For many, in the late 1950s/early ‘60s, Starday Records was the holy grail of country music. At a time when rock ‘n’ roll ruled, and the Nashville Sound was created, this independent label defied the trends and kept to rural traditions with bluegrass dominating its releases.
In this extremely well researched book, author Nathan Gibson relates the label’s history that began in Houston, Texas in 1952, founded by Jack Starnes and Harold “Pappy” Dailey, then gaining national attention with the discovery of George Jones, the promotional knowledge of Don Pierce and a short-lived association with Mercury Records. By the end of the decade Pierce was the label’s sole owner and, after establishing Starday in Nashville, was recording country, rockabilly, gospel and bluegrass, developing album sales alongside singles, operating several subsidiary labels and securing both nationwide and international distribution deals. In addition to finding new artists, he was signing several who had been dropped by the majors including Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins, George Morgan, Johnny Bond and Red Sovine.
With Pierce’s interviews throughout providing a first-hand insight into Starday’s history and operation, alongside other important contributors like musician/producer Tommy Hill, the book is truly essential for collectors as it concluded with a complete discography stretching over 70 pages.
What an outstanding book this is.All lovers of 50's and 60's country,bluegrass,and gospel music will be well aware of the importance of the Starday label to these genres.Artists such as George Jones,Jimmy Dean,Dottie West,and Roger Miller started their careers with this label.Others like Moon Mullican,Cowboy Copas,and Red Sovine had their fading careers revitalised when they signed for Starday.Nathan Gibson with much help from former Starday owner Don Pierce tells the story from beginning,to the end.Plenty of wonderful stories from the artists,musicians,and employees make this a very informative,and enjoyable read.As a reference this book will be invaluable,containing as it does almost seventy pages listing recordings issued by Starday and its subsiduaries.Don't be put off by the high price,this book is vital to collectors of country music.
A brilliant book for anyone who's interested in one the legendary Country Music labels of all time. Both Don Pierce and Pappy Daily were both ahead of their time, without them 'where would Country Music' had gone ? One of the most interesting books around especially to the likes of us who at the time bought albums etc direct from Starday Records.