The Alaska Sound
Overall there was no really positive musical direction mainly because I love all kinds of music which culminated from proven success with orchestral music to soul music and everything else in between!
Joy Sarney's 'Naughty Naughty Naughty' gave Alaska Records its first sizeable hit selling a quarter of a million records. This success was consolidated by the signing of such artists as The Dooley family, The Flying Saucers, R.B. Zipper, Joanne Williams and most significant of all Cymande
Arguably, the jewel in Alaska's crown remains Cymande, whose ground breaking recordings have gone on to influence Hip Hop artists and deejays alike since the tracks were first laid down over thirty years ago.
This nine piece soul/rasta band had three albums to their credit, two American tours one with Al Green and the other on their own (See ‘Sex and Violins) They were and still are the first British black soul band to break the American charts and they still have a sizeable following with a fourth album presently in production.
More on Cymande
The formation of Alaska Records
In retrospect 1972 was most definitely a landmark year in my career. My one and only attempt at writing a musical entitled ‘Pull Both Ends’ starring Gerry Marsden, The Young Generation and Christine Holmes miraculously made it to the West End of London and opened at the Piccadilly theatre on July 18th having had a sell-out two week run in Manchester.
Prior to this the thrill and as yet unknown nightmare of launching my own record label suddenly became reality. I named it Alaska Records purely because beginning with the letter A it would be amongst the first to be listed and secondly Alaska was as such virginal and undiscovered territory (See my book All for the Love of Music).
Why set up a new label?
Writing, producing and discovering new recording Artists had been my vocation for a long period of time so it was a logical career move to make. However I was soon shocked to discover that I had considerably underestimated the huge and relentless financial outlay. Fortunately this only made my determination to make it a success even greater. I even eventually added two further labels namely Harbor and Black Bear.
Alaska, Harbor and Black Bear survived seven years and overall I am personally proud with what my team and I had managed to achieve - realistically against all odds!