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Oct 282014
 
Jimmy Bo Horne

Jimmy “Bo” Horne signs a superfan’s record backstage at Charlie Rodriguez TK Disco reunion concert in Hialeah at Milander Auditorium, 2013

Jimmy “Bo” Horne’s “Dance Across The Floor” is still regarded as one of the most danceable tracks of the entire disco era, and DJ’s around the world still play it to get the party people moving to this day. Just wanted to share this great photo pf Jimmy “Bo” backstage at a TK Disco reunion concert at Hiealeah’s Milander Auditorium. Hialeah is of course the great city where TK Disco was headquartered in a 20,000 square foot warehouse that share space with Henry Stone’s Tone Distribution company.

Oct 282014
 
henry stone

Henry Stone in a still from the documentary about his life and work.

Henry Stone’s TK Disco empire was a conglomeration of over 15 of his own record labels independently producing thousands of singles, EP’s, and LP’s that sold hundreds of millions of copies throughout the 1970′s.

But it may have never happened if not for a conversation he had with good friend Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records about the future of their companies.

See, Henry Stone’s bread and butter was working as a distributor, and it had been since 1948. Making records was a hobby that he loved. Here’s what Stone had to say about the birth of the biggest independent record label in the world (for it’s era), TK Productions, the world’s leading progenitor of disco, r&b, funk, and soul.

Henry says, “Jerry Wexler moved here to Florida, him and Tom Dowd. And they were recording out of Criteria with Eric Clapton and living down here.

So i used to go out to lunch with Jerry almost every day, we used to hang out and go out to lunch. So one day he says “I got some good news and some bad news.”

I say “Give me the bad news man, good news I can always handle.”

jerry wexler and aretha franklin

Jerry Wexler in the studio with Aretha Franklin, both friends of Henry Stone.

He says, “In about 6 months time….and you gotta keep this quiet, cause nobody knows, but….in 6 months time, Atlantic, Warner Bros, and Elektra are gonna form their own distributing company and pull away from all the independednt distributors.”

I said, “Changes, man.”

I did have a lot of labels, but I didn’t like the idea, cause I did a lot of businss with Atlantic and Warner Brothers, but I had a lot of labels, so it wasnt gonna cripple me as a distributor.

Then, along comes my next hit record, Timmy Thomas, with “Why Can’t We Live Together.”

I was on my way to New York to make a deal with Atlantic to put out “Why Cant We Live Together,” and as I’m on the plane I’m thinkin, “Why am I gonna give em’ this record and I’m not gonna distribute it? Thats not gonna make too much sense for Henry Stone yaknow.”

So I  said “Look, I’m gonna form my own record comapny, TK.” And I released “Why Can’t We Live Together” on TK and not Atlantic. And that was the big hit that really started it.”

Oct 242014
 

SolomonBurke_Label_b

Henry Stone was the biggest independent distributor in Florida from the vinyl to the CD age. So he knew the bosses of all the great early indie labels throughout history.

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Here’s what Henry had to say about New York City’s Apollo Records, who were not only responsible for early greats by Southern soul powerhouse Solomon Burke, but also Mahalia Jackson and The 5 Royales.

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“Apollo Records were one of the first independents out of New York City. I distributed them. It was one of the first r&b labels in the late 40s and 50s, and it was run by Bess Berman. Bess and Ike Berman.

bessbermanapollorecordssolomon-burke

They were married but she was the boss. I think they originally had, he just passed away too, oh god, big fat guy, and later on, if I can think of his name, later on, I know when I went to California, he ended up with a Limo service. I remember him calling me he said anytime you come to California Ill pick you up in my limo. He was a big R&B artist who ended up on Atlantic Records, but I think he started on Apollo. Solomon Burke. Yeah he was on Apollo Records originally, way back when they first started, then he ended up with some pretty big hits on Atlantic and ended up having a limo service in LA.”

Oct 222014
 

“Cosmic Funk” by the Mad Dog Fire Department is one of the distinguished few last records put out on the historic TK Disco label before it went bankrupt.

The distinct funky soul of the era that birthed it shines like the mirrors on a disco ball. But the track is just as at home as a backyard bbq in Miami with everybody dancing, ribs on the grill, cold drinks in a cooler, and purple smoke in the air.

It’s a track that Henry Stone picked up in a deal at the time with some other record heads and now appears on his “Twelve Inch Disco Classics from the 70s, Vol. 7,” which is full of deep and classic grooves you can’t find just anywhere.

Who were Mad Dog Fire Department? Well, it’s hard to say really. In 1979 they saw release on the Shield Records label, a TK subsidiary. Their track “Cosmic Funk,” sounds like what Martians might listen to in the Bahamas.

There is a distinct island groove in the choppy guitars, perfect syncopation, thumping bass lines, tribal calls, and use of repetition in the groove.

It is a distinctly futuristic sound even today.

Oct 222014
 


King Sporty, aka Noel Williams, is one of the greatest mostly unknown figures in Jamaican music history. As a cult figure in ska, dub, reggae, funk, soul, Miami bass, and electronic music, he does have an active and growing fan base, but he is not a household name by any means.

However, despite the lack of fame, he has been a vital force in shaping the country’s musical identity.

Rising from the streets of Kingston, where he was an early mobile ska soundsystem DJ, Sporty has scaled the heights of immortality as the co-writer of the Bob Marley hit “Buffalo Soldier,” which was written and composed in Henry STone’s TK studios in Hialeah.

Suffice it to say, Sporty’s biggest contributions will never be forgotten. But his lesser known cuts are just as excellent!

Some of these deep and funky dance grooves are available thanks to the relationship Sporty forged with Miami independent music pioneer Henry Stone. King Sporty moved to Miami and became closely acquainted with Stone, and his various record labels, and they made many deals for distribution and even recording.

One of the products of this amazing partnership is “Get On Down,” which was released by TK Disco in 1979.

Henry Stone had this to say about Sporty:
“Sporty was a Rastafarian who made some records for us on the Konduko label, he had his own little label. He’s been around quite a while. He was married to Betty Wright. He also was involved with Bob Marley, he brought Bob Marley into the studio sometimes, in fact that’s where he wrote “Buffalo Soldier” with Bob Marley. At the time they were doin’ it I thought it was a good idea, but nothin was nothin. Nothin is nothin until it happens. And Sporty, he’s down here still.”

So be sure to check out the Henry Stone Music release “Twelve Inch Disco Classics from the 70s, Vol. 7

Oct 182014
 


Henry Stone famously befriended James Brown in about 1955 in Macon, Georgia. Syd Nathan of King Records had called Stone up at his headquarters in Miami and told him to go up there and check out this hot song called “Please, Please, Please,” and to sign it for release on his DeLuxe label. Stone was of course beaten by one day by Ralph Bass who got the song on Federal Records. Stone and James Brown really hit it off though and that’s what he talks about in the video we have for you today. Here is Henry Stone being interviewed by Dick Gordon for his radio show, The Story.

Oct 182014
 
peter brown gold record

Detail of the Gold Record for Peter Brown’s “Do You Wanna Get Funky With Me”

Henry Stone will go down in history as the first to strike gold on a 12″ record. It’s a gimmick he came up with for the clubs and DJs that were springing up and looking for long and funky dance records with a ton of bass. Peter Brown’s “Do You Wanna Get Funky With Me?” matched all the criteria, and became a hit. The first 12″ dance record to sell over a million copies. Henry Stone kept this plaque up in his office to remind him of the achievement.

Oct 182014
 
deep city bts

Chad Tingle, Dennis Scholl, Art Nobo, Henry Stone, and Marlon Johnson

Did everybody get a chance to see the WLRN documentary on Deep City Records? Henry Stone was of course the force that came in after the label folded and took much of its talent to the heights of stardom. Willie Clarke, Betty Wright, Clarence Reid, and Little Beaver all came over to Stone’s operation and made the biggest moves of their careers. Anyway it’s a great movie about the first black owned label in the state of Florida and the adversity they overcame to become a major force in pioneering r&b soul music from the south. And of course, Henry Stone is a prominently featured character. Here’s a behind the scenes shot with the makers of the movie on the day they interviewed Henry at his Grove Isle headquarters in 2013.

Oct 162014
 
Henry STone WLRN

Joe, Nezzie, and Henry Stone at WLRN Studios in Downtown Miami

It’s not long ago that Henry Stone had a great interview on a nationally syndicated FM radio show called The Story with Dick Gordon. The guy has interviewed over 2,000 amazing people, and after 8 years, his show has come to an end. I just want all the fans and friends of Henry Stone to check out the great piece they produced on Henry. Click this link to have a look and listen.

Oct 072014
 
Flyboys Album Cover

Henry Stone Music presents Flyboys, “All About That Ass”

 

Everybody loves a big fat bouncing booty. Well, at least everyone who’s “All About That Ass” does. And that’s the newest song by Henry Stone Music’s own The Fly Boys.

These crazy guys have been making X-Rated song parodies since the 1980s, when they would sell them out of the trunk of their Fly Mobile outside of the Pac Jam in Liberty City every Saturday night.

Their filty and perverted music has garnered them a legend of diehard fans over the years, and now with their new single “All ABout That Ass,” a parody of Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” they’re ready to unload all their goodness on the world once again.

Have you heard the song? Here’ watch this video and check it out.

Our local newspaper, the Miami New Times even picked up on the story and interviewed the group’s lead singer Dino Fly all about how he ended up in Miami, what inspired this song, and why he loves making dirty music in the first place. Click here to read the interview.

The Fly Boys always made Henry Stone laugh and that’s why this new song and upcoming album with Blowfly, the filthmaster himself, is gonna make you come with anticipation.

Sep 232014
 

tk records reunion

Little Beaver, Jimmy Bo Horne, Timmy Thomas, Willie Clarke, and Henry Stone


little beaver willie hale

Willie “Little Beaver” Hale backstage at a TK Reunion concert in Hialeah, 2013

Have you bought the new Henry Stone’s Best of Little Beaver on iTunes yet? It’s a collection of great music by one of the world’s favorite guitarists.

Our local newspaper, the Miami New Times, recently caught up with Willie Hale aka Little Beaver to find out all about one of his most enduring songs, “Party Down,” a beautiful tribute to being young and carefree in the Miami, Florida in 1974.

It was a hit then, and it’s still a hit today. People all over the world still love and enjoy the feeling they get when they hear great music. And Little Beaver’s great music has stood the test of time. So do yourself a favor and check out his new album. If you’re an old fan, you’ll love it. And if it’s your first time hearing it, you’ll be a fan for life.

Little Beaver has inspired countless great musicians with his catchy rhythmic guitar lyrics and sinewy leads.

Now just click this link to read all about “Party Down.”

Jul 312014
 
Joe Stone Miami Bass

Joe Stone, in Henry Stone’s recording studio

Henry Stone Music’s own Joe Stone recently spoke to Miami New Times about his history with the Miami Bass style of music.

Joe was instrumental to the genre through his work with L’Trimm with “Cars That Go Boom,” and Guci Crew II with “Sally That Girl,” as well as many other hits that came out on various Henry Stone labels from that era.

Even today those songs have been sampled and resampled, appeared on movie soundtracks, and in commercials and still make up an essentiali portion of our catalog to this day.

Here’s the first couple of lines from the article and a link so that you can go to the newspaper’s website and check it out for yourself.

“Miami is the undisputed world heavyweight champion of bass, and the globe’s leading progenitor of trunk rattle, rear-view shake, and total body thump.

The genre is a direct descendent of Pretty Tony’s freestyle productions, and Henry Stone’s earlier indie R&B Pop. It’s the single hardest electronic boom in the universe, and we’re proud.

Joe Stone, son of kingpin Henry, helped bring that hard-knock Miami bass baby into the world. And alongside a talented bevvy of behind-the-scenes players from Orlando to the MIA, he was there turning knobs and flipping switches to drop the first extended 808 kick that set it all off.”

Click the linke to read the rest of the article on Miami New Times