Alston Album Discography
By Patrice Eyries, David Edwards, Mike Callahan and Randy Watts
Last update: April 7, 2010

The Alston Label was owned by Henry Stone and Steve Alaimo. "Alston" is a contraction of "Alaimo-Stone." Alston Records was started in 1968. Stone and Alaimo signed a distribution agreement with Atlantic/Atco, starting in the summer of 1968.

The Atlantic-distributed Alston singles were given their own series, starting with #4569. The albums, however, were another matter. The first two albums, by Betty Wright and Clarence Reid, issued in 1968 and 1969, were actually issued on the Atco label, with a notation that they were part of the "Alston Records Series." Four additional albums, issued between 1972 and 1973, were on the Alston label, but were numbered as part of the Atco 33-100 series and Atco 7000 series. After the distribution agreement expired in the summer of 1974, Stone and Alaimo shifted the label to their own TK Productions for distribution, using a new (4400) series starting in mid-1974.

Betty Wright Betty Wright was certainly the biggest star on the Alston label, having about two dozen R&B chart hits from 1969-1979, with many of them crossing over to the pop charts. Wright had a gospel background, having sung with her family group, the Echoes of Joy, as a girl. She signed with Alston when she was just 15 years old in 1968. Her first Alston single, "Girls Can't Do What the Guys Do" [Alston 4569], written by Alston producers Clarence Reid and Willie Clarke, reached the pop top 40 at #33, but made #15 on the R&B charts. Her followup, "He's Bad Bad Bad" [Alston 4571], only reached #103 on the Bubbling Under Charts and missed the R&B charts altogether. It wasn't until five singles later that she reached the charts again, although Alston released her first album My First Time Around, in the meantime. "Pure Love" [Alston 4587] reached the R&B top-40 in late summer, 1970. Then another miss, then back on the charts in July, 1971, with "I Love the Way You Love" [Alston 4594], which reached #44 on the R&B charts and #109 pop. Then in November of 1971, she had her biggest hit ever: "Clean Up Woman" [Alston 4601], which reached #6 on the pop charts and #2 on the R&B charts. From there, a long string of low-to-mid pop charters and a dozen more top-40 R&B hits, including the 1975 R&B Grammy-winner "Where Is the Love" [Alston 3713, #15 R&B]. By 1981, when the label was closing down, Betty moved to Epic Records and continued her career, on a number of labels, well into this century. She has sung with others on several hits, including fellow-Miamian Gloria Estefan's "Coming Out of the Dark," which made #1 on the pop charts in 1991. Her 2007 chart single with Angie Stone just suggests there are more to come. In all, she has placed over 40 songs on the national record charts.

Clarence Reid Another artist with hits on Alston was Clarence Reid, the ubiquitous singer, songwriter, producer, comedian, and who-knows-what-else who crops up on most of Henry Stone's labels. His first chart hit was an answer song to the Isley Bros.' "It's Your Thing," called "Nobody But You Babe" [Alston 4574], which reached #40 pop and #7 R&B starting in April, 1969. His followup, "I'm Gonna Tear You a New Heart" [Alston 4578], died at #120 on the Bubbling Under charts. He had two more hits for Alston, "Good Old Days" [Alston 4603, 1/72, #38 R&B] and "Funky Party" [Alston 4621, 6/74, #17 R&B/#99 pop]. But Clarence Reid was much more to the TK empire than just a recording artist. He wrote and produced countless songs for the TK labels, and a lot of them were hits. He is also well-known as his off-color comedian alter-ego, Blowfly, for whom an entire label, Weird World, was launched (but usually not claimed) by Clarence Reid and Henry Stone.

Alston also signed a group in 1971 from the Bahamas, The Beginning of the End, who ended up with more albums on the label (2) than chart hits (1). Their lone hit was "Funky Nassau, Part 1" [Alston 4595], which reached #15 pop and #7 on the R&B charts.

Other artists on Alston included J.P. Robinson, George & Gwen McCrae, the Diamonettes, the Famous Crones, Dave Prater, Jimmy "Bo" Horne, Raphael Munnings, Bill Pursell, the Funky Party Band, Milton Wright, Julie Budd, Danny Randell, Salty & the Mixed Nuts, Ronnie Spector (ex-lead singer of the Ronettes and ex-wife of Phil Spector), Lew Kirton, David Hudson, Herman Kelly & Life, John Mitchell, and Charles Johnson. The label wound down, as did the other TK labels, about 1981.

The first single on the Atlantic-distributed Alston label (far left) in 1968 was green with black print, but the label name was in block print instead of the stylized logo seen later. Early promotional labels (near left, from 1969) also had the label name in block letters. Soon after this, Alston went to the "hand-drawn logo" used until 1977.
The first Alston album label (far left), used while Atlantic was distributing the label during 1972-1974, was light green with black printing. "ALSTON" was above the center hole in black. At the bottom of the label is "DIST. BY ATLANTIC RECORDING CORP. 1841 BROADWAY, NY., N.Y." Promotional albums use the same graphics with white replacing the green color. The corresponding green 45 label is shown at near left.
Commercial Atlantic-distributed Alston singles were also issued with red (far left), light blue, dark green, or white (near left) labels. The corresponding promotional copies had white labels with black print.
Long after commercial singles had gone to stereo-only, record companies were still providing mono mixes to radio stations. This was often done with mono/stereo dj copies. Atlantic used a white label for the mono side and a light blue label for stereo side. The single shown at left was from June, 1974, the last Alston single distributed by Atlantic/Atco, just before distribution shifted to TK.
The second Alston album label (far left), used from 1974-1976 after the switch to TK distribution, was brown on the bottom and white at the top, with black printing. A series of red, orange, and yellow parabolas, resembling an inverted rainbow, separated the brown field from the white. The hand-drawn Alston logo was above the rainbow parabolas in black print. Singles used a corresponding label (near left).
The third Alston album label, introduced in 1977, was orange at the edges fading to yellow, with black printing, and discarded the hand-drawn logo that had been used since about 1970. "ALSTON" was in gold block letters above the center hole. Singles from this period (near left) used the same label, which was used until the label closed down.

We would appreciate any additions or corrections to this discography. Just send them to us via e-mail. Both Sides Now Publications is an information web page. We are not a catalog, nor can we provide the records listed below. We have no association with Alston, Atlantic, or TK Records. Should you be interested in acquiring albums listed in this discography (which are all out of print), we suggest you see our Frequently Asked Questions page and follow the instructions found there. This story and discography are copyright 2010 by Mike Callahan.



Number - Title - Artist - [Release Date] (Chart) Contents

Atco Records ("Alston Record Series", uses Atco label):

SD 33-260 - My First Time Around - Betty Wright [1968] Girls Can't Do What the Guys Do/Funny How Love Grows Cold/I'm Gonna Hate Myself in the Morning/Circle of Heartbreak/Sweet Lovin' Daddy/Cry Like a Baby//Watch Out Love/He's Bad, Bad, Bad/I Can't Stop My Heart/I'm Thankful/The Best Girls Don't Always Win/Just You

SD 33-307 - Dancin' with Nobody But You - Clarence Reid [9/69] Nobody But You Babe/Twenty Five Miles/Doggone It/Get Back/Don't Look Too Hard/I've Been Trying//Tear You A New Heart/Part Time Lover/Shop Around/Fools Are Not Born/Polk Salad Annie/Send Me Back My Money

Alston Records (Distributed by Atlantic; uses Atco numbering system and the green Alston label):

SD 33-379 - Funky Nassau - Beginning of the End [1972] Funky Nassau (Pt. I)/Funky Nassau (Pt. II)/Come Down/Sleep On Dream On/Surrey Ride//Monkey Taramind/In The Deep/Pretty Girl/When She Made Me Promise

SD 33-388 - I Love the Way You Love - Betty Wright [1972] (2-72, #123/#32 R&B) I Love the Way You Love/I'll Love You Forever Heart and Soul/I Found That Guy/All Your Kissin' Sho' Don't Make True Lovin'/If You Love Me Like You Say You Love Me/Clean Up Woman//I'm Gettin' Tired Baby/Pure Love/Ain't No Sunshine/Don't Let It End This Way/Let's Not Rush Down the Road of Love

SD-7026 - Hard to Stop - Betty Wright [1973] (8/73, #54 R&B) Front view cover. Issued with cover photos of Betty both from the front and the side. The back of this cover featured a silhouette of Betty from the side. I Am Woman/Sweet Wonder/The Experts/We the Two of Us/Let Me Go Down//Gimme Back My Man/Who'll Be the Fool/The Babysitter/If You Think You've Got Soul/It's Hard to Stop (Doing Something When It's Good to You)

SD-7026 - Hard to Stop - Betty Wright [1973] (8/73, #54 R&B) Side view cover. I Am Woman/Sweet Wonder/The Experts/We the Two of Us/Let Me Go Down//Gimme Back My Man/Who'll Be the Fool/The Babysitter/If You Think You've Got Soul/It's Hard to Stop (Doing Something When It's Good to You)

SD-7027 - Running Water - Clarence Reid [1973] Living Together Is Keeping Us Apart/New York City /If It Was God Enough For Daddy/Real Woman/Please Accept My Call/The Truth//Ruby/Love Who You Can/Please Stay Home/Like Running Water

Alston 4400 Series (Distributed by TK; label changes to brown and white Alston label):

4400 - Danger High Voltage - Betty Wright [1974] Everybody's Was Rockin'/Love Don't Grow On A Love Tree/Show Your Girl/Come On Up/Shoorah! Shoorah!//Where Is The Love/That's When I'll Stop Loving You/Don't Thank Me Baby, Thank Yourself/Tonight Is The Night

4401 - Friends and Buddies - Milton Wright [1975] Friends And Buddies/Brothers And Sisters/Get No Lovin' Tonight/Po' Man//Keep It Up/My Ol' Lady/Black Man/The Silence That You Keep

4402 - ...Explosion...! - Betty Wright [1976] Open The Door To Your Heart/Do Right Girl/I Think I'd Better Think About It/Smother Me With Your Love/Don't Forget To Say I Love You Today//Keep Feelin'/Rock On Baby, Rock On/If I Ever Do Wrong/Bluesville/Life

4403 - Beginning of the End - Beginning Of The End [1976] Super Woman/Trip To Nowhere/Jamaica/I've Got The News/Falling Apart At The Seams//That's What I Get/Bluestrain/Jump In The Water/Bahamian Boogie

4404 - On the Job - Clarence Reid [1976] The Best Part Of A Man/Mr. Smith's Wife/Come On With It/The Only Time She Loves Me/Baptize Me//Caution! Love Ahead/Down Where The Love Is/Sleep With Me/Nappy-Haired Cowboy

4405 - The Sweat Band - Bill Pursell & The Nashville Sweat Band & Aides [1976] Walk Right On/Bump Me Baby/Cachita/Every Day Of The Week/Hold My Hand When We're Goin' Home//Now/Sandwich Spread/Peter Piper Pumped His Pecks/Deja Vu

Note: At about this point, label changes to the yellow Alston label.

4406 - This Time for Real - Betty Wright [1977] That Man Of Mine/Wonderful Baby/If You Abuse My Love (You'll Lose My Love)/You Can't See For Lookin'//A Sometime Kind Of Thing/Brick Grits/Sweet/Give Me More, More, More/Room At The Top

4407 - Spaced - Milton Wright [1977] She Can Have Anything She Wants/Dance Have Fun/Magic Music/All I Know Is That I Have You/Let's Take A Break//You Like To Dance/You Don't Even Know Me/Leave Me Alone/Be With Me/Job

4408 - Betty Wright Live - Betty Wright [1978] (6-78, #26/#6 R&B) Lovin' Is Really My Game/Tonight Is The Night/A Song For You//Clean Up Woman/Medlody: Pillow Talk-You Got The Love- Mr. Medley-Midnight At The Oasis-Me And Mrs. Jones-You Are My Sunshine-Let's Get Married Today/You Can't See For Lookin'/Where Is The Love

4409 - Percussion Explosion! - Herman Kelly & Life [1978] Dance To The Drummer's Beat/Time After Time/A Refreshing Love//Who's The Funky D.J./Share Your Love/Do The Handbone

4410 - Betty Travelin' in the Wright Circle - Betty Wright [1979] (6-79, #138/#48 R&B) I'm Telling You Now/Child Of The Moon/You're Just What I Need/My Love Is.../Open The Door To Your Heart/Love Train/I Believe It's Love/Thank You For The Many Things You've Done/Listen To The Music (Dance)

4411 - Just Arrived - Lew Kirton [1980] Island Girl/Why Should I Get Jealous?/Love, I Don't Want Your Love//Something Special/Time To Get With It/Love Secret Agent/Let Me Up-Off My Knees

4412 - To You Honey, Honey with Love - David Hudson [1980] Honey, Honey/When I'm Lovin' You/I Have Never Loved A Woman (The Way I Love You)/I Must Have Your Love//Ease Up/Let Me Wrap You In My Love/Scratch My Back/Pump It

Thanks to Kevin Arrow and Wolfgang Weissbrodt.

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