E&M Recording Company and My Records
aka: My Records
In the 1960s, Little Rock (Pulaski County) was home to E&M Recording Company, a studio owned by Earl Fox. The initials in the company name stood for “Earl” and “Myrna,” Fox’s wife. Through his two independent record labels, E&M Recording Company and My Records, which he established later, Fox provided a creative outlet and commercial venue for local singers and musical groups. My Records, in particular, played an important role in nourishing the creative energy released in the late 1960s profusion of central Arkansas rock and roll groups.
In 1959, Fox built a sound studio behind his house at 1612 South Buchanan Street in Little Rock; this was an avocational enterprise, which he undertook for his love of music and his desire to promote local bands. He adapted an old radio board for recording purposes. After three years, Fox rented a building at 12th Street and University Avenue for his growing business. He began issuing singles and albums under the E&M label. The music Fox recorded included jazz, blues, gospel, country, and rock. A notable local rock hit was Bobby Garrett’s “Vampire” (1962).
In the 1960s, Fox moved his studios to 2911 West Markham Street because he needed more space. With the post-Beatles boom in the number of area “garage bands,” Fox began recording hopeful groups on his new label, My Records, a subsidiary of E&M that enjoyed regional success with such singles as “I’ll Find a Way” by the Romans (1966), “Suzanne” by the Egyptians (1966), “Burnin’ Up the Wires” by the Dutch Masters (1967), “Midnight to Six Man” by the Culls (1967), “Tears of Blue” by the Coachmen (1967), and “Ain’t No Need” by Merging Traffic (1967), who signed with Decca in 1968 and achieved minor national success with the single “Bit by Bit.”
By the end of the decade, however, most of the local groups had disbanded. Fox continued his recording business, producing commercial and political jingles as well as music, but in the 1970s, he finally sold E&M; My Records had died two years earlier when the first wave of garage bands began disbanding as their members graduated from high school and went their separate ways. In 1999, the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies released an archival compact disc, The Little Rock Sound, 1965–69, featuring a representative selection of the My Records catalogue.
For additional information:
The Little Rock Sound, 1965–69. Liner notes by Bill Jones. Little Rock: Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, 1999.
William B. Jones Jr.
Bottle Imp Archives, Little Rock
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I am the Bobby Garret who sang “Vampire,” the first record E&M records ever released. The flip side of this was “Something to Remember You By,” which was a sad love song. “Vampire” came out about a week after Halloween, but even still, it made it to #5 on the charts of the most popular rock and roll station in Little Rock. E&M released another record on me in 1963 called “Short Skirts.” The flip side of this one was “Don’t Make Me Lie.” This song was really good for the times, but back in those days, if you didn’t have a lot of money to jump-start a song, it made it very difficult to get it played. “Short Skirts” is still being played in some of the European countries and is available for sale on several albums over there. It is on several websites in Amsterdam and the U.K. You can also hear it on You Tube by searching for “Short Skirts” by Bobby Garrett. The music for both records was played by Roy Lee’s Combo, which was a band I sang with back in the 1960s.
I wonder about “Jaguar Records” and Mr. Zagger. I recorded there. We also hung out at KOKY AM, which wasn’t far away, where the DJs would give me Slim Harpo and Jimmy Reed demos and 45s. I was a sixteen-year-old Hot Licks guitar player.