Fred Mendelsohn

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R&B pioneer Fred Mendelsohn formed several labels of his own in the '40s and '50s, including Herald and Regal, as well as worked as a producer, talent scout and songwriter for Herman Lubinskey's famous…
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R&B pioneer Fred Mendelsohn formed several labels of his own in the '40s and '50s, including Herald and Regal, as well as worked as a producer, talent scout and songwriter for Herman Lubinskey's famous Savoy label. Mendelsohn, who grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, was fascinated by the blues and r&b sounds of Lenox Avenue. In 1949 he launched a label, Regent, with two bothers named Braun. Based in New Jersey, the label developed artists such as Annie Laurie, Paul Gayten and Chubby Newsom. In a move that foreshadowed what other northern producers and record men would soon do (most famously Jerry Wexler of Atlantic), Mendelsohn and his partners made frequent scouting trips to the south, particularly Atlanta, to record artists such as Blind Willie and Larry Darnell.

After legal problems effectively dissolved Regent, Mendelsohn formed another imprint, Herald Records, which he based in Elizabeth, New Jersey. In addition to running his own label, Mendelsohn also spent time as a partner in Savoy Records. During this period the producer discovered and fostered the careers of artists such as Big Maybelle, Nappy Brown and Little Jimmy Scott. He later went on to work with James Cleveland, The Davis Sisters and John Lee Hooker.