Henry Stone

Apr 282016


According to American radio pioneer Jack The Rapper, Miami’s own Milton “Butterball” Smith was one of America’s 13 Original Black DJ’s.

The first South Florida station that Smith worked for was WFEC. His name there was “Fat Daddy,” a moniker he left behind when he was hired by rival station WMBM.

Competition made for great radio and WFEC was invested in knocking out their adversaries with programming the likes of which Miami and Ft Lauderdale had never seen before.

Check out the above 1953 clipping from the Miami Times newspaper where WFEC took out a full page ad to welcome their newest DJ Jockey Jack and also proclaim their being the “First and only all negro program station in Miami.”

This brings up an interesting point. If you look at old radio schedules for stations that offered gospel and r&b programming (like WMBM), they also had shows as diverse as Hungarian Church Service and Schacter’s Y’dish Hour (sic. Yiddish) .



Going to a format where the only target demographic was African-American and Afro-Carribbean was a bold move. And it took a vibrant staff of personalities and shows like Rocky Groce with “The Ebony Express,” Joe Walker and Leona Everett with “Glory Road,” newspaper man Elliot J Pieze with “Local News,” Charles North with “Man On The Street,” and r&b swinger Jockey Jack.

The station had a broadcast studio at 350 NE 71st St not far from Liberty City.

Henry Stone knew all of these DJ’s personally. He cultivated them as ambassadors for the records he sold to jukebox operators, whose routes went through whorehouses, juke joints, saloons, and restaurants from Key West to Pensacola.

Here’s what Stone had to say, “I controlled the radio down here completely man, black radio. I built relationships with Butterball, Ed Cook, and Jockey Jack and all those guys. Give em like $50 or $100 a record. You gotta spend a buck to make a buck. You can’t have it all.”


News clips ©MiamiTimes.

Text ©Jake Katel and HenryStoneMusic Inc. All Rights Reserved


Apr 252016
rizen and goldner

Big radio man Steve Rizen presented with gold plaque by George Goldner. Photo via Jeff Roteman’s KQV Page

“I was really really tight with George Goldner. In fact, George came in before Morris Levy; before End Records. Back when I first started in the distributing business here in Florida circa 1948, George came in to see me from Cuba one day.

He was looking for distribution.

He used to go to Cuba a lot. He did a lot of Cuban music. A lot of Latino music, really. Bg influence, but at the time it didn’t really sell much. He had a label I distributed here in Florida called  Tico Records.

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Apr 182016

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The ruthless force of creativity who helped found Bebop, fought John Lennon, and always got paid is back in the news!

Morris Levy, the greatest gangster in the history of the record business, is finally getting his just recognition in Godfather of the Music Business: Morris Levy (American Made Music Series), a new biography by Richard Carlin for the University Press of Mississippi, a highly regarded publisher with full academic distribution.

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Apr 152016

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Henry Stone’s brain was sharper than a French guillotine. Even at the age of 91, he could go back 65 years in his mind’s eye and recall detailed minutiae from the hit records of January 15th, 1949. During one interview in 2011 I pulled out an ad for a tiny shop called The Record Box that featured the hottest records and I went through the list with Stone to see what he had to say. The results were impressively accurate and historically significant. Take a look at the original document and his traqnscribed answers. And enjoy this Flashback Friday special!

JakeKatel: I got the list from January 15th, 1949 of the hit records for that week. Can you tell me if you had anything to do with em?

HenryStone: Sure! Fire away.

Billy Eckstine?
Yeah Billy Eckstine on National Records

Ivory Joe Hunter?
Yeah he was on King

Roy Brown?
Yeah, on DeLuxe

A Little Bird Told Me – Paula Watson?
Yeah I distributed that record

Pettin’ and Pokin’?
No that was on Decca, I didnt distribute that

Texas Hop – Peewee Crayton?
Nah he was on Modern Records

Billy Eckstine – My Silent Love?
Yeah he was on National

Begin the Began – Count Red Hastings?
Nah I dont know that record

For You – Lee Richardson?
Yeah, I know that record

Snuff Dippin Momma – Johnny Moore?
That was on Modern Records

Always – The Ravens?
That was on Jubilee Records

Rosetta Tharpe?
That was on Decca, she was a spiritual singer



©HenryStoneMusic Inc. and Jake Katel. All Rights Reserved

Apr 122016

(L to R) Willie Hale, Timmy Thomas, Willie Clarke, and Henry Stone – 2013 – Jake Katel

“I’ve been on a lot of sessions, man. Even ones you might not know about. I did the guitar part on Gwen McCrae’s “Rockin’ Chair.” And I wrote the bass line for Latimore’s “Let’s Straighten It Out.”

Latimore has always been mean on the keys. He played them on my song “Party Down.” And George “Chocolate” Perry had the bass kicking on that one. In fact, Choco did the whole album with me except for one song, and that was with Jaco Pastorius.

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Apr 052016
Alaimo and Stone

Steve Alaimo and Henry Stone in 2013 – Jake Katel

“When Steve Alaimo came back to Miami to join me in the record business he was working as a singer at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. He was just coming off hosting a nationally broadcast tv show called Where The Action Is.

He had a song on the charts called “Everyday I Have To Cry.”

He worked the Copa Cabana in New York City doing a whole nightclub act. He was a fantastic act, getting stronger and stronger.

One day I get a call from him and he says, “Henry. I wanna come back to Miami and be with you in the record business.”

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