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The Regent label was founded by Herman Lubinsky (the founder of Savoy Records) and located in Newark, New Jersey in late 1947. In mid 1949 the label went to a one thousand numbering system.
In January of 1950, Regent #1009 is released. It features Johnny Crawford with "Red Cap Shuffle" and "Sawbuck". In February Regent plans to issue their first 45 rpm records, which will be mostly non-R & B records from masters they have purchased from Sonora Records. According to Savoy-Regent president Herman Lubinsky, there is not yet any great demand for R & B 45s. Regent #1013 with Little Bunny Jackson with Johnny Crawford does another rendition of "Sawbuck" and "Frisco". The Lincoln Gospel Singers record #1015 - "Death Of A Child" and "Dark Trials". The Johnny Otis Quintet are featured on #1016 - "I'm Falling In Love With You" and "Cry Baby" with vocal by Mel Walker. Johnny Otis is also featured on the next release for the label, this time featuring singer Redd Lyte on "Little Red Hen" and "Going To See My Baby". In March, Lubinsky backtracks and decides to begin releasing R & B 45s for the label.
The recording of "Cry Baby" is selling well in New Orleans and other areas of the South. Mel Walker does a solo on #1018 - Helpless" and "Dreaming Blues". Felix Gross is featured on #1019 with "Who Can You Be" and "You're Great To Me", while tenor sax man Harold Land plays "I'll Remember April" and "San Diego Bounce" on #1020. Johnny Otis has the next two releases for Regent - #1021 - "Freight Train Boogie" and "Good Time Blues" with Redd Lyte on vocals, and #1022 - "Lonely Blues" and "Strange Woman" featuring Mel Walker. In November of 1950 Lee Magid joins the label in charge of A & R. Mary deLoach records the gospel tune "I'd Rather Ride On A Cloud With My Lord" on #1023. New vocalist Marilyn Scott is featured with the Johnny Otis band on #1025 singing "Uneasy Blues" and "Beer Bottle Boogie", which is followed by #1026 - The Four Barons record of "Got To Go Back Again" and "Lemon Squeezer". Johnny Otis records "Head Hunter" and "Cool And Easy" with a Redd Lyte vocal on #1028.
The year 1951 opens for Regent Records with the release of Tommy Brown's "Atlanta Boogie" and "The House Near The Railroad Tracks" on #1030. This is followed soon by "The Nearness Of You" and "Begin The Beguine" by George Benson's All Stars on #1032, and on #1036 by Johnny Otis with new blues singer Little Esther paired with Mel Walker with "I Dream" and "Hangover Blues". The Ben Smith Quartet with Tony Jenkins record "Dream" and "I Don't Want You In My Arms" on #1037, and Dan Grissom records "Like A Ship At Sea" and "I Can't Sleep" on #1038. The veteran quartet The Ray-O-Vacs records "Happy Am I" and "Hot Dog" for #1039. In October Allen Phillips is featured on "You're For Me" and "I Got It Bad" on Regent #1040, which is followed by The Falcons featuring Goldie Boots on "How Blind Can You Be" and "I Can't Tell You Now" on #1041. At the end of November, Lubinsky abruptly suspends operations of Regent Records to concentrate on the parent label Savoy.
In February of 1952, label president Herman Lubinsky announces the resumption of operations at Regent. He plans to use the label to try and make inroads in the pop music field while concentrating on the R & B music for Savoy. The pop releases for the label go nowhere - #190 - Kay Starr : "Honey" / "Don't Meddle In My Mood"; #191 - The Lightening Trio - "Annie Laurie" / "Taking A Chance On Love"; and #194 - The MarvelTones : "My Heart Is Yours" / "So It's Over". At the same time the label continues on the one thousand series in 1952. #1042 is gospel singer Mary deLoach and her recording of "The Lord's Gospel Train" and "New Gospel Street", on #1043 Brother Willie Easton with "I Want To Live" and "There'll Be No Grumbling Here", Gilbert Halliday with "At Last" and "These Foolish Things" on #1044 and The Dimples Harris Trio version of "Call Me Daddy" and "Chee-Bongo Blues".
Although Regent Records continues as an operating company, there is very little output on their label. The Savoy-Regent labels announce that they will distribute Dee Gee Records, a company founded by jazz great Dizzy Gillespie. Late in the year Fred Mendelsohn returns to the label but the growing popularity of R & B across the country makes the Savoy label the focus of attention. By 1956 Regent appears with a cocktail jazz trio led by Robert Banks on a record of "Moonlight Serenade" and "Sentimental Journey" on #7501. There are announced plans to begin an LP line for the label but nothing further of any substance is issued under the Regent line.
So this was the end of the line for Regent, a viable R & B label that existed in the shadow of its much more prolific and successful sister company Savoy. Because of the status of Savoy Records, Regent was less of a player in the spread of the music than perhaps it should have been but that is the history of the industry. Regent was part of that history and left behind a record of its output that can be a very rewarding experience for the interested listener.
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