Thursday, February 16, 2012

G. Self on Acme

G. Self

CP-1245 ~ Roll On, Big Mama
CP-1246 ~ Crying Over You

Acme Records 1290

Both sides written by J.T. Kerr

"Just who was G. Self? Nothing is mentioned about him on the Web." wrote the Self Seekers, in their The Self Family Association Quarterly Online Newsletter Supplement (whew!) in 2002.

Same, ten years later.

This quite rare record is currently auctioned at ebay (label pictures above are borrowed from the auction). As I write, the highest bid is US$ 635.00; and three days left...

This recording was probably financed by J.T. Kerr who wrote both sides. This is perhaps the J.T. Kerr of Rockford, Tennessee, who died last year (age 81). If so, J.T. was then 27..

J.T. Kerr won more than 200 races on dirt and asphalt surfaces across the Southeast despite a racing career that started at age 38. After serving in the US Navy for 7 years he drove a truck for a local dairy and later worked as a machinist at Rockford Manufacturing plant. He also worked part-time as a mechanic. His mechanic work was so rewarding that he bought some land in 1964 and opened an auto salvage business called Kerr Auto Parts.
Obit 1, obit 2

Billboard ad, July 2, 1949


A moving label

Most of recordings on the Acme label were either never officially released or were distributed poorly. The label, owned by the Reverend Clifford Spurlock, "sometime preacher and borderline con man", recorded quartet music, hillbilly and sacred music. Artists were never paid. On the contrary, most were quite happy to pay for their records. The most Acme recorded act, The Carter Family, didn't pay for their recordings, but never received any royalties from the preacher Spurlock.

A.P. Carter tried one last time to get the Carter Family together and managed to get Sara to Bristol in 1952 to cut records for the Clifford Spurlock’s bargain label Acme. ...In 1957 A.P Joe and Janette put out their last round of records for Acme. In total they recorded almost 100 tracks for Acme Records. These included a 1956 recording made with Mrs. Jimmie Rodgers, which consisted of talk and a version of "In The Sweet Bye And Bye".

"Acme Broadcasting Co." is the earliest mention I've found of a business owned by the Reverend. The year was 1947 and the place was Elizabethtown, KY. Myrtle Spurlock Fuchs was the vice-president of the company and Ernest Fuchs, contractor and real estate interests, secretary-treasurer.

In 1949, ads shows Spurlock as president of the Acme Record and Radio Corporation in Columbia, Ky.

In July of 1950, Acme Recording Studios "now under original ownership and management" in Christine, KY.

In 1951-52, Campbellsville, KY is home of Acme Records Inc.

From August and December of 1952, we found Jim Stanton, "chief new amalgamated Acme and Rich-R-Tone records". No mention of Spurlock.

In 1957,Ed Romaniuk and Sister Elsie Pysar's EP bears a Greenville, TN P.O. Box.

In 1957/1958, one release has a Bright Shade, KY address.

From 1958 to 1962, Acme Enterprises is a lasting Manchester (Kentucky) address (located at 139 Bridge St.. as is Janet Records. Owner is Zeke Clements (1911-1994). Zeke's next business will be the prolific custom/vanity label Gold Standard in Nashville.

Steve Keith is also described as the owner of Acme Records. Hugh Watkins is promotion man with Acme Records and personal manager of Jay Fanning, a much promoted artist who had 6 releases on the Acme label in 1960-1961.

In the early sixties, few attempts to record "saleable" artists were made : Everybody was twistin' with The Pacesetters, while The Torques implored "Take Me With You". And Paducah native Jerry Crutchfield produced the Galaxies. And then that was the end of Acme Records.

The original owner, the good Reverend, was probably already gone elsewhere when the label folded. He and Mrs spurlock were seen in Cedar Falls, Iowa in 1962 and later in South Dakota where they spent 17 years in the service of God.

Acme Records discographies :

Numerous Acme records are in the collection of the Wilson Library (193 titles listed)

<--- Rev. Clifford Spurlock

Died in Jamestown, KY, in January of 2004.

Whatever his sins, he will be forgiven

(because of the G. Self record indeed)



  1. Wish I could have found a copy of this while I was still living in ky

  2. I second the nice write up comment. Maybe the same G Self here ....
    Probably not, but who knows?

  3. Unless there is some proof I am unaware of, Zeke Clements never owned Acme or Janet Records. Rev. Clifford Spurlock signed a partnership agreement with Steve Keith for Acme records February 2, 1958. I have the original contract. Janet was started the next year by Steve as the sole owner. The label was named after his daughter. Steve operated both labels until their end. The last release I'm aware of was in 1962, but I have documents dated into 1963.

    Hugh Watkins did some of everything with the labels, including engineer, artists relations, promotions, etc. He was responsible for getting nearly all of the singers and musicians to record for Acme and Janet in the later years.

    1. Acme Enterprises, Manchester, owned by Zeke Clements : source is A History and Encyclopedia of Country, Western, and Gospel Music, Linnell Gentry, 2nd edition (1969), Zeke Clements biography.