Carl McVoy bought Claunch's share for $7000, which he earned on the next Bill Black record, for which he brought an old Hammond organ to the studio. "White Silver Sands"
(Hi 2021) was a Top 10 hit (number 9) and, like its predecessor, topped the rhythm and blues charts for four weeks. The Bill Black Combo maintained a consistent output with varying degrees of success for many years, even after
the death of Bill Black in 1965.
Ace Cannon cut a solo album with his own combo in 1961 and soon had a hit of his own
with "Tuff" (number 17 pop, number 3 on rhythm and blues).
The course of Hi Records was set. Greasy blues-based instrumentals became the label's trademark. By
the mid-sixties, the sales of Bill Black and Ace Cannon began to tail off and Hi's most consistent seller became Willie Mitchell, who was essentially recording a punchier version of the same thing. But there were vocal hits as well for
Hi. Gene Simmons, who first recorded for the label as early as 1959, had a number 11 hit in 1964 with a slick remake of Johnny Fuller's "Haunted House". Jerry Jaye revived Fats Domino's "My Girl Josephine" and took it to number
29 in 1967. However, by then Hi was stagnating. The salvation for the company came as Willie Mitchell started assuming an increasing role at the Hi Studio. Mitchell had a taste for jazz, but also understood what was commercial in contempo-
rary black music. He moved Hi into the soul music genre, achieving fantastic success with Al Green (from 1970 onwards), the most successful Hi artist of' them all. Chart success on a more modest scale came with Ann Peebles,
also in the early seventies.
Joe Cuoghi died July 13, 1970 in Memphis, Tennessee. Willie Mitchell became executive vice-president (after buying out Ray Harris and Carl
McVoy) and Cuoghi's lawyer, Nick Pesce, became president.
After turning down a $ 9,000,000 offer from Atlantic Records, Hi was sold in 1976 for considerably
less. The buyer was Al Bennett, one of the founders of Liberty Records, who operated from the West Coast. After a couple of years of trying to record Memphis Soul in Los Angeles, Willie Mitchell left the label.
Since the introduction of the compact disc, Hi leased their material to several labels, including Motown, MCA and Right Stuff (EMI-Capitol Special Markets), with much of the label's output being
reissued on CD.
TRI RECORDS - A subsidary of Fernwood Records, Memphis, Tennessee.
M.O.C. RECORDS - A subsidary of Fernwood Records, Memphis, Tennessee.
DIANE RECORDS - A subsidary of Fernwood Records, Memphis, Tennessee.
Operated by Bill Black.
LOUIS RECORDS - A subsidary of Fernwood Records, Memphis, Tennessee.
Operated by Bill Black.
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