- JACKSON FIVE PHOTO FROM THE COLLECTION OF JAKE AUSTEN; PHOTO OF TAPE BY JIM NEWBERRY
- The Jackson Five; the “Big Boy” reel from One-derful Records
Next Tuesday eclectic Minneapolis label Secret Stash launches a yearlong reissue program that will give deluxe treatment to singles released on the constellation of Chicago soul imprints owned and operated by brothers George and Ernie Leaner between 1962 and 1971. The first 25-track installment (on a single CD and double vinyl) will focus on singles released on the One-derful label, featuring Chicago fixtures such as Otis Clay, McKinley Mitchell, Betty Everett, and the Five Dutones alongside lesser-known artists including the Lucky Laws, the Admirations, Liz Lands, and Beverly Shaffer.
The singles are a gritty mix of hard soul and raw R&B—blue-collar Chicago music at its best. Subsequent compilations in the Secret Stash series will each focus on another imprint run by the Leaners, among them Mar-v-Lus, M-Pac!, Halo, Midas, and Toddlin’ Town; they’ll be released every other month through next September. The Leaners were also a vital force on Chicago’s Record Row in another way: in 1950 they founded United Record Distributors, the first and largest black-run distribution company in the country.
Secret Stash is also taking preorders for a subscription series that comes in several flavors. The priciest option, at $200, includes all the CDs and vinyl, plus seven bonus seven-inches containing tracks not on the six compilations and a CD compiling the seven-inches. The cheapest option, at $90, gets you the six CD releases along with that bonus CD of seven-inches.
One of those seven-inches is a previously unreleased version of “Big Boy,” the Jackson Five’s first single, recorded at the One-derful studio months before the 1968 version issued by Steeltown Records in Gary, Indiana. The Steeltown single is the Jackson Five’s debut release; the One-derful tape, on the other hand, is the group’s first known studio recording, but it was shelved for 42 years and considered lost. Jake Austen told the story of its rediscovery in an epic 2009 Reader feature, and then followed up in 2010 after he was finally able to hear the music.
Now the Reader and Secret Stash are giving away a seven-inch test pressing of the One-derful version of “Big Boy”—but you have to show off your knowledge to claim the prize. (You may find it helpful to read Austen’s two Reader stories—hint, hint.) The person who gets the most questions right wins; in the event of a tie, the earliest response wins. Please send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org by 1 PM on Wednesday, October 22. While you read the questions below, you can listen to the track.
1.) Name the music director at One-derful Records who wrote the Jackson Five single “Big Boy.”
2.) What’s the date on the studio worksheet for the Jackson Five’s “Big Boy” session at One-derful?
3.) Who is the young guitarist who appears on the One-derful version of “Big Boy” but not the Steeltown version?
4.) What was the address of the One-derful studio where the Jackson Five recorded?
5.) Who’s the engineer who handled the digital transfer of the One-derful recording of “Big Boy” in September 2010?
Dub Taylor, Lumière (Sub Rosa)
Mike Osbourne, Outback (FMR)
Jonathan Harvey, Run Before Lightning (Stradivarius)
Frank Sinatra, Ring-A-Ding-Ding (Concord)
Curtis Fuller, Soul Trombone/Cabin in the Sky (Impulse)