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.

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Story of Perfect Records

The (short) Story of Perfect Records
(Miami, Florida) 
 
According to researcher John Miller, Perfect Records "made its appearance during the early 1950s and was devoted exclusively to Country and Western music." I hope I don't tell no lies because I'd say, nothing in this sentence is true. Maybe Miller did not knew better when he wrote these words in 1979 for the first volume of the "Miami Rockabilly" LPs but neither issued Perfect only country material nor made the label its first appearance on the market in the early 1950s.

Perfect Records was one of Harold Doane's labels, owner of the American Transcription and Recording Service, later shortened to ART. Much has been written on this blog about about his other labels Art and AFS. My intense research over the last few years showed that Perfect was likely established by Doane in 1955. No records dated earlier than 1955 have surfaced so far. Miller's statement that Perfect was solely intended for country & western material can be neglected as well. The fact that latin jazz records by Machito & his Afro-Cuban Orchestra were released as earky as 1955, makes it hard to believe that Doane had an exclusive country label in mind when he set up Perfect.

Though, one has to admit that the label's first releases in its 100 series seem to be country recordings without exception. The 100 series was issued only in the US - or South Florida to be precise. Other discs with different catalog numbers were likely produced for markets outside the US, including Panama and Costa Rica.

By 1956, rockabilly entered the repertoire of Perfect, as it was the case with so many labels in those days. The first recordings in this new style were those by Tommy Spurlin and the Southern Boys, a local Miami country outfit that had developed their own rockabilly tunes by then. West Palm Beach singer Wesley Hardin followed up with two recordings of hits of the day, "Honky Tonk Man" (Johnny Horton) and "Cry! Cry! Cry!" (Johnny Cash). The last known rockabilly release on Perfect was by Mike Shaw, once a member of radio and TV personality Happy Harold Thaxton's popular country band (who also had a release on Perfect). Shaw laid down two rasping recordings of "Long Gone Baby" and "Frankie and Johnnie," which became local hits.

The Perfect label was, however, a rather short-lived affair. By the tail end of 1956, the label vanished from the local music scene. In 1957, Doane replaced it with AFS Records, which operated well into the early 1960s.

If anyone can contribute to the discography or can share memories of Harold Doane's operations, artists, or the Miami country music scene in general, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me via e-mail. 

Read more about Miami's musical past:
 

Discography

Perfect 100

Perfect 101

Perfect P-102
Harold Donelson with the Buckeroos
Hillbilly Waltz (Harold Donelson)
ART-126 A
Eddie Thorpe with the Buckeroos
Rose of San Antone (Bob Wills)
ART-126 B

Perfect 103

Perfect P-104
Happy Harold and his Dixie Millers
Queen of the Smokeys (Cecil Carbonell)
Art 136-A
Mary Peck with Happy Harold and his Dixie Millers
Broken Hearted (Cecil Carbonell)
Art 136-B

Perfect 105

Perfect 106

Perfect 45-C-107
Tommy Spurlin and the Southern Boys
Danger! (Spurlin) / Ain't Had No Lovin' (Since the Last Time It Rained) (Spurlin)
A / B
1955
Billboard C&W review on October 22, 1955

Perfect 45-C-108
Tommy Spurlin and the Southern Boys
There Might Have Been a Love Song (Spurlin) / Tomorrow I'll Be Gone (Spurlin)
A / B

Perfect 45-109
Tommy Spurlin and the Southern Boys
Hang Loose (I've Gotta Rock) (Spurlin; Frost) / One-Eyed Sam (n.c.)
A / B
1956
Billboard C&W review on August 4, 1956

Perfect 45-C-110
Wes Hardin with the Southern Boys
Cry Cry Cry (Cash) / Honky Tonk Man (n.c.)
1 / 2
1956

Perfect 45-C-111
Mike Shaw with Sons of the Drifting Sands
Long Gone Baby (Shaw) / Frankie & Johnny (arr. by Shaw)
1 / 2
1956
Billboard C&W review on October 27, 1956

Perfect TR 45-4000
Machito and his Afro-Cuban Orchestra
Holiday Mambo (Chico O'Farrill) / Si Si - No No (Rafael Blanco Suazo)
ZTSP 24603 / ZTSP 24604 (Columbia)
1955

Perfect 45-4001
Machito and his Afro-Cuban Orchestra
with Graciella & the Rigual Brothers
Hay Que Recordar (Piloto-Vera)
ZTSP 24518 (Columbia)
Machito and his Afro-Cuban Orchestra
Negro Nanamboro (Mariano Merceron)
ZTSP 24519 (Columbia) 
1956  

Perfect No.#
Machito and his Afro-Cuban Orchestra
Adios (Woods-Madriguera)
ZTSP 24093 (Columbia)
Machito and his Afro-Cuban Orchestra / Vocal: The Skylarks
Mambo a la Savoy (Fuller-Machito) 
ZTSP 24094 (Columbia) 
1956 

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