Colorradio.com - Joe Houston
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Wild Man of the tenor sax. That sums it up for this great saxophonist from Texas. There are a bunch of really great ones: Big Jay McNeely, Sil Austin, Red Prysock, Earl Bostic. But for some reason, Joe Houston is my favorite Maybe it was the first time I heard "All Night Long", or maybe it was any number of records before or after, that made me think he could honk with the best of them. Born in 1926 in Austin Texas, he was blowin' the horn in 1944 for the King Kolax band out of Chicago. He was on alto at the time, and switched to tenor, and never did stop smokin the saxophone. The musicians he played with was a who's who - Amos Milburn, Wynonie Harris, Big Joe Turner - to name but a few. By 1951 he decided to be out front and center, and he cut some sides for Macy's. One of the grooves was "Blow Joe Blow" and it made some noise in Texas. He ended up in Los Angeles and mad an unbelievable amount of records. Of those, there is just a small sampling of them on this page. A good but still incomplete selection of his LP's are the highlight below, but collecting the complete catalog of Joe Houston vinyl might take a room addition to the house!
Although this is his first LP,the original issue had a full color picture of Joe on the front with song titles. A great picture of Joe on the back of this issue, along with a small bio. The original LP was 1955, this from 1956.
The colorful purple Combo record labels are shown. Six instrumentals on each side, many that later showed up on 45's and 78's. Combo records was based in Los Angeles.
Joe Houston "Rockin At The Drive In" LP. Great classic photo of Joe blowing the sax, and Los Angeles DJ Art Laboe Dancing to the left of him. Laboe was at station KPOP at the time, and did live remote's from Scrivners Drive In. When he started, there were two of the drive in's in the Los Angeles area. The El Segundo location is where he started it, and the restaurant chain grew to twelve very quickly. The LP was released in 1956.
Once again, the purple combo LP labels. And as was the last LP, many of these twelve songs were issued on 45 and 78. Most notably from this LP was Joe Houston's big hit "All (Nite) Night Long."
Issued in 1956, this Modern LP number 1206 was chocked full of fine instrumentals from Joe. Three pictures of him on the back of the LP cover are shown. Interesting that the front shows just "Joe Houston", the back cover shows "Blows All Nite Long" picking up on the title of his big hit. It then labels him as "Wild Man Of The Tenor Sax." We will see that tile later on. There is a shot of the Modern record label. This was also reissued as Crown 5006 seen pictured below.
The labels show the all black Modern record design, and confirms the title of "Blows All Nite Long." This was issued for a somewhat short period of time on Modern.
This is a reissue of the Modern label LP shown in the previous picture set. There were two different covers issued, the red one shown above and the much more common black with white print. The title was also changed to "Rocks And Rolls All Night Long", which can be seen at the extreme top of the LP cover. Released in 1957.
As seen,the listed tracks are exactly the same as on the Modern issue. Notice that the title of the label is the same as the modern issue, other than the spelling of "Night." The record number now follows the Crown label series.
Here is the black cover alluded to above. Same record and cover as pictured above, but......just black. The label and record, for that matter is identical to the one above, except they have brought the album title down just a bot to be able to read it easier.
The black label of the black cover issue. Exactly the same as the red label LP shown above.
Here is an odd later press of this album. The High Fidelity is prominent at the bottom, and the label is the later gray that was used by Crown. The songs all remain the same as the previous albums. The back cover now is the familiar advertisement of the other budget Crown label records you can purchase.
The grey labels of this later pressing of Joe Houston's "Blows All Night."
Manufactured by the Tops record company in 1956,this disc featured 12 more cuts by Houston. The "All Night Long" track is not the same as the original Money label version. See the EP section below for a matching 45. "Rock And Roll" by Joe Houston and his Rockets, was a good compilation. Tops was a budget label specializing in top hit songs by unknown artists, except of course, in this case.
Here is the Tops labels for the LP. Joe had a great thing going, and just kept making records. Notice that the back-up group were called the Rockets.
From 1961, this is Joe Houston, Wild Man of The Tenor Sax. That title was listed on the original Modern LP and the Crown red cover LP. As with all the crown LP's shown thus far, it was only pressed in mono. Ten cuts appear on this Joe Houston LP. Interestingly enough,it was four years between this release and the last one on Crown.
This are the black Crown labels for Wild Man Of The Tenor Sax. Only a total of ten songs on this LP, as opposed to the normal twelve. This happened to be a part of the 5200 series.
Ah, the twist in glorious Stereo! Issued in 1962, the back cover had lessons on how to twist, that the mono issue didn't. Why not issue instruments to pick up on the twist craze sweeping the world.
Here are the stereo Crown LP labels. They have some color to them, as we have just seen black to this point. Ten total songs again, and the record number is the odd 248.
Joe is blowing the twist in Mono. A great cover and the Crown Advertisement on the back.
The Crown mono labels also have color on them. Notice that when they say it's a twist LP, they made sure of it by having the word "Twist" in the title of all ten songs.
Joe Houston has officially twisted himself into orbit. Still looks like a 1962 release from Crown records. Another take on the Twist craze, with all the record tracks again having "twist" in the titles. A colorful LP cover, but I was thinking more of a space theme then just green for background.
The Crown LP labels are shown. The stereo issues are in the 200 number range, and the labels not only list stereo but also high fidelity. This is the gray label.
The mono version of Twisting In Orbit. What Crown did is took the stereo banner from the stereo copy, and put it at the bottom of the cover, and change it to full color high fidelity. Did I mention that Crown records was a budget label?
These are the gray labels for the mono LP. High Fidelity remains in the same location, and it is part of the 5200 series.
The stereo version of Joe Houston and the Rockin And Rollin LP. Ten more fine instrumental tracks are available for the purchaser's listening pleasure.
The normal gray labels for crown. The twist records are over, and back to some creative non-twist titles.
It's 1963, the Twist is over? Well, it's time to pick up on the surfin craze. Nothing like a great surf scene on the front cover to entice the public to buy. This is the stereo issue. It didn't matter what was popular, Joe Houston could play sax to the beat.
The normal Gray Crown labels in the lower numbered series. Through in some great surfin' terms and it's a genuine surf LP!
Here is the mono LP. The pictures are a little odd because my LP still has some shrink wrap on it. The advertisement is on the back, and I don't think it has changed much since the first one I showed several records previously.
Nothing new on the Crown gray labels. You gotta love this stuff.
Chubby Checker does it, why not Mr. Joe Houston? This stereo disc was Issued in 1963, it shows Joe getting ready to dance under the stick, with his red hot saxophone. Another eye catching album cover from the fine folks at Crown records. Ten more limbo influenced sax honkers from Joe. Crown records was always finding ways to re-package records, and sometimes they even used the same song from a previous record, and renamed it to fit the theme!
These are the Crown Gray labels. You have to figure Chubby Checkers' success with the limbo records had something to do with the release of this LP.
Crown records seemed to issue stereo and Mono records for most of their catalog. To save money, they slap the Crown records advertisement on the back covers.
The Gray labels from Crown. Certainly seems like it would be cheaper to just use gray with black print, as opposed to a multi color label.
Here is just a classic LP cover used to sell some great sax from Joe Houston. See that Joe Houston is not credited on the cover. He is however, mentioned on the back cover. Craftsmen, another budget label release, has used the Rockets once again as his backup group. They were last credited on the Tops LP issue shown way above. This looks like an early 1960's release with several cuts that are early Joe Houston material.
The craftsmen labels are shown above. This is assumed recorded in mono, though the labels and covers don't specify it. "New Full Range High Fidelity" is not exactly stereo!
Here is one of the 2 EP's that Joe issued for the Combo label in 1954. The back side of the cover is blank, but the record is great! EP's generally had two songs per side (sometimes more) and were a bit more expensive then the regular 45. This has a great picture of Joe Houston on the cover.
Here are the labels for Combo 3. All four of these song titles were issued in other formats, including the Combo LP's shown toward the top of this page.
The only EP Houston recorded for Modern and RPM records, in 1955. Nice detail on the front cover. Strangely, this EP was issued as Modern records on the cover,but used the RPM label for the disc. The two record companies were related. A short bio on the back cover and a few other EP's available for your enjoyment.
These are the RPM labels. Interestingly, "The Fabulous Joe Houston" is the only identification shown on the label. The cover mentions the wild man of the tenor sax and "Blows All Night Long" is once again listed to try and pick up sales on the strength of his biggest hit.
Another flashy cover from the Tops record company. This is actually a companion to the Tops LP listed earlier. It included two EP's in a gatefold jacket. Released in 1956, the disc is the standard black and silver that Tops is most famous for. Note that this EP jammed on five songs per record which equals ten total.
Shown are both sides of the first tops 45 EP. Sides A and B have the rockets listed, and side A has some vocals.
When you open up the Tops EP, it is a gatefold arrangement. These pictures are on the inside. The left a colorful picture, and the right a bio and some other Tops EP's for sale.
These are sides C and D. Tops as mentioned was also a budget label that actually listed a ton of 45's in all types of genres. They also had colored vinyl on some records, just as Crown did.
This is an odd release from 1963. One side has 5 songs from Joe Houston, the other side has five cuts from Teddy Reynolds. Reynolds history goes back at least to the 40's. Gilmar, you guessed it, was another budget label, specializing more in 45's and 33's the size of 45's. You could join the Gilmar record club and buy tons of their records. Or you could wait for them to appear in the second hand store. They came originally with Gilmar record sleeves.
If you have only heard one record by Joe Houston,the disc on the left was probably it. Released in December of 1954, "All Night Long" was his biggest selling record on John Dolphin's Money label, and probably for Joe Houston. Also from 1954, "Joe Go Go" was released on lucky, one of the dozens of labels he appeared on, many from the Los Angeles area. Great honking sax on Lucky, a label that also recorded a few classic R+B groups.
"Moody" was the first of four records released on the Bayou label, in 1953. On the right, one of many 45's released on Los Angeles's Combo records from 1954 through 1961. "Curfew" was Issued in 1959.
Updates: Joe is not performing much anymore, after suffering a stroke. He made so many records, I think it would be hard to try and account for them all. Most of his vintage LP's are on this page, but there are others.
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