(special thanks to Andrew Brown and Louie Perez for their contributions to this page)
more Houston record labels here.
Started in 1957 by Don Robey as a subsidiary of Duke, eventually over 130
singles were issued on Back Beat until Robey sold the company in the early
1970s. The majority of the sixties releases are soul, but there were some
scattered rock releases by the likes of the Coastliners, Baroque Brothers,
and the Liberty Bell.
Cinema was the vinyl division of Andrus Productions, a recording studio on
Broadway Street on the city's east side best remembered for being the site
of most of the 13th Floor Elevators' recording sessions prior to '68. The earliest Cinema releases date from
early 1966; the last from the early 1970s. The label's only hit, and a
regional one at that, was the Clique's version of "Splash 1," which was #1
on Houston radio in the fall of '67. Most of Cinema's releases are
lightweight pop, but there were some quality rock sides from the likes of
the Countdown Five and Greg Barr and the Barr Association.
Walt Andrus relaxing in his studio March 1967.
Houston's The Pastels set up to record at Andrus Studios March 1967.
Houston's best-known label of the sixties, IA began under Fred Carroll's
auspices in October, 1965. Within a couple of months, Carroll sold the name
of the label to two lawyers, Bill Dillard and Nobel Ginther, Jr., who then
formed the International Artists Production Corporation with the help of two
marginals in the local record scene, Ken Skinner and Lester Martin. By the
end of 1966, Lelan Rogers and Ray Rush had been brought in to produce and
promote the label's growing roster, which, early on, included the 13th Floor
Elevators, the Red Crayola, and Thursday's Children, along with some
blue-eyed soul and country singers best forgotten. There were two national
hits on IA, "You're Gonna Miss Me" by the Elevators, and "Hot Smoke And
Sasafrass" by Bubble Puppy; nearly everything else never made much of an
impression beyond East Texas. Rogers left the label in early 1968 (he is
often erroneously referred to as IA's owner) leaving most production work in
the less-than-capable hands of Ray Rush and Fred Carroll, who returned to
the label he started after Rogers' departure.
IA's final releases were issued in late 1969/early 1970. Despite efforts to
stay afloat, the label was moribund by 1971. Thirty-nine singles and 13
albums were released on IA.
International Artists' recording producer Ray Rush March 1967.
Ray Rush business cards.