Welcome to Mellow's Log Cabin. This blog's purpose is to supply information on a diversity of American southern music - ranging from country, blues, old-time and folk to R&B, rock'n'roll and rockabilly. I regularly present my research results about artists, labels, shows and also give guest writers a chance to publish their texts here on occasion.


• Jack Turner recordings available here.
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• Thanks to Bob more info on Bill Harris.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Santo label

Santo Records was a record label based in Memphis, Tennessee. It was one of these small companies that popped up after Sun hit with Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and other rockabilly singers. It was started in the early 1960s by singer Wayne McGinnis. McGinnis was originially from Mississippi County, Arkansas, and moved to Memphis around 1953. There he performed in a band with guitarist Billy Joe Miller, playing a mixture between jazz and country. He later joined Slim Wallace's Dixie Ramblers along with Billy Lee Riley, Jack Clement, Bob Deckelman, and Ramon Maupin.

When Wallace set up his label Fernwood Records in 1956, McGinnis was amongst those who recorded a couple of songs in Wallace's garage studio, which remained unissued. He then unsuccessfully auditioned at Sun Records before finally signing with Lester Bihari's Meteor record label, also based in Memphis. There he formed the Swing Teens with Billy Joe Miller on lead guitar and Curley Wilson on bass, recording "Rock, Roll and Rhythm" b/w "Lonesome Rhythm Blues."

He continued to play with the Swing Teens for a while, before he moved into record production and promotion. The first record on his Santo label came out in the summer of 1961 by the Holidays with Darrell Tatum on guitar, who also recorded solo for Santo as well as for Fernwood later on. From the many recordings done for Santo, there were remarkable many artists of note. Anita Wood, who was at some point Elvis Presley's girl friend, recorded at least two records for Santo. Harold Dorman, who had a hit with "Mountain of Love" on Billy Lee Riley's Rita Records, also recorded for the label as well as Thomas Wayne, who charted with "Tragedy" in the 1950s on Fernwood. Bobby Lee Trammell, famous for his wild stage appearances and songs like "Shirley Lee," "You Mostest Girl" or "Arkansas Twist," had one release on the label. Sylvia Mobley, a country singer, had also several records on small Memphis and Arkansas based labels in the 1960s and 1970s.
Santo had also a sublabel called San Wayne Records.

Wayne McGinnis also had other business interests and eventually concentrated on his work as a business man, retiring from performing. What has happened to Santo and McGinnis? Well, one of those many questions in rockabilly history. The last known release on Santo was by David Wilson in 1964 or 1965. Discographical info came mostly from here. Note that this site states that Santo was a subsidiary of Fernwood. In fact, McGinnis bought Fernwood Records after the label's home on North Main Street was destroyed in 1968. Eventually, he sold the Fernwood and Santo master tapes to Dave Travis, owner of the reisssue label Stomper Time Records. Concerning Santo recording artist Darrell Tatum and the label itself, Larry Manuel said:
I've checked all my sources here in Memphis and have come up with almost nothing. Stan Kessler remembers a Santo label but never heard of Darrell Tatum.
(from Dead Wax blog, thanks to Bob)
"Moderate Sales Potential", review in Billboard July 3, 1961
 You can listen to Red Williams' single here and to Eddie Carroll's single here on Some Local Loser.

Billboard ad from December 5, 1970.
Billboard ad from April 7, 1962
500: Holidays (feat. Darrell Tatum's guitar) - Dark Valley / Desperate (1961)
501: Darrell Tatum - Battle Hymn of the Republic / Dixie (1961)
502: Sylvia Mobley - All By Myself / If I Had You Again (1962)
503: Ace Cannon - Sugar Blues / 38 Special (1962)
504: Eddie Carroll - I'm Sorry / Wait Eternally (1962)
506: Ace Cannon - Rest / Big Shot

750: Eddie Lanehart - Georgia Sun / Bad Weed

9001: Larry Wayne - Tag-a-Long / Dialing Your Number
9005: Harold Dorman - There on Yonder Hill / In an Instant (1962)
9006: Red West Combo - My Babe / Bossa Nova Bomsa (1963)
9007: Red Williams - With the Wind / ?
9008: Anita Wood - Two Young Fools in Love / Memories of You
9009-9049: [possibly there were no records released with these numbers]
9050: Red Williams - I Can't Believe (This Has Happened to Me) / Love's Not Worth It
9051: Harold Dorman - Ain't Gonna Change / What Comes Next (1963)
9052: Bobby Lee Trammell - Hi-O Silver / Don't You Know (I Love You) (1964))
9053: Thomas Wayne - Stop the River / 8th Wonder of the World (1964)
9054: Anita Wood - Dream Baby / This Has Happened Before
9058: David Wilson - Jamie / With All My Heart

Sources: Adam Komorowski, Rockin' Country Style, Santo Records discography, Bob


Derik said...

Good writing and thanks.

Bob said...

500 Holidays : Dark Valley/Desperate (feat. Darrell Tatum’s guitar)

502 b/w If I had you again

506 Ace Cannon : Rest/Big Shot

Santo Records had a subsidiary called SanWayne.

There was also a (related or not) RnB/Soul Santo label out of Memphis around 1970 (owned by Johnny Vincent).

Mellow said...

Thanks for the nice words Derik.
And thanks to Bob for the additions - are any SanWayne recordings known?

Music lover said...

Im Wayne Mcginnis son. It means a lot to me the interest all of you show in his music and Santo Records.

Mellow said...


great to hear from you. Do you have an email adress? Would like you to ask some questions!
You can also contact me, you'll find my email on my profile.

m mcginnis said...

Yes...cottonbroker2012@gmail.com. would love to answer your questions

Anonymous said...

Is Darrell Tatum the brother of Wayne McGinnis wife?

From the Sikeston Missouri newspaper, December 17, 1956:

Mr. and Mrs. Wayne McGinnis and little daughter of Memphis spent the week end visiting her parents, Mr. and Mrs. H. D. Tatum and attended the wedding of her brother Larue Tatum to Miss Sue Johnson.....

Mellow said...

Didn't know that but yes, quite possible!

Unknown said...

Good evening. This is Marty McGinnis. Im Wayne and Ramona McGinnis son Darrell Tatum is not the brother of my mom Ramona. However I believe he was her uncle. Sadly, her brother LaRue Tatum passed earlier this year. Feel free to contact me and words simply cannot express my gratitude pertaining to your interest. Best Regards, Marty