Wow! Tyrone Davis, the Program Director for the American Blues Network loved the new “Latimore Remembers Ray Charles” album so much that he cut a review for the 40 radio stations he programs about how great it is.
To quote Tyrone, “Almost nobody could do a whole album of Ray Charles songs. Maybe Frank Sinatra, but he’s dead. Latimore’s voice is excellent, and for people who love excellent music, you will love this new Latimore.”
Ask any real soul connoisseur who their favorite group is and Sam & Dave will likely be in their top 5. Likewise, ask anybody age 5 to 95 if they’ve ever heard the song “Hold On, I’m Comin’,” or “Soul Man,” and they’ll probably sing you the words.
That’s because Sam & Dave are one of the most successful pop duos in the history of recorded music. From 1964-70 they ruled the Hot 100 with 13 straight appearances and two top 10 singles.
But most people don’t know that the group hails from Miami and were discovered by, and first recorded for Henry Stone and Steve Alaimo.
There was a little club in the heart of the Liberty City projects called the King Of Hearts owned by one John Lomelo. In later years he would become ‘mayor for life’ of the small burg of Sunrise, FL before eventually being indicted for corruption and then being re-elected.
Steve Alaimo used to work the club sometimes as a singer, and Henry used to hang out there a couple nights a week. “John Lomelo was a great guy. I used to love that place,” says Stone.
Sam & Dave were on the talent show circuit of the era, and were known for an explosive live performance that brought the church-feel to the nightclub, and through a combination of powerful singing, dance moves, and on-stage chemistry, they would turn the club out every time they hit the stage.
Alaimo produced and Stone released a few sides on his Marlin and Alston labels. Then he leased a couple of em’ to Roulette Records produced by Henry Glover. They sold what they sold, which wasn’t much, but the group’s talent would not be denied.
One night Henry Stone took Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records to watch them play at King Of Hearts and he was blown away. Soon Sam and Dave signed a recording contract with Atlantic.
Wexler asked Stone what he thought of his recording them through STAX, and Stone suggested he have a couple of young producers he’d been keeping tabs on produce the records. So Isaac Hayes and David Porter took on the project, had Booker T & The MGs back the group, and the rest is history.
James Brown talks to Larry King about his friendship with Henry Stone.
Larry King Interviews James Brown about Henry Stone
Henry Stone and James Brown through the years:
Me and James Brown were great friends since about 1954. At the time I was working with Syd Nathan of King Records on a label we had a 50-50% deal on called DeLuxe Records. I was working a record called “Hearts Of Stone” by Otis Williams and The Charms that would go on to be the first million selling r&b record to cross over into the pop charts. Anyway, I was sitting in my office in Miami when I got a call from Syd. He said, “Henry, there’s guy in Macon, Georgia by the name of James Brown whos got a hot acetate for this song “Please, Please, Please.” I want you to get your ass up there as fast as you can and sign him to DeLuxe.”
So right away I hopped in my little blue Buick and drove up the coast of Florida as fast as I could. Meanwhile, Syd had made a very similar phone call to his A&R for Federal Records, the legendary Ralph Bass. Well Ralph was just one state over from Georgia at the time, so he ended up beating me to Macon by a day. He offered James a recording contract, and he took it and signed to Federal Records.
Early photo of James Brown and Henry Stone c. 1968
So, I got there a day later and met the guy, and ya know what, we really hit it off. I listened to his song and I said “Man this is a hit. I’m gonna take it on the road with me while I’m promoting Hearts Of Stone and give it some DJs I know.” He was real cool and appreciative, and of course his King recordings really started to take off.
James Brown hanging out in Henry Stone’s office.
When I got back to Miami I had a conversation with my buddy Ernie Busker who ran a concert hall called the Million Dollar Palms of Hallandale. It was just barely north of Miami, a nice big outdoorish venue with a huge long bar off a dirt road almost in the middle of nowhere like. Ernie used to throw these huge dances with all the big R&B acts of the time from Wynonie Harris to Willis “Gator Tail” Jackson. ANyway, he asked me if I had a lead on any new talent and I told him all about James Brown. He booked him for a weekend of gigs and made a lot of money. He asked me about booking him again so I said “Listen, Ernie, this kid is gonna be a big star, you saw how he performed out there. You better give him a couple thousand bucks now so you can get him back later.” He agreed, and I took James Brown a nice big wad of cash, and James Brown had a great memory. He never forgot that.
James Brown and Henry Stone out on the town.
We were really tight throughout the years and he wouldn’t sign a contract or put out an album without letting me read every word and hear every song first. When Poygram wanted to sign him, I told them they had to give him a private jet. And they did! All through my TK years he used to call me all the time, and come down to Miami to hang out every few weeks.
We also had a record label together called BrownStone.
James Brown was great friend and I still miss our conversations to this day. I can picture it so perfectly in my mind, sending young KC to M&M Liquors any time James came through, and drinking Cognac with him in the bar I had in my office at TK Records.
This just in from Vernon Campbell
KTLR AM 890, Oklahoma City, OK: Praise for “Latimore Remembers Ray Charles”
Hallelujah It’s time for the evening services to begin with a lot of screaming and shouting “Hallelujah” as we begin on Latimore’s hot new release of “Latimore Remembers Ray Charles.”
I’ll be bragging to the world “I Got A Woman” that will be joining me in evening service on Vernon Campbell “Blues Hall Of Fame” on KTLR AM 890 right here in Oklahoma City.
It feels so good and inspirational to sing along with Latimore on “Georgia On My Mind.” I believe I’ll gas up the old car and swing by Henry Stone’s house and pick up Henry & Joe to come and “Hit The Road, Jack” with me. My heart is full with gladness that I want to “Unchain My Heart” with the release of this hot new CD of “Latimore Remembers Ray Charles.”
It has me “Drowning In My On Tears” that the phones are lightning the Oklahoma City skies up and saying to all our listeners “What I Say” “It’s Cryin’ Time” if you don’t call in your request from this new hot CD “Latimore Remembers Ray Charles.” All I can say about this new CD is “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” Remember, this new CD will begin a new rapture of shouting “Hallelujah” to the world.
I will close and sing along with Latimore because I’ve got a taste of the “St. Pete Florida Blues.” I thank God for Mr. & Mrs. Henry Stone & Joe Stone because they saw the vision to make this historical master piece a reality “Latimore Remembers Ray Charles“.
Vernon Campbell Vet Air Personality/MD One Accord Broadcasting Corp/KTLR AM 890 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Last week I got a call from Carol, a producer for “The Story, With Dick Gordon,” a really great nationwide public radio show that wanted to interview me for a segment on The Miami Sound.
So today, I drove up to the WLRN studio in Downtown Miami and got on the ISDN line with Dick Gordon in North Carolina for the interview.
Wow, he really did his research. We talked about my early days as a trumpet player in the first integrated army band at Camp Kilmer in New Jersey. We talked about my moving to California after the war, how I worked with a 17 year old Mel Torme at the studio of Ben Pollock, how I ended up with the Bihari Brothers at Modern Records, and my early distribution efforts (nationwide) with the train porters.
We talked about my Tone Distributing, growing with Atlantic, hitting the road with Leonard Chess, and a few big hits I had like “Cleanup Woman,” “Funky Nassau,” “Rockin’ Chair,” and of course the first ever worldwide disco hit “Rock Your Baby” with George McCrae.
All in all, it was a great story, and I can’t wait to hear it on the radio, playing to over 125 FM stations around the U.S. (and a couple of AM stations too). And I can’t wait for you to hear it too. I will make sure and let you know when it’s out.
On February 19th, TK Records Greats Came Together at the Legendary Audiovision Studios to Film for the Upcoming Henry Stone Documentary
The gathering of some of the greatest artists in history was captured by Jake Katel of the Miami Miami New Times. Many of the greats were in attendance, including George McCrae, Timmy Thomas, Latimore, Little Beaver, Chocolate Perry, Clarence Reid, Willy Clarke, Steve Alaimo, Joe Stone, and of course, the man himself, Henry Stone. The award-winning director of the film, Mark Moormann, was there with the whole Beacon Films crew.
Hello People in my World. I want to make your day even better. I’m going to write more later but I just want to tell you about my new video, Latimore and his sex kittens. Check it out on youtube or henrystonemusic.com the track is Cat Got My Tongue from the CD Ladies Choice. It’s great if you like it. I do. Latimore still has it….