Los Angeles based independent record company started by Otis Rene, one half of Creole brothers from Louisiana who’d made their name as songwriters, panning such classics as “When It’s Sleep Time Down South”, “When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano” and other huge hits that quickly became standards.

Otis began Excelsior in 1944 and scored immediately with records by Nat “King” Cole’s group, but soon lost Cole to Capitol Records. The easy going Otis, in contrast to his more aggressive brother, never pushed quite as hard to acquire big-name talent or to relentlessly pursue hits and despite featuring a solid stable of names, vocalist Jimmy Rushing, jazz great Charles Mingus and rock legend Johnny Otis, all soon departed for greener pastures.

Unable to withstand the defections and with his record pressing operations curtailed by the growing switch from 78 RPM to 45 RPM Excelsior Records ceased operations in 1951 but the name was revived without Rene’s participation and having nothing to do with the previous incarnation.

BIG JOE TURNER: I Don’t Dig It (9) (Excelsior 533; December, 1948)
JOHNNY OTIS: Barrelhouse Stomp (8) (Excelsior 536; December, 1948)
JOHNNY OTIS: Happy New Year Baby (7) (Excelsior 536; December, 1948)
JOHNNY OTIS: Midnight In The Barrelhouse (9) (Excelsior 536 reissue; January, 1949)
JOHNNY OTIS: Alimony Boogie (4) (Excelsior 537; February, 1949)
JOHNNY OTIS: Hog Jaws (4) (Excelsior 537; February, 1949)
JOHNNY OTIS (ft. THE FOUR BLUEBIRDS): My Baby Done Told Me (6) (Excelsior 540; April, 1949)
JOHNNY OTIS: Court Room Blues (6) (Excelsior 540; April, 1949)
JOHNNY OTIS: The Jelly Roll (4) (Excelsior 541; June, 1949)
JOHNNY OTIS: Pay Day Blues (3) (Excelsior 541; June, 1949)