“Mashed Potatoes” by Nat Kendrich and The Swans in Cash Box Magazine, 1960

In 1959, Henry Stone recorded James Brown and his band performing a number called the “Mashed Potatoes.”

At the time, James Brown was on contract with Syd Nathan of King Records, so Stone had WMBM radio DJ King Coleman cut the lead vocals, and kept James way back in the mix. The song was pressed up on Dade Records under a pseudonymous band name and released in 1960.

The work is credited to Nat Kendrick and The Swans. Nat Kendrick was James Brown’s drummer at the time. In the Cash Box magazine ad seen above, the spelling is Nat Kendrich, a fitting nomenclature given the track’s rapid rise to the top of the national R&B charts promoted by Billboard, Cash Box, and Record World, the three major trades of the era.

Listed also is the warehouse address for Henry Stone’s distribution operation. When he first moved to Florida, he set up shop near downtown Miami. After that, he moved to what is now Little Havana. Next, he moved to what is now Little Haiti; 4204 NW 2nd Ave, eight blocks from Wynwood. From there, he built and built and built his distribution business until he had to buy a city block in Hialeah to house all his lines of independent records. “The Mashed Potatoes” helped him do it.

The record sold over a million in the U.S. and did well in overseas markets like the UK, France, and Canada. Like Henry Stone always said, “Distribution is everything.”

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