June 28, 2016

Blues and Rhythm Show 233 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, June 28th (1:00 to 2:30pm)

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In the late 1990s the Charly label issued three CDs devoted to “Rare Soul” on the One-derful!, M-Pac and Mar-V-Lus labels. These CD compilations made available much of the catalogues of an important African-American owned and operated company in Chicago between 1962 and 1967 on well-researched and documented compilations. More recently, in 2012, Charly distilled the three compilations, which had gone out of print, into one double-CD set with 30-odd fewer tracks and a few additions. We made use of the Charly collections and other scattered resources to play music  from One-derful!, M-Pac and Mar-V-Lus on the air. One could hope that another company might dig further into the label’s history and its tape archives to fill out the picture but it seemed unlikely that would happen in the current state of the record industry.

In fact, that is just what happened as the Secret Stash label of Minneapolis embarked on a reissue program documenting not just the three labels in the Charly series but the other labels operated by the Leaners–the Halo gospel label and the Midas and Toddlin’ Town labels, as well.  What distinguishes the new series, called the One-derful! Collection, is the depth of research and extensive liner notes, on the lines of the Stax singles boxes and Numero’s Syl Johnson box. The cooperation of the Leaner family and many of the musicians and singers associated with the company made it possible to fill out the details of the labels’ histories. It was known that there were unissued recordings in the vaults but access to the United Record Distribution warehouse and tape archives turned up previously unknown and undocumented recordings by the Leaners’ artists.

George and Ernie Leaner’s company specialized in the Chicago equivalent of Southern deep Soul but didn’t feature that style exclusively. Like other great independent labels, the company’s offices and studios provided a laboratory for experimentation and rehearsal and somewhere that some of the musicians chose to be day after day. It seems that the record company was well-funded. Ernie and George Leaner operated United Record Distribution for a decade before they ventured into record making. Producers had a relatively free hand to try out artists and musical ideas but George Leaner is supposed to have had a strong interest in blues and he received his own training in the business from Chicago’s blues record boss, Lester Melrose.

Our feature will  be based upon the One-derful!, M-Pac and Mar-V-Lus catalogues, including several of the previously unknown tracks turned up in the Secret Stash researches. Also on the program, contemporary, ’60s, blues and gospel.

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On the Show:

Lonnie Brooks – Sonny Boy Williamson II– Willie Mabon – Johnny Sayles – Cicero Blake – Ringleaders – Liz Lands – Josephine Taylor – Donald “Preacher” Gay – Otis Clay

Listen to the program at FM 93.3 in Hamilton or on CFMU online at cfmu.msumcmaster.ca. The program will be available to stream or download until July 26th.

Contact Us:

To reach us with comments or queries, write us at sweartotellthetruth@gmail.com.

You can also follow the program at sweartotellthetruth@nosignifying on Twitter.

Next week (July 5th)

Next week, we are off. The station will air a repeat.


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