Dig Album Discography
By David Edwards and Mike Callahan
Last update: August 20, 1998

The Dig Record label was originally called Ultra Records. Ultra Records was formed in late 1955 by Frank Gallo, Eddie Mesner, Leo Mesner and Johnny Otis in Los Angeles California. Almost immediately, in February 1956, the name of the label was changed to Dig Records, probably because of the existence of another California record company called Ultra. Dig Records was affiliated with the Mesner Brothers' Aladdin Record label.

In 1957, Johnny Otis acquired sole ownership of the Dig Record Label. Johnny Otis was a legendary figure in early rhythm and blues. Although white, Otis grew up in the black section of Los Angeles and totally embraced rhythm and blues music, and was one of the first to realize its potential. In the 1940s, he formed a big band and traveled the country with a rhythm and blues revue. His band had several singers, including Little Esther (Phillips), Arthur Lee Maye, and Mel Williams.

Otis himself released just one album on the Dig label [LP-104], Rock and Roll Hit Parade, Volume 1. The album, originally intended to be the first in a series of albums with the Johnny Otis Orchestra playing rock and roll standards, was the only one of the series released. It is very much in demand by collectors, and was issued with two different covers, the first gold, the second yellow. Johnny Otis was also a very prolific songwriter, writing "Double Crossing Blues" for Little Esther and the Robins (a hit in 1950), "Every Beat of My Heart" for the Royals in 1952 (nine years later a hit in a remake by Gladys Knight and the Pips), and "Wallflower (Dance With Me Henry)" for Etta James (a hit in 1955). Johnny Otis started recording for Capitol Records in 1958, where he had a moderate hit with "Willie and the Hand Jive" and a minor followup, "Castin' My Spell.".

The Dig catalog has been largely reissued in the 1990s on compact disc, thanks to the Ace label in England.

The Dig Record label is light pink with black printing. "DIG" is above the center hole, each letter is in a black box. To the left of the logo is "LONG PLAYING" and to the right is "records". The albums were issued in mono only.

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 Dig 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 1998 by Mike Callahan.


Number - Title - Artist [Release Date] Contents

LP-101 - Tanganyiga, Modern Afro-American Jazz - Buddy Collette & Sleepy Stein [1955]

LP-102 - Gerald Wiggins Trio - Gerald Wiggins Trio [1955]

LP-103 - All Through The Night - Mel Williams [1955] All Through the Nite/Talk to Me/Here at My Phone/So Fine/Dream/I Cried a Million Tears //Hold Me/Give Me Your Love/School Girl/My Love/Here in My Heart/Don't Cry Baby

LP-104 - Rock And Roll Hit Parade, Volume 1 - Johnny Otis Show [10/57] There are two covers for this album; the first (we believe) was gold with a picture of Johnny Otis and "Rock 'N Roll" in white. The second was yellow with the same graphics. This album is very collectable and there were very good counterfeits of the gold cover version produced in the 1970s, so be careful if purchasing one. Honey Love/Sh-Boom/Earth Angel/Gee/Sincerely/The Midnight Creeper //At My Front Door/Long Tall Sally/Only You/One Mint Julep/Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!/Please Don't Leave Me


CHCHD-325 - Creepin' with the Cats: The Legendary Dig Masters, Volume 1 - Johnny Otis [1991] Midnight Creeper, Part 1/Driftin' Blues/Ali Baba's Boogie/Let The Sunshine In My Life (Once More)/Hey Hey Hey Hey/Dog Face Boy, Parts 1 & 2/Show Me The Way To Go Home/Sleepy Shines Butt Shuffle/Organ Grindser's Swing/Someday/Sadie/Butterball/Wa Wa, Part 1/My Eyes Are Full Of Tears/Turtle Dove/Groove Juice/Trouble On My Mind/Number 69-Number 21/The Creeper Returns/Stop Look And Love Me/The Night Is Young (And You're So Fine)

CHCHD-334 - Dig These Blues: The Legendary Dig Masters, Volume 2 - Various Artists [1992] Old Folks Boogie - Al Simmons/You Ain't Too Old - Al Simmons/Country Home - Sailor Boy/What Have I Done Wrong, Parts 1 & 2 - Sailor Boy/Hand Me Down Baby - Sidney Maiden/Going Back To The Plow - Hozay/I've Got An Expensive Woman - Hozay/Wrong Doin' Woman - Moose John/Talkin' 'Bout Me - Moose John/Springtime Blues - T.W. Sams/Come On Home - Jimmy Nolen/If You Ever Get Lonesome - Roy "Happy" Easter/My Woman Done Quit Me - Slim Green & Cats From Fresno/Moore Boogie - Abe Moore & Orchestra/S&J - Abe Moore & Orchestra/Singing The Blues - Little Billy Robbins/Full Grown Woman - Larry Waters/Don't Tell Me That You Love Me - Larry Waters/Bring Her Back To Me - Billy Robbins/Elim Stole My Baby (Boo Hoo) - Sugar Cane/They Say You Never Can Miss - Sugar Cane

CHCHD-351 - Dapper Cats, Groovy Tunes, & Hot Guitars: The Legendary Dig Masters, Volume 3 - Various Artists [1994] Telephone Boogie - Johnny Watson & Jeannie/I Got A Girl (That Lives Over Yonder) - Johnny Watson/My Achin' Feet - Henry Strogin/I've Been Blind Blind Blind - Robert McKirby/Jimmy's Jive - Jimmy Nolen/Hey Little Girl - Richard Lewis/Bingo - Abe Moore/Talk To Me Baby - Roy "Happy" Easter/Sad Stories - Larry Waters/Check Yourself - Tony Allen & Barbara/Someday - T.W. Sams/Country Boogie - Preston Love & Orchestra/Get Away From Here - Pete "Guitar" Lewis/Ain't Gonna Tell - Dessa Ray/Wiggle Walk - Johnny Otis/Things Won't Be Right Without You - Devonia "Lady Dee" Williams/Much More - Jessie & Joyce/Itty Bitty Bee - Ray Johnson/Baby Please Come Home - Little Billy Robbins/Gotta Have Lovin' - Little Billy Robbins/The Blooper - Johnny Otis & Jayos/Bad Bad Bulldog - Little Arthur Matthews/Hot Diggety Do - Little Arthur Matthews/Dead Man's Hop - Johnny Otis

CHCHD-569 - Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Ooh: The Legendary Dig Masters, Volume 4 - Various Artists [1994] Shooby Dooby Mama - Phantoms/My baby Doll - Gladiators/Girl Of My Heart - Gladiators/Another Chance - Cell Foster & Audios/Millie's Chili - Cell Foster & Audios/A Fool's Prayer - Arthur Lee Maye & Crowns/Only One - Arthur Lee Maye & Crowns/Honey Honey - Arthur Lee Maye & Crowns/This Is The Night For Love - Arthur Lee Maye & Crowns/Whispering Wind - Arthur Lee Maye & Crowns/Crazy Bells - Julie Stevens & Premiers/Blue Mood - Julie Stevens & Premiers/Take My Heart - Julie Stevens & Premiers/Have A Heart - Premiers/My Darling - Premiers/Can It Be Real - Premiers/I Think I'm Just Your Fool - Jayos/Ding A Ling Ding A Ling - Jayos/A Dying Love - Jayos/I Plead Guilty - Jayos/Wedding Ring - Jayos/What Am I Gonna Do - Teenettes/In Exchange For Your Love - Little Julian Herrera/Sweet Thing - Ding Dongs

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