HISTORY AND DISCOGRAPHY


Los Angeles based company started in 1945 by brothers Eddie and Leo Mesner as Philo Records before being forced to change their name when the U.S. Patent Office refused to register it because of its similarity to the Philco radio corporation at which point in April, 1946 it became Aladdin Records.

At the start Aladdin was largely a jazz-based label featuring such notables as Illinois Jacquet, Lester Young, Art Pepper, Helen Humes and Jay McShann, but it soon achieved success with cocktail blues led by Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers and their original pianist Charles Brown when he went solo, downhome blues with Lightning Hopkins and Little Miss Cornshucks, and gospel with the R.H. Harris led Soul Stirrers, giving them coverage across all major black music styles and positioning them amongst the leaders in the new independent record company sweepstakes in the post-war years.

When rock ‘n’ roll emerged in 1947 they scored their greatest hits with Amos Milburn working with the brilliant in-house producer Maxwell Davis. Though they did cut one-off sessions with a variety of big names from Wynonie Harris, Big Joe Turner and Big Jay McNeely, the label’s rock reputation was carried almost singlehandedly by Milburn until they finally landed a small, but stable roster of other rock acts in the early 50’s with Floyd Dixon, The Five Keys and especially Shirley & Lee. That duo gave them an entrée into the fertile music scene of New Orleans, although aside from those two Aladdin was generally left with the second or third tier acts from the Crescent City as Imperial Records had the biggest stars from Louisiana locked up.

Aladdin was unquestionably one of the leading indie companies of the 40’s and early 50’s and were quite ambitious for their day, being among the first of independent companies to release LP’s which were then almost the exclusive province of the major pop labels. Ironically their early success in so many diverse fields may have done them in once rock began to capture a larger share of the market as the commercial appeal of the other genres began to shrink and they were not as aggressive in recruiting new artists to add to their rock ‘n’ roll stable. From 1954 on the only new signees who made any notable impact were Gene & Eunice, Marvin & Johnny and Thurston Harris and subsequently their fortunes took a downturn after Milburn left and by the end of the decade they had become a minor entity, their heyday long since passed.

The label was bought out by Imperial in early 1962 and a year later Eddie Mesner passed away just shy of fifty years old. His brother Leo, ten years his senior, lived until 1992.
 

ALADDIN RECORDS REVIEWED TO DATE ON SPONTANEOUS LUNACY:

WYNONIE HARRIS:
Big City Blues (2) (Aladdin 196; September, 1947)
AMOS MILBURN: Blues At Sundown (6) (Aladdin 201; October, 1947)
AMOS MILBURN: My Love Is Limited (7) (Aladdin 201; October, 1947)
AMOS MILBURN: Sad And Blue (6) (Aladdin 202; November, 1947)
AMOS MILBURN: Bye Bye Boogie (8) (Aladdin, 206; January, 1948)
WYNONIE HARRIS: Hard Ridin’ Mama (5) (Aladdin 208; February, 1948)
WYNONIE HARRIS: You Got To Get Yourself A Job, Girl (6) (Aladdin 208; February, 1948)
AMOS MILBURN: I Still Love You (7) (Aladdin 211; May, 1948)
AMOS MILBURN: Pool Playing Blues (5) (Aladdin 211; May, 1948)
AMOS MILBURN: Chicken Shack Boogie ★ 10 ★ (Aladdin 3014; October, 1948)
AMOS MILBURN: It Took A Long, Long Time (7) (Aladdin 3014; October, 1948)
BIG JOE TURNER: Low Down Dog (7) (Aladdin 3013; October, 1948)
AMOS MILBURN: Bewildered ★ 10 ★ (Aladdin 3018; December, 1948)
AMOS MILBURN: A&M Blues (6) (Aladdin 3018; December, 1948)
AMOS MILBURN: Jitterbug Parade (a/k/a – Jitterbug Fashion Parade) (6) (Aladdin 3023; April, 1949)
AMOS MILBURN: Hold Me Baby (7) (Aladdin 3023; April, 1949)
AMOS MILBURN: In The Middle Of The Night (7) (Aladdin 3026; June, 1949)
AMOS MILBURN: Pot Luck Boogie (5) (Aladdin 3026; June, 1949)
THE ROBINS: Don’t Like The Way You’re Doing (5) (Aladdin 3031; June, 1949)
THE ROBINS: Come Back Baby (5) (Aladdin 3031; June, 1949)
AMOS MILBURN: Roomin’ House Boogie (7) (Aladdin 3032; August, 1949)
AMOS MILBURN: Empty Arms Blues (6) (Aladdin 3032; August, 1949)