Thursday, 27 February 2014

Prof. Kitzel's Time Machine Record Label Profile; Paramount Records



Paramount Records was the premiere label for blues, jazz and country music during the Roaring Twenties, helping to create the mass market for blues and country and recording some of the biggest names of the era.


Jellyroll Morton ~ "SIDEWALK BLUES";

Early Years ~ 1916 ~ 1922~ Paramount was founded in 1916, growing out of the Wisconsin Chair Company ,which was itself founded in 1888 in Port Washington, Wis. , making both phonograph players as well as records. Paramount's early recordings were light classical pieces, sentimental ballads and patriotic anthems of the day. Most of these records were a financial flop and by 1922 the label was deep in debt and desperate.


Urban Blues & Jazz on Paramount ~ In 1922 Paramount looking to turn around their flagging fortunes hired Englishman Art Satherly who began recording urban Vaudeville Blues singers such as Ma Rainey, Trixie Smith, Alberta Hunter, Hattie McDaniels & Moanin' Bernice Edwards as well as Hot Jazzmen as JellyRoll Morton, Clarence Williams, Johnny Dodds and Jimmy Noone, Jabo Williams, along with Boogie-Woogie pianists Roosevelt Sykes, Jimmy Blythe, Meade Lux Lewis, Charlie Spand and the white pianist Kansas City Frank Melrose. Satherly boosted Paramount's roster of black artists by hiring Mayo Johnson, an ambitious and well connected talent scout who would later go on to found rival Black Patti Records Paramount also arranged a licensing deal with the failing Black Swan label which included important and big sellers as Ethel Waters & Fletcher Henderson. When Black Swan folded in 1924 Paramount bought out their catalog.


Rural Blues on Paramount ~ As important as the urban recordings were in keeping the label afloat their biggest (and musically most important) recordings were it's rural blues catalogue. Mostly scouted and discovered by Mayo Williams, a black former executive from Black Swan, Paramount became the first label to score a hit with a rural blues artist starting with Papa Charlie Jackson and quickly growing to include most of the major names of the era including Blind Blake, Pappa Charley Jackson, Charley Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Son House, Skip James, Ramblin' Thomas, Gus Cannon, Frank Stokes, Big Bill Broonzy, Tommy Johnson, William Moore, Bo Weavil Jackson, Bumble Bee Jackson, Henry Townsend, Freddy Spruell (who recorded the first version of "Milkcow Blues"), James Wiggins (who did the first version of "Keep a' knockin") and Bo Carter & the Mississippi Sheiks. The young Tampa Red and Josh White got their starts on Paramount. Soon the rural market was so important to Paramount that they started the "Broadway" budget label to introduce new acts.


Old Time Country on Paramount ~ Although known mostly for their "race" records Paramount also recorded a large number of Old time Country artists starting with among the earliest OTM recordings through the budget "Broadway" label in 1922 and later including Wilmer Watts, Charlie Poole (briefly), Arthur Tanner (brother of famed fiddler Gid Tanner), Earl Johnson, Fiddlin' Doc Roberts, Emry Arthur, Davey Miller (AKA The Blind Soldier), Welling & McGhee, The Blue Ridge Highballers and George Washington White.


Spirituals on Paramount ~ An important part of Paramount's "Race" catalogue were a number of Spirituals and Sermons with The Norfolk Jubilee Quartet and The Rev J.M. Gates being big sellers. Other frequent artists included The Jubilee Gospel Team, Rev. Beaumont, Blind Willie Davis, Blind Connie Rosemond and Rev. Johnny Blakey AKA The Son Of Thunder. Some of the blues artists also recorded spirituals including Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton and Skip James, albeit under assumed names since many religious people would not buy records from "sinful" blues singers. Some of the white Old Time Country artists also recorded Gospel songs, however unlike the Blues artists the OTM artists recorded under their usual names. Notable OTM-Gospel artists included Sid Harkreader, Joe Reed, Welling and McGhee and The Kentucky Thoroughbreds. Classical baritone Carroll Clark also recorded classic spirituals in a staid, dignified style similar to that of Paul Robeson.


Concert Singing on Paramount ~ Besides the Jazz, Blues, OTM and Gospel which is most treasured by collectors today Paramount also continued to record what was then referred to as "Concert Music" which meant traditional songs such as Stephen Foster songs, Spirituals and light classical ballads and lullabies sung in a stately, restrained carefully enunciated style. Several black artists continued in this style well into the Jazz Age, many had originally recorded for Black Swan and were kept on by Paramount. Best known examples would include Carroll Clark, Florance Cole-Talbert and The Harmony Kings. While these records did not sell as well as the Jazz, Blues and Gospel records they evidently sold well enough to keep them in print for the duration of the label's life.


Cajun Music on Paramount ~ Paramount also recorded a few early Cajun artists as part of their OTM catalog including Leo Soileau & Robin Moise, John Bertrand & Milton Pitre and Roy Gonzales.


The decline and fall of Paramount ~ Like all labels that relied on black or poor white listeners Paramount was hit hard by the Great Depression of the 1930's although the label was already struggling by then. Paramount was hit by the defections of Mayo Williams in 1927 to found his own "Black Patti Records", and Art Satherly in 1928 to start his own "QRS Label". In 1929 Paramount lost it's biggest distributor in Artophone to bankruptcy with others following as the depression deepened. The label was also rocked by the deaths of their biggest seller Blind Lemon Jefferson in 1929 as well as Jimmy Blythe and Charlie Poole in 1931. Paramount cut back on it's staff and recording until shutting down all new recordings and advertising at the end of 1932 although they continued to run an office until 1935. The inactive label was bought out in 1942 and run as a reissue label until much of it's catalog entered the public domain in the 1970's.


The aftermath ~ Many of Paramount's artists fell on hard times during the depression with most of the rural artists being forced into retirement. Many important ones did not survive the depression and war years including Blind Blake who died in 1933, Charlie Patton in 1934, Papa Charlie Jackson & Ma Rainey in 1938, Johnny Dodds in 1940, Kansas City Frank Melrose (murdered) & Jelly Roll Morton in 1941, Trixie Smith (car crash) and Wilmer Watts in 1943 and Jimmy Noone in 1944, and Rev. J.M. Gates in 1945. Carroll Clark appears to have died during this time. However a few did maintain careers into the R&R era such as Roosevelt Sykes, Tampa Red, Josh White, Fletcher Henderson and Ida Cox. A few survivors saw their careers revive with the folk boom of the 1960's including Son House, Skip James, Alberta Hunter and Henry Townsend who kept performing until his death in Dec. 2006.


Today ~ The Paramount catalog is widely available on a number of re-releases, comps and box sets and the original 78's are highly collectible. The building which housed The Wisconsin Chair company and Paramount Records was demolished in 1959 and is now in ruins in an open field with a plaque to mark the spot. In 2014 Revanent Records, in collaboration with Jack White, released perhaps the elaborate box set of all time; a suitcase sized box replica of a Gramaphone containing a lush book, coloured vinyl and an mp3 stick holding over 800 songs form most musical genres. It retails for around $500, which is more than many of the artists actually made in the first place.



Tuesday, 25 February 2014

A Few New Wave & Punk Figures Pass On

Bob Casale ~ Guitarist for American New Wave icons Devo ~ 61



Marty Thau ~ New York music producer, promoter and founder of Red Star Records. Manager of The New York Dolls, producer of Suicide, Fleshtones, Brian Setzer ~ 75






Joe Young ~ Guitarist w/ North Carolina Punk band Antiseen ~ 54

Monday, 3 February 2014

CKLN's Tax Fraud Revisited;

CKLN's Tax Fraud Revisited;

Back in 2008, when I was working at CKLN, the former radio station based at (but not owned by) Ryerson University, was a time of unbelievable turmoil as a group of far left activists backed by the Ryerson Student Unions (The RSU and CESAR) engaged in a prolonged campaign to seize control of the station. This led to more than a year of organized harrassment, threats and intimidation, I myself was personally pushed, shoved and spat on by swarms of demonstrators. The public excuse for this thugish behavior was to stop CKLN management's supposed "Corporate Agenda". Exhibit number one of this mythical agenda was the decision to end CKLN's so-called "Tax Trustee Status".

This will require some explanation; CKLN, like all community stations, relied on fundraising campaigns, however CKLN (unlike the U of T station CIUT) was not a registered charity and so could not issue tax receipts in exchange for donations. Since applying for charitable status would have required making their books public CKLN decided to take a short-cut. Thus a decade or so ago CKLN entered into an elaborate scheme with a charity called "Tractors For Our Daily Bread" by which CKLN would do it's annual funding drive, then give the money to "Tractors" who would then take ten percent and return the rest with tax receipts under their name. Thereby CKLN could pretend to be a charity and use these tax receipts as fundraiser incentives. From the beginning there were questions raised about the legality of this arrangement and a few actual complaints. Typically at CKLN these were dismissed as coming from "The Right Wing" but around the early 2000's Ryerson University and RSU were concerned enough to insist that all mention of this scheme were to be removed from the website, which at that time was shared with RSU. That should have been a warning sign, but CKLN continued to issue these bogus tax receipts and Ryerson and RSU looked the other way.

By 2007 there had been a change in management and the new CKLN management (and our lawyer) took a look at this arrangement and decided it was basically an illegal money-laundering scheme and announced that it would be immediately cancelled. This was to be done quietly to avoid attracting attention to the fact that CKLN had been issuing these bogus tax receipts for a decade. That's when the shit hit the fan. A group of leftist activists had been stirring up trouble for awhile. They were largely organized by CKLN's paid staff who were in contact negotiations and looking for raises and were therefore hoping to replace CKLN management with one of their own choosing who would then hand them the raises and benefits that they were demanding. The ending of CKLN's "Charitable Tax Trustee Status" (as they called it) was to be the rallying point for various left wing activists which would include RSU. According to their conspiracy theroy the ending of CKLN's "Charitable Tax Trustee Status" was part of a larger "Corporate Agenda" that would force CKLN to "sell-out" to corporate sponsors and advertisers. You would think this sort of nonsense would be easy to dismiss but you should never understand the willingness of activists (whatever their ideology) to live in a paranoid fantasy world of all-encompassing conspiracies.

When CKLN's annual funding drive came up in October 2007 CKLN's paid staff and many of the volunteer hosts flat-out refused to follow the decision to stop issuing the tax receipts and promised them anyway. On the air and online. During one of many hostile staff meetings the Funding Co-ordinator, Daniel Vandervoort (who also happened to be the Treasurer and Board member of Ryerson's other student union, CESAR) produced a copy of the contact, signed by himself, between CKLN and Tractors and used it to to claim that CKLN was legally bound and would be sued by Tractors if we pulled out of it. This turned out to be a mistake since a quick glance showed that the contract had a cancellation clause, but there were bigger issues which I spotted right away;

a) The central clause stated that the funds raised would be used to finance "The charitable activities of CKLN Radio Inc." which was a serious problem since CKLN had no charitable activities at all. All the funds would go right back to CKLN, mostly to pay staff, which was fraud on it's face. When this arrangement was set up there were in fact some vague ideas for CKLN to find some sort of somewhat chartiable activities to sponsor such as benefit shows etc. and a "CKLN Foundation" was set up to manage this. Naturally nothing much ever happended and no money went out. As mentioned charities must open their books to Revenue Canada to prove they are using the money raised properly and CKLN could clearly not do so.

b) It turned out that there were problems with "Tractors For Our Daily Bread" as well. Firstly it was no longer listed as a legal charity in Canada, although it had been earlier and a seperate branch did exist in America. The stated pupose of "Tractors", with it's unwieldy name, was to raise money to buy tractors in Canada, then refurbish them and send them to Africa to be used there. This sounds fine but it would seem that only a small number of tractors actually got sent to Africa which is not a good sign. I also noticed that "Tractors" was not only a charity, but a Christian Ministry which along with the tractors was also sending bibles to Africa. Just because they were a Christian Ministry does not mean they were not a charity of course and this would not be a problem for them per-se but it would be a big problem for CKLN who was not disclosing this religious aspect to their donors. Much of CKLN's left-wing membership was made up of atheists, gays, Wiccans, Muslims and the occasional Satanist and it is safe to say they would have objected to the discovery that ten percent of the money raised was going to covert the heathens in Africa. CKLN had an absolute responsibilty to disclose this both to their membersip and to donors and their failure to do so was another legal timebomb waiting to go off.

c) Vandervoort did not have legal signing authority to sign a contact of this nature anyway. Even better was my jawdropping discovery that Vandervoort and Tractors CEO Eto Ekpenyong Eto had actually acted as witnesses to each other's signatures which was blatantly, even laughably illegal.


We had actually been searching for a copy of this contact for months only to be met with obstruction by CKLN's paid staff and prior management who claimed all copies had been lost, so it's sudden appearence came as a surprise and he tried to take back all copies before anyone could get to close a look. Luckily I saved a copy and sent it to CKLN's lawyer who took one look and insisted that it be cancelled immediately. When this was explained to CKLN staff one replied with the profound comment that "This is why we don't consult with lawyers". Other volunteers insisted that such money laundering schemes were common practice in small non-profits.

The response from the various activist groups was even less measured. During the actual funding drive some hosts, especially the hosts of "OCAP Radio" went on air and promised tax receipts. Then afterwards used these promises to insist that CKLN was thereby legally bound to issue them. The Funding Co-ordinator was then caught trying to mail out thousands of reminder letters promising tax receipts. By the end of 2008 there was a petition drive (supported by RSU) to "impeach" CKLN's management and one of prime reasons listed was the "Ending of CKLN's Charitable Tax Trustee Status" in favour of "Corporate Advertsing". That party line became and remains an article of faith amongst the far left activists associated with CKLN.

Throughout 2008 these activist types escalated their activities in to daily picketting, on-air rants, and vitriolic on-line posts while staff meetings degenerated into screaming matches. I was personally shoved and spat as well as being targetted with a frivolous nuisance suit which I got dismissed. All of this was openly supported by Ryerson's Student Unions who refused security coverage, siezed the station's assets and by Feb. 2009 changed the locks and pulled the station off the air for nine months until eventually they could get the loyal leftist management they wanted. All of this was given favourable coverage by the Ryerson student press in the name of fight "The Corporate Agenda" of course. By the time they got back onair in October 2009 the CRTC had gotten fed up and hauled them up for hearings in 2010 which resulted in CKLN having it's license revoked and pulled off the air for good. I testified at those hearings. Which were hilarious. Good times.

Anyway the point of this background info is to bring us back to Eto Ekpenyong Eto, Tractors For Our Daily Bread and their "Charitable Tax Trustee Status" scheme. The one that we said was probably illegal and the one that the RSU and the OCAP posse swore was "standard practice". This month this little noticed news item came out from Revenue Canada;


"January 14, 2014 14:05 ET

Tax Preparer and Charity Director Convicted of Fraud
BRAMPTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 14, 2014) - The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced today that, on January 10, 2014, David Ajise, a former tax preparer operating in Toronto, Ontario, was sentenced in the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton, to a 30 month jail term for fraud over $5,000. On July 22, 2013, Eto Ekpenyong Eto was also sentenced to a conditional sentence of two years less a day for fraud over $5,000 for the same case. Appearing at the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton, Ajise was found guilty of one count of fraud over $5,000 under the Criminal Code of Canada on June 14, 2013, while Eto pleaded guilty to the same charge on May 23, 2013.

Ajise is the former proprietor of Datronix Solutions, a Toronto-based tax preparation service. A CRA investigation revealed that, Ajise and Eto participated in a scheme which generated $5,023,456 in fraudulent charitable donations for the 2003 to 2005 tax years. In addition to a fee of $30 to $50 for tax return preparation, Ajise charged his clients 10% of the face value of the fraudulent charitable donation receipts he provided. The fraudulent receipts were claimed by Ajise's clients on 623 income tax returns and resulted in taxes evaded of $1,413,166.

Eto, in his role as a director of the Tractors for Our Daily Bread Canada charity, provided charitable donation receipts for amounts larger than the donor's actual contribution. Although Eto himself did not personally gain from his participation in the fraudulent charitable donation scheme, his actions assisted in the fraud. The preceding information was obtained from the court records.

"Our taxes pay for the high level of government services that Canadians count on," said Darrell Mahoney, Assistant Commissioner of the Ontario Region of the Canada Revenue Agency. "When someone tries to evade taxes, it affects all Canadians." Taxpayers who have not filed returns for previous years, or who have not reported all of their income, can still voluntarily correct their tax affairs. They may not be penalized or prosecuted if they make a valid disclosure before they become aware of any compliance action being initiated by the CRA against them. These taxpayers may only have to pay the taxes owing, plus interest. More information on the Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP) can be found on the CRA's Web site at;
Further information on convictions can also be found in the Media Room on the CRA website at
Contact Information;
Sam Papadopoulos
Manager, Communications

So not only were they charged but also convicted and sentenced to jail. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch. Too bad CKLN isn't around anymore to go down with them.

I know it's bad form to say "I told you so" but you have to admit; we did.

And furthermore....BWAAA-HAAA-HAAA!!!! VICTORY IS MINE!!!