Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This week, Texas music scholar Gary Hartman introduces us to a record label that was a real feather in the cap of the Texas recording industry.
You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Sunday at precisely 6:04 p.m. on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.
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On May 23, 1973, Don Robey sold Duke-Peacock Records to ABC-Dunhill, bringing an end to an important era in the Texas recording industry. Owner of the popular Houston nightclub the Bronze Peacock, Robey founded Peacock Records in 1949 to promote his featured artist, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. In 1952, Peacock merged with Duke Records. This helped expand Robey’s roster to include such prominent R& B musicians as Junior Parker, Bobby Blue Bland, Big Mama Thornton and Johnny Ace.
As one of the first nationally-successful black-owned labels, Don Robey’s Duke-Peacock Records helped shaped the sound of early rock ‘n’ roll and left a lasting imprint on American popular music.
Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet some musicians who really knew how to honk their horns.