Cleveland Robinson

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An obscure Cleveland, OH, singer/writer/producer/label owner who released at least 15 singles and one album, collectors believe there were a few more. He debuted on Debra Records with "These Are the Hands,"…
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An obscure Cleveland, OH, singer/writer/producer/label owner who released at least 15 singles and one album, collectors believe there were a few more. He debuted on Debra Records with "These Are the Hands," which was picked up by Ascot Records (a subsidiary of United Artist). After proposed deals with other majors fell through, Cleveland Robinson issued 12 singles on Nosnibor Records (Nosnibor is Robinson spelled backwards). Copies of his most popular recording (among collectors) "Love Is a Trap" have been found on both Nosnibor and Alley Cat Records. He recorded at Schneider's Recording by Herman Schneider; the small studio was located in downtown Cleveland.

He never landed a national distribution deal and his recordings never made any of the charts: national, regional, or local -- R&B or pop. (Carnival Records, owned by Joe Evans, never had a national distribution deal either, but managed national chart recognition on releases by the Manhattans and Lee Williams & the Cymbals so it can be done.) The local R&B stations WJMO and WABQ ignored him, a jock at WHK, the big 50,000-watt pop/rock station (at the time) played a couple, but none made the surveys the station printed and distributed. He did the Big Five Show, hosted by Don Webster (now a TV weatherman in Cleveland), a few times and performed a few local gigs, but other than a few press releases and articles in local papers, he never built a presence and is only recognized by an elite group of Northern Soul collectors, so named cause the term and groundswell originated in the northern section of England.

Two tracks including "Love Is a Trap" are compiled on Goldmine/Soul Supply's For Millionaires Only series, volume two and four; a bootleg, Cream of the Crop, Vol. 10, also lists "Trap." To date, none of his recordings are on a domestic compilation. While living in California, his records were stolen which partially accounts for why collectors are unable to track down copies.