CBMR Digest is a publication of the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College Chicago

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CBMR Digest

Latest Issue: Fall 2014

ISSN # 2168-3301fall 2013 | Volume 26, No. 2

Ace Records Releases New CD with Tracks from Richard Stamz’s Paso and Foxy Record Labels

Phyllis Stamz, daughter of Chicago’s legendary producer, promoter, and on-air personality Richard Stamz, recently worked with his biographer Patrick Roberts and the CBMR to assist in re-releasing songs from two of Stamz’s small labels, Paso and Foxy. Stamz had recorded the songs in the heyday of Record Row in Chicago, but neither the artists nor the short-lived labels are widely known today. The reissuing project was produced by Ace Records, a reissue label based in the U.K.

As quoted in David Stubbs’ Ace Records, co-founder Roger Armstrong insists “It’s not nostalgia—because these are recordings many people will be hearing for the first time. It’s about fresh discoveries…”1 Along with Trevor Churchill and Ted Carroll, Armstrong loved records; they created Ace to be a “reliable source for great American music from the past” just as the London and Sue labels made music from small or obscure independent U.S. labels available to them as young European music enthusiasts at a time when sources were scarce.2

Most of the twenty-five tracks on the new CD were provided by engineer and audio archivist Dick Shurman, who met Phyllis Stamz and Patrick Roberts in 2008 when they set out, in his words, to “untangle the many mysteries at hand” that are revealed by listening to the large collection of reel-to-reel tapes from Stamz’s archive. CBMR Archivist and Digital Librarian Laurie Lee Moses worked closely with Roberts, Stamz, Shurman, and vendor Wall to Wall Sound to digitize several quarter-inch reels that are contained in the Richard Stamz papers archival collection housed at the CBMR. The completed CD is now available from Ace Records at http://acerecords.co.uk/foxy-rb-richard-stamz-chicago-blues.

The new CD provides enjoyable listening and is an important historical document that reflects the musical styles of Chicago soul and blues artists of the early 1960s. Extensive liner notes by Northern Illinois University professor Roberts tell the fascinating story of Stamz’s multi-faceted life. Sound engineer Shurman reveals details of the careers and creative work of the musical groups and artists in a comprehensive track-by-track critique. The original photographs, scrapbooks, hit list, ads, and other materials used to produce the Ace Records CD, including Roberts’ biography of Stamz, are available for viewing in the CBMR Library and Archives during regular hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday).

  1. Stubbs, David. Ace Records. London: Black Dog, 2007. Page 8.
  2. Ibid., 9–10.

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