Who was/is Dot Records ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more

Dot Records

Dot Records was launched in January 1950 by Randy Wood as an offshoot of Randy's Record Shop, his mail order business in Gallatin, Tennessee, some 30 miles northeast of Nashville. Wood, born in McMinnville, Tennessee, left the U.S. Air Force in 1944 and put his savings into an appliance store. Two years later, he converted his business into a record store, and pioneered mail-order record sales via Gene Nobles' show on WLAC, Nashville. Wood entered the manufacturing business when Nobles discovered R&B singer Richard Armstrong. The two men co-operated on three labels: Randy's (on which Armstrong made his debut with Gene Nobles' Boogie ), Record Shop Special which featured bluesman Cecil Gant, and Dot.

Dot really hit its stride when Wood stumbled on the formula of having pop artists like Pat Boone cover R&B and country songs. As early as 1955, Dot had cornered almost 15% of singles sales, and Wood was being courted by ABC who wanted a record division (CBS had Columbia and NBC owned RCA). He held out for the big payday, though, which came in 1957 when Dot was bought by Paramount Pictures for $ 3,000,000. Wood stayed on as head of the company.

To his credit, Randy Wood was willing to try anything that he felt had an outside chance of making it. That eclectic approach secured a surprising number of left-field hits, and a good number of flops including LLOYD 'COWBOY' COPAS's Circle Rock. I don't know if Copas habitually broke wind after a skilletful of beans, but the cowboy image was something he fostered. He claimed, for instance, to have been born on a ranch in Oklahoma when, in fact, he came from Blue Creek, Ohio. In 1927 he played with the Hencacklers' String Band; by 1935 he was half of a duo with fiddler Vernon Storer, and in 1945 he joined Pee Wee King's Golden West Cowboys. The following year, he became King Records' first bigtime hillbilly act when he broke through with Filipino Baby, although by 1952, his career had slumped. In an attempt at resuscitation, he dropped the name 'Cowboy' and turned - at the age of 43 - to rock 'n' roll, sounding as if he'd invented the music. Circle Rock was written by (cue trumpets) Herb Alpert and Lou Adler; it was one of their earliest recorded compositions originally cut by the Salmas Brothers on Keen, for whom Alpert and Adler worked as staff songwriters.

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