HISTORY AND DISCOGRAPHY

 

The second label started by brothers David and Jules Braun out of New Jersey specializing in New Orleans rock ‘n’ roll. This didn’t leave quite the legacy as their first, DeLuxe, which had the benefit of kick-starting the entire rock genre in 1947, but as second acts go this one was fulfilling in its own right for a brief time before running aground after just two years.

The story of Regal is closely tied to the histories of both DeLuxe and King Records, as it was the latter, a Cincinnati based independent company owned by Syd Nathan, which bought a controlling 51% share of DeLuxe in 1948 when the Brauns were having financial difficulty as so often happened to new labels that found themselves with hit records. Since distributors were notoriously slow to pay for the product and since the company had to get the records out to make money, the inequity between the two could bankrupt them as they’d have no money to pay for the actual records to be pressed.

Nathan’s influx of cash alleviated that problem, as did the fact he owned his own pressing plant, but his goal was to take over the company for use as a subsidiary label and in the process get his hands on DeLuxe’s top artist, Roy Brown. The two sides fought it out in court but the writing was on the wall for the Brauns who in early 1949 took their remaining artists including Paul Gayten, Annie Laurie and Chubby Newsom, all hit-makers on DeLuxe, and launched the Regal Records imprint which they owned outright.

The loss of Brown, and Dave Bartholomew for that matter, to Nathan was hard to overcome but otherwise it was essentially the same operation as they’d had before, New Orleans based artists cutting records in the Crescent City and with new additions found by Gayten, such as balladeer Larry Darnell, bolstering their roster. Darnell scored two of the biggest national hits in 1949 and it seemed possible that they might wind up surpassing their work on DeLuxe Records in time.

But despite top producers in Gayten and Fred Mendlesohn, a good arranger in Howard Biggs, and plenty of experience to draw upon from their experiences, both good and bad, with DeLuxe, they had trouble finding new artists. Of those signed after the fall of 1949 only Titus Turner would be a recognizable name in the future and more as a songwriter than an artist anyway. Otherwise they seemed to be reaching both backwards and outside of the rock ‘n’ roll they specialized in with such names from the past as Cab Calloway, Memphis Minnie and Savannah Churchill filling out their rolls.

By 1951 the label was bleeding money and was shut down as the Brauns career in music which had reached dizzying heights with both labels came to an end.
 
 
REGAL RECORDS DISCOGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date On Spontaneous Lunacy):

PAUL GAYTEN: Backtrackin’ (Dr. Daddy-O) (7) (Regal 3230; July, 1949)
ERLINE “ROCK & ROLL” HARRIS: Jump And Shout (9) (Regal 3233; July, 1949)
PAUL GAYTEN: Fishtail (2) (Regal 3234; September, 1949)
ANNIE LAURIE: Cuttin’ Out (5) (Regal 3235; September, 1949)
ANNIE LAURIE: My Rough And Ready Man (5) (Regal 3235; September, 1949)