The Indio label was founded by country and rockabilly singer Bill Carter in 1961. It was first located in Modesto, California, but moved to Emeryville soon after the first two releases.
Born on December 11, 1929, in Eagleton, Arkansas, Carter's family moved to Broken Bow, Oklahoma, when Carter was eight years old. A couple of years later, in 1943, the Carters once again changed homes and settled down in Idaho, California, where they made their living as farmers. At that time, Carter started his career as a singer and landed a spot on KREO in Indio (hence probably the name of his label).
From 1950 up to 1953, he served the US Air Force and upon his return, he made a guest appearance at Cottonseed Clark's TV show "Hoffman Hayride" and started his recording career. His first disc was released in 1954 on the 4 Star label ("Making Believe" / "More Than a Man Can Stand," 4 Star X 91). During the next years, he would record for such labels as Republic (1956), Tally (1957-1958), Black Jack, Showboat and Challenge (all 1959), Ozark, Honey B (both 1960), Checker (1960), D (1961) and others.
|Cal Veale (left) and Bill Carter holding a Jim Reeves record,|
penned by Veale.
Carter was also a DJ. He was on KBOX (Modesto) as well as KPIX (San Francisco) and appeared regularly at the Riverbank Clubhouse in Riverbank, California, in 1956. Around the time he recorded "Shot Four Times and Dy'in" / "Stranger, Shake Hands with a Fool" for D in 1961, he also founded Indio Records. One of Carter's business partners was Cal Veale, who acted as a producer and songwriter for the label. Veale had tried his luck in the recording business unsuccessfully in 1956, when he recorded one single with the Howard Reading Trio ("Don't Cry Baby" / "Standing on the Edge of Nowhere," Las Vegas #1237). Veale owned a recording studio in Modesto, where probably most of the Indio recordings were cut. Larry McGill, who had one release on Indio under his own name, also appeared on a couple of Indio releases as a songwriter.
It appears almost all known releases were issued in 1961, as many Billboard reviews document. However, one disc is certainly from 1969, judging from the Southern Plastics matrix code. I am quite sure this is the same Indio label, since it has the same the label design as the previous records. In addition, Clyde Arnold wrote one of the songs, "Camille." Arnold had recorded the classic "Black Smoke and Blue Tears" in 1961 for Indio. This 1969 release, however, shows the label's location as Newark, California, and it's not sure if Carter was involved in producing the record.
Nevertheless, Indio was a short-lived affair for Carter. He became a Christian that same year and turned to Gospel music. Nowadays, he is retired but has recorded some sides with his wife.
An interview with Bill Carter can be found here.
Jimmy North / Jack Mashburn Band
Leavin' Town (Jim Hostetter) / I Know I'm to Blame ()
A / B
Ray Smith and his Oklahoma Outlaws
You've Heard About Texas (Ray Smith) / Bluer Than Blue (Ray Smith)
A / B
Dave Miller with Joe Richie and the Impossibles
Froggy Went A'Rockin' (Arr. Dave Miller) / With You (Dave Miller)
A / B
Bob Gordon with Slim Williams and the Blue Valley Boys
Why Make Believe (Bob Gordon) / It's Not Easy to Forget (Bob Gordon)
A / B
Black Smoke and Blue Tears (C. Arnold; C. Veale) / Livin' for Your Lovin' (C. Arnold; C. Veale; McGill)
A / B
Larry McGill with the Echo-Tones
I Want a True Love () / I Only Wish ()
A / B
Clint Marrs and the Saddle-ites
Love and Money (Clint Marrs) / A Million Memories (Bob Morphew)
A / B
I Want a True Lover (Bill Carter; McGill) / Tears on the Rocks (Ruthe Dee)
A / B
Camille (Clyde Arnold) / Now I'm a Star (Nancy Tester)
SO: 7398 / SO: 7399 (Southern)