Record Label: Secret Stash Records
The third installment of the One-derful! Collection focuses M-Pac!, the blues and hard soul imprint of this legendary R&B label group. M-Pac! is preceded by the One-derful! and Mar-V-Lus compilations and will be followed by releases of the Halo, Midas, and Toddlin’ Town sub-labels. This series marks the first in-depth study of what was once one of Chicago’s most prominent African-American run labels.
M-Pac! Records is available in 2xLP and CD formats, and within the grooves of these 24 tracks lie superb group harmonies from The Ringleaders and The Accents, gritty hard soul leads from Willie Parker and Stacy Johnson, and songs from one of Chicago’s most under-appreciated soul shouters in Harold Burrage, plus 10 tracks that were never issued!
Central to M-Pac! is the Leaner family. By 1962 when brothers George and Ernie Leaner added M-Pac! as a sub-label to their One-derful! label, they were revered figures on Chicago’s Record Row and beyond. They distributed material from labels like Motown and Stax and they attracted top talent. It wasn’t uncommon for a WVON DJ to help the Leaners sign their newest discovery, or for their singers, musicians, songwriters, or producers to have Chess or Motown on their resumes. The Leaner family were among the most important black businessmen of music’s golden era, yet much of their history has only been superficially documented until now.
Between 1962 and 1971, the One-derful! family of labels released 180+ 45s of stunning soul, funk, and gospel. Over two years of painstaking research and work, including countless hours spent cataloging, transferring, and mastering 250 of the label’s tapes, has contributed to an amazingly extensive reissue collection. In addition, some of the world’s leading experts have contributed liner notes and interviewed virtually every known surviving artist, producer, and otherwise involved party. In total, the six volumes of the One-derful! Collection include 12 LPs/6 CDs with 147 tracks, 57 which were never issued, and 144 pages of 12” x 12” liner notes stuffed full of rare and never before seen photos and memorabilia. Spanning 1962 to 1971, these compilations bring forth a wealth of overlooked and never before heard recordings and history.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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