Peacock Records, Houston, Texas


Live music is all about the raw Texas r&b sound of Peacock Records, black owned by Don Robey. Warning: If your a 'Modern soul' fan only look away now! Set up in 1949 Peacock was was a Houston label named after Robie's Bronze Peacock gambling club. He also later took over Duke records in Memphis that had been founded in 1952. Other labels he owned was Back Beat (f.1957) and the Sure-Shot. Peacock also released over a 100 gospel singles in it's prime (1955-65 with Song Bird being launched also in 1963). Many gospel tracks were later re-issued in the 1990's.

Vi Campbell - Seven Doors - Peacock
(saxophone at end sounds like a raging elephant)

The labels had their own distinct sound until about late '66 when outside producers must have lent a hand. You can hear this on the later Bobby Williams songs, sounding like Detroit's Mike Terry was in there. Peacock though 'owned' the blues in the 50's and ruled 'r&b' in the 60's as far as I'm concerned! In these 64 recordings there is only two tambourines found! (on Roy head), and stings only used sparsely, onc being Sandra Kay Tucker (aka Saundray Tucker, aka Cindy Scott) song. So unlike Berry Gordy's Motown sound they didn't like to sweeten the productions into a lesser soulful more pop sound.

Don Robie's catch phrase was: "If it's not a hit, I'll eat my hat" - photo: Houston '57 by Benny Joseph.

Many of the following tunes have made it big on the UK Northern soul scene over the years, the 'hard r&b' sound peaking in the late 1990's, the double sided 45's have fetched £150+ ($400). The UK Action label released it's own singles and albums compilations in the late 60's and some tracks are also found on the UK Soul City label. Over the years ABC, MCA & now Universal have owned the masters but never have they put out a quality set like I've made for myself (inspired by the live Bobby Bland footage).

Ace/Kent UK came close in 1988 with the 'Sure-Shots' 16 track vinyl album. If you have just started collecting this stables output then if you start searching the following tracks you won't go far wrong. There is only one ballad here and that's Jean Stanback's 'I Still Love You' and that was one of Dave Godin's, a Blues & Soul writer's top tracks. He also put out a Back Beat track on his own record label, Shirley Lawson's 'One more Chance' Soul City 108.

01 bobby bland - turn on your love light duke lp - 1962
02 bud harper - wherever you were peacock 1932 - 1964
03 melvin carter - teacher of love peacock 1934 - 1964
04 buddy ace - true love money can't buy duke 381 - 1964
05 joe hinton - there ought to be a law back beat 540 - 1965
06 little frankie lee - i gotta come back peacock 1935 - 1965
07 don fletcher - two wrongs (don't make a right) peacock 1937b - 1965
08 bud harper - mr soul peacock 1939a - 1965
09 bud harper - let me love you peacock 1939b - 1965
10 james davis - ain't it great duke 392 - 1965
11 buddy ace - it's gonna be me duke 397 - 1966
12 junior parker - why do you make me cry duke 406 - 1966
13 shirley lawson - one more chance back beat 567 - 1966
14 vi campbell - seven doors peacock 1940 - 1966
15 bobby bland - i ain't my self anymore duke 412 - 1966
16 jeanette williams - all of a sudden back beat 568 - 1966
17 jeanette williams - something got a hold on me back beat 587 - 1967
18 bobby bland - gettin used to the blues duke 421 - 1967
19 john roberts & the hurricanes - cold hearted woman duke 417 - 1967
20 little eddie taylor - i had a good time peackock 1949 - 1967
21 o.v. wright - i can't believe backbeat lp - 1968
22 jean stanback - if ever i needed love peacock 1958b - 1968
23 the lamp sisters - a woman withe the blues duke 427b - 1968
24 minnie epperson - grab your cloths peacock 1960 - 1968
25 john roberts - to be my girl duke 429 - 1968
26 the lamp sisters - you caught me napping duke 439 - 1968
27 pauletette parker - gimme back (my love) duke 451 - 1968
28 al 'tnt' braggs - i like what your doing to me peacock 1962- 1968
29 carl carlton - comitition ain't nothing back beat 588 - 1968
30 joe hinton - got you on my mind back beat 594 - 1968
31 o.v. wright - ace of spades back beat 615 - 1970
32 bobby bland - yum yum tree duke 466 - 1971
33 rhonda davis - can you remember duke 473 - 1972



01 sandra kay tucker - I got a good thing peacock 1926 - 1963
02 otis rush - homework -duke 356 - 1963
03 roy head - treat her right back-beat 546 - 1965
04 o.v. wright - poor boy back-beat 551 - 1965
05 jeanette williams - you didn't know then back-beat 556 - 1965
06 bobby williams - when you play you gotta pay sure shot 5013 - 1965
07 bobby williams - it's all over sure shot 5013 - 1965
08 bobby adeno - the hands of time back-beat 552 - 1965
09 the malibus - gee baby (i love you) sure shot 5028 - 1966
10 little frankie lee - i gotta come back peacock 1935 - 1966
11 little mr. lee & cherokees - my best friend's girl - sure shot (n/r) - 1966/88
12 lee lamont - happy days back-beat 564 - 1966
13 jeanette williams - mr. soft touch back-beat 568 - 1966
14 the commands - hey it's love back-beat 570 - 1966
15 bobby bland - back in the same old bag duke 412 - 1966
16 buddy ace - baby please don't go duke 401 - 1966
17 bobby bland - i ain't myself nomore duke 412 - 1966
18 bobby williams - i've only got myself to blame sure shot 5037 - 1967
19 bobby day - spicks & specks sure shot 5036 - 1967
20 al 'tnt' braggs - that's all apart of loving you peacock 1952 - 1967
21 the malibus - ten times a day sure shot 5037 - 1968
22 the lamp sisters - no cure for the blues duke 439 - 1968
23 john roberts - I'll forget you duke 436 - 1968
24 o.v. wright - oh baby mine back-beat 591 - 1968
25 joe hinton - now i'm satisfied back-beat 589 - 1968
26 jean stanback - i still love you peacock 1958 - 1968
27 carl carton - why don't they leave us alone back-beat 598 - 1968
28 bobby williams - baby i need your love sure shot 5024 - 1969
29 the bell brothers - tell him no sure shot 5038 - 1969
30 the lamp sisters - right on duke 462 - 1970
31 carl carlton - did you mean it back-beat lp - 1973




Jeanette Williams - I didn't know then - backbeat

All these tracks have been played on the 'Basement Soul' radio show on PCRL here in Birmingham, UK at some time by myself and the Consortium of DJ's used on this show b/w 1989-2003. Chris Anderton was spinning Rhonda Davis at his Bretby club near Burton-on-Trent where I first met him and invited him to join the team. During the 1990's, 60's r&b was getting a bit of a revival by Northern soul nighter DJ's like Roger Banks and Mark Bicknall, bless 'em.

Don Robey sold his labels to MCA in 1973 and worked with the company re-releasing a few of the classic albums and one new one by Carl Carlton containing old and new material until Robie's death in 1975. One Peacock fact that stays in my head is that Bobby Bland had more singles in the US charts than the Beatles did!

His Peacock studios/club is now the Charity Baptist church in Houston and still has the scaffolding in place that held the Peacock logo all those years ago!

4 comments:

  1. can u uploads budday ace - pleas don't go mp3?

    ReplyDelete
  2. How do i download this?

    ReplyDelete
  3. They are 2 cd's I made for myself from mint singles. As far a I know no collection has been made like this on cd. More info. email me at top right email address.

    ReplyDelete
  4. QUESTION:IS IT POSSIBLE TO OBTAIN ANY OF THIS COMPANIES OLD GOSPEL MUSIC? EXAMPLE: THE LP OR SHALL I SAY A CD OF THE HIGHWAY QCS 1965 LP "THE LORD IS SWEET? PLEASE EMAIL AT d.r.denton@aol.com. THE ALBUM WAS &STILLIS A FAVORITE OF MY FATHER. THANKS IN ADVANCE

    ReplyDelete