the Red Callendar Six record "I Love Your Mama Better" and "I'd Rather Stay In The House" on #171. RIH #172 features Gene Forrest with the Eddie Beale Fourtet and "It Was You" / "Everybody's Got Money". Joe Swenson records "East Of The Sun" and "Thrust" for #173 featuring Wardell Gray on tenor sax.
Damita Jo sings "How Long Can I Live" on #180. Frank Haywood records "Rockabye Baby" on #181. The Five BlueJays vocal group record "Cloudy And Raining" / "So Worried" on #185. In late 1951 a gospel recording is reissued by Roberta Martin - "Only A Look" / "Jesus My Savior" on #101. Gene Forrest with the Freddy Simmons Quintet record "Hollywood Bound" and "Thrill Your Soul" for #190. Pat Rivers is featured on #191 - "It's A Sad Sad Story".
In July of 1952 the label announces the signing of new performers Little Caesar, Sonny Boy Holmes, Big John Tripp, Ray Agee, Gene Forrest, and the Rev. G.W. Killens.The Rev. G.W. Killens does the gospel side "I Love The Lord" and "Great God Almighty" on #196. Joe Swanson is featured on #221 - "Forgive Me" and "O'Blues". Sonny Boy Holmes does "Walking And Crying Blues" / "I've Got The $64,000 Question Blues"on #223. Saxie Rambo plays "Sugar Cane" and "Tornado" on #229. Little Caesar sings "The River" and "Long Time Baby" on #234, and "If I Could See My Baby" and "Goodbye Baby" on #235, and "Lying Woman" and "Move Me" on #236. "Do Right Blues" and "Your Money Ain't Long Enough" by Little Caesar is released as #238. Ray Agee records "My Poor Heart" and "Trouble Brings Me Down" on #240.Bobby Nunn does the seasonal "Christmas Bells" on #244, and Jimmy Grissom records "So Help Me I Love You" on #245, and Linda Hayes sings "Big City" on #246.
Little Caesar's recording of "The River" done with Que Martyn's Orchestra, is reported to have sold thirty five thousand copies in the first five days of release. As the record becomes popular New York radio station WINS bans its play fearing that its intensity will cause people to consider suicide. However the inevitable pop music cover is issued by former big band singer Art Lund for the Coral label. In October the label announces the signing of new artists Ernie Lewis, The Hollywood Four Flames, Izeta Fuller, and Jesse Fuller.
The Hollywood Bluejays do their rendition of "Safronia Ida B. Brown" and "Put A Nickel In The Juke Box" on #247 and Linda Hayes does the answer to Willie Mabon's "I Don't Know" called "Yes I Know". The flip side is "Sister Ann" by the Que Martyn Combo on #248. In December of 1952 Recorded In Hollywood re-releases Jesse Belvin's solo version of "Dream Girl", in response to the new version on Specialty by Jesse and Marvin Phillips as Jesse & Marvin. Another re-release is "Till I Waltz Again With You" the Red Callendar version of Theresa Brewer's pop hit, this time coupled with Scatman Crothers answer record of "Papa I Didn't Treat That Daughter Mean" (in answer to Ruth Brown) on #142.
In 1953 Recorded In Hollywood goes with a new numbering system beginning with #401 - Scatman Crothers recording of "Easy Money" / "Waiting For My Baby". Maurice Simon's Orchestra does "Big Apple Hop" and "I Don't Know Why" on #404, The Arist-O-Kats with Red Callendar perform "Amazon Beauty" / "I'll Be Home Again" on #406, Linda Hayes with Red Callendar's Sextet records "What's It To You Jack?" and "Atomic Blues" on #407, Peewee Crayton with Red Callendar record "Crying And Walking" and "Pappy"s Blues" on #408, and Mari Jones does "Drifting Blues" / "There Is No Greater Love" on #409.
Sax man Joe Houston records "Corn Bread And Cabbage" and "Jay's Boogie" on #423, Carol Kaye plays "A Good Man Is Hard To Find" and "You Can't Do The Boogie In School" on #424, and Johnny Moore and Mari Jones combine for #425 - "Keep Cool" and "Blues In My Heart". Peewee Crayton is back with #426 - "Baby Pat The Floor" and "I'm Your Prisoner".
With the end of 1953, Recorded In Hollywood becomes inactive as a recording label. In early February of 1954 Decca Records gains control of the Recorded In Hollywood label including all assets and the rights to 150 songs formerly belonging to John Dolphin, and enter a joint operation with Don Pierce, the owner of Hollywood Records and Starday, a Texas based Country and Western label. Some Recorded In Hollywood records are released during this change. #396 by The Hollywood Bluejays - "I Had A Love" / "Tell Me You're Mine" and the Mellowmoods (not the New York group) -"Song Of Love" on #399.
This was the end of the line for the uniquely named Recorded In Hollywood label. Not many big hits came their way, but a few ("Two Years Of Torture" and "The River", for sure) put the name of the company on the map so to speak, and the label gave a start to a lot of talented performers (Little Caesar, Percy Mayfield, Damita Jo, Peewee Crayton for instance). They were a presence in that bastion of R & B independent labels, Los Angeles, and for a time was one of the big time players. They were now gone but the story continues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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