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Cool 78 of the Month

May 2005

Lloyd Price - Personality
ABC Paramount ABC.4018 (South Africa)
circa June 1959

The cool 78 of the month comes from Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Lloyd Price. Born in Louisiana in 1933, Lloyd racked up 10 hits in the USA and Canada, and 5 in the UK in the period from the beginning of 1959 through the summer of 1960. His career began well before that with the recording of Lawdy Miss Clawdy in 1952 on Speciality. In 1957 he recorded Just Because for KRC Records, and then leased it to ABC Paramount to gain national exposure. As an artist who recorded some of the finest R&B of the era, his fame grew around the world.

A keen entrepreneur, Lloyd was one of the few R&B artists who established their own record companies in the 1950s, such as his own Kent label, and was able to retain control over his material by negociating distribution and leasing deals. When the hits dried up in the 1960s, Lloyd carried on as a business man by establishing the Double L label, scoring a hit with a version of the standard Misty. Later in the decade he set set up the Turntable label distributed by JAD Records owned by fellow ABC Paramount veteran Johnny Nash. This was coupled with his opening of the Turntable nightclub in New York.

ABC Paramount was established in 1957 as a subsidiary company of the American Broadcasting Corporation and Paramount Theatres. It continued with this name until 1965, at which time it simply became ABC Records. By the late 1970s it was absorbed into MCA and ceased to exist as a distinct entity. Its legacy of artists included not on Lloyd Price, but Tommy Roe, the Grassroots, Three Dog Night, George Hamilton IV, Hamilton Joe Frank and Reynolds, The Mamas and the Papas, and Steppenwolf. At one time or another their roster even included the likes of Cliff Richard and Dusty Springfield! In the UK its output is found on the HMV Pop for the early releases, and Stateside in the 1960s, finally ending up on its own imprint in the 1970s. Early Canadian output was on the Sparton label, albeit with co-branding and the trademark mobius strip on prominent display on the label. In the mid 1960s, ABC came into its own in Canada and was established as its own label. Lloyd's releases in the UK were on HMV Pop and in Canada on Sparton.

It was in South Africa however where ABC Paramount shows up in the 1950s as a seperate label as this release from 1959 shows. The US operations of ABC Paramount were winding down production of 78s and a somewhat scarce release did appear on catalogue number 78-10118. Sparton also released this disk on 78 in Canada (catalogue number 760 R). While a release in the UK on HMV Pop is also possible, the release of Personality on 78 in South Africa on the ABC Paramount label makes it a cool 78!

Shown below is an image of the B-side of the 78.

B Side
LLoyd Price - Have You Ever Had the Blues