Here's another potential tax scam label I recently became aware of - Magna Glide. The label was apparently originally based in the UK and judging by the release number format, seems of have had a distribution agreement with London Records The label somehow hooked up with American bubblegum writers/producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz who by the mid-'70s had moved on to more rock oriented acts like Ram Jam. Interestingly quite a few of the acts appear to have been based in Ohio (including the Columbus-based Canyon).
Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz
As mentioned, the label started out releasing a string of 45s:
- catalog numbers MG-320 - MD-322 unknown
- 1975's Canyon 'Top Of The World (Make My Reservation)' b/w 'Boogie Down Broadway' (catalog number MGN-323)
- 1975's Ellison Chase 'Too Bad' b/w 'Run For the Daylight' (catalog number 5N-324-DJ)
- 1975's J.J. Jackson 'Let Me Try Again' b/w 'When Love Meets Love' (catalog number 5N-325-DJ)
- 1975's Tony Conigliaro 'Poety ' b/w 'Poetry (catalog number 5N-326-DJ)
- 1975's Canyon 'Overloaded ' b/w 'Oveloaded' (atalog number 5N-327-DJ)
- 1975's Elegant Taste 'Champagne & Caviar' b/w 'Champagne & Caviar' (catalog number 5N-328-DJ)
- 1975's Kasenetz-Katz Singing Orchestral Circus 'Mama Lu' b/w 'Collide (catalog number 5N-329-DJ)
- 1975's Cosmic Dreams 'Symphony #9' b/w 'Nocturne' (Catalogue number MGR 329).
- 1977's J.F. Baldassare 'A Way About Her' b/w 'It All Works Out' (catalog number MGN 330)
- 1977's Hungry Tiger 'Can't Stop Breathing' b/w 'Ten Miles Long' (catalog number MGN 331)
By 1977 Magna Glide had apparently abandoned the 45 market, turning its attention to LPs. Now based in New York City, looking at the published catalog numbers, they seem to have released at least 17 albums (the highest sequence I've found being MGS 323117. I've pulled together the entries I could readily find, but as you can see, there are lots of gaps in the company history and the catalog. I'm sure someone out there knows more about the outfit. Drop me a line.
Having poked around the web a bit, I've found a couple of passing references to the label:
This came from an anonymous member of the band Ram Jam (perhaps guitarist Bill Bartlett who'd been a late-inning member of The Lemon Pipers)
When I had my first recording contract, I was a kid...We were the scubs in the record company...at that time, it was called "Magna Glide" records ... owned by Kasentez and Katz ... two crooks. They had pioneered the bubble gum sound of the Ohio Express, 1910 Fruitgum Company, Tommy James, etc... They took a nose dive and then decided to come back. We were signed...we actually performed as the Ohio Express...which was a hoot because we were a fairly heavy band...so we'd play something by Led Zep...Bad Co..and then "Yummy Yummy"... Anyway, we went to the studio one night and recorded a song called "Dancin". Sorta a Rolling Stones type sound, but we clubbed it, brought it more into a dance feel during the session. It was screamin'. We left the studio at around 6AM. I got home, crashed and was awoken by the studio at around 10. "Get the guys together and come back in" Long story short, the two big shots LOVED the song "Dancin"...they said, in utter astonishment "You've heard the saying "out of left field"...well this isn't even in the ball park...we've been looking for the first song to release on the new label...and its gonna be this one but we need you guys to re-record it" Well, three very tired kids cracked under the pressure of getting the song as good as it had been the night before...we were tired of playing it...didn't have the energy...and the pressure was way too much for us...they wanted the song recorded that day....no questions asked. So we bombed...and guess what song they released instead? Yeah, friggin' Black Betty bam alam...stupid song!...I HATE that song!!!!!!!!
Here's some material about the Ohio-based band Canyon's relationship with Magna-Glide:
Canyon was formed by former Es-Shades drummer Richard Carmichael, who was joined by another former Es-Shade, Mark Lance (bass and vocals). Rounding out the the band were Bill Frasier on guitar and Randy Davidson on keyboards. The band played the Ohio Valley area and Columbus constantly and became a big draw in short order. The band was managed by Andy Apperson of Hilltop/Prism records and the Music Explosion. Andy had kept in touch with Kasenetz and Katz and when K&K decided to start a new label, Magna Glide, one thing lead to another and again K&K and another Ohio Valley band were aiming for the charts. Canyon's first 45, "Top Of The World", was a catchy but rockin' song written for the band by some outside writers. The record hit the Billboard charts in the summer of 1975 but could not get above #95. A few months later, Magna Glide tried again with a similar song called "Overloaded". There does not seem to have been any commercial copies of this record pressed. All the Canyon recording sessions were done in NYC, where the band also had some pretty successful gigs.
Canyon's "Top Of The World" (on the London-distributed Magna Glide label, and it's not the Carpenters song). This adolescent hard-rocker from 1975 should have been the tune to bring the K-K duo back-the vocalist is confident to the point of sounding downright arrogant, and the sing-along fade ("top of the world, la la la la!") almost sounds like a nasty schoolyard taunt. This would have been a perfect KISS song, and I can easily imagine a place for it on the Dazed and Confused soundtrack. It's easy to visualize some 14-year-old metal-heads having an illicit beer in an empty parking lot with this song blaring on somebody's portable radio. This actually made the charts that summer (#98 in Billboard), so maybe, in some parts of the country, they did.
During this time, they even brought back the K-K Circus with "Mama Lu" (Magna Glide), where their ongoing Beach Boys obsession (see "Down At Lulu's" by the Ohio Express, or "Go Away," an obscure Fruitgum Co. single on Super K) refuses to die. Since Ram Jam had their one-shot, Kasenetz & Katz have been keeping a relatively low profile, producing bands in their New York studio. Every now and then the duo and their stable of acts are remembered, but a full-scale revival hasn't happened yet.
- November 5, 2013 added photo of Las Vegas Nights LP
- December 24, 2015 added review of Hungry Tiger LP
- January 10, 2016 added review of Las Vegas Nights LP
- March 28, 2016 Daniel provided the following: "I was recently lucky enough to snag 2 45's on the label off of eBay, the Hungry Tiger release, as well as one I hadn't even known existed until now-Cosmic Dreams "Symphony #9/Nocturne" (Catalogue number MGR 329). While I don't know the track listing for this album, I do know these songs were originally released on the Super K label on the Kasenetz-Katz Orchestral Circus' "Classical Smoke" album. The single, however, deletes Joey Levine and Arthur Resnick's producer credits."
|LP cover||Artist||LP Title||Label||Catalog||Year||Grading||
|Paradox||Modern Madness||Magna-Glide||MGS 323109||1977||VG+ / VG+||
estimate value $150.00
|Comsic Dreams||Cosmic Dreams||Magna-Glide||MGS-323011||1977||NM / NM; sealed copy||
estimate value $75.00
|Hungry Tiger||Hungry Tiger||Magna-Glide||MGS 323112||1977||VG+ / VG+||
|C.A.T.||C.A.T.||Magna-Glide||MGS 323114||1977||VG+ / VG+||
estimate value $150.00
|Soul Dukes||Maneater||Magna-Glide||MGS 323115||1977||NM / NM||
estimate value $100.00
|Spencer Barefoot||Jungle Junk||Magna-Glide||MGS 323116||1977||NM / NM||
|Furr||Furr||Magna-Glide||MGS 323117||1977||NM / NM||
estimate value $90.00
|Las Vegas Nights||Las Vegas Nights||Magna-Glide||MGS 323118||1977||NM / NM; sealed copy||
|J.F. Baldassare||Dreams||Magna-Glide||1977||VG+ / VG+||
estimate value $450.00
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