Celebrating 50 years of Loma Records: Aug 23rd 1964-2014!
Complete discography of Loma Records, 'uptown' soul, blues, R&B, and popular music subsidiary of Warner Brothers, which was based in Los Angeles. Contains full label information, soundclips and quality scans of A and B sides taken from original Loma 45 rpm records.
Loma Records: 1964-1968 - an introduction
Whilst Loma Records might sound like a musically obscure label to some, it's very well known to others, particularly those with an interest in 'Northern Soul' and 60's soul in general, as well as Blues, R&B, 60's 'Garage' and psychedelic sounds. All in all, this eclectic label offers the music lover and collector an interesting mix of artists, songs and styles.
In 1964, Warner Bros brought in Bob Krasnow - a promotions man who, since 1958, had been running the San Francisco office of King Records - to head up its new subsidiary. Loma Records was Warner's attempt to cash in on the burgeoning teen market, its seemingly insatiable appetite for 45 rpm records, and the growing commercial crossover of 'Black' musical styles into the 'White' mainstream.
Loma's releases met with mixed, but mainly poor results; the majority of Loma's output not even registering in the Billboard charts. Acknowledging this, and perhaps perceiving greater shifts in musical tastes, the label tried to broaden its appeal half way through its short life by releasing 45's aimed more squarely at a young, white audience and catering for the growing demand for beat group, garage, folk-rock and psychedelic sounds. Notwithstanding this move into new musical territory, Loma continued to issue 'uptown' soul and R&B tracks.
The attempts by Loma Records to musically 'please all the people all the time' saw them release a handful of R&B and blues tunes (James Cotton, Smiley Lewis, Walter Foster, Lucky Carmicheal and others), one country and western single (Don Crawford), a couple of beat group 45's that heralded from Ireland (The Belfast Gipsies), and a psychedelic prog/rock single (John Wonderling).
In the main though, history, primarily influenced by the nowadays mainstream music cult that is 'Northern Soul', remembers Loma Records for it's uptown, uptempo, danceable soul music. For many, the roster of revered acts such as The Apollas, Linda Jones, Larry Laster, Carl Hall, Ben Aiken, and The Soul Shakers epitomises the true essence of what Loma Records was about - or perhaps what it should have been about.
The first Loma release (Billy Storm) came out in August 1964, and the last (John Wonderling) four years later in September 1968. In that time Loma Records released 106 singles (although one of those may never have actually been released) and a handful of albums.
Regardless of the mixed bag of musical genres, the influences of different producers - including Gene Page, Russ Regan and Jerry Ragovoy - and the fact that sometimes, particularly in the first half of Loma's life, those steering the label preferred to license songs from other labels instead of focusing on developing 'home-grown' talent (and thus developing their own music stable and distinctive style) Loma Records still leaves us with a musical legacy very much worthy of note.
Indeed, it is exactly this rather odd mix of styles and quality that appeals: from the first releases, cobbled together or licensed from other labels by general manager Bob Krasnow - operating with little in the way of budget from Warner Bros executives who nonetheless anticipated musical success - to the later soulful intensity much favoured by producer Jerry Ragovoy, every 45 says something about the life and times of Loma Records, and it's a story well worth listening to.
The Loma Story - Part 1 & Part 2
Read about the history of Loma Records in this two-part article that originally appeared in a 1977 edition of the soul music magazine Hot Buttered Soul.
Written and published by Chris Savory - respected music collector, record fair organiser and long-time presenter of the BBC Radio programme Record Collectors - to coincide with the UK release of the 7-LP anthology This is Loma, the article, which is republished for the first time in over 30 years, offers unique insights into the label itself and the many artists who appeared on its roster.
Click to read The Loma Story!
Loma Artists in the Spotlight:
Find out about the Loma recordings of obscure blues artist
Lucky Carmicheal (Now updated!), Famous Flame Baby Lloyd, and
blues harmonica legend James Cotton (Now updated).
Listen to sound clips of Loma 45s on the >>Loma Juke Box<<:
Soundclips recently added include...
*Billy Storm - I never want to dream again (There in a garden)
*The Olympics - Baby I'm Yours
*The Olympics - No more will I cry
*The Autographs - Sad sad feeling
*The Romeos - Mon petit chow
*James Cotton - Complete this order
*Larry Laster - Go for yourself
*The Soul Shakers - I'm getting weaker
*Delilah Kennebruew - Bright lights
*Limey & The Yanks - Out of sight, out of mind
*The Belfast Gipsies - People, let's freak out
*Butch Engle & The Styx - I like her
*Ben Aiken - Satisfied