King Snake Records
King Snake Records was formed in 1986. Its flagship release was a
fourth album by national cult favorite Root Boy Slim. Since then, King
Snake has grown from a tiny Blues label into one of America's most
respected independent labels, with worldwide distribution. In general,
King Snake follows the Stax/Volt and Capricorn model, specializing in
the music of the South, specifically Blues, with a fully equipped
24-track studio and Blues/R&B rhythm section( wayback machine ).
Click on any of the following current CD covers to receive more information on the current
roster of artists and their newest CDs, including sound samples and
|| Born to be Blue and Out of Control
||I'm Not For Sale
||Every Shade of Blue
||Standing in the Fire
||YOUNG NEAL & THE VIPERS
||Keepin' a Secret
||Out in the Open
||CHICAGO BOB NELSON
||Back to Bogalusa
||ERIC CULBERSON & THE EROK BAND
||Blues is My Religion
||Cadillac in the Swamp
||DR. HECTOR & THE GROOVE INJECTORS
||FLOYD MILES & FRIENDS
||Goin' Back to Daytona
||BACK PORCH BLUES
|| All-acoustic selections from various artists
||From traditional carols to new tunes, all Blues-style
||HARP BEAT OF THE SWAMP
||King Snake harp classics
||BAG O' BLUES - THE KING SNAKE COLLECTION
||some of everything from our roster
Since that first release, King Snake has produced over sixty CDs, always
with the emphasis on production values. Our second project was a
long-overdue new album by a true dyed-in-the-wool Southern music legend,
Noble "Thin Man" Watts, titled "Return of the Thin Man". Born in
Deland, Florida (20 miles from King Snake) in 1926, Noble grew up
playing piano, violin and trumpet before settling on the tenor sax in
his teens. He enrolled in Florida A&M University, where he was an
original member of the college's famed marching band along with friends
Nat and Cannonball Adderley. He went on to become the featured artist
in orchestras backing Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy
Holly and Jackie Wilson, and then joined the house band at the renowned
Apollo Theater. As a recording artist, he topped the charts in the late
fifties with his cassic Blues instrumentals, "Hard Times" and "Jookin'".
The release in 1986 of "Return of the Thin Man" awakened a whole new
generation of Noble Watts fans with the weeps and wails of his jazzy
honky-tonk sax. The CD was sold to Alligator Records and continues to
sell all these years later, along with two more releases for Ichiban:
1990's swinging jazz/Blues confection entitled "Noble and Nat",
featuring none other than his old college crony Nat Adderley on cornet;
and in 1992 the ultimate Thin Man set, "King of the Boogie Sax".
1987 saw the emergence of another truly authentic Southern bluesman,
Baton Rouge's Raful Neal. After half a lifetime running blues clubs,
recording LPs and singles for small labels and doing some touring with
Buddy Guy while simultaneously raising ten children, Raful came to the
attention of King Snake's president, Bob Greenlee, through Tampa radio
programmer Bob "Soulman" Scheir. There followed two recordings,
"Louisiana Legend" for Alligator and the 1991 Ichiban Records release "I
Been Mistreated". The former featured Raful's young son Kenny on
guitar; thus began a long and successful career for this brilliant blues
star, beginning with the King Snake release in 1988 of "Bio on the
Bayou", re-released on Alligator as "Big News From Baton Rouge". Then
came four more Alligator CDs, all produced at King Snake: "Devil
Child", "Walking On Fire", "Bayou Blood" and "Hoodoo Moon".
In the meantime, a veritable flood of new and exciting blues artists
became part of the King Snake family. Lucky Peterson recorded "Lucky
Strikes!" and "Triple Play", leading to a very successful career with
Alligator until Lucky's graduation to major-label Polygram releases, of
which he now has four. Since all that talent must have come from
somewhere, enter the vastly experienced and multi-talented father, James
Peterson, a man who was born for doing exactly what he does, and that
shows in his own two King Snake-produced CDs, 1990's "Rough & Ready"
and, a year later, "Too Many Knots", both issued on the Ichiban label.
Lazy Lester recorded "Harp and Soul", one of his best-loved works. The
rest of the 80s was a frenzy of creativity from some of the best in the
business: Rufus Thomas recorded "That Woman is Poison!" for Alligator;
Razzy Bailey's "Blues Juice" was released; Alex Taylor recorded "Voodoo
in Me" with such guests as younger brother James Taylor, Gregg Allman,
Lucky Peterson, Noble Watts, The Kinsey Report, and a hot young
harmonica player by the name of Jumpin' Johnny Sansone, who went on to
record two of his own highly acclaimed CDs, "Where Y'At?" and "Mr. Good
Thing"; the pride of Miami, Iko-Iko, came up with "Snowstorm in the
Jungle"; and the always-irreverent Reverend Billy C. Wirtz released
"Deep Fried & Sanctified" on King Snake and "Backsliders Tractor Pull",
which started his ongoing HighTone Records career. Troy Turner and Joe
Beard both turned in excellent and well-received CDs. Not so
coincidentally, many of these artists were backed by a core of session
players whose diversified experiences turned them into a rock-solid unit
that became known as the Midnight Creepers. It was time for their own
CD; the result was "Breaking Point", the first release on Ichiban's new
Wild Dog Blues label.
In 1989, Tallahassee's Bill Wharton started cooking up a storm with his
"Sauce Boss" release, featuring his killer slide guitar and a huge pot
of gumbo on the cover. Bill believes that the two main staples in life
are food and music. Four CDs later, he still preaches "the gospel
according to gumbo", playing slide and washboard while he adds crawfish,
chicken, sausage and his own "Liquid Summer" hot sauce (plus a little
beer) to a steaming pot on stage and feeds the entire crowd at the end
of every gig. Check out his newest release on King Snake, "Standing in
the Fire". Better yet, go hear the gumbo and taste the blues.
First out of the gate in the new decade was the very impressive
left-handed Stratslinger/singer/songwriter/harmonica player Ace Moreland, an Oklahoma bluesman with such a unique style that his first
CD, "Sizzlin' Hot!", featuring Edgar Winter on sax and vocals and Lucky
Peterson on keyboards, made the blues world sit up and take notice. It
was followed by "I'm a Damn Good Time", "Jealous Man", and latest and
most diverse, "Keepin' a Secret". The combination of Ace's unmistakable
voice, inspired harp and guitar work, and brilliantly crafted songs has
earned him rave reviews from Guitar Magazine and Living Blues, plus the
nomination for 1997's Best Blues Performer by the Orlando Music Awards.
Like your blues truly original? Ace is the place!
Then along came Dr. Hector & the Groove Injectors, headed by former
Southern rock group Grinderswitch founder Dru Lombar. During the first
half of the 1990s Dr. Hector made four fine CDs: "Prescription", "House
Calls", Emergency", and the latest, "Bad Connection", with more new and
varied sounds that are evidence of the band's continuing growth. You
can be sure they'll go on being referred to as "the world's
hardest-working road band", playing nearly 300 nights a year all across
the U.S. as well as in Canada, Japan and Europe.
SmokeHouse hails from New Smyrna Beach, and practically defines the term
"Florida swamp blues". Stripped-down rhythms, scorching guitar licks
and an eerie, haunting harmonica combine with dark, sexy vocals and
great original songs on three CDs to date: "Let's Swamp Awhile", "Swamp
Jive", and the CD that Living Blues called the best new release of the
year, "Cadillac in the Swamp". And keep an eye out in early 1998 for
"Edge of the Swamp". (See a pattern here?) Solid, down-home blues at
In January of 1991, King Snake signed Sonny Rhodes , the turbaned king of
the lap steel guitar who had spent many years traveling the world from
his home in Smithville, Texas and making several records for European
labels. His first King Snake release was the aptly titled "Disciple of
the Blues" and was so successful tht three more followed rapidly:
"Living Too Close to the Edge" in 1992, "The Blues is My Best Friend" in
'94, and 1996's "Out of Control". Now, with this year's "Born to be
Blue", Sonny proves once again that "it's in him and it's gotta come
out". The fact that he's been a W.C. Handy Award nominee four years
running is just more evidence that this man is an authentic legend.
Closer to home, Daytona Beach native Floyd Miles had laid aside his
musical career for a while. He'd spent his teen years playing the
Boardwalk and local clubs with the kids he'd grown up with - Gregg and
Duane Allman, Billy Joe Royal, Bob Greenlee - but when the Brothers
asked him to hit the road as their drummer, he declined in favor of his
young and growing family. Years later, Floyd, Bob and the alignment of
the planets all came together to declare the time right for a CD from
the man Gregg Allman says taught him how to sing the blues. The upshot
was "Crazy Man", with Gregg contributing B-3 and vocals and other old
friends Dickey Betts, Edgar Winter, Root Boy Slim and Alex Taylor
chipping in as well. Since more is better, "Goin' Back to Daytona"
followed in 1994, again with Gregg and other guest stars. These days,
Floyd can be found almost anywhere in the country, traveling with either
his own band or the Allman Brothers.
Chicago Bob Nelson isn't actually from Chicago, but he spent enough of
his early days hanging around the South side clubs that Muddy Waters
gave him the nickname, and it stuck. Bob was born on the fourth of July
in Bogalusa, Louisiana with a bluesman for a father and people like Lazy
Lester and Slim Harpo for family friends. When he was old enough, he
went on tour as Harpo's harp man so Slim could concentrate on guitar.
His summers were spent with an aunt in Chicago, where he sat in with all
the greats and sometimes did brief tours with Muddy, Junior Wells, Earl
Hooker, Buddy Guy, Howlin' Wolf and J.B. Hutto. A move to Boston, then
another to Atlanta, broadened his experience and began his friendship
with Tinsley Ellis and his recording for Landslide with Tinsley and the
Heartfixers. When Tinsley went solo, so did Bob, who wound up at King
Snake making the highly praised CD, "Back to Bogalusa", with Tinsley as
guitarist. Bob had one earlier King Snake recording entitled "Hit & Run
As an Orlando-area native and world-class blues drummer, Tony Coleman
knew about King Snake from its beginning, but was too much in demand to
have time for a solo project. He's spent his life traveling and
recording with the finest in the blues business: Bobby "Blue" Bland,
Otis Clay, Johnny Taylor, Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Charlie
Musselwhite, Katie Webster, Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Frankie Lee, and for
the last seven years, B.B. King. Tony was one of the founders of Silent
Partners, the best blues rhythm section in the world, and they released
one recording on Antone's Records, "If It's All Night, It's All Right".
On his debut for King Snake, called, appropriately, "Out in the Open",
Tony finally gets a chance to step out front and do his own thing,
writing, arranging and singing as well as stretching all his
considerable drumming muscles.
Meanwhile, Kenny Neal's attention was drawn to a fellow Baton Rouge
artist, a young, very soulful singer named Erica Guerin. Kenny knew
she'd be a perfect addition to the King Snake roster with her range,
power and deep soul roots. Her first CD, "Never Too Late", captured her
vast energy and the essence of her Creole sensibility for music.
Erica's new release is called "Get Real". You can't get more real than
1996 brought a spate of new discoveries from all over the U.S., which
proves that the blues is alive and well everywhere. Providence, Rhode
Island brought us Young Neal & The Vipers, a high-energy trio who have
the rock-edged Northeastern-style blues down to a science, and
contributed a sound that's a beautiful counterpoint to the rest of the
roster. Neal Vitullo's got guitar chops that fans of Stevie Ray and Roy
Buchanan will love. With lethal tone and vibrato, not to mention power
riffs that can splinter bones, this man and his hard-hitting rhythm
section can blow the roof off any venue. Check out their King Snake
debut release, "Thirteen".
Eric Culberson tips the other end of the scale from the other end of the
country. From Savannah, Georgia, Eric and his Erok Band have made a
huge name for themselves while still in their twenties. A young man who
can write so poignantly and play so ferociously and sing so
authentically has to have been born with the blues in his blood. He
admits it, even advertises it, with the title of his first CD, "Blues is
My Religion". He's a breath of fresh air for the blues, with another
blast on the way.
One of King Snake's newest artists, Mark Hodgson, is definitely not new
to the blues world. He's a longtime fixture on the Florida blues scene,
has won every award in the state, and is considered its foremost harp
man. Home base is the Daytona Beach area, but he's lived, worked, and
maintains connections in the major Eastern U.S. music markets of Boston,
New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville, Chicago and New York. He is a very
talented musician whose innovative guitar work and strong vocals
perfectly complement his amazing harmonica versatility. His King Snake
debut, "Extreme Blues", delivers what it advertises!
A welcome addition to the roster is North Carolina's ambassador of the
blues, Roy Roberts. He started out in 1963 as a side man for Solomon
Burke, went on to play with Eddie Floyd, Otis Redding, and a host of
others until he broke away to launch a successful career as a solo
artist, producer, and founder of Rock House Records in Greensboro. Now,
Rock House and King Snake have cooperated to produce Roy's stellar new
CD, "Every Shade of Blue" - and that's exactly what you get, with an
even dozen original tunes played and sung to perfection by a man who is
intimate with every one of those shades plus a few you haven't seen yet.
There's no one like him.
Roy, in fact, is the one who introduced us to Detroit's Priscilla Price,
the daughter of a coal miner, with a big voice and big dreams of singing
the kind of soulful music that she loved growing up: Billie Holiday,
Sarah Vaughn, Ruth Brown, and her all-time favorite, Nancy Wilson.
Well, those dreams have come true with a vengeance; this woman can sing!
Produced by Roy and Bob Greenlee, her brand-new CD, "I'm Not For Sale",
is now for sale, and you can count on getting your money's worth with
Coming up for next year is another exciting batch of releases by Ace
Moreland, Eric Culberson, Bill Wharton, Smokehouse, Floyd Miles, and Dr.
Hector, plus some interesting new twists on the compilation concept,
such as an in-your-face collection of great guitar performances from the
King Snake archives, called "Hurricane! Florida Guitar Blues"; and a
live CD called "Blues on the High Seas", recorded aboard the Big Red
Boat en route to the Bahamas on the Livin' the Blues Cruise. Also look
for a mysterious (for now) new special series, and who knows what else!
No matter what, King Snake Records is into the blues for the long haul,
and remains dedicated to bringing you the very best there is.
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