Sunday, April 23, 2006

The HSE That Hoyt Built

The Dailey Singers - Come This Far By Faith

As promised earlier, today's post is about the HSE gospel record label. HSE, based in South Carolina at one point and then Nashville at another, stood for "Hoyt Sullivan Enterprises"; the namesake thereof ran a Southern beauty products concern in addition to this primarily-gospel record label. (In my aircheck collection I have a tape of WLAC's John R doing an advertisement for a "scalp conditioner" that Sullivan manufactured.) The HSE label was decidedly a mark below the majors of the time such as Peacock, Savoy, Nashboro, recording for the most part small-time gospel groups such as Nashville's Bethlehem Gospel Singers (whose "My Bible Is Right" LP was the first gospel album I ever heard) and the Gerald Sisters and groups whose glory years had faded (both the CBS Trumpeteers nad the Soul Stirrers ended up on HSE in the later '70s). The only group whose career blossomed from HSE, to my knowledge, is Willie Banks and The Messengers, whose gospel career goes on strong today. HSE gospel recordings are highly-prized by record collectors for their DYI feel and often brilliant (if technically sloppy) recordings. Today's selection, for example, is full of Holy Ghost fire, but also occasionally off-kilter accompaniment and a lead singer whose frothy testifying threatens to run the tune off the rails. There's truly no "show or fashion" going on here; just hard female gospel singing.

Unfortunately there's not a lot of info online about the HSE label. Kevin Nutt often plays HSE material on his "Sinner's Crossroads" radio show (see link on the right), but in my correspondence with him he didn't have a lot of additional info. If anyone knows anything about Hoyt Sullivan or his label I would love to hear from you. In the meantime, I'll keep looking for those green-and-black 45s and LPs!


Larry said...

My name is Larry Blackwell and I bought HSE Records from Hoyt Sullivan in "79" and continued recording Willie Banks,The Gerald Sisters,Bill Moss and The Celestials, Rev.Julius Cheeks, The Ramada Singers, Tommy Ellison and the Singing Stars, Willis Pittman and The Burden Lifters,as well as other mostly unknown groups who toured all over the southeast. I eventually changed the name to Black Label Records and with the help of Shannon Williams (who made Nashboro Records the largest black gospel record company at that time) recorded Slim and The Supreme Angels,Martin Jaycox and the Original Soul Stirrers and others. I also bought Jimmy's One Stop from Hoyt which sold singles, LPs and cassettes to customers all over the country through WLAC Radio. Hoss'Man was on the air by then, John R was no longer on the air. Hoss was on the air from 12 midnight to 6am. Jimmy's One Stop had a half hour of course Ernie's from Nashville and Randy's from Gallatin were larger than us. All three of us used to sell alot of records and haircare product during those years. That was an exciting time for traditional gospel.

otis burns said...

Hello Brother Blackwell,My name is otis burns,former lead singer for The Burns Brothers of Belton SC. We recorded on the HSE,SU-ANN,TRUE-JOY label in the earley and late 70s, "Tis So Sweet" LP, "Remember Your Creator" "Children I Strenght My Hand To God" (SINGLE)The Rev. Norris Turner introduced us and help us to get our start with Mr. Sullivan.we were very young at the time,and didtn know the business.Most of us are pastors now,our most recent recording was produced by Doc Mckenzie.Though we never really were a comercial sucess, The label and the specials he ran on WLAC as well as his sponsored TV program featuring, Rev. Norris Turner and guest stared all the groups on his lables allowed us to travel,and as young men and young woman with our beloved parents, that was pretty exciting.Singing Praises to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and though we were never big as others,we were afforded the oppotunity to spread the Gospel in song and be along side the very groups we had dreamed of immatating all over the country.My, what memories.Mr sullivan was a stout looking business man who look like a former who just came from the field and wore a cowboy hat and supenders.We would meet sometime at his resturant.Be bless,Otis Burns

jajjr77 said...

It would be nice if someone would reissue some of those recording in Digital or cd format. It hard to even find good lps

igor said...

Listen to these two rare and fantastic early radio spots for Hoyt Sullivan Hair and Scalp Conditioner which also feature wonderful gospel singers that Mr. Sullivan was so devoted to bring forth to the public.