Drop In #68
Shake Your Hips: The Excello Records Story
By Randy Fox
200 pages, 7 x 7
Trade Paper, $21.99
The electrifying sounds of groovin’ jump blues, Southern-fried rock ’n’ roll, fervent black gospel, and the simmering sounds of the Louisiana swamp came bursting out of Nashville, Tennessee in the early 1950s courtesy of Excello Records and its sister Nashboro label.
Operating out of Ernie’s Record Mart (“the Record Center of the South!”), Excello forged a partnership with 50,000-watt clear-channel radio station WLAC. The influential station’s dusk-to-dawn broadcasts of rhythm & blues boomed through the stratosphere, captivating millions of teenagers and crossing racial boundary lines. The unusual partnership paid huge dividends as Ernie Young transformed his shop into one of the largest mail-order record retailers in the world.
With his built-in distribution network, Ernie’s own label releases by Slim Harpo, Arthur Gunter, Lightnin’ Slim, Lazy Lester, and more landed in record collections across the US. By the early 1960s, Excello releases were reaching the shores of the UK, where they inspired young Brits such as Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Eric Clapton to launch their own R&B combos. Through extensive research and interviews, Shake Your Hips: The Excello Records Story chronicles the tale of one of the most unusual labels to emerge from the 1950s.
Shedding new light on Nashville’s rich history as much more than a country music town, author Randy Fox takes readers deep behind the scenes of the rise and fall of an inimitable label whose contributions to blues and R&B continue to reverberate today.