Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Bob Strack / Vern Kenyon (Cowtown LP 205)

Bob Strack / Vern Kenyon

Cowtown Records
CLP #205
P.O.Box 192, Avery, Texas


Side 1 – CP-3903
Vocal by Bob Strack

1. Welcome Elvis (J.W. Stephenson-H.Conley) Tronic Music -BMI
2. Panorama Drive (Lou Bridges) Blue Ribbon Music Co. ASCAP
3. Danny (C.Zumwatt) Faye Music-BMI
4. 63rd Street Has The Chicks (J.J. Felder) Stephenson Music 
5. There Must Be A Way (J.W. Evans-J.W.Stephenson) Tronic-BMI
6. Come All Ye Kin Folks (W.W.Lundgren) Blue Ribbon Music Co. ASCAP
7. Home Is Two Loving Arms (N.E. Ahmdeo-J.W.Stephenson) Golden State BMI
8. Never Before (Val McDonald) Blue Ribbon Music Co. ASCAP
9. Play It Square (E.M. Sutton) Blue Ribbon Music Co. ASCAP
10. Won't You Talk To Your Heart (W.W. Lundgren) Blue Ribbon Music ASCAP
11. When The Singing Hit The Ceiling (J.H. Garrett-J.W. Stephenson) Golden State BMI

Side 2 – CP-3904
Vocal by Vern Kenyon

12. Deca Darling (W.F. Schuck-J.W. Stephenson) Tronic BMI 
13. Honey Bee Bop (W.F. Schuck-J.W. Stephenson) Tronic BMI 
14. She Doesn't Love Me Anymore (T.W.McLaughlin-J.W.Stephenson) Tronic BMI
15. The Picture On The Wall (M.Sullivan-J.W.Stephenson) Tronic BMI 
16. Put Your Heart In My Hands (L. Neptune-J.W.Stephenson) Tronic BMI   
17. Stuff And Nonsense (I.Morical- J.W. Stephenson) Tronic BMI  
18. My Hearts Breaking Because Of You (T.W. McLaughlin-J.W. Stephenson) Tronic BMI   
19. Just Not Caring ( (I.Morical- J.W. Stephenson) Tronic BMI    
20. Green Eyed Gal (M. McCoy- J.W. Stephenson) Tronic BMI   
21. Fair Weather Love (W.F. Schuck- J.W. Stephenson) Tronic BMI   
22. Ada, Ada (W.F. Schuck- J.W. Stephenson) Tronic BMI

The three links above are YouTube posts from user (what a ugly word) named Starday.

Clearly a song-poem sampler album. 

Cowtown Records was owned by John Stephenson, who is sharing half of the songwriter credit on 14 of the 22 songs.

John Stephenson had his own recording issued on the initial release on Cowtown in 1956.   It was in the "4 Star Records" OP series, a custom series.  Six other Cowtown singles were issued in 1957 and 1958 by another custom "pressing" operation run by Starday Records.  The man behind these two custom "pressing" services was Don Pierce

Of the five different publishers credited here,  Tronic Music has the most songs copyrighted (13).  The Nashville company was co-owned by Don Pierce (him again) and Tommy Hill, the latter joined the "maverick Don Pierce enterprise" in the late 1959, after cutting a single for Starday Records.

Publishing, where the real money lay

From Record Makers and Breakers: Voices of the Independent Rock 'n' Roll Pioneers-- by John Broven :

The wily record men knew where the real money potential lay : it was in the publishing.

In late 1957, Louisiana's Floyd Soileau utilized the Starday custom-pressing service after deciding to get into the record business through Cajun artists Milton Molitor (Big Mamou) and Lawrence Walker (Vee-Pee).  With local jukebox operator Ed Manuel in the background, Floyd felt confident enough to order three hundred 45s and two hundred 78s of each single at a cost pf just under three undred dollars respectively, including mastering.  "I worked at this radio station (KVPI Ville Platte)," he said,

and the Starday samples would come in with this sheet of paper that said, "If you need to have a record pressed, we can handle it for you."  The only hitch was they were claiming publishing rights to anyhting that was pressed...  without any contracts or knowing who the actual writers were.
I went ahead and had a couple of records done trough him (Don Pierce), but we never signed anything.  Their brochure sheet only said that the original songs (would) be published by Starrite BMI.  It was just an understanding in his leaflet that if he did the custom pressing, he was gonna take the publishing rights.  A lot of people, I guess, were unsuspecting at the time and figured it's okay.  Later on I realized that we shouldn't have agreed to anything - actually we agreed by virtue of his sales bulletin.
... I imagine the biggest benefit of their publishing company was in performance royalties with BMI.

On the bright side of the thing, I'm sure that (through) Don's services with his little leaflets going out, a lot of people who had access to a tape recorder or a radio station studio room probably used his services to get some records done.  Because they could say, "Well, I had my records pressed by Starday Records,"  which was a popular country and western label, although it was an independant.

It did provide a service, and I'm sure a lot of people took advantage of it... It was a bona fide way of getting material sent to him, and he was providing a service for guys like me that didn't know where to go to get a record pressed at the time.

And from Charles Portis, "That new sound from Nashville", Saturday Evening Post, February 12, 1966.

A record can make the top five in the country charts and not sell more than 15.000 copies.  At a wholesale price of 50 cents per record the company gross on a 15.000 seller would be $7.500.  Take at least $700 off the top for the cost of the recording session ($850 if choral voices are used, $1.200 with strings)  and that leaves $6.800.  The singer would then get about four percent of that or a $272 ckeck for his "hit."

And that's all he'd get.  Jukebox operators, who buy most of the country singles, pay no royalties to anybody because of a curious interpretation of the copyright law, and radio stations pay no royalties to the "artist" or singer.  The stations do, however, pay royalties to the publisher and composer.  So almost every singer and picker in Nashville seems to be a music "publisher" these days.

The word actually is a misnomer, a holdover from the days when sheet music was a substiantial part of the business.   Acuff-Rose still prints sale copies ot its songs,  and Tree Music contracts out the printing of Roger Miller's songs, but few others print anything.  If you went to small "publisher" and tried to buy a sheet copy of [...] the chances of getting it would be slim, unless you had a subpoena.

These days the "publisher" is really a talent scout and a copyright agent.  He seeks out songs, copyrights them and peddles them, usually on demo tapes, to the singers and the record companies.  For this service BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.) pays him four cents per radio play (the composer gets 2.5 cents).  The composer and publisher get a penny apiece for each record sold.

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