A Guide to the Bo Svensson Peacock and Duke Records Collection, [ca. 1960s-1990s]
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.
Himes, Geoffrey. "R&B Robber Baron & Duke Recordings." The Washington Post, January 22, 1993.
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.
Use of audio material by appointment only; please contact sound archivist for more information.
Bo Svensson Peacock and Duke Records Collection, [ca. 1960s-1990s], Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
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