While most record companies of the 1940s and 1950s made money in one genre, Cincinnati-based King Records spread the love to R & B, rockabilly, bluegrass, western swing and country. Jon Hartley Fox tells the story in his new book King of the Queen City. Combining archival research with contemporary interviews, Fox describes the company by focusing on the people who made up the culture, including executives Sydney Nathan, Henry Glover and Ralph Bass, as well as artists like Red Foxx, Johnny “Guitar” Watson and James Brown. A Dayton resident now based in California, Fox previously wrote and produced a series of 60-minute documentaries about King Records for NPR in the 1980s.
Funk bassist and psychedelic soulster Bootsy Collins began his career in the late 1960s, when he was plucked from relative obscurity to play in James Brown’s back-up band, the JBs. Collins, who was born and raised in Cincinnati, had been a session player at King Records when James Brown first heard him. During his time with James Brown and the JBs, Collins became a superstar of an emerging music genre known as funk. He left the JBs in 1971 to join forces with another funk superstar, George Clinton, playing bass in the group Parliament Funkadelic. Collins became known for adopting outrageous stage personalities like “Bootzilla”, a sci-fi cartoon character who wore platform boots and star-shaped sunglasses. Known for his talent as well as his flashy style, Collins has recorded with dozens of artists including Herbie Hancock, Phil Ramone and Keith Richards. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.
Entrepreneur Seymour Stein got his start in the music industry as a teenager, when he worked with Syd Nathan at King Records in Cincinnati. Stein went on to co-found Sire Records, where he signed such artists as The Ramones, Talking Heads, The Pretenders, Madonna, Depeche Mode and The Smiths. Stein is currently a vice president of Warner Bros. Records.
Last April, President Obama said at a press conference in Turkey, “We have a very large Christian population, we don’t consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish Nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.” Early Americans quoted from the Bible and most of our elected leaders have had Christian backgrounds. The U.S. Constitution is written to prohibit against establishing any national religion by law. Our guest, religious scholar, RICHARD HUGHES, investigates the reasons why many Americans think of the United States a “Christian America,” and explores the irony the United States often behaves in unchristian ways, following the history of the American fundamentalist Christian movement. A senior fellow at Messiah College, Hughes’ latest book is called, “Christian America and the Kingdom of God.”
As legislators on Capitol Hill grapple with ways to pay for comprehensive health care legislation, one idea that has been floated is a tax on sugary drinks like soda. Would you be willing to pay extra for soda to fund a better health care system? We talk to PHIL KERPEN of Americans for Prosperity and CHUCK MARR of the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities.
Listening to Boston’s Passion Pit is a lot like going out dancing; it’s easy to get caught up in the music and lose yourself. But the group has more to offer than just catchy hooks. Its brand of shiny electro-pop combines bright, danceable aesthetics with emotionally charged lyrics. The band first attracted fans after the release of 2008’s Chunk of Change EP. Originally recorded by vocalist and keyboardist Michael Angelakos as a Valentine’s Day present for his girlfriend, the six-song record took off and became a minor hit. With the help of the track “Sleepyhead,” the release picked up steam, attracting attention from outlets such as MTV and the BBC. The exposure paid off, helping the group earn record contracts here and overseas. The result is Manners, Passion Pit’s upbeat and highly danceable new release. Angelakos’ falsetto shines through the eclectic sounds provided by keyboardist Ian Hultquist, bassist Jeff Apruzzese, drummer Nate Donmoyer and DJ Ayad Al Adhamy.