Ewart Abner and Abner and Constellation Records©2005JCMarion


Ewart Abner was a recording company executive that had a hand in the sound of American pop music in the late fifties and early sixties.Abner was born in May of 1923 in the ciy of Chicago. He attended Howard University in Washington D.C. for a time, and also DePaul in his home city. He achieved an accounting degree in the late forties and soon went to work for Chicago based recording industry executive Art Sheridan. Abner soon was part of the operation of Sheridan's record label Chance Records until its demise in 1954. At that time he moved to Vee-Jay Records located in nearby Gary, Indiana. Under his leadership Vee-Jay produced hit records for Dee Clark, Jimmy Reed, Betty Everett, Gene Chandler, El Dorados, and also early hits by The Four Seasons and also introduced America to The Beatles with their first singles in the United States. That was quite an impressive track record for Ewart. As a tribute to his work the owners of Vee-Jay began a new label which was originally called Falcon Records. But it was learned that there was already a recording company located ihn Texas with that name and so they renamed the new label Abner Records.

Ewart had some success on the new label especially with recordings by Jerry Butler and Dee Clark. After a falling out with the management of Vee-Jay Records, Abner went on to found a new label called Constellation Records. Following is a selected discography of the Abner and Constellation labels.

Abner Records

1002 – Delegates – Gloria / Kangaroo Hop
1004 – Priscilla Bowman – A Spare Man / Yes I’m Glad
1006 – Falcons – My Only Love / Now That It’s Over
1013 – Impressions – Your Prescious Love / Sweet Was The Wine (also on Vee-Jay #280)
1014 – Al Smith – Wabash Blues / Left Field
1016 – Orioles – Sugar Girl / Didn’t I Say
1017 – Impressions – Come Back My Love / Love Me
1018 – Priscilla Bowman – I Ain’t Giving Up Nothing / A Rockin Good Way
1019 – Dee Clark – Nobody But You / When I Call On You (with Anita Kerr Singers)
1020 – Dells – Get Up And Go / One Two Cha Cha Cha
1023 – Impressions – Gift Of Love / At The County Fair
1024 – Jerry Butler – Lost / One By One
1025 – Impressions – Lonely One / Senorita I Love You
1026 – Dee Clark - Just Keep It Up / Whispering Grass (with Anita Kerr Singers)
1028 – Jerry Butler – Rainbow Valley / Hold Me Darling
1029 – Dee Clark – Hey Little Girl / If It Wasn’t For You
1030 – Jerry Butler – I Was Wrong / I Couldn’t Go To Sleep
1032 – Dee Clark – How About That / Blues Get Off My Shoulder ('A' side written by Doris Troy)
1034 – Impressions – Say That You Love Me / A New Love
1035 – Jerry Butler – Lonely Soldier / I Found A New Love
1036 – Gene Allison – Why Do You Treat Me So Good
1037 – Dee Clark – At My Front Door / Ching-A-Ling

Constellation Records - Through 1963

101 – Frankie Ford – Ocean Full Of Tears / Chinatown
102 – Huey Smith & The Clowns – He’s Back Again / Quiet As It’s Kept
103 – Bobby Miller – The Big Question / I Don’t Believe You
104 – Gene Chandler – From Day To Day / It’s No Good For Me
105 – The Freedoms – Ten Steps To Love / You Lied 
106 – Sonny Holiday – School Days / Baby Baby
107 – Shirley & The Squires – Drip Drop / I’m In A Need
108 – Dee Clark – Crossfire Time / I’m Going Home
109 – Will Mercer – Penny Candy / Willowy Billowy Land
110 – Gene Chandler – Pretty Little Girl / A Little Like Lovin’
111 – Bobby Miller – The Big Question / Uncle Willie Time
112 – Gene Chandler – Think Nothing About It / Wish You Were Here
113 – Dee Clark – That’s My Girl / It’s Raining
114 – Gene Chandler – Soul Hootenanny Part 1 / Part 2
115 – Lee Dorsey – Organ Grinder’s Swing / I Gotta Find A New Love
116 – Bobby Miller – Whoa (She’s All Mine) / Take It In Stride
118 – The Livers – Beatle Time / This Is The Night
120 – Dee Clark – Come Closer / That’s My Girl
121 – Carol Vega – Sugar Over You / I Need You Around
122 – Wilbert Harrison – Mama Mama Mama / New York World’s Fair
123 – The Sheppards – Island Of Love / Give A Hug To Me
124 – Gene Chandler – A Song Called Soul / You Left Me
125 – Dan Marklee – Candy Lips / You Left Me
126 – Mike Tomasetti – She’s The One / Marlene
127 – Bobby Miller – This Is My Dance / Simon Says
128 – The Castaways & Tony Rivers – I Love You / I Love The Way You Walk
129 – Sammy Jones & The Devilles – Making Tracks / Words Don’t Come My Way
130 – Gene Chandler – Just Be True / A Song Called Soul (biggest seller for the label)
131 – The Impellas – Sea Of Love / No More Tears
132 – Dee Clark – Warm Summer Breeze / Heartbreak
133 – Rolls Royce & The Wheels – The Frog / Topless
134 – Bobby Miller – I’m For The Girls / Love Take The Case
135 – Lee Dorsey – You’re Breaking Me Up / Messed Around And Fell In Love
136 – Gene Chandler – Bless Our Love / London Town
138 – The Mystics – She’s Got Everything / Just A Loser
140 – Sandra Lynn – Sometime / Where Would I Be
141 – Gene Chandler – If You Can’t Be True / What Now

In late 1965 Abner reunited with the Brackens (the owners of the Vee-Jay label) but the business realities saw the demise of both Vee-Jay and Constellation labels in 1966. In 1967 Abner moved over to Detroit's Motown Records label. At Motown Abner began a thirty year association with that company. By 1973 Abner became president of the Motown label, and in the ensuing years held a number of executive posts within the organization then based in Los Angeles. He was also involved in efforts to preserve the history of African Americans in the Black Museum Association and as vice chairman of the Motown Historical Museum back in Detroit. Ewart Abner passed away in December of 1997.

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