Various – Henry Stone's Miami Sound (The Record Man's Finest 45's)
Media: VG+ (2xLP)
Cover: VG+ (small smudge on front, see picture)
When Terry Kane - a sound engineer who was barely twenty years old at the time– built an 8-track recording studio above Henry Stone’s office space in the Hialeah area of Miami, he probably never envisaged that he was laying the bedrock for a creative hub that would spawn over 25 gold records and over 100 million record sales worldwide. In the process, it would help to make Henry Stone a legend of American music.
At one end of the spectrum, warehouse boy turned global superstar Harry Wayne Casey – better known as leader of K.C & The Sunshine Band – was pumping out disco classics on a massive scale with ubiquitous airplay and sell-out shows. At the other, Rodney Matthew and his group Formula 1 were relying on the might of the T.K distribution machine to propel them into the spotlight. As remarkable as their 1977 masterpiece on Du-Vern records was, it inevitably failed have the seismic impact of The Sunshine Band’s commercial dance pop.
For every success story like T-Connection, with their firebrand funk-disco fusion and major label achievements, there were equally talented acts such as Stevens And Foster who also called on Stone’s services to showcase their vision: judging by the scarcity of original copies of their self-written and produced modern soul jewel on Jerri Records, they also failed to reach beyond the Sunshine state, save for the rarified ears of collectors and connoisseurs.
The sheer amount of records that came out of those modest premises at 495 SE 10th Court – about 8km from Downtown Miami (as the pink flamingo flies) - is mind boggling. With a huge roster of in-house labels as well as production and distribution deals, label boss Henry Stone was a passionate, busy, and exceptionally well connected man.
Stone would nurture the early careers of the likes of million seller Betty Wright, as well as provide a platform for Milton Wright and Leno Phillips (her older brothers) to express their creativity. Clarence Reid (a.k.a Blowfly) and Willie Clark penned a raft of amazing tracks for acts such as Jimmie ‘Bo’ Horne and Little Beaver (a.k.a Willie Hale, who would also write a wealth of material for others), while T.K in-house band Miami’s own Robert Moore also released records on yet another T.K imprint, Blue Candle.
The music scene in Miami and indeed, Florida, at the time was fertile and moved quickly with the times; there were hit-makers and risk-takers, shining stars and those who never went far.
As a living document of Henry Stone’s remarkable legacy, the diverse styles and ideas coming out of Miami-Dade County and beyond, as well as a glimpse at the successes and near-misses achieved by a dazzling array of artists at the time, this collection serves as an invaluable insight.
Jason Stirland (2015)
Henry Stone was the ultimate Record Man.
When Henry held a new release in his hand from one of his recording artists or a new record he distributed, you were going to hear about it. If you were in Henry’s path, no matter if you were in the music business, a cab driver or the waiter in a restaurant, Henry was going to tell you about the latest and greatest record he had.
The thing was when he did it , it never sounded like bragging; he just wanted the world to know about his next hit, and we are all very lucky he was behind some of the greatest music ever recorded.
Henry and I were talking about promotion one day during what would be the last few months of his amazing life. We were getting into a conversation about how the industry had changed. Music distribution had changed, manufacturing of recorded music had changed. Reaching the music buying customer, changed. Then we got to promotion and that one music industry word we all love- “Hype”. Henry Stone Looked at me paused and said “Well that’s the one thing in our business that will never change…Hype”
My Dad, an amazing record man and one of the best human beings I have ever had the honor of being Hyped up by.
You will be missed, never forgotten.
With Much Love and Respect,
Joe Stone (Henry Stone’s Son 2015)