Steve Alaimo Made an Album With James Brown and Gave B.B. King Money for Gambling

Alaimo and Stone

Steve Alaimo and Henry Stone in 2013 – ©Jake Katel

HSM: FIRST OFF, CONGRATULATIONS ON ALL OF YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND THANK YOU FOR ALL THE MUSIC YOU HAVE MADE SO FAR!
Steve Alaimo: Thank you.

HOW DID YOU BECOME A PARTNER IN A RECORD COMPANY WITH HENRY STONE?

We decided we were gonna form a record company when I stopped singing. That was Alston Records. See, Alaimo plus Stone equals Alston. That was the original, before T.K. Records. Betty Wright recorded on Alston. So did Clarence Reid, and Sam & Dave.


HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE EMPLOYED BY T.K.?

At least 30 or 40 people. I think that’s where all of Henry’s money went. If he had a buddy, he took care of him. There was one guy named Larry Maxwell. We must have invested $200,000 in his projects and they were worthless. He didn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground. But he had been a promotion guy for Atlantic Records so that’s how Henry knew him. He wanted to produce. He wanted to find singers and cut records. Henry would just give money to these people. He couldn’t refuse them. He didn’t give a shit about money. He loved music. That’s all he cared about was music. I care about music too. But I also like making money. I like living good. And when the dollars were rolling in we had a good time.

WHAT WAS THE PARTY SCENE LIKE?
Ridiculous. Ridiculous. There’s no example. It was all nuts. Party time. I was always into recording. I was too serious about making records for the foolishness. But I watched a lot of it happen. Henry knew how to party and have a good time, take his girlfriend to Europe for a week and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars. I tried coke but I was too scared of blowing my nose out. I watched people do that and ruin their career. I had too much ego to ruin my voice. I come from the beer generation. I was a little older. We drank beer till we got drunk.

 


WHAT’S A GOOD JAMES BROWN STORY?
James Brown? I made an album with James Brown. The Mashed Potatoes album. I was the artist and he gave me his band for the whole album, and he sang on it, and he played Hammond B3 organ on it. He was one of my closest friends. Good buddy.

WHAT MAKES A GOOD LOVE SONG?
Make somebody cry. I’ve done that lots of times. Sometimes you get somebody in the right mood, and then…I got a lot of cries when I was at the Copa Cabana in New York. 1969. The fans would get excited, and what I was saying to them, some people actually listen to the lyrics in songs.

DO YOU REMEMBER LENDING GEORGE GOLDNER FIFTY BUCKS AT THE TRACK AFTER HE LOST EVERYTHING?
Yeah, George Goldner. He lost all his money, borrowed my last fifty bucks, and made thousands of dollars on a trifecta. And I never got my fifty back. Unbelievable. He was lucky. I remember once in Vegas, he tapped out gambling again so I went to the craps table, won five hundred bucks and gave it to him and I never got my money back for that either. One time I lent King Curtis fifty bucks. He never paid me back. One time I loaned B.B. King fifty bucks in Lake Tahoe. He ran it up to a few hundred, got up and left.

WHAT WAS IT LIKE DOING BUSINESS WITH HENRY STONE?
It was great. He was one of my best friends. He was a tough guy, but he was a very sharp guy and very independent. You could depend on him. He was a real record man and he had a real ear for music. And it was great working with him.

©Jake Katel and Henry Stone Music USA Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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©HenryStoneMusic USA Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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