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Black History Month only comes around one month out of each year, but it is an opportunity for us to celebrate the contributions that African Americans have made to our American history.

K-City Records celebrates February 2014 in honor of those sung and unsung heroes. Let us all take time to remember the contributions of African Americans in the United States and how they have touched the hearts of people all over the world.

If you are in search of great things to do this month, go to the K-City Records’ KC Links to check out what’s happening.








View FRONTLINE’s Documentary






K-CITY RECORDS' History in Motion


K-City Records will occasionally announce a choice featured name and/or spot in Kansas City, Missouri/Kansas to share a bit of K-City history with you. Ourshowcasestoptodayisthe Original Up-beat Tempo Rocker, Priscilla Bowman.

Priscilla Bowman (May 30, 1928 – July 24, 1988) was a soulful American Jazz and Rhythm and Blues singer and this is part of her illustrious story:

During the early fall of 1955, Vee-Jay Records president Jimmy Bracken was very enthusiastic about a new recording just out on his label. It was a jump blues style tune by a band from Kansas City headed by long time K.C. pianist Jay McShann. McShann was part of the rich musical heritage that adopted the city which included Count Basie, Lester Young, Mary Lou Williams, and many others. Jay McShann at one time featured a young K.C. sax player named Charlie Parker who would revolutionizeAmerican jazz in the nineteen forties. At that time in the mid-fifties, it wasn't a sax player however that was raising eyebrows but a tough sounding female R&B singer named Priscilla Bowman. The new recording that got Bracken so impressed was an up tempo rocker called "Hands Off."

"Hands Off" and "Another Night" on Vee-Jay moved up the best seller charts in a hurry during November of 1955. It was featured on broadcasts in New York by Alan Freedwhich gave the record impetus on the East Coast which gave it "push" throughout the rest of the country. By December as the record breaks out in the Midwest, the inevitable pop music covers emerge (including one by Donna Hightower). During 1956 as the record continued to rise Priscilla Bowman began receiving recognition more so for her remarkable vocal technique. Early in the year the record registers as the No. 1 Seller in the rhythm & blues field in many of the major markets in the country and then was soon recognized as a top seller in the United States and abroad.

During February the songs "I've Got News For You" and "My Darkest Night" were released. The band along with Priscilla Bowman on vocals became a big draw across the country and a satisfying rediscovery of Jay McShann and his piano styling. Late in the year "Really Don't Need Your Loving" is released on Vee-Jay, along with the flip side "Hootie Blues" which was written by Charlie Parker for McShann (whose nickname is 'Hootie') back in 1939 and recorded the next year with a vocal by Walter Brown (released on Decca Records). This new version features a great vocal by Priscilla Bowman. In March of 1957 Priscilla Bowman alongside McShann appeared for a week at the Regal Theater in Chicago with Screamin Jay Hawkins, Gene & Eunice, The Spaniels, El Dorados, Joe Turner, Tab Smith, and others. Huge box office for the show had the music industry people amazed.

In August 1957 Vee-Jay decided to issue records by Priscilla Bowman (without Jay McShann) on their new subsidiary Falcon Records. During September 1957 Falcon released "Yes I'm Glad" and "A Spare Man." Backing up Priscilla Bowman is the band of Al Smith featuring Lucious Washington and Marcus Johnson on tenors, McKinley Easton on baritone, Horace Palm on piano, Lefty bates on guitar, Quinn Wilson on bass, and Al Duncan on drums. In November Bowman appears in Chicago once again at the Regal Theater, this time with Al Benson. Big Maybelle, The Dells, Mello-Kings, Frankie Lee Sims, Titus Turner, and others. In February of 1958 "Sugar Daddy" and "Don't You Come In Here" is released on Falcon. Both Falcon releases were reportedly also issued on Abner Records with the same numbers. A final record for the year by Bowman is "A Rockin Good Way" and "I Ain't Giving Up Nothing" on Abner noteworthy for the backing vocals by The Spaniels.

In 1959 Priscilla Bowman performed another recording session for Abner Records, this time with the Riley Hampton Orchestra. The songs are "Like A Baby" and "Why Must I Cry." This record like many others is a competent R&B recording.

Priscilla Bowman loved to sing and loved people. She continued to record and make personal appearances (, some reuniting with Jay McShann) through the mid-seventies. Priscilla lost her battle with cancer in July of 1988 at the age of 60.

“Hands Off” and other songs sung by Priscilla Bowman have been used as background music for TV commercials, college radio broadcasts, on airplanes, as well as numerous other public broadcastings. Her music is widely played throughout the United Kingdom and other European countries, like Canada, Ireland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Japan, Belgium, Denmark and France.

A Special Collections commemorative will be open to visitors and tourists at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), in the Marr Sound Archives Miller Nichols Library by July 2012. There are currently no singles of Priscilla Bowman’s music readily available to the public however and since there’s been a wide request for her music, Priscilla’s family has decided to incorporate and release a Priscilla Bowman Memorabilia CD and DVD as a collector’s item to fans by the year 2013.

Priscilla’s music currently appears on many compilation albums mostly with the inclusive "Hands Off" song. This song alone remains as one of the biggest R&B records of the nineteen fifties and has made way for the name Priscilla Bowman. Her distinct vocal style and musicis a mainstay in American Jazz and R&B and equally plays a monumental part in Kansas City’s bejeweled music and entertainment history.

The new Priscilla Bowman Collection at the University of Missouri-KC is archived and accessible at: http://library.umkc.edu/spec-col-collections/bowman. This favorable Collection is being used as student course curriculum by Dr. Sarah Tyrrell of the University of Missouri-KC's Conservatory Research & Bibliography department as well.


CLICK to hear

Priscilla Bowman singing “Hands Off”

There’s still much to learn about Priscilla Bowman. For additional information interested parties may write to:

Ms. Marcia Bowman-Hunt | Email: mhunt5572@yahoo.com


Chuck Haddix

Marr Sound Archives

Miller Nichols Library at the University of Missouri—Kansas City

5100 Rockhill Rd. - Kansas City, MO 64110

(816) 235-2798

~ ~ ~

Don’t forget to mention you first heard about this American Music Icon at

 "K-City Records' History In Motion!"





Wilbert Harrison - "Kansas City" 

(View  “Top Video”  of Mr. Harrison)


Wilbert Harrison (January 5, 1929 – October 26, 1994) was an American rhythm and blues singer, pianist, guitarist and harmonica player.

Born in Charlotte North Carolina (USA), Harrison had a Billboard No.1 record in 1959 with the song “Kansas City.” The song was written in 1952 and was one of the first credited collaborations by the team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. Harrison recorded “Kansas City” for the Harlem based entrepreneur Bobby Robinson.




To All the Blues Lovers


A brief message from Eugene Smiley


First let me say; I'm very glad you stopped by to visit kcityrecords.com. I'm the person responsible for bringing K-City Records back to life. K-City Records Inc. was active back in the 1970s. After the disco period, we backed off and became idle until now. I'm retired now and I don't travel as much, so I now have the required time needed to devote to K-City Records Inc.

Some of the musicians in the Kansas City area have given me the title as a "Living Legend." Well, I don't claim to be a legend but I've had a wonderful music career that I'm happy with. I've been to a lot of places, played with a lot of blues and R&B artists and did a lot of great things.

You know, I would like to help young musicians and give them some pointers that might help them to be successful with their music. If there is anyone that may need some advice as to how to get from point A to point B, then contact me. Maybe I can help. eugenesmiley@kcityrecords.com.

Leave me a message and I'll make sure to contact you.

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