University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Bo Svensson Peacock and Duke Records Collection, [ca. 1960s-1990s]



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Svensson, Bo
Title: Bo Svensson Peacock and Duke Records Collection
Dates: [ca. 1960s-1990s]
Abstract: Assembled by collector Bo Svensson, audio and video recordings, printed material, legal papers, studio records, and correspondence compose the Bo Svensson Peacock and Duke Records Collection, [ca. 1960s-1990s], documenting Houston, Texas, music in the mid to late 20th century, particularly the work of Don Robey's Peacock Records and Duke Records and producer Richard Ames.
Accession No.: 2009-074
Extent: 81 ft.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Historical Note

Bo Svensson was an avid collector of Texas music recordings and related material, particularly of the Duke and Peacock record labels and Richard Ames.

Founded by Don D. Robey (1903-1975) in Houston, Texas, in 1949, Peacock Records eventually became the most successful black-owned music label of its day. In 1952, Robey gained control of Duke Records, based in Memphis, Tennessee, expanding his recording empire. The labels primarily consisted of blues and R&B artists, including Peacock's biggest hit-maker Bobby "Blue" Bland. During his decades-long career, Robey developed a reputation for stealing songwriting credits from his artists and conducting ruthless business negotiations.

A contemporary of Robey, Richard Ames co-owned the Houston-based Tantara Records with his younger brother, Steve Ames. He also produced and managed several bands in the mid-1960s, including The Moving Sidewalks and Neal Ford and the Fanatics.

Source:

Himes, Geoffrey. "R&B Robber Baron & Duke Recordings." The Washington Post, January 22, 1993.


Scope and Contents

Assembled by collector Bo Svensson, audio and video recordings, printed material, legal papers, studio records, and correspondence compose the Bo Svensson Peacock and Duke Records Collection, [ca. 1960s-1990s], documenting Houston, Texas, music in the mid to late 20th century, particularly the work of Don Robey's Peacock Records and Duke Records and producer Richard Ames. Approximately sixty-one linear feet of LP and 78-rpm phonodiscs, videocassettes, audiocassettes, and reel-to-reel tape record the work of country, blues, R&B, rock, Tejano, and gospel musicians who worked with Robey, Ames, and others. Contracts, correspondence, studio paperwork, and recording logs chronicle the business and recording processes of the Duke and Peacock labels and others. Additionally, the collection contains music magazines and journals and promotional material for record labels and artists.


Restrictions

Access Restrictions

Use of audio material by appointment only; please contact sound archivist for more information.


Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Ames, Richard
Robey, Don D., 1903-1975
Svensson, Bo -- Archives
Subjects (Organizations)
Peacock Records, Inc. -- Archives
Duke Records, Inc. -- Archives
Subjects
Blues (Music) -- Texas -- Houston -- History -- 20th century -- Sources
Rhythm and blues music -- Texas -- Houston -- 20th century -- Sources
Record labels -- Texas -- History -- 20th century -- Sources
Music -- Texas -- Gulf Coast -- History -- 20th century -- Sources
Places
Houston -- Texas -- History -- 20th century -- Sources

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Bo Svensson Peacock and Duke Records Collection, [ca. 1960s-1990s], Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s “History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project,” 2009-2011.


Detailed Description of the Papers

 

Inventory:

box
Sound Archives Unprocessed materials, [ca. 1960s-1990s]