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Allstar Record Co.
1953: 3116 Garrow St., Houston TX
1958-1959: 2106 Orean Street, Houston 17, Texas
1960: Allstar Music Enterprises, 8029 Gulf Freeway, Houston 17, Texas
1961-1966: 1110 Washington, South Houston, Texas
also: Allstar Distributors

Notes by Andrew Brown
Allstar Records, a quasi-song-poem label with a slightly more plausible claim to legitimacy than most its song-sharking peers, was the brainchild of Houston country musician/"singer" Daniel James Mechura. The ambitious Mechura started out as the frontman of a local outfit, the Sun Valley Playboys, enjoying one release on the Starday label (which they paid for themselves) in 1955. By that time, Dan had discovered the seedy underworld of songwriter's clubs and, sensing an opportunity ripe for exploitation, soon began doing business as president of "The Folk Writers Co-Operative Association," generously offering "every songwriter the help which is necessary to succeed in this competitive field," as stated in one sales pitch. A record label of their own was the logical outgrowth of this "co-op."

The earliest known record on Allstar dates from 1953; there appears to have been no further releases until a handful came out over 1956-57. Mechura seems to have finally got his act together in 1958, when no fewer than ten releases appeared under the Allstar banner. For a low-budget, no-hit, one-man operation, Allstar was relatively prolific from that point on, racking up an impressive discography of over 150 singles (not counting subsidiaries), until hitting the wall in 1966.

Mechura's modus operandus was very similar to Sandy Stanton's at Fable Records, but differed from it in significant ways. Like Fable, Allstar issued "legitimate" commercially-oriented records right alongside their song-poem efforts; sometimes a particular record's A and B sides were divided between song-poems and non-song-poems. Throughout the label's life, Mechura was able to recruit established, professional country singers well-known in Texas -- not faceless studio hacks, but guys with proven track records and recording careers.

Eddie Noack, best remembered today for his bizarre late '60s sides for K-Ark ("Psycho," "Delores," etc.) had several memorable outings on Allstar, working in a Buck Owens mode. Noack had previously recorded for 4-Star, Starday, and Mercury, and had written Hank Snow's 1956 Top 20 hit "These Hands." Link Davis, a cagey veteran who'd recorded everything from pre-war western swing to drunken rock and roll, also dipped into Allstar's waters for several years. Davis had cut innumerable sides for Columbia, Okeh, Imperial, and many more; his 1952 record of "Big Mamou" (Okeh) was a decent-sized hit, covered by several pop acts including Ella Mae Morse. Link's rockin' "Bon-Ta-Ru-La" is one of the very best Allstar records.

Other artists like Jerry Jericho weren't nationally known, but were big in Texas. Thus, knowing (or hoping) that their song-poems were set to be recorded by established "stars" such as these must have been extremely alluring to the amateur songwriter. (As far as we can tell, Noack -- a genuinely talented songwriter -- never stooped to song-poem levels, but Davis and many others on the label certainly did.) Mechura usually recruited some better-than-average musicians for his sessions as well, and the typical Allstar release more or less sounds like anything you would've heard on country music radio stations in the late '50s through the mid-'60s. (This excludes the records Mechura himself sang under his show-biz pseudonym Daniel James; "flat" doesn't quite describe these audio abortions.)

On the other hand, some non-Texas artists also show up on Allstar, including Hank Mizell of "Jungle Rock" fame, Johnny Watson, Tommy Trent, and, of course, the ubiquitous Sammy Marshall.

Distribution was another matter. Bill Freeman, a local musician who was involved with Allstar in its early days, quite candidly recalled in an interview that Mechura would milk the amateur songwriter for all they were worth, cut the record, press the bare minimum amount of copies, send these copies to Billboard, Cashbox, and to all the radio stations in the vicinity of the songwriter's home -- and nothing more. The trade write-ups and local airplay would create the illusion that Allstar was promoting their song-poems like crazy, but Freeman claims this was all just a con of Mechura's to keep his song-poets baited. Undoubtedly this was true of a few releases -- and perhaps even more than that -- but owing to the commercial appeal that many Allstar 45s possess, and the fact that his song-poem singles are greatly outnumbered by his "legit" ones, it seems highly unlikely that Mechura didn't try to press, distribute, and promote most of his releases through the usual channels. The impression one gets listening to the label over its lifetime is that he was far more preoccupied by scoring a hit record -- although that never happened -- than he was with song-sharking for fun and profit.

The Songwriter's World, a vanity journal modeled after Songwriter's Review and others of that sort, was issued by Mechura for an indeterminable period in the late '50s, or possibly even beyond. "Dedicated to the Songwriter Throughout the World," this glossy 12-page mag featured photos of singers and song-poets alike, gossip, Q&A, a songwriter's glossary ("Songshark: one who renders unethical services for large fees"), lots of ads plugging Allstar's latest releases, and hypocritcal anti-shark editorials from Mechura himself.

Worth mentioning are Allstar's subsidiaries, Kool, Teen, and Nu-Star. None of them, however, were song-poem labels.

While various rumors have circulated that Allstar's demise occured under rather dubious circumstances, we'll wait until we can gather more facts until passing further judgment. Dan Mechura himself was last heard from enjoying the quiet life in Arkansas, unwilling to divulge any information about his excursion into the record business, let alone the song-poem record business.

-- Singles --

7100: The Gay Brothers with Oklahoma Drifters -- You Locked Up My Heart (Harold Gay-Carl Gay)/You're My Only Darlin' (Dan Mechura) (1953; label's first release; not a song-poem record)
7150: Ray Guyce -- Double Crosser / Faded Roses (1-56?)
7160: Red Mansel -- Johnny On The Spot (R. Mansel-B. McClure) / Would You Ever (R. Mansel) (1956; prob. not song-poem)
7161: Daniel James -- Magic Wands And Wishing Wells / Through The Barroom Door (Note: Allstar 7161 is a reissue of a Starday release; 1957.)
7162: Red Mansel -- Thank You Very Much / Love Starved (1957)
7163: Daniel James -- Rock Moon Rock (Al Dreher-D. James) / A Perfect Love (Stanley Herron) (1957)
7164: Earl Aycock -- Magic Words (Ev Brann-A. Hart) / The Love That Thrills (Ernest Vick-D. James) (1958)
7165: Red Mansel -- Changing Heart / Angel Of Love
7166: Johnny Bush with Bill Freeman & His Texas Plainsmen -- In My World All Alone (Ernest Dover--D. James) / You've Said That Before (Clubb-Sprague-Hamilton) (1958; both sides prob. song-poem)
7167: Johnny Watson -- Come To The Party / Darling Of My Dreams (rockabilly; 1958)
7168: Jim Kent -- You Should Have Stayed With Me (Bill Keuneke) / I've Got A Reputation (Bara LaBary)
7169: Buddy Young -- This Heart (G. Hankins-Daniel James) / I Can Give You Love (B. Hammer-Daniel James) (1958)
7170: Daniel James -- I'm Crying Over You (Ernest Vick) / It's The Real Thing This Time (Steve Mosberger) (1958)
7171: Link Davis -- Bon-Ta-Ru-La / Memories With You (Note: Allstar Records Bulletin of Sept./Oct. 1958 lists "Love Lanes" as the flipside; 1958.)
7172: Johnny Bush with Bill Freeman & His Texas Plainsmen -- Your Kind Of Love (Larry Rowe-D. James) / I Should Have Known (Ernest Fleury-L. Hobbs) (1958; both sides prob. song-poem)
7173: Kenny Everett -- What Is It (Fred Coleman) / Have You Learned (Lillian Kelker)
7174: Red Mansell -- Going Steady With a Dream (Gladden Burch) / My Only Love (1959)
7175: Nellie Britton -- Ocean Of Love / What's The Use Of The Moonlight (1959)
7176: Neal Hart -- Dream Queen / As Long (1959)
7177: Edwin Marek -- Honky Tonk Angel / My Texas Gal
7178: Jim Kent -- Headin' Home (Bill Freeman-Junior Beck) / Villa Acuna Polka (Bill Freeman-Jim Kent) ("Bill Freeman Production"; 1959; both sides instrumental; not a song-poem record)
7179: Farin West -- Of Course It's Fine (Jack Nyson) / Honeymoon Waltz (Frieda Siegfried) (1959)
7180: James Jeter -- My Loving Heart / You're Free (1959)
7181: Rocky Williams -- Rock Cinderella / Wanted (both wr. Theola & B. Williams) ("R&B rocker"; 1959; not a song-poem record)
7182: Ray Mitcham -- To Me / Just Walking (1959)
7183: Daniel James -- I'm Gonna Move / Two Different Worlds (1959)
7184: Tommy Trent -- Just For Tonight (Virginia Trent) / Storm Of Life (Delores King) (DJ stamp: May 15, 1959)
7185: Link Davis -- Ballad Of Jole Blon / Visions (both wr. Link Davis) (1959; not song-poem)
7186: Larry Butler -- Echoes Fade And Die / Strange Desires (1959)
7187: Kenny Everett -- An Aching Heart / It's The Same Old World
7188: Smilin' Jerry Jericho -- Lonesome Livin' (A.J. Winn-J. Jericho) / When I'm Gone (Jerry Jericho) (1959)
7188: Smilin' Jerry Jericho -- Since I Lost You (L. Tuten-Daniel James) / When I'm Gone (Jerry Jericho) (Note: There were duplicate releases of Allstar 7188, with different A-sides; 1959; B-side not song-poem.)
7189: Adrian Roland -- Mr. Bass Fiddle / Now I Know (both wr. Adrian Roland) (1959; not a song-poem record)
7190: James Jeter -- Last Kiss (J.E.W. Thomas) / Spot On My Heart (W. Coons-J. Jeter) (1959)
7192: Nellie Britton -- Candlelight Time in the Valley / Lonely Years
7193: Larry Butler -- Thirteenth Notch / Stay Out of My Life (1959)
7194: Buddy Young -- Wasting My Time (Horace Jackson) / Nothing But My Love (C. Lane-Daniel James)
7196: Adrian Roland -- The Night / When I'm In Your Arms (both wr. Adrian Roland) (1960; not a song-poem record)
7197: Blackie Foster -- Life Time With You (Foster-Riddle) / God's Angel
7198: Tommy Trent -- A Mile To The Mailbox / Love Me
7199: Tex Wayne -- Ace In The Hole / Old Napoleon (Note: Allstar 7199 is a reissue of a Whip release.)
7200: Larry & Eddie -- Sin Sick Soul / Do Good
7201: Larry Butler -- I've Got A Right To Cry / I Could Never Be Untrue (1960)
7202: Smilin' Jerry Jericho -- Take The Way / Since I Lost You (1960)
7203: Link Davis -- Tee Mamou / Little People (1960)
7204: Smilin' Jerry Jericho -- Since I Lost You (L. Tuten-Daniel James) / When I'm Gone (Jerry Jericho) (Note: Allstar 7204 is a reissue of one of the two versions of Allstar 7188; B-side not song-poem.)
7205: Nita Lynn & Jimmy Parrish -- Kiss And Make Up (Treece-Butler) / Too Quick To Condem [sic] (Howard-Parrish) (1960)
7206: Jimmy Copeland -- Just A Dreamer / Why Do You Treat Me So (1960)
7207: Adrian Roland -- It Takes More Than Awhile / Imitation Of Love (both wr. Adrian Roland) (1960; not a song-poem record; B-side also recorded by George Jones)
7208: Ray Mitcham -- Think Of Me / As Long As I Can Dream (1960)
7209: Bill Moss -- I Wonder Why / Your Old Love (1960)
7210: Burt & Charlie -- Huntsville Prison / First Day Of Spring (1960)
7211: Jimmy Smart -- A Broken Dream / It's Too Late For Me (Note: Allstar 7211 is a reissue of a Peach release; 1960.)
7212: Lawton Williams -- Mama Doll / Farewell Party (both wr. Lawton Williams) (1960; not song-poem)
7213: Bud & Bud -- Love Me (W. Nelson) / Driftwood (L. Butler-W. Allen) (A-side wr. aka "Red-Headed Stranger")
7214: Country Larry Butler -- Another Heartache (J. Fichera-Larry Butler-Daniel James) / I Can't Stand It Anymore (J. Cain-W. Allen-Larry Butler) (1960)
7215: Smilin' Jerry Jericho -- It's Been Nice (J. Jericho) / What Right Have I (J. Jericho-W. Nelson) (1960; A-side not song-poem; B-side co-wr. aka "Red-Headed Stranger")
7217: Ray Arden -- Wedding Plans (Albert Stewart) / Rebel Yell (Britt Austin) (1961)
7219: Joe Cervenka -- Red And White Waltz / Springtime Polka (1961)
7221: Cowboy Blair -- Take A Good Look / Top Of Your List (1961)
7222: Wiley Barkdull -- Tear Down That Wall / These Old Arms (1961; prob. not a song-poem record; Barkdull had some records out on Hickory)
7223: Joe Bee -- Angel Of Love / What Good Would It Do (both wr. J. Bee-W. Marullo)
7224: Daniel James -- Girl Of My Dreams / What More Can I Say (1961)
7225: Larry Butler -- For Goodness Sake / I Walked Away (1961)
7226: Vince Molina -- I Turned To You / How Can I Live (1961)
7227: Harvey Thompson -- Mr. Lonely / Hold On To Me (1961)
7228: Hank Mizell & Jim Bobo -- One More Chance / My Old Used To Be (1961; prob. not a song-poem record)
7229: Daniel James -- When My Dream Came True / Beyond Tomorrow (1961)
7230: Wiley Barkdull -- When You Go / A Fool Left To Cry (1961; prob. not a song-poem record)
7232: Daniel James -- My Understanding Heart
7233: Ray Frushay -- Hijackin' (Ray Frushay-Pat Chesser) / High Cost Of Living (Rusty Gabbard-Tex Ritter) (in "Cath-O-Sonic Fidelity"; 1961)
7234: Daniel James -- I Thought The World Of You / Pickin' Up The Pieces
7237: Daniel James -- My Lonely Heart / We'll Stand Together (1962)
7238: Sammy Marshall -- A Fix-It Shop / I'll Take A Chance (both wr. Johnny Hendricks)
7242: Larry Butler -- The Same Ole Way (John Cain-Larry Butler) / I'm Crying All The Day (John Cain-Larry Butler)
7243: Johnny Dee -- A Million Tears / Guilty Tears (both wr. John D. Loudermilk) (1962; prob. not a song-poem record; writing credit is per BMI, who may have confused this Johnny Dee with Loudermilk, who previously had recorded under that name; red wax)
7245: Jimmy Copeland -- Louisiana / Look In The Mirror (1962)
7248: Daniel James -- I Don't Care / Lend Me
7252: Eddie Noack -- Too Hot To Handle / Tell Her (both wr. Eddie Noack) (1962; not song-poem)
7255: Larry Butler -- What Right Have I (Willie Nelson-Jerry Jericho) / Love Me (Willie Nelson) (1962; prob. not a song-poem record; "Rev-O-Sonic Fidelity"; Nelson aka "Red-Headed Stranger")
7258: Bill Taylor -- I Remember (Earl Reardon-D. James) / You Got That Wild Look In Your Eyes (Barber Moran-M.B. Booth)
7259: The Teardrops -- You Ain't Nothing / Heartache Troubles
7260: Harvey Thompson -- Rosebuds And You / Take My Heart And Take My Hand
7262: Eddie Noack -- titles unknown (1962)
7263: Phil Parr -- Pick Another Number / Club For Fools
7264: Bill Walker -- All Alone / Let Me Be
7266: Eddie Noack -- We Are The Lonely Ones / Chaperoned By A Memory (prob. not a song-poem record)
7267: Sammy Marshall -- To You / Seventeen Birthdays
7270: Jimmy Dry -- My Darkest Night
7273: Harry Bray -- So Lonely / Guitars (both wr. H. Bray) (not a song-poem record)
7275: Wiley Barkdull -- Merry Christmas To You / Jingle Bells (prob. not a song-poem record)
7279: Cowboy Blair -- Bottle And A Glass / So Many Heartaches
7282: Don Presley -- 21 Notches / Second Hand Love
7283: Larry Butler -- City Sounds / Blue Tears (both wr. The Salem Songwriter-John Cain)
7289: Daniel James -- Down At The Corner / Little House Upon The Hill
7291: Reece Bros. -- Let's Talk It Over / Partners In Misery
7292: Bud & Bud, The Hooper Twins -- No Letter Today / Crying Leaves
7293: Harlan Blair -- Baby Ways / For A Lifetime
7294: Jimmy Dry -- One More Round / Same Old Dreams
7295: Larry Butler -- Echoes Fade And Die (Butler-Chandler) / I Love You Baby (Butler-Paul) (not a song-poem record)
7296: Eddie Noack -- The Fall-Out (Keeps Hurtin') / Think Of Me Now (both wr. Eddie Noack) (1963; not song-poem)
7297: Wiley & Jessie Bardull -- I'll Always Love You / That's One Broken Heart (both wr. W. Barkdull-J. Barkdull) (1964; not a song-poem record)
7298: Happy Harvey Thompson -- It Won't Be The Same (Jim Brannon) / I'd Rather Lose You Now (Pete Hunter)
7299: Eddie Noack -- When The Bright Lights Grow Dim (Eddie Noack) / You Can't Keep A Good Man Down (Walt Breeland-Eddie Noack) (1964; prob. not song-poem)
7300: Larry Butler -- Walked Out / Zackly Like You (both wr. Gabbard)
7302: Perk Williams -- I'm That Fool (Doug Dickerson-D. James) / One Sweet Touch (Ruth Hoffman-D. James) (1964; both sides prob. song-poem)
7303: Rusty Gabbard -- Woe Is Me / I've Got It In My Bones (both wr. Gabbard) (1964; not a song-poem record)
7304: Layton King -- Alone at My Own Party / Stand Still
7305: Link Davis -- Big Mamou (Davis) / Louisiana Waltz (C. Carazo-Link Davis) (1964; A-side not song-poem)
7306: Al Dexter -- My Careless Heart / Country Guitar (both wr. Dexter) (not song-poem)
7307: Wiley and Jessie Barkdull -- Speak No Evil / I Love You Now (both wr. W. Barkdull-J. Barkdull) (1964; not a song-poem record)
7309: Don Cathey -- Deejay Swing (Wiley Barkdull) / Steelin' In Bandera (Don Cathey) (both sides instrumental; prob. not a song-poem record)
7318: Lee Roy Matocha Orchestra -- Monkey Song / Wilted Rose (no wr. cr.)
7322: Eddie Noack -- Two Bright Lights (Eddie Noack-Daniel James) / Prisoner of War (B. Baker-Eddie Noack) (prob. not song-poem)
7327: Lee Roy Matocha Orchestra -- Everybody's Polka (pub. dom.) / Green Meadow Waltz (no wr. cr.)
7324: Larry Diamond -- Stranger In Abilene / Natchez Trace (1966)
number unknown: artist unknown -- Last Night (Minnie Stacy) (1960)
number unknown: artist unknown -- With You (Eunice Ollier) (1962)
number unknown: artist unknown -- Am I In Love (Lloyd E. Jensen) (1963)
number unknown: artist unknown -- Heartache Avenue (Ilet Rose Perkins) (1963)
number unknown: Daniel James -- I'm Wasting My Tears (Pearl Taylor) (1964)
number unknown: artist unknown -- God Give Peace To The World (Anne De Grace) (1964)
number unknown: artist unknown -- I Wish You Knew (Charles K. Ilvess) (1964)
number unknown: artist unknown -- In My Garden Of Love (Pearl Taylor) (1964)
number unknown: artist unknown -- My True Love And I (Harley Fletcher) (1964)
number unknown: artist unknown -- No, No More Tears (Rebel Fortini) (1964)
number unknown: artist unknown -- Santa Claus Loves Me (W.H. Meyers, Jr.) (1964)

-- Albums --

503: Daniel James -- Country Music By Daniel James
Title to Your Heart (Winnie Glenn-James)
Leave Her Alone (Marvin Tuma-James)
Let's Start Over (John Meason)
I Will Miss You (Gladys Boxdorfer-James)
Would You Promise (John Perkins-James)
Your Heart Belongs to Me (Bobby Underwood)
Accept (Ova Wright-James)
A Stolen Heart (Lola Pence-James)
Teardrops (Mary Thomas)
Goodbye Blues, Hello Love (Jim McDonald)
I'm Crying My Darling (Joe Ebler)
Payola Lover (Bright McWhorter-James)
I Don't Believe (Adrian Mascheck-James)
Me And My Telephone (C.U. Smith-James)
release number is unclear: cover says 1003, label says 503
early '60s

number unknown -- title unknown
artist unknown: Blue Melodies (Charles K. Ilvess) (1964)

number unknown -- title unknown
artist unknown: You Only Live Once (Albert Lowe) (1964)

Affiliated label:
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Discography ©2004 Phil Milstein