Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bill Kent and the Country Playboys

Bill Kent and the Country Playboys
Winchester 1001

19057 – I've Been Jumping Your Fence
19058 - Quicksand

Country on a Winchester, Virginia label owned by Jim McCoy.
In the early sixites, Jim McCoy teamed up with Jean Alford, a Virginia singer-songwriter, and launched Alear Records. The third Alear release, "It's a Big Old Heartache" by Teenie Chenault of Richmond, looked like it would be the big payoff for their efforts. As the song gathered airplay, record distributors began calling, and they rushed to ship out more copies. Unfortunately, they were never paid for most of those records, Jim says.

By the late 1960's, the McCoy-Alford partnership became strained, and Jim started his own Winchester Records,

A string of regional performers trooped through his studio at 314 Lanny Drive. Aside from recordings by Jim McCoy and Jean Alford themselves, the Alear and Winchester catalogues included material by country singers Mel McQuain and Frank Darlington, both of Martinsburg; gospel music performer Kenny Johnson of Hedgesville; and the fairly well-known Carroll County Ramblers from nearby Maryland. The majority of the singers they recorded were country artists, but there were also releases by The Lone Star - a folk-rock singer from Romney whose real name was John Mark Hott - and by The Smacks - a Winchester rock group. Most of the records were 45 rpm, but there were also a few album releases.

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