THE SWING TIME STORY ©JCMarion 1999


Swing Time records was originally known as Down Beat, and was formed in Los Angeles in 1947 by Jack Lauderdale a Black record company entrepreneur originally from San Angelo,Texas. In October of 1949 the label changed its name to Swing Beat, and six months later became Swing Time Records.The label started out with a number of recordings by Lowell Fulson, blues singer and guitarist from Tulsa Oklahoma who also was known at various times as "Tulsa Red". Here is a listing of those early recordings from 1947.

110 - Crying Blues / You're Going To Miss Me

111 - Miss Katie Blues / Rambling Blues

112 - Fulson's Blues / San Francisco Blues

113 - The Fulson Boogie / Mean Woman Blues

114 - Trouble Blues / Wanna See My Baby

115 - Black Widow Spider / Don't Be So Evil

116 - Trying To Find My Baby / Highway 99

117 - Thinking Blues / Down Beat Shuffle

118 - Midnight Showers of Rain / So Long, So Long

119 - Wee Hours In The Morning / My Gal At Eight

120 - Bad Luck Blues / I'm Going Away

121 - The Blues Got Me Down

122 - I'm A Poor Boy / My babe

123 - Blues And Women / Sweet Johnny Lee

In 1948 the label began to expand its roster of performers. Lloyd Glenn pianist and arranger became the musical director for the label as well as doing A & R work for Swing Time.

131 - CS Jam / Household Troubles by Clarence Samuels

133 - Television Blues / Don't You Hear Me Calling You - Lowell Fulson

134 - Demon Woman / Tears At Sunrise - Lowell Fulson

135 - Blues And Misery / Jam That Boogie - Tulsa Red

149 - Deep Sea Diver / A.C. Boogie Blues - Clarence Samuels

In 1949, Oklahoman Jay McShann's recording of "Hot Biscuits" became the largest selling record for the label adding up to 250,000 in sales. MsShann was a blues and jazz pianist who was based in Kansas City and had a young Charlie Parker in his band at one time.

169 - "Rocket 88 Boogie" (parts one and two) by K.C. boogie woogie pianist Pete Johnson who was a long time partner of Joe Turner.

By late 1949, Lowell Fulson is still the most prolific artist on the label. His version of "Everyday I Have The Blues" is breaking out and becoming a major R & B hit. The flip side is "Rockin' After Midnight" on Swing Time #196. Franklin Kort recently at Exclusive Records is hired as general manager for the label in early 1950. Lowell Fulson records again on #197 - "Cold Hearted Woman" and "Mama Bring Your Clothes Back Home". Fulson follows with #201 - "Western Union Blues" / "Lazy Woman Blues"; #202 - a two part recording of "The River Blues" and #203 - Jimmy's Blues" and "Ain't Nobody's Business" with the Maxwell Davis band.

Lowell Fulson does great business on the west coast in which his combo features a new rising star on piano by the name of Ray Charles, who is recorded on #217 - "See See Rider" and "What Have I Done".

Ray Charles releases #218 - "She's On The Ball" and "Honey Honey". Lowell Fulson records "Blues Is Killing Me" and "Ever Feel Lucky?" on #220. Johnny Williams records "I Got Lucky" and "Let's Renew Our Love" on #225. #226 - "Blue Shadows" / "Low Society Blues" is recorded by Lowell Fulson, as is #227 - Back Home Blues" and "Mama Won't You Jump With Me", and his new pianist Ray Charles recorded #228 for the label - "Late In The Evening" and "The Ego Song".

In October of 1950 the label purchases 85 masters from the now defunct Exclusive Records including those by Charles Brown w Johnny Moore & The Three Blazers, and Mabel Scott.

Ray Charles records "Someday" and "I'll Do Anything But Work" on #229. Lowell Fulson is featured on #230 - "Country Boy" and "Come Back Baby". Lloyd Glenn recorded "Blues Hangover" and Travelling Time" on #234. Swing Time #237 pairs Lloyd Glenn's "Old Time Shuffle" with Lowell Fulson's "Sinner's Prayer".The next two releases by the label are from the Exclusive masters. #238 is "Merry Christmas Baby" / "Lost In The Night" by Charles Brown, and Mabel Scott's "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus" and "That Ain't The Way To Love" on #239.

Jesse Thomas sings with the Lloyd Glenn Combo on "Christmas Celebration" and "I Can't Stay Here" on #240, and on #241 - "Now's The Time" and "It's You I'm Thinking Of". Also on the label for the seasonal holiday is Lowell Fulson's "Lonesome Christmas (parts one and two)" on #242, and top notch blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon's "I Hate To See Christmas Come Around" and "Skidrow Blues" on #244. Fulson records the two part "I'm A Night Owl" on #243.

In February of 1951 Swing Time is set to release its very first 45rpm records - Johnny Moore's Three Blazers with vocals by Charles Brown "I'll Miss You" and New Orleans Blues" on #253 and a re-release of Lowell Fulson's #227 "Back Home Blues".

Blues singer and pianist Jimmy McCracklin signs with the label in March of 1950.

Ray Charles records "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now" and "All To Myself" on #249, and "Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand" and "Lonely Boy" on #250. In mid summer Paula Watson records "Nightmare Boogie" and "Pretty Papa Blues on #252. Performer and label executive Lloyd Glenn records "Chica-Boo" and "Jungletown Jubilee" on #254. Charles Brown records "Sunny Road" and "Be Fair With Me" for #259. The Swing Time record of "Chica-Boo" by Lloyd Glenn tops one half million in sales becoming the label's biggest seller ever. Jimmy McCracklin is featured on #260 - "Lookin' For A Woman" / "You Don't Love Me" The next release for the label is by Floyd Dixon with the Eddie Williams Trio and their recording of "Broken Hearted" and "Houston Jump" on #261. A new R & B performer is featured on the next Swing Time release. His name is Percy Mayfield and the song is "How Wrong Can A Good Man Be" on #262. Jimmy McCracklin returns on #264 with "True Blues" and "I'm Gonna Have My Fun".

Swing Time now plans to enter the gospel music field as they purchase masters from the Premium label by Sister Emily Brown and The Stars Of Harmony.

The Joe Pullum Trio records the two part "My Woman" on #267. Long time R & B singer Joe Turner takes his turn on the Swing Time label late in the year with release #269 "How You Want Your Rollin' Done" and "Christmas Date". Other December releases for Swing Time are #270 by Jimmy McCracklin - "Rockin' Man" and "I Am Tired", Lloyd Glenn's "Christmas Sleigh Ride" and "Savage Boy" on #271, and #272 - Lowell Fulson's "Why Can't You Cry For Me" and "Blues With A Feeling".

In January of 1952, Swing Time releases its first LP album called "All Time Favorites" by Lloyd Glenn and his combo. Ray Charles records #274 - "Kiss Me Baby" and "I'm Glad For Your Sake". Lloyd Glenn returns with #277 - "Jungle Twilight" and "Daybreak Stomp", and #278 - "Congo Rhumba" and "Cute-Tee". Charles Brown does "Changeable Woman Blues" and "Moonrise" on #276. Jimmy McCracklin & The Blues Blasters are featured on #285 - "That's Life" and "What's Your Phone Number?", and returns for "Blues For The People" and "I Found That Woman"on #286. Floyd Dixon records "You Need Me Now" / "Worries" on #287. "Best Wishes" is the latest from Lowell Fulson on #289. Lloyd Glenn & his combo record "Yancey Special" and "After Hours" on #292. Lowell Fulson's "Guitar Shuffle" on #295 and Lloyd Glenn returns with "Cuba Doll" and "Angora" for Swing Time #296. Ray Charles recorded "Baby Won't You Please Come Home" / "Hey Now" on #297.

Release #298 was a gospel offering by Sister Rock and Sister Foster - "I Need Jesus On My Journey" and "How I Got Over". A second gospel release is on #299 by The Rockineers - "He's My Rock" and "Let's Go Back To My Father's Praying Ground".

In July of the year Franklin Kort leaves Swing Time and moves to the Recorded In Hollywood label.

Ray Charles sings "Baby Let Me Hear You Call My Name" and "Guitar Blues" on #300. R & B pioneer Cecil Gant comes to Swing Time with #302 - "I'm Going To Cry" and "Baby I'm Losing You". New artist Felix Grosso records "Wake Up Baby" and "Sixty Eight Boogie" on #303. Little Son Willis records "Bad Luck And Trouble" and "Operator Blues" on #304; "Harlem Blues" and "I Love You Just The Same" for #305; and "Skin And Bones" and "Nothing But The Blues" for #306. Earl Brown waxes his first for the label with "Dust My Broom" and "Riffa Shuffle" on #307, while the label re-releases two tunes by Lowell Fulson on #308 - "Black Widow Blues" and "Midnight Showers Of Rain".

#309 pairs gospel performers Sister Foster and "I'm Sealed" with Rev. O.P. Smith and "What To Do When Trouble Comes".

Lloyd Glenn records the Earl Hines classic "Boogie Woogie On St. Louis Blues" and "Ugh" on #311. Buddy Lewis makes his label debut with "Lonesome Bedroom" and "You Got A Good Business" on #312. The next release is by house bandleader Maxwell Davis "Little White Lies" and "Don't Worry About Me" on #313. Jay McShann records "Mellow Drag" and "Jeronimo" for Swing Time #314. Lowell Fulson is back with "Goodbye Baby" and "Raggedy Daddy Blues" with Dell Graham on #315.

In October Ray Charles moves to Atlantic Records in New York and will soon become world famous after relative obscurity on Swing Time. Swing Time president Lauderdale activates a subsidiary label Flame, which signs obscure blues artists such as West Texas Slim and Buster Bronco.

New artist Rabon Toren records "Stormin' And Rainin' " and "Lonesome Dream" with the Charlie Whitfield Combo on release #316. On #317 is Al Prince with "Don't Love A Married Woman" and "Wine Talk". Little Willie Cotton records "A Dream" and "Gonna Shake It Up And Go" on #318.

Brother Green and The Southern Sons are featured on a gospel release #319 with "What Manner Of Man Is This" and "I'll Make It Somehow". Lowell Fulson returns with "Christmas Party Shuffle" and "Ride Till The Sun Goes Down" on #320. Jazz great Dexter Gordon weaves some tenor magic on #321 - "The Rubyiat" and "Jingle Jangle Jump".

In early January of 1953, the first release of the year is #322 by The Emanon Trio - "Mr. Johnnie Donn Is Dead" and "My Man Is Gone" with vocal by Geneva Vallier. Dexter Gordon is back on #323 - "Citizen Bop" and "My Kind Of Love" The label's top seller Lloyd Glenn records "It Moves Me" / "Night Time" on #324. Lowell Fulson records "Let Me Ride Your Little Automobile" and "Upstairs" on #325 A Ray Charles release from his last session for Swing Time is #326 - "The Snow Is Falling" and "Misery Is In My Heart". Blinky Allen perfprms "Take Me Back" and "My Baby Loves Me" on #327. The Emanon Trio returns with "E-E-E-zy" and "Emanon Blues" on #328. #329 features Fletcher Smith on "Brand New Neighborhood" and "Mean Poor Gal". Lowell Fulson records "The Blues Come Rollin' In" and "I Love My Baby" on #330.

In August of 1953 label president Jack Lauderdale makes a rather strange decision to move the main offices of Swing Time Records from its home in Los Angeles where it has been since 1946 to the city of Chicago. The reason given is that Lauderdale believes that the center of R & B music will shift away from L.A. to the midwestern city.

Release #331 is by The Muskateers - "Deep In My Heart" and "Love You Till My Dying Day".

Near the end of the year Lowell Fulson ends a prolific seven year stay with Swing Time and moves across town to Aladdin Records. Within days Lloyd Glenn follows suit. This most ominous event costs the label its two most successful star recording artists, and talk is that the label's days are numbered. However the label releases a few more sides.

#341 is by Little Son Willis - "Roll Me Over Slow" and "Baby Come Back Home". The Hollywood Flames record "Let's Talk It Over" and "I Know" on #345 in February. #346 features The Question Marks and a cover of The Violinaires "Another Soldier Gone".

In September some Swing Time masters are sold to the Lucky label owned by John Dolphin. One month later the Swing Time Christmas masters are sold to Hollywood records owned by Don Pierce. The end of the line for Swing Time comes right after New Years Day of 1955 when Don Pierce acquires the label, its masters, and its assets.

Swing Time Records made its mark as an early West Coast independent label, where the R & B indies were started and it could be said became the place where R & B was born. The fact that a Black record company executive running an independent entity could keep the music coming forth for seven years is a testament to the character and judgement of Jack Lauderdale. Some big names made Swing Time their home for a while, Lowell Fulson, Lloyd Glenn, and Ray Charles come to mind, but it was the lesser known performers gave the label its appeal and place in history. Swing Time and Lauderdale were neccessary ingredients in the revolution that has changed the music forever.

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