Celebrating King Records, Second Sunday on Main and the Appalachian Festival

On Saturday, the main downtown branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County is presenting a lengthy program in honor of the 65th birthday of pioneering Cincinnati-based record lab

May 10, 2008 at 2:06 pm
Danny Nader

Otis Williams was inducted into the CEA Hall of Fame in 1999 along with King Records.

On Saturday, the main downtown branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County is presenting a lengthy program in honor of the 65th birthday of pioneering Cincinnati-based record label, King Records. Exhibit No. 1 in the case of Cincinnati being a birthplace of Rock & Roll, King Records released everything from Bluegrass and Country to R&B and Blues, bridging the gap between all of those genres leading into Rock & Roll's conception.

The library's tribute consists of a photo exhibit (on display throughout May) as well as two panel discussions covering the label's formative years and its later years of R&B recordings. The first panel begins at 1 p.m. and will cover King's early years, when Country and Bluegrass ruled. Author and producer Randy McNutt — whose most recent book is the impressive photo collection The Cincinnati Sound — moderates the panel, which will include insight from Shake It Records' Darren Blase, Steve Halper (the nephew of King founder, Syd Nathan), Cathy Hughes (daughter of King artist Cowboy Copas and a singer in her own right), former Paul Dixon Show co-host Bonnie Lou (a King artist who got her start on WLW's influential Midwestern Hayride program) and Dr. John Simon, who has written a forthcoming Cowboy Copas biography.

Panel Two starts at 3 p.m. and covers King's later years. The panel is moderated by musician/journalist/author Larry Nager, who wrote extensively about King when he worked at the Cincinnati dailies (he now lives in Nashville). The second panel will feature Ed Conley (a local native who played bass on many King releases and continues to perform today), Phillip Paul (the longtime session drummer for King who plays with Conley in the Billie Walker Trio today) and Otis Williams, lead singer of The Charms, which had hits on the King sub-label DeLuxe.

The panels will be held in the Main Library's first floor atrium. Bootsy Collins, originally not scheduled to appear due to some show dates, will now make an appearance (the dates were cancelled) and word has it Charles Walker and the Dynamites (an old-school R&B/Soul band from Nashville, playing the Southgate House later Saturday) will play a few songs at the end of the sessions.

Gigs of the Week
· The 2008 Appalachian Festival returns to Coney Island Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Along with various cultural exhibits and presentations, there will also be plenty of music. Locals slated to appear at the fest include Wild Carrot (the normally acoustic duo is performing with their "The Roots Band"), The Comet Bluegrass Allstars, The Rabbit Hash String Band, Calamity Rain, Ma Crow and more. For details and links, check here.

· The spring/summer series Second Sunday on Main has announced some of the local acts it has lined up for this season. Taking place the second Sunday of each month (starting at noon on Main Street between 13th and Liberty), the free concerts/street fairs will include music from 500 Miles to Memphis, Ellery, Kelly Thomas and the Fabulous Pick-Ups, Zumba, Mohenjo Daro, Jake Speed, Goose, Marvin and the Experience and the Comet Bluegrass Allstars. The series kicks off this Sunday with The Seedy Seeds, Tracy Walker, Tupelo Honey and Messerly & Ewing.

· The only water nearby is the murky Ohio, but the Cincinnati Surf Explosion concert this Saturday in the Southgate House's lounge will surely make it feel like cool waves are crashing just outside. Featuring Surf music from locals The Nebula Five, The Maladroits, The AmpFibians and Don't Fear the Reverb (band name of the week!), plus Chicago's Roger and the Wraybands, the show is a tribute to Rockin' Robert Hutchinson, who has manned the decks for WAIF radio show, The Rockin' and Surfin' Show, for 26 years. The radio show airs 6-8 p.m. every Saturday. The Surf starts exploding at Junie's Lounge Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

Contact Mike Breen: [email protected]