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TwiLight / TwiNight Records

The SOUL of Chicago


April 19, 2014

South Side Story, Vol. 23
Numero Group
LP / CD NBR-003 (47:13)

01. The Si-Berians
This Is The Ending Of Our Love
02. The Mystics
That's The Kind Of Love
03. Renaldo Domino
I'll Get You Back (3:27)
04. The Notations
I'm Still Here (3:57)
05. Harlem Meat Company
I'm Not Gonna Be Anybody's Fool
06. Calvin Harris
It Ain't Fair
07. The Notations
Don't Wanna Be Late (3:44)
08. Brand New Faces
I Don't Wanna Cry
09. The New Day
Wait A Minute
10. The Final Solution
Gotta Get Through To You
(CD Bonus Track)
11. Young Souls
Puppet On A String
12. Donnell Pitmann
You Hurt Me
13. The Intentions
Blowing With The Wind


TwiNight 141
The Notations
Z4KM 3797 I'm Still Here
(Clifford Curry)
Z4KM 3796 I Can't Stop
(Clifford Curry)
Produced by Syl Johnson
Record World Review October 10, 1970
Billboard Review October 17, 1970
Entered Record World R&B November 7, 1970, #20
Entered Billboard R&B December 5, 1970, #26
Entered Cash Box R&B December 19, 1970, #41


March 12, 2013
The Notations
That Girl
(C. Curry) /
This Time I'm For Real
(C. Curry)
Numero Group
Cash Records 45
ES 031


Released November 11, 2013
Billboard Review
November 9, 2013
Wall Street Journal Review
December 26, 2013
Producers: Mason Williams,
Steve Woolard
Notes: Charles Waring
Label: Rhino

Donny Hathaway first appeared on TwiNight as the co-composer of "I've Made Up My Mind"
by Evanston, Illinois' Josephine Taylor (Twi 122; August 1969).
Donny Hathaway arranged Syl Johnson's "Kiss By Kiss" / "One Way Ticket To Nowhere" (Twi 134),
"Thank You Baby" / "We Do It Together" (Twi 144) and The Dynamic Tints' "Be My Lady" / "Falling In Love" (Twi 145).

On October 12, 1970, Donny Hathaway arranged the Syl Johnson-produced Garland Green:
20326 Just My Way Of Loving You (Cotillion 45-44126)
20327 Plain And Simple Girl (Cotillion 45-44098)
20328 Always Be My Baby (Cotillion 45-44126)
20329 Hey Cloud (Cotillion 45-44098)


August 2013
Syl Johnson:
Any Way The Wind Blows
Kickstarter
Rob Hatch-Miller (Director)
Puloma Basu (Producer)
Michael Slaboch (Producer)


February 12, 2013

Syl Johnson
Dresses Too Short LP
NUM.Jr.007

Syl Johnson
Is It Because I'm Black LP
NUM.Jr.008


December 31, 2012

Numero Group Vinyl Single
TwiNight 135
Chuck And Mac
Powerful Love Z4KM-3047 /
The Bear Z4KM-3048
June 1970
Powerful Love
Featured in the 2012 film
Looper


The 54th Grammy Awards
Nominations

Best Historical Album:
Complete Mythology
Tom Lunt, Rob Sevier & Ken Shipley,
compilation producers
Jeff Lipton, mastering engineer
(Syl Johnson)
[The Numero Group]

Best Album Notes:
Complete Mythology
Ken Shipley,
album notes writer
(Syl Johnson)
[The Numero Group]

November 9, 2010

Numero Group 032
Syl Johnson:
Complete Mythology
6LP + 4CD Box Set
52 Page Booklet

Featuring The Previously Unreleased
TWI Recordings:

Half A Love
Love Condition
My Funky Band
Sockin' Soul Power
Double Whammy
Everybody Needs Love
Try My Love Again
The Way You Do The Things You Do
Wiggle In Your Hips


Five Star
Vinyl Package Of the Month
Mojo #234, May 2013

Best of 2011:
Mojo

2011 Nomination:
The Mojo Best Compilation

Best Of 2010:
Rolling Stone
Spin
Uncut

Dave Hoekstra

Peter Margasak

Greg Kot

Time Out Chicago
Album review
Syl Johnson
by Jake Austen

Complete Mythology
(Numero Group)

Both the title and voluminous liner notes of Complete Mythology reflect Syl Johnson's penchants for boasts and fanciful autobiography. The 74-year-old claims to be the illegitimate son of Robert Johnson, a tale as believable as the devil hanging out at a Mississippi crossroads.

Recently, the Chicago veteran has been pushing one major point of pride. He's been sampled ad nauseam by rappers (including, most recently, Kanye West on "The Joy"), DJs and Michael Jackson. Yet the repeated usage of killer breaks from "Different Strokes" and "Is It Because I'm Black" has eclipsed what should be the first thought concerning Johnson: He's one of the greatest voices in soul history.

This hefty set settles that argument. The 81 tracks, culled mostly from singles the South Sider did before his '70s stint at Hi Records, show that as a '50s bluesman, a '60s R&B crooner or a bona fide '60s'70s funk master, Johnson had a profoundly distinctive voice. Floating between Southern rawness and Motown slickness, his notes are born deep down, passing through a shadowy filter. Johnson's voice never bares his naked soul, coyly hinting he's holding secret knowledge. That mystery imbues every lyric with intrigue, whether he's lamenting a crying baby in a housing project or toasting a woman's hot pants.

However much Complete Mythology redeems the soulful Syl, it's disingenuous to say folks will buy it just for the tunes. Numero continues to establish the Coffee-table Record with this gorgeous set. A hefty slipcase holds a book, four discs and six LPs, two being reproductions of real records, the others spot-on mock "lost" albums, replete with period design and vintage fonts. Between the stellar singing and the excess of design, this box set is far more hit than myth.

Syl Johnson hits Old Town School Of Folk Music
Saturday 27 November 2010


March 13, 2007

ECCENTRIC SOUL
TWINIGHT'S LUNAR ROTATION

Numero Group 013
2CD (54:50) (55:25) 40 Tracks

Featuring
Velma Perkins
Yes, My Goodness Yes / I'll Always Love You (Twi 140),
Jo Ann Garrett
Goin' Man Huntin' (Twi 137),
Renaldo Domino
Two Years Four Days (Twi Unreleased, Originally Twi 147 B),
The Notations
Lonely People (Twi Unreleased)

And
Including
George McGregor And The Bronzettes Temptation Is Hard To Fight (Twi 102),
Stormy The Devastator (Twi 104, Stereo),
Johnny Williams (I've Reached) The Breaking Point (Twi 105),
The Mystiques So Good To Have You Home Again / Put Out The Fire (Twi 112),
Sidney Pinchback And The Schiller Street Gang Soul Strokes (Twi 114, Stereo),
The Schiller Street Gang Remind Me (Twi 114),
Josephine Taylor I've Made Up My Mind / Is It Worth A Chance (Twi 122, B/S Stereo),
The Dynamic Tints Package Of Love Part I (Twi 123),
The Perfections Which One Am I / Why Do You Want To Make Me Sad (Twi 126),
Renaldo Domino Not Too Cool To Cry / Nevermore (Twi 128),
Jimmy Jones Yesterday's Mistakes (Twi 130, Stereo),
The Kaldirons You And Me Baby / To Love Someone (That Don't Love You) (Twi 131),
Annette Poindexter Wayward Dream / Mama (Twi 132),
The Dynamic Tints Be My Lady / Rosemarie (Twi 133),
Chuck & Mac Powerful Love (Twi 135),
The Krystal Generation Satisfied / Is It Meant To Be (Twi 138),
Renaldo Domino Let Me Come Within (Twi 139),
The Notations I Can't Stop (Twi 141),
Pieces Of Peace Pass It On Part I (Twi 142),
Harrison And The Majestic Kind Can You Find Me Love / Tearing Me Up Inside (Twi 143),
The Mist Life Walked Out (Twi 146),
The Notations A New Day (Twi 148),
Elvin Spencer Lift This Hurt (Twi 150),
The Radiants My Sunshine Girl (Twi 153) And
Nate Evans Pardon My Innocent Heart / Main Squeeze (Twi 156)


December 2008

ECCENTRIC SOUL
TWINIGHT'S LUNAR ROTATION

Numero Group 013
4LP Deluxe Expanded Edition
53 Tracks

Adding
The McGregor Brothers Every Time I Wake Up (Twi 102 B),
Stormy I Won't Stop To Cry (Twi 104 B),
Johnny Williams Maggie (Twi 109),
Buster Benton That's The Reason (Twi 113),
Buster Benton Catch Up With The World (Twi 117),
Chuck And Mac The Bear (Twi 135 B),
Renaldo Domino I'm A Good Man (Twi 139 B, Twi 147 B),
The Notations I'm Still Here (Twi 141 B),
The Dynamic Tints Falling In Love (Twi 145 B),
Renaldo Domino You Need To Be Loved On (Twi 147),
Elvin Spencer You're Being Unfair (Twi 150),
The Notations Just You And Me (Twi 152) And
The Radiants Don't Wanna Face the Truth (Twi 153 B)


April, July And December 2007

Numero Group
Vinyl Singles

GEORGE MCGREGOR AND THE BRONZETTES
TEMPTATION IS HARD TO FIGHT (Mono)
TWI 102 A
THE MCGREGOR BROTHERS
EVERY TIME I WAKE UP (Mono)
TW1 102 B

STORMY
THE DEVASTATOR (Stereo)
TWI 104 A /
I WON'T STOP TO CRY (Stereo)
TWI 104 B

MYSTIQUES
SO GOOD TO HAVE YOU HOME AGAIN (Mono)
TWI 112 A
PUT OUT THE FIRE (Mono)
TWI 112 B

SIDNEY PINCHBACK &
SCHILLER STREET GANG
SOUL STROKES (Stereo)
TWI 114 A /
SCHILLER STREET GANG
REMIND ME (Mono)
TWI 114 B

THE PERFECTIONS
WHICH ONE AM I (Mono)
TWI 126 A /
WHY DO YOU WANT TO MAKE ME SAD (Mono)
TWI 126 B

RENALDO DOMINO
TM 4048 NOT TOO COOL TO CRY (Mono)
TWI 128 A /
TM 4049 NEVERMORE (Mono)
TWI 128 B

THE KALDIRONS
YOU AND ME BABY (Mono)
TWI 131 A /
TO LOVE SOMEONE
(THAT DON'T LOVE YOU) (Mono)
TWI 131 B

ANNETTE POINDEXTER
Z4KM-2889-1 WAYWARD DREAM (Mono)
TWI 132 A /
Z4KM-2890-1 MAMA (Mono)
TWI 132 B

PIECES OF PEACE
PASS IT ON PT1 (Mono)
TWI 142 A /
PASS IT ON PT. 2 (Mono)
(NOT ON TWINIGHT'S LUNAR ROTATION CD or LP)
TWI 142 B

NATE EVANS
PARDON MY INNOCENT HEART (Mono)
TWI 156 A
MAIN SQUEEZE (Mono)
TWI 156 B



TwiNight's Chicago Soul Heaven
CDKEND 131, November 26, 1996

Syl Johnson
Dresses Too Short / Is It Because I'm Black

CDKEND 148, August 30,1997



TwiNight's Chicago Soul Heaven
CD Liner Notes
by Harry Young (1996)

TwiLight / TwiNight Records was founded in Chicago, Illinois in March 1967 by promo man supreme, Peter H. Wright.

TwiLight became TwiNight after five releases. (Hush Records of Sunnyvale, California already owned the name "TwiLight.")

TwiNight's offices were located at 185 N. Wabash, 166 E. Superior (now the Summerfield Suites Hotel) and after 1969, in Streeterville Center, 233 E. Erie, Suite 408. Rehearsal space was also rented in the New Michigan Hotel, 2135 S. Michigan Ave.

The TwiLight / TwiNight label was dominated by Syl Johnson (seven Billboard R&B hits) and Syl Johnson-produced acts, including The Notations (one Billboard R&B hit).

In 1971, TwiNight became the parent to subsidiary labels DayLight, SunLight, Torrid and Blues On Blues. Vee Jay veteran Albert B. Smith (d. 1976) ran the Torrid and Blues On Blues labels, with offices at 2113 & 2131 S. Michigan Ave. TwiNight also functioned as an independent production company.

TwiNight founder Peter H. Wright was born in Chicago on July 31, 1935. After high school and a year of college, he joined the Chicago Federation of Musicians and worked for thirteen years as a professional trumpet player. He also led various bands, orchestras and recording dates.

In 1953, anticipating the never-to-materialize WGEE counterpart to Chicago's WBEE soul radio station, Ernest and George W. Leaner sent seventeen year old Peter Wright to Indianapolis, Indiana to establish and operate a branch of their United Record Distributing Company. For the next four years, Peter Wright learned the business by marketing and promoting recorded product throughout central Indiana and Illinois. Wright then spent three years as a solo trumpet player in the U.S. Fifth Army Band in Fort Sheridan, Illinois.

He formed Peter H. Wright Associates, Inc. in Chicago in 1960. The firm encompassed all facets of the music business: promotion, public relations, independent record production, personal management, music publishing and artist booking.

By 1961, Peter Wright was also a partner, with Don (Dominick) Carone in Caron(e) Productions. Carone Productions initially managed, produced and published acts (including WLS super-DJ Dick Biondi) for the IRC / International Recording Company label, 5619 W. Division.

Carone Productions eventually had The Drew-Vels and Patti Drew (Capitol), Drew-Vels offshoot The Naturals (Smash), The New Tradition (Capitol) and Andy & The Manhattans (Musicor).

In 1965-66, in between Capitol contracts, The Drew-Vels and Patti Drew appeared on Wright's Quill label. Quill, largely devoted to garage rock, existed through TwiLight's first four releases.

From 1965 to 1974, Peter Wright managed, produced and published The New Colony Six (15 Billboard Pop chart items on Centaur / Sentaur / Sentar, Mercury and SunLight). Solo artist and New Colony Six member Ronnie Rice (IRC, MGM, Limelight and SunLight) also benefited from Peter Wright's leadership.

Throughout the 1960's and 1970's Peter Wright's Edgewater publishing credit appeared on a wide variety of Chicago-related pop, middle-of-the-road and even country releases. Some of the labels involved were Mercury (The Rooks, Mob, Riddles, Exceptions), Smash (The Delights), Fontana (Little Boy Blues), Philips (The Guild, Princetons), Mod (Commons Ltd.), Cameo (The Mob, Fabulous Flippers), Cadet (The Shades), United Artists (Ralph Marterie), Kapp (Haydon Thompson), and, reflecting Wright's close ties with Chicagoan Hugh M. Hefner, Playboy (Chapter Thirteen).

Chicago's U.S.A. Records was in charge of TwiNight's pressing, distributor sales and marketing until August 1971. (Thereafter, those functions were handled by TwiNight alone.) On February 18, 1967, just before TwiLight was formed, U.S.A. Records hit #1 on Billboard's Pop chart with The Buckinghams' "Kind Of A Drag."

The U.S.A. label (run by Jim Golden and Bob Monaco) was a division of All State (aka Allstate) Record Distributing Company, Paul Glass, President (d. at age 60, March 29, 1986). All State and U.S.A. had separate offices at various addresses (1448, 1450, 1507 & 2131) on South Michigan Ave. All State also had a facility at 3035 W. 47th St. In 1967, All State distributed the Atlantic, Chess, Checker, Cadet, Motown, Gordy and Stax labels throughout Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

Cash Box, October 5, 1968: "Bedno-Wright Associates, a new independent promotion firm, has been formed by Howard Bedno and Peter H. Wright, two top promo men in the Chicago area. Bedno recently exited Allstate Record Distributors where he had been promotion manager for ten years." Howard Bedno brought the Chess, Atlantic and Motown accounts to Bedno-Wright Associates.

Howard Bedno had founded the Cobra blues label with Eli Toscano in Chicago in the 1950's. (Bedno was also the namesake of "H B Goose Step," the 'B' side of the Rivieras' #5 hit "California Sun" on U.S.A.-distributed Riviera Records!)

According to Robert Pruter's research, TwiNight mainstay Syl Johnson was born Sylvester Thompson, July 31, 1936 in Hot Springs, Mississippi. The 1968 TwiNight bio Into Syl Johnson claimed: "July 25, 1941, Hollis Springs, Mississippi."

Syl Johnson had been recording since 1959 with little success. Then, in 1966, WVON DJ (and future TwiNight recording artist) E. Rodney Jones brought Syl Johnson to Peter Wright's attention. Two Syl Johnson 45s on the Zachron label had recently seen substantial Chicago airplay: "Try Me" (re-recorded for the 'B' side of TwiLight 100; different song from the Fontella Bass Bowie co-composed "Try Me" on TwiNight 107) and "Straight Love, No Chaser."

Syl Johnson's scorching slice of raw soul, "Come On Sock It To Me," inaugurated TwiLight Records in April 1967. The song peaked at #5 on the Cash Box R&B chart. The follow-up, "Different Strokes" (Billboard R&B #17) was the final release under the TwiLight banner.

In July 1968, Syl Johnson cut the pivotal "I Can Take Care Of Business" in Memphis with producer Willie Mitchell. It was released in November as the flip side of "Dresses Too Short" (Billboard R&B #36). Also done with Mitchell were the sequels "I Take Care Of Homework" and "Let Them Hang High."

Syl Johnson reigned as the #14 Top Male Vocalist on the 1970 Cash Box R&B Survey thanks to his biggest hit, "Is It Because I'm Black" (Cash Box R&B #3; Record World R&B #2; Billboard R&B # 11; Billboard Pop #68), not to mention "Concrete Reservation" (Cash Box R&B #26; Billboard R&B #29) and "One Way Ticket To Nowhere" (Cash Box R&B #33; Billboard R&B #24).

"Is It Because I'm Black" hit #1 on Detroit s WJLB Tigeradio Survey on November 24, 1969 and was even licensed to Spain's Discophon label in February 1970. (Check out the 7:35 album version.) Arnold Brodsky on "Is It Because I'm Black" and "Concrete Reservation," Rolling Stone, June 11, 1970: "Johnson always manages to get a good, tight arrangement going in back of his beautiful high blues voice--a voice so rich and naturally expressive that anything he sings has a moving impact..."

In 1971, after one last hit ("Get Ready"; Billboard R&B #34), Syl Johnson signed with Hi Records. On Hi, Syl Johnson was always in the shadow of superstar Al Green. Johnson's first release, "The Love You Left Behind" (Hi 2201) vanished without a trace, buried forever by Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" (Hi 2202).

Syl Johnson received producer credit on 15 TwiNight singles by The Notations, Johnny Williams, Guys and Dolls, Josephine Taylor, Dynamic Tints, Annette Poindexter, Harmonica George, Pieces of Peace and Elvin Spencer. But Peter Wright played a very active role in all TwiNight recording sessions. To prevent cries of "conflict of interest" from his clients, Wright's name did not appear in label credits.

Syl Johnson's second stage backing group, The Pieces Of Peace, signed with TwiNight on July 23, 1969. The Pieces Of Peace: Harold 'Hal' Nesbitt (leader & drums), Bernard Reed (bass), John Bishop (guitar), Jerry Wilson (sax), and Michael Davis (trumpet).

The Pieces Of Peace first appeared on Syl Johnson's "Is It Because I'm Black" (Twi 125) and had the killer solo 45 "Pass It On, Parts 1 & 2" (Twi 142). In between, Bernard Reed wrote Syl Johnson's "Together Forever" (Twi 129) and "Kiss By Kiss" (Twi 134). Reed also wrote Annette Poindexter's "Wayward Dream" and co-wrote "Mama" (Twi 132).

The Notations (Clifford Curry, Robert Thomas & Jimmy Stroud) had a major national chart single with "I'm Still Here" (TwiNight 141; September 1970; Billboard R&B #26; Cash Box R&B #41). Follow-ups included "At The Crossroads" / "A New Day" (Twi 148) and "I've Been Trying" / 'Just You and Me" (Twi 152).

"I've Been Trying" was the only TwiNight release written by Chicago soul legend Curtis Mayfield. In 1975-76, The Notations notched four more R&B chart records on the Curtom subsidiary Gemigo.

TwiNight solo artist Jimmy Jones ("Yesterday's Mistakes" / 'I Want Action") co-wrote / directed Syl Johnson's "Is It Because I'm Black" and produced Johnson's "Concrete Reservation" and 'Kiss By Kiss.' He also produced the "Is It Because I'm Black" album (with the Pieces Of Peace), co-writing the 7:10 "Right On."

Jimmy Jones also wrote and produced The Kaldirons' "You And Me Baby" / "To Love Someone (That Don't Love You)." Although he had no involvement in Josephine Taylor's TwiNight single, Jimmy Jones co-wrote and produced her three Mar-V-Lus 45s in 1966. Jones also worked with Otis Clay on One-derful! ("Fallin' In And Out Of Love") and Alvin Cash on Mar-V-Lus ("The Boston Monkey," "The Philly Freeze," "Alvin's Boo-Ga-Loo").

Since Peter Wright had known the Leaner family since 1953, it was only natural that there would be other TwiNight connections with George W. Leaner's One-derful!, Mar-V-Lus and Toddlin' Town labels. TwiNight artists Guys and Dolls and Harmonica George (Robinson) first appeared on Toddlin' Town.

And Simtec Simmons (b. December 19, 1944, Chicago) and Wylie Dixon (b. March 19, 1936, Columbus, Mississippi) were also Toddlin Town artists. Simtec & Wylie (2531 E. 73rd St, Chicago) produced TwiNight 138 "Satisfied" / "Is It Meant To Be" by The Krystal Generation (Joyce Smith, Darlene Arnold, Mary Shelley and Mary Lead). The Krystal Generation also recorded for Mister Chand and CMC. Simtec & Wylie likewise recorded for Syl Johnson's Cotillion-distributed Shama label and Gene Chandler's Mercury subsidiary Mister Chand.

Richard Pegue (b. July 29, 1943; d. March 3, 2009) arranged and produced several acts on Toddlin Town.


November 22, 2011

Numero Group 039
Eccentric Soul:
The Nickel & Penny Labels
CD / 2LP

Record World
April 15, 1967

Billboard
February 7, 1968


Richard Pegue, formerly of the Penny and Nickel labels and later a popular WVON DJ, wrote, arranged and produced The Perfections' TwiNight single "Which One Am I" / "Why Do You Want To Make Me Sad." Pegue even wrote "Nevermore" and co-produced "You Need To Be Loved On" for Renaldo Domino.

Silky power vocalist Renaldo Domino (b. Reynaldo Jones) was managed and produced by William Sandy Johnson (8140 S. Morgan, Chicago). With three TwiNight singles to his credit, Domino had previously recorded for Mercury's Smash and Blue Rock labels --again with Richard Pegue songwriting involvement.

Singer/pianist/arranger Donny Edward Hathaway (d. January 13, 1979) won a Grammy award in 1973 for "Where Is The Love" with Roberta Flack. From 1972 to 1978, he had six R&B hits on his own.

Donny Hathaway first appeared on TwiNight as the co-composer of "I've Made Up My Mind" by Evanston, Illinois' Josephine Taylor (Twi 122; August 1969). Donny Hathaway arranged Syl Johnson's "Kiss By Kiss" / "One Way Ticket To Nowhere" (Twi 134), "Thank You Baby" / "We Do It Together" (Twi 144) and The Dynamic Tints' "Be My Lady" / "Falling In Love" (Twi 145).

On October 12, 1970, Donny Hathaway arranged the Syl Johnson-produced Garland Green:
20326 Just My Way Of Loving You (Cotillion 45-44126)
20327 Plain And Simple Girl (Cotillion 45-44098)
20328 Always Be My Baby (Cotillion 45-44126)
20329 Hey Cloud (Cotillion 45-44098)

The Dynamic Tints (Ron Quinn & LaMont Sanders) had previously recorded under the name Village: "Destiny" / "To See You" (TDQ Records SQ-345).

Buster Benton (b. Arley Benton, July 19, 1932, Texarkana, Arkansas; d. January 20, 1996) had two singles on TwiNight: "Hole In My Head" / "That's The Reason" (Twi 113) and "Catch Up With The World" / "Do As You Please" (Twi 117). Nat Meadows, co-writer and producer of Buster Benton's TwiNight material, owned Chicago's Al-Teen label. Buster Benton played guitar for bluesman Willie Dixon for many years and for a time owned Chicago's Stardust Lounge.

For TwiNight 153, "My Sunshine Girl" / "Don't Wanna Face the Truth," The Radiants (Mitchell Bullock, Wallace Sampson & James Jameson) featured a special background vocalist: Maurice McAlister, lead singer during the first phase of the group's illustrious Chess career (1962-1966).

Johnny Williams (b. January 15, 1942, Tyler, Alabama) entered the world of R&B managed by WVON DJs Pervis Spann and E. Rodney Jones. Johnny Williams cut "My Baby's Good" / "Philly Dog" for Chess in 1966. Johnny Williams' Syl Johnson-produced "Women" / "Breaking Point" was the first single issued on the TwiNight imprint (Twi 105; 1967).

In 1968, TwiNight released a second Johnny Williams 45, the Scott Brothers-penned "Maggie" (Twi 109). Among their many credits, Howard Seaphus Scott and Walter Scott wrote songs for Toddlin' Town artists Alvin Cash, Bull & The Matadors & The Toddlin' Town Sounds (1969). And Howard Scott had produced TwiNight 104 with Stormy (aka John Colley).

"Soul Heaven" by WVON DJ E. Rodney Jones (TwiNight 154) was an unusual (break-in) tribute to deceased artists Jimi Hendrix, Billy Stewart and Otis Redding, among others. Club owner/artist manager E. Rodney Jones, profiled by Radio & Records in 1993 as a "Legend Of Black Radio," was a major force in Chicago's black community during the 1960's and 1970's. He also recorded for the Tuff label (two cuts produced by Cash McCall) and Double Soul (with Toddlin' Town act Larry and the Hippies).

The TwiNight connections of WVON DJs E. Rodney Jones and Richard Pegue are instructive. Joe Cobb, co-producer of TwiNight 146 by The Mist, was also a WVON DJ.

Peter Wright's "friend-ola" (not payola) produced the biggest results. In 1996, Peter Wright was asked if he had indeed ruled Chicago's radio playlists with an iron fist. "I did alright," he replied, with a knowing glint in his eye. And with SunLight now operating as a jazz label, one doesn't have to be psychic to predict that Peter Wright, one of the true legends of the Chicago music industry, will continue to do alright.


Chicago Sun-Times
January 19, 1997, SUNDAY
SECTION: SHOWCASE;
SPIN CONTROL; Pg. 13

Recently released recordings are rated on a scale between (STAR) (poor) and (STAR)(STAR)(STAR)(STAR) (essential).

"TwiNight's Chicago Soul Heaven 1967-72" (Kent/Soul) (STAR)(STAR)(STAR)(STAR)

Chicago's melting-pot character can spill over into music.

How else can you explain the legacy of TwiNight Records? The urban soul label was founded in 1967 by Chicago impresario Peter Wright, who managed the New Colony Six, a suburban pop band that had national hits.

"TwiNight's Chicago Soul Heaven 1967-72" is a superb 24-song, single-CD retrospective of the label's amazing output. Chicago soul star Syl Johnson was the anchor at TwiNight, producing 15 lilting singles for the likes of the Dynamic Tints and the Princes of Peace. Two gritty Johnson tracks are also included, as well as the Notations' "A New Day," an upbeat 1971 Curtis Mayfield-influenced track that was produced by Johnson.

Other nuggets emerge here: The late singer-songwriter Donny Hathaway (who dueted with Roberta Flack on the 1972 hit "Where Is the Love") debuted on Twinight as co-composer of Josephine Taylor's 1969 gospel-influenced regional hit "I've Made Up My Mind," and the late bluesman and Willie Dixon guitarist Buster Benton pops up with the pleading "That's the Reason." Painfully researched liner notes by Chicago writer Harry Young will help guide a listener through this underappreciated chapter in Chicago soul music.

"TwiNight's Chicago Soul Heaven" is available at Tower Records; Rock Records, 175 W. Washington, or by writing Kent Records, 42-50 Steele Rd., London, England NW10 7AS.

~ Dave Hoekstra


SYL JOHNSON
TWILIGHT / TWINIGHT
BY HARRY YOUNG, 2009

TwiLight 100
TM 2076 Come On And Sock It To Me
(Syl Johnson - Josephine Armstead - Jesse Anderson)
TM 2077 Try Me
(John Andrew Cameron - Syl Johnson - Nathaniel Meadows)
Cash Box Review May 20, 1967
Entered Cash Box R&B June 10, 1967, #5
Entered Billboard R&B July 15, 1967, #12
Entered Cash Box Pop August 12, 1967, #92
Entered Billboard Pop August 19, 1967, #97
Entered Billboard Bubbling Under September 9, 1967, #103

TwiLight 103
TM 2242 Different Strokes
(John Andrew Cameron - John Zachary)
TM 2241 Sorry Bout Dat
(Josephine Armstead)
Billboard Review September 2, 1967
Record World Review September 2, 1967
Entered Cash Box R&B September 16, 1967, #42
Entered Billboard R&B September 23, 1967, #17
Entered Billboard Pop October 14, 1967, #95
Entered Cash Box Pop October 28, 1967, #96

TwiNight 106
UK3M 3840 Ode To Soul Man
(John Andrew Cameron - Syl Johnson)
UK3M 3841 I'll Take Those Skinny Legs
(John Andrew Cameron - Syl Johnson - John Zachary)
Billboard Review December 16, 1967
Record World Review December 16, 1967

TwiNight 107
TM 2671 I Feel An Urge
(Josephine Armstead)
TM 2673 Try Me
(Fontella Bass Bowie - Jackie Ellison)
Copyright May 24, 1968

TwiNight 108
Send Me Some Lovin
(Richard Penniman)
I Resign (From Your Love)
(Syl Johnson - Seaphus Scott)
Cash Box Review June 1, 1968

TwiNight 110
TM 2926 Dresses Too Short
(Carl William Smith - Syl Johnson)
TM 2927 I Can Take Care Of Business
(James Evans Fuller)
Entered Billboard R&B November 23, 1968, #36
Entered Cash Box R&B November 23, 1968, #42

TwiNight 116
TM 3202 Take Me Back
(Carl William Smith - Syl Johnson)
TM 3203 I Take Care Of Homework
(Carl William Smith - Syl Johnson)

DRESSES TOO SHORT
TwiNight LPS 1001
Billboard Review February 22, 1969

Side 1
01. Dresses Too Short
02. I Can Take Care Of Business
03. Different Strokes
04. Soul Drippin'
05. Fox Hunting On The Weekend
06. Ode To Soul Man
Side 2
07. Come On Sock It To Me
08. I'll Take Those Skinny Legs
09. Try Me
10. Same Kind Of Thing
11. I've Got The Real Thing
~ Oxford American
Southern Music CD #13, 2011
12. Sorry 'Bout Dat!

TwiNight 118
TM 3498 Don't Give It Away
(Syl Johnson - Glenn C. Watts)
TM 3499 Going To The Shack
(Syl Johnson - Byron Steward)
Cash Box Review August 16, 1969

TwiNight 125
TM 3824 Is It Because I'm Black
(Jimmy L. Jones - Glenn C. Watts - Syl Johnson)
TM 3847 Let Them Hang High
(Carl William Smith - Syl Johnson)
Billboard Review October 18, 1969
Entered Cash Box R&B November 1, 1969, #3
Entered Billboard R&B November 8, 1969, #11
Entered Billboard Pop December 13, 1969, #68

IS IT BECAUSE I'M BLACK
TwiNight LPS 1002
Record World Review April 18, 1970
Same week as
New Colony Six
People And Me
Mercury 73063
Billboard Review April 25, 1970:
James Brown said he's "black and proud," but Syl Johnson speaks for many more blacks when he asks "Is It Because I'm Black" for seven and a half minutes on his first TwiNight LP. His follow-up success, "Concrete Reservation" further expresses black frustration, bringing to the soul charts a basic, vital message, basically produced and performed. The Beatles' "Come Together" and his "Right On" also star.

Side 1
01. Is It Because I'm Black
02. Come Together
03. Together, Forever
Side 2
04. Concrete Reservation
05. Black Balloons
06. Walk A Mile In My Shoes
07. I'm Talkin' 'Bout Freedom
08. Right On

TwiNight 129
T 130 Concrete Reservation
(Jimmy L. Jones)
T 131 Together Forever
(Bernard Reed)
Entered Cash Box R&B February 21, 1970, #26
Entered Billboard Pop February 28, 1970, #29

TwiNight 134
Z4KM 2894 1 One Way Ticket To Nowhere
(Jack Daniels - John Moore)
Z4KM 2893 1 Kiss By Kiss
(Bernard Reed - Daniel Reed - Othie Wright)
Label Information April 27, 1970
Billboard Review May 23, 1970
Record World Review May 23, 1970
Entered Billboard R&B June 27, 1970, #24
Entered Cash Box R&B July 4, 1970, #33
Entered Billboard Bubbling Under July 11, 1970, #125

TwiNight 144
Z3KM 3928 Thank You Baby
(Jack Daniels - John Moore)
Z3KM 3929 We Do It Together
(Jack Daniels - John Moore)
Billboard Review January 16, 1971

TwiNight 149
A4KM-2414 Get Ready
(William Robinson)
A4KM-2415 Same Kind Of Thing
(Carl William Smith - Syl Johnson)
Billboard Review March 20, 1971
Record World Review March 20, 1971
Entered Billboard R&B April 17, 1971, #34
Entered Cash Box R&B April 24, 1971, #42

TwiNight 151
A4KM 3057 Annie Got Hot Pants Power PT1
(Earl Randell)
A4KM 3058 Annie Got Hot Pants Power PT2
(Earl Randell)
Record World Review June 19, 1971

Hi 2201
The Love You Left Behind
Anyone But You
Billboard Review November 6, 1971
Entered Cash Box R&B November 27, 1971, #50
Entered Billboard R&B January 8, 1972, #43

TwiNight 155
TWR-5004-A That's Why (I Love You So)
(Tyran Carlo - Berry Gordy, Jr)
TWR-5005-B Everybody Needs Love
(B. Bowie - W. Keyes)
Billboard Review January 15, 1972


TwiLight / TwiNight Discography
with certain Quill and Twin-Spin
by Harry Young

Twi #	  Artist	    Title				Master

TwiLight
100	Syl Johnson		Come On Sock It To Me		TM-2076		4/67
				Try Me				 TM-2077

Twin-Spin
3000	The Prophets	        Yes I Know				TM-2078
				Sad On Me				TM-2079

Quill
121	The Skunks							TM-2157
									TM-2158

TwiLight
101	The Soul-Heirs	        Hot Links			52667-A		6/67
				Nicotine & Alcohol		52667-B

TwiLight
102	George McGregor and the Bronzettes
				Temptation Is Hard To Fight	TM-2193		8/67
	The McGregor Brothers
				Every Time I Wake Up		TM-[2194]

Quill
116	The Night Flight						TM-2195
									TM-2196

Quill
118									TM-2231
									TM-2232

TwiLight
103	Syl Johnson		Sorry Bout Dat			TM-2241		8/67
				Different Strokes		TM-2242

Quill
120	The Skunks		Don't Ask Why			TM-2255
								TM-2256
TwiLight
104	Stormy		        The Devastator			TM-2281		1967
				I Won't Stop To Cry		TM-2282
TwiNight
105	Johnny Williams	        Women				UK3M-2928		1967
				Breaking Point			UK3M-2930

106	Syl Johnson		Ode To Soul Man			UK3M-3840		11/67
				I'll Take Those Skinny Legs	UK3M-3841

107	Syl Johnson		I Feel An Urge			TM-2671		5/68
				Try Me				TM-2673

108	Syl Johnson		Send Me Some Lovin 					1968
				I Resign

109	Johnny Williams	        Maggie				TM-2872		1968
				Breaking Point			     TM-2873

110	Syl Johnson		Dresses Too Short		TM-2926		11/68
				I Can Take Care Of Business	TM-2927

111	The Mob		        Unbelievable			W3KM-6275-1
				Try A Little Tenderness		W3KM-6272-2

112	The Mystiques	        So Good To Have You Home Again			1/69
				Put Out The Fire

113	Buster Benton	        That's The Reason		20668-01		1969
				Hole In My Head			20668-02
114	Sidney Pinchback	Soul Strokes							1969
	Schiller Street Gang
				Remind Me

115	Rooks		        Hoping To Be Gone Soon  TM-3204				1969
				Free Sunday Paper	TM-3205

116	Syl Johnson		Take Me Back		TM-3202		3/69
				I Take Care Of Homework TM-3203

117	Buster Benton	        Catch Up With The World				1969
				Do As You Please

118	Syl Johnson		Don't Give It Away		TM-3498		7/69
				Going To The Shack		TM-3499

119	Mickey Larry & The Exciters
				Stranded In The Middle Of No Place
									TM-3527		1969
				You Don't Know What You Mean To Me
									TM-3528

120	The Guild		The Sun Shines For You		STM-3634		1969
				You've Got The Cutest Smile	STM-3635

121	Guys And Dolls	        Happy Feelin'  Pt. 1						7/69
				Happy Feelin'  Pt. 2

122	Josephine Taylor	Is It Worth A Chance		TM-3815		8/69
				I've Made Up My Mind		TM-3816

123	The Dynamic Tints
				Package Of Love Pt. I		TM-3752		9/69
				Package Of Love Pt. II		TM-3753

124	The Machine	        Doesn't Matter Anyway		STM-3883		9/69
				Don't Bury Me Deep		STM-3884

125	Syl Johnson		Is It Because I'm Black		TM-3824		9/69
				Let Them Hang High		TM-3847

126	The Perfections	        Which One Am I			TM-4046		1969
				Why Do You Want To Make Me Sad
									TM-4047

127	Lincoln Park Zoo	Kissy Face				TM-4050		1969
				My Baby Can Do It			TM-4051

128	Renaldo Domino	        Not Too Cool To Cry		TM-4048		12/69
				Nevermore			TM-4049

129	Syl Johnson & The Pieces Of Peace
				Concrete Reservation		Z3KM-2188-1	2/70
				Together Forever		Z3KM-2189-1

130	Jimmy Jones	        Yesterday's Mistakes			TM-4280		1970
				I Want Action			TM-[4281]

131	The Kaldirons	        You And Me Baby			TM-4277		1970
				To Love Someone (That Don't Love You)
								TM-4278

132	Annette Poindexter & Pieces Of Peace Orchestra
				Wayward Dream			Z4KM-2889-1	5/70
				Mama				Z4KM-2890-1

133	The Dynamic Tints & Pieces Of Peace Orchestra
				Be My Lady				Z4KM-2891-1	5/70
				Rosemarie				Z4KM-2892-1

134	Syl Johnson		Kiss By Kiss			Z4KM-2893-1	5/70
				One Way Ticket To Nowhere	Z4KM-2894-1

135	Chuck And Mac	        Powerful Love			Z4KM-3047		6/70
				The Bear			Z4KM-3048

136	Harmonica George
				You Make Me Tick			Z4KM-3045		1970
				Freelance				Z4KM-3046

137	Jo Ann Garrett          Goin' Man Huntin'


138	The Krystal Generation
				Satisfied				Z4KM-3043		1970
				Is It Meant To Be			Z4KM-3044

139	Renaldo Domino	        Let Me Come Within		Z4KM-3371		1970
				I'm A Good Man			Z4KM-3372

140	Velma Perkins	        Yes My Goodness Yes 
                                I'll Always Love You

  





141	The Notations	        I Can't Stop			Z4KM-3796		9/70
				I'm Still Here			Z4KM-3797

142	Pieces Of Peace	        Pass It On Pt. 1			Z4KM-3985		10/70
				Pass It On Pt. 2			Z4KM-3986

143	Harrison and the Majestic Kind
				Can You Find Me Love		Z4KM-5020-1	1970
				Tearing Me Up Inside		Z4KM-5021-1

144	Syl Johnson		Thank You Baby			Z3KM-3928		1/71
				We Do It Together		Z3KM-3929

145	The Dynamic Tints
				Falling In Love			Z3KM-3973		2/71
				Be My Lady			Z4KM-2891


146	The Mist		The Girl In The Window		Z3KM-4185		2/71
				Life Walked Out			Z3KM-4186

147	Renaldo Domino	        You Need To Be Loved On         A4KM-2120A	        3/71
				I'm A Good Man			Z4KM-3372

148	The Notations	        At The Crossroads			A3KM-2206	3/71
				A New Day				A4KM-2409

149	Syl Johnson		Get Ready			A4KM-2414		3/71
				Same Kind Of Thing		A4KM-2415

150	Elvin Spencer	        You're Being Unfair		A4KM-2416		1971
				Lift This Hurt			A4KM-2417

151	Syl Johnson		Annie Got Hot Pants Power Pt. 1
									A4KM-3057	6/71
				Annie Got Hot Pants Power Pt. 2
									A4KM-3058



152	The Notations	        Just You And Me			A3KM-2207		7/71
				I've Been Trying		A3KM-2208

153	The Radiants	        My Sunshine Girl			TWR-5000		1971
				Don't Wanna Face The Truth	TWR-5001


154	E. Rodney Jones And Friends
				Soul Heaven			TWR-5002-A	9/71
	Friends		        Soul Heaven (Instrumental)	TWR-5003-B

155	Syl Johnson		That's Why			TWR-5004-A	12/71
				Everybody Needs Love		TWR-5005-B

156	Nate Evans		Pardon My Innocent Heart	TWR-5006-A	1972
				Main Squeeze			TWR-5007-B







DayLight

1000	The Mob		        Open the Door To Your Heart	DA-0001		1971
				I Wish You'd Leave Me Alone	DA-0002






SunLight

1001	The New Colony Six									
				Roll On				SUR-A3KS-3317	7/71
				If You Could See			SUR-A3KS-2536

1002	The Lunartics	        Mountains Of The Moon		SUR-6000-A	1971
									SUR-6001-B

1003	Chuck & Mary Perrin
				Dealer				SUR-6002-A	1971
				Life Is A Stream			SUR-6003-B



1004	The New Colony Six									
				Long Time To Be Alone		SUR-6003-A		10/71
				Never Be Lonely			SUR-6004-B 



1005	New Colony Six	        Someone Sometime		SUR-6005-A		 2/72
				Come On Down			SUR-6006-B


1006	Ral Donner		Don't Let It Slip Away		SUR-6007-A		6/72
				Wait A Minute Now		SUR-6007-B

1007	Wildflower		Enjoy					SUR-6008-A	6/72
				For Me				SUR-6008-B

1008	Kris Erik Stevens	Training Wheels			SUR-6009-A		7/72
				I Kept On Loving You		SUR-6009-B

2012	Ronnie Rice		Fooled Again						1978
				You Never Know



Blues On Blues

2000	Jimmy Reed		Cold Chills				BOB 0010-A			
				You Just A Womper Stomper	BOB 0010-B

2001	Detroit Jr.		Call My Job				BOB 0011-A			
				Don t Get In My Shape		BOB 0011-B

2002	Willie Mabon	        Poison Ivy				BOB 0012-A		
				Guilty Blues				BOB 0012-B

?	Snookie Pryor		?



Torrid

5000	Lucille Spann & The Chicago Blues Band
				Country Girl Returns Part 1	BOB 0013-A		6/72
				Country Girl Returns Pt. 2	BOB 0013-B




TwiNight Unreleased*

Syl Johnson				My Funky Band
					Love Condition
					Half A Love
					Sockin  Soul Power				5/68
					Double Whammy
					The Way You Do The Things You Do
					Try My Love Again
					Remind Me*
					Love With A Feeling*
					Do Mine Baby*
					Everybody Needs Love
					Wiggle In Your Hips
Renaldo Domino			        Two Years Four Days	A4KM-2119		3/71
					(intended  B  side of Twi 147)
Rude Awakening			        ?
The Notations			        Lonely People
The Dynamic Tints		        Loving Couple
					No One Else




TwiNight Productions

Capitol 3625	Ronnie Rice		Maybe Someday		S45 90010		1973
					Shake Me Loose		S45 90011

Capitol 3902	Ronnie Rice		Love Sweet Love		S45 90866		1974
					Sweet Southern Soul	S45 90867

RCA 74-0507[  ]
		Stronghold		Sow The Seed		APKS-4908[  ]	1974
									APKS-4908[  ]

MCA 40215	The New Colony Six
					Never Be Lonely		MC2208		1974
					Long Time To Be Alone	MC2209

MCA 40288	The New Colony Six
					I Don't Really Want To Go			1975
					Run

Big Tree 1602[  ]
		Sweet Nothin 	        Dance Zurina					1974
					S. B. Special

Hi 5N-2298	Heinsight		Harlem Shuffle		Hi 2983		1975
					Disco Hustle			Hi 2984

Buddah 498	Jo Ellen Cohn	        Starting To Fall	BDA-498-A		1975
					I'll Never Love You	BDA-498-B



Albums

TwiNight

LPS 1001 	Syl Johnson				Dresses Too Short	        1969
LPS 1002 	Syl Johnson				Is It Because I'm Black		1970





SunLight

SLT 1	Chuck And Mary Perrin		Life Is A Stream 	1971
SU 5000	Reo Street			Continental Attitude	1995
SU 5001	Brad Goode			Brad Goode		1995
SU 5002	Stanislav Venglevski		Stas!!!			1995
SU 5003	Faye Bolden			Love Speak              1996
SU 5004	The Notations			2nd Time Around		1996
SU 5005	Lisa McClowry and Tom Linsk				1996
SU 5006	Warren Kime and Bobby Schiff    Concerto For "2"	        1998
SU 5007	Ronnie Rice			Refried Rice '61 - '86 	1997



Blues On Blues

BOB 10000	Homesick James			The Country Blues			12/71
BOB 10001	Jimmy Reed			Let The Bossman Speak		12/71
BOB 10002	Big Country Joe Williams	Blues From The Mississippi Delta
												12/71
BOB 10003	Earl Lee Hooker			Funk-Last Of The Great Earl Lee 	
						Hooker				12/71
BOB 10004	Willie Mabon			Willie Mabon Is Back- Funky
BOB 10005	Johnny Young			Plays And Sings The Blues
BOB 10006	Detroit Jr.			Chicago Urban Blues



Torrid

TOR 100	Stanley Keeble			        Gospel Truth			12/71
TOR 101	Spencer Jackson Family		        A New Day				12/71


Chicago Sun Times
May 16, 2006

Chicagoan started Cobra Records
BY DAVE HOEKSTRA Staff Reporter

The West Side of Chicago was the window to the world of Howard Bedno. The city's last true independent record promoter died Monday of an apparent heart attack at the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago. He would have been 88 on May 26.

Mr. Bedno was born on the West Side and lived his entire life in Chicago. He was best known for starting Cobra Records with Eli Toscano behind a television repair shop in the 2900 block of West Roosevelt. Between 1956 and 1958, Cobra recorded Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Magic Sam and others. Mr. Bedno also did marketing for the gospel-soul-blues label Vee-Jay Records.

"Howard came up with [Vee-Jay President] Ewart Abner when they brought me the first Beatles record," Chicago radio legend Dick Biondi said Monday. When Biondi was working at WLS-AM in 1963, he became the first disc jockey in America to play the Beatles when he took a chance on "Please, Please, Me." "Howard was a real straight guy," Biondi said. "But what made him special is that he got real close to everybody. He knew if something was bothering you. In recent years we'd go to Eli's three or four times a week. He was one of the best record promoters this country has ever had."

Mr. Bedno attended Marshall High School, 3250 W. Adams, and he fought in Normandy on D-Day. After the war, he was persuaded to pursue music. He liked to get away to Cuba before the 1959 revolution. During the 1960s, Mr. Bedno ran a nightclub called the Brown Shoe, which featured acts like Linda Ronstadt and Jackson Browne.

'Treat Her Groovy'

He also promoted popular 1960s Chicago rock groups like the Buckinghams and the New Colony Six. He produced the New Colony Six hits "I Will Always Think About You" and "Treat Her Groovy." The New Colony Six were born at St. Patrick's High School, 5900 W. Belmont.

In 1963 the Rivieras recorded "California Sun." The fact that the surf group was from South Bend did not deter Mr. Bedno. He brought the record to WLS-AM, which became the first station in the country to play what was to become a smash.

In 1993 Capricorn Records reissued a box set of Cobra's music. At the time Capricorn president Phil Walden said, "The wonderful thing about small independent labels like Cobra is that they did not have the strong financial footing to make more complicated records. So they left us with these simple but straight-ahead recordings." Walden died on April 23 after a long bout with cancer.

In 1981 Mr. Bedno, who was then 63, called on WLUP-FM with friend and Chicago publicist John Iltis. Former WLUP-FM general manager Jimmy DeCastro recalled, "Back in those days we had 'Record Day' when we would play a record it would become an amazing hit. Howard was in our lobby promoting local records."DeCastro added: "After seeing me Howard and John [Iltis] would go to Eli's for a piece of liver and cheesecake. Howard was still effective. He had a great knowledge of music. His Rolodex and the people who he knew and who trusted him were legendary.

"Mr. Bedno is survived by his wife, Catherine, and daughters Maj. Cheryl Bedno, who is stationed in Kenya, and Rebecca, and a grandson. Services are pending.


Howard Bedno
1918-2006

Music promoter in '50s, '60s

A pitchman without any musical talent of his own, he aided jazz, Motown, and pop groups through radio contacts, his own record label, and a club

by Brendan McCarthy, Staff reporter
Chicago Tribune
May 19, 2006

A consummate pitchman, Howard Bedno promoted for decades the music that energized Chicago.

He couldn't play a lick and couldn't sing the slightest bit, but he used his charm and a bevy of contacts to put jazz, Motown and pop music groups on the map, friends and family said.

Mr. Bedno, 87, a record company co-founder, music and concert promoter, died of a heart attack Monday, May 15, at the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago.

In an age of music downloads and radio conglomerates, friends and former associates considered Mr. Bedno to be one of the city's last truly independent record promoters.

He is perhaps best known for launching Cobra Records with Eli Toscano in the mid-1950s in a television shop on the West Side, friends said. The label went on to record Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, and Magic Sam.

The company lasted only from 1956-1958, but it is memorialized in a CD boxed set, "The Cobra Records Story," released in 1993 by Capricorn Records. Mr. Bedno grew up on the West Side and graduated from Marshall High School, his family said. He fought during World War II with the Army in Normandy and set his sights on the music industry shortly after returning from service.

After Cobra Records folded, he worked briefly for Vee-Jay Records and then went into the music-promotion business, family and friends said. Record companies hired him to get radio stations to play their songs.

"Howard knew all the players," said his close friend John Iltis, who heads an entertainment marketing firm. "He knew how to get his stuff on the radio in Chicago and Milwaukee. When Howard called, they said, come on in."

During the early 1960s, Mr. Bedno co-owned the Brown Shoe, a short-lived downtown nightclub, his family said. He also promoted rock groups like the New Colony Six and the Buckinghams.

In 1966 he married Catherine Jergovich, and they had two children. The couple lived in the Lincoln Park neighborhood for more than 30 years.

"He gave the nightlife up when the girls came along," his wife said. "He'd always be home in time for dinner. Music and family really was his life."

Mr. Bedno typically carried around a portable record player and played any record pushed his way.

"He always went with his gut feeling," his wife said. "If he liked it, he'd back it. If he didn't, well that was it."

Despite his long career in the industry, Mr. Bedno wasn't one for collecting music himself. He had a small collection, his wife said.

He particularly loved Motown music, and switching from vinyl albums to compact discs was a "big process," his wife said.

One of his beloved hobbies was meeting with his lunch crew--a mix of Chicago powerbrokers and media makers who patronized downtown steakhouses for decades, said Marc Schulman, president of Eli's Cheesecake Co.

Regulars in his group included radio executive John Gehron; Bernie Judge, former city editor of the Chicago Tribune; Chicago Sun-Times columnist Irv Kupcinet; Bears owner Ed McCaskey; journalist Steve Neal; and Schulman's father, Eli, Schulman said.

"He knew rock stars, but he preferred to just hang and eat lunch with his buddies," said his daughter, Rebecca Bedno.

For decades Mr. Bedno, the proclaimed captain of the lunch crew, held court in the former Eli's The Place for Steak in downtown Chicago, Schulman said. The irony was, Mr. Bedno eschewed red meat and didn't eat steak.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Bedno is survived by another daughter, Sheryl Bedno; and a grandson.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Memorial Park Cemetery, 9900 Gross Point Rd., Skokie.


Terry Stafford
Suspicion
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