JOY RECORDS (UK)
Within weeks of capturing the UK licence rights to the Vee-Jay label out of Chicago, President Records launched the Joy label as a budget line in the U.K., with nine of the first twelve releases coming from the American catalogue. Two were by Little Richard with one each from jazz man Eddie Harris, Betty Everett, The Impressions, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed and an orchestra album of movie themes by The Gordon Jenkins Orchestra. The twelfth LP was “The Most Exciting Organ Ever”, Billy Preston’s debut album, (originally released as “Blue Organ” in America). Throughout its first sixty plus releases, the main source of material remained Vee-Jay, though the label also issued Ska (a compilation of Eddie Grant associated tracks) and vintage material by Kid Ory, Jelly Roll Morton and Harry Roy. One release, “Sounds That Are Happening!” by The Gozoo Band was an album of hit tunes performed by a kazoo band with arrangements by Jimmy Haskell. The album was from the George Greif / Sid Harris (managers of the New Christy Minstrels, Stan Kenton, Norman Greenbaum’s first group Dr. West’s Medicine Show And Junk Band and, later, The Crusaders) owned Go Go Records based in Los Angeles. Later, recordings from a variety of other American sources was released on the label, including the Surrey International catalogue owned by Randy Wood, recordings owned by performer / entrepreneur Lloyd Price , plus labels M-Pac / One-Der-Ful / Mar-V-Lus, Excello, Fraternity, Del-Fi / Bronco and Bang / Shout. The Joy label then released a series of LPs by some of Britain’s best known big bands of the thirties, forties and fifties including Henry Hall, Billy Cotton, Ambrose and Roy Fox as well as by The Mills Brothers and Bing Crosby. The label had a brief resurgence when was re-launched in 1991 to release a number of albums on CD, starting with the three albums by Ken Colyer’s Jazzmen from the late 1960s / early 1970s.
A separate Joy Special line was also introduced in the very early seventies. This was a series of mainly rock ‘n’ roll and oldies compilation albums licensed from Vee-Jay, but many included tracks from other U.S. labels which Vee-Jay had licensed including Roulette, Lute, Ace, Garpax, Fire / Fury, Top Rank, Demon, Crusader and Del-Fi.
A short, three LP series called Keep The Faith was released in 1974 aimed at the burgeoning ‘Northern Soul’ scene and compiled from the same sources as the Joy and Joy Special releases.