Sunday, February 04, 2007

Moss Bros

Moss Bros have been an established name on the British high street for more than a century, the name originally appearing over a shop in 1898, although the company was originally founded in 1851. If you want to hire a DJ you could contact Mr. Finewine. Alternatively, if the DJ you’re looking for is of the sartorial variety and you’re in the UK, the chances are you will pop in to your local Moss Bros as theirs is probably the first name you will think of if formal clothes hire is on the agenda (they also sell clothes through other brand outlets). I can’t say I have ever had occasion to use them, however that may change in the future. I now no longer wear a suit to work (no, I don’t go naked, just dress down!) but last summer found myself buying one as we were invited to the wedding of a family friend. Worn once it’s hung in the wardrobe ever since. Perhaps I should have gone to Moss Bros.

For the purposes of this blog mini series of random connections of the unconnected Moss Bros serve as a link to…. Bill Moss the founder of Capsoul Records…. and so to the ‘brothers’ Kool Blues, another one of the select Columbus/central Ohio groups to appear on that label during it’s relatively brief existence.

I picked up Kool Blues “I’m Gonna Keep On Loving You” blind from a soul list in 1976. Although not extensive, my record collection does contain a few obscurities. For some unknown reason though this particular record has always had a special mystique about it. I had always wanted to know more about the label and Kool Blues but at the time there was no practical way of finding out more about it. Of course now we have the Interweb, and, combined with the sterling work done by the Numero Group in 2004 to immortalise the Capsoul label (see link in my previous post) I now know a lot more about the label at least. Although it has to be said not much more about Kool Blues themselves (John Primm, Bill Gilbert, and(?) Norman Whiteside). But the story of Bill Moss and his Capsoul label seems to prove that the mystique this record held for me over all these years was justified – maybe I secretly knew there was a good story behind it.

Bill Moss was a DJ and sometime performer and producer in Columbus when he started the Capsoul label in May 1970, building his own studio. Twelve singles and a single album were released in the four and a half years of it’s existence. The Four Mints and Marion Black had national R&B chart success but with true indie style distribution most of the releases only enjoyed regional success. Late in 1974 the bank finally withdrew a line of credit and the Capsoul label was no more. Bill Moss managed to save his master tapes but they were subsequently lost when the house where they were being stored was flooded, and by then he had already trashed the remainder of his stock as the banks actions had been too much for him to bear. You can hear (the now sadly deceased) Bill Moss talk more about his experiences on the music scene here, and more about Columbus based music here.

A great record and now, some thirty years after it dropped through my letterbox, I’m finally starting to unearth the great story behind it. Not bad for the price of two pints of beer in 1976.

Kool Blues - (I'm Gonna) Keep On Loving You (mp3) 1972

1 comment:

Rahul Dhalgade said...
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