JAY BOY RECORDS
There are many different reasons why some record labels are more collectable than others. In the case of the Jay Boy label, launched in Britain in November 1968, it was because of the treasure trove of Soul and R ‘n’ B released on it from some of America’s most iconic labels.
The label imprint was started by Edward Kassner in 1968 and benefitted from his continued working partnership with US record producer and A&R man Danny Kessler. Indeed the name itself came from Danny’s son known as Jay. The first release, “You Can’t Do That” by Doris Willingham (later to be known as Doris Duke) set the bar pretty high and remains a favourite to this day, but in truth it took the label a while to find its feet.
Of the first twenty or so records, there were British pop (Chords Five, Migil 5) and reggae releases, including several that were The Pyramids under a variety of names and a couple of releases that came to Britain from Canada (Dee & The Quotum, Lyons & Malone). There was also a single, “Saturday Gigue” by The Roundtable, taken from a Jay Boy LP called “Spinning Wheel” by David Munrow and other musicians from The Early Music Consort; quite a diversity of music genres.
It was from mid-July 1971 onwards that the label became THE home of soul and R ‘n’ B. Agreements to release product from the Mirwood, Mira, Crestview labels (Bob & Earl, The Olympics, Jackie Lee) was quickly followed by recordings from Bert Berns’ Shout label (Freddie Scott, Erma Franklin, The Exciters) and Keymen Records (Bobby Womack, The Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band, The Fidels). There was also a couple of releases from the legendary Vee-Jay label , though most of the releases from that label were released on Jay Boy’s mothership, The President label.
Then came the high spot for Jay Boy as far as the British charts were concerned. The ‘Florida Sound’ took over the label with a plethora of releases from the T.K. group of labels, based in Miami. As a result, Jay Boy will always be remembered as the home of hits by K.C. & The Sunshine Band and George McCrae, both of whom had seven chart entries each.
All but two of the LPs issued on Jay Boy came from the T.K. group of labels and both have quite high value in the collectors’ market. The above-mentioned “Spinning Wheel” (expect to pay nearly £100) and the Eddy Grant produced 32nd Turn Off’s album which could now cost you £200.
We’ve only scratched the surface…….there’s plenty of music to excite you amongst the label’s nearly 120 single releases and over a dozen LPs.
*** In America, only two records were released on the Jay Boy label. Doris
Willingham’s “You Can’t Do That” and The Hogs “It’s All Coming To Me Now”,
(released in the U.K. on BOY 5).