Lost links & Re-ups

On any post, if the link is no longer good, leave a comment if you want the music re-uploaded. As long as I still have the file, or the record, cd, or cassette to re-rip, I will gladly accommodate in a timely manner all such requests.

Slinging tuneage like some fried or otherwise soused short-order cook

18 November 2007

TABOO - the Modern Record story

UPDATE: This post was re-uploaded 12/23/2013. Enjoy, NØ.

Nathan Nothin' here.

Now for something strictly TABOO...

The Modern label was formed in 1945 in Los Angeles, California,by Saul & Jules Bihari. Modern recorded rhythm & blues, country & western, jazz, popular, blues, & gospel. The subsidiary Crown was formed in 1954 & after three years (starting in 1957), was used only for budget priced albums. The Riviera label subsidiary was a budget label that operated in 1959.

All of these labels were very much a family affair, as the President of all the labels was Saul Bihari, his brothers Jules & Joe served as Vice Presidents, & brother Lester was head of Sales & Promotion. At the Modern, & Crown labels, A&R was handled by Joe & Jules Bihari, Maxwell Davis, Austin McCoy, Jake Porter, Lester Sill & even Ike Turner.

In the late '40s and early '50s, Modern was able to attract many fine blues performers to the labels, including B.B. King, Elmore James, Lightnin' Hopkins, Little Willie Littlefield, Jimmy McCracklin, Jimmy Witherspoon, & John Lee Hooker. Modern also leased masters from Sam Phillips in Memphis, & was the first label to release material by the legendary Howlin' Wolf. A split between the Bihari brothers & Sam Phillips occurred when Phillips started leasing the Wolf masters to Chess in Chicago.

Modern was even successful in the rock & roll field: with vocal groups including the Cadets, Marvin & Johnny, the Jacks, & the Teen Queens; single artists Jesse Belvin, Etta James, Jimmy Beasley, Richard Berry, & Shirley Gunter. The biggest hits for the Biharis were: an uptempo instrumental by tenor sax player Joe Houston, titled "Blow, Joe, Blow'; the slow group recording by the Jacks titled "Why Don't You Write Me" in 1955; a novelty number titled "Stranded in the Jungle" in 1956 by the Cadets (a group with the same personnel as the Jacks); a hit by Jesse Belvin with the fine ballad "Goodnight, My Love" in 1956; & a hit with the amateurishly sung "Eddie My Love" by a girl group called the Teen Queens, also in 1956.

The Biharis started putting all of their energy into the Crown budget album line in 1957.

Another budget label named Riviera was created in 1959.

The first label on this series was black with silver printing. "Riviera RECORDS" in silver above the center hole, "HIGH FIDELITY" in silver on the left side and "LONG PLAYING 33 1/3" in silver on the right. The second label was black with silver printing, "Riviera RECORDS" in white above the center hole with a three-color logo, "HIGH FIDELITY" in white on the left side and "LONG PLAYING 33 1/3" in white on the right.

The second run of Taboo - Riviera Records R0028 has "STUDIO GROUP" in white below the center hole. Searching the Internet will reveal that Taboo is often credited to said 'Studio Group' or 'Various Artists'.

Taboo is really the music of Subri Moulin & the Equatorial Rhythm Group. It is re-released from 195? Jungle Percussion. One side of Jungle Percussion is authentic African traditional music, the A side is primarily Caribbean music. An additional side from the JP recording session was added to Taboo. The Jungle Percussion session notoriously appears on countless public-domain, budget-label records, as Taboo, Congo Percussion, Soul of a People, Fabulous Bongo Ping Pong Percussion, even Tahitian Percussion(???). It is credited to various artist names --"Sabu" (meaning the actor; the LP has nothing to do with Sabu Martinez), Subri Moulin, "Kaino" (not Chaino), Chief Bey, Cawanda, even Studio Group--- & with song titles having various spellings, typically "Yowcolule", here listed as "You Couie" & "Ayilong", here listed as "Ayilongo".

Subri Moulin & Equatorial Rhythm Group - Taboo, Riviera Records R0028, 1959, first pressing.
decryption code in comments

Side A -
You Couie
Sha Sha Calor

Side B -
Ah De Vous
Ben Je Engay

Although the Biharis only goal was making money for the Biharis, they nevertheless released a great deal of music that might not otherwise be available today. Unfortunately for record collectors, the goal of the Crown line seemed to be "How cheap can you make the record?" The covers were two pieces of thin cardboard held together with the paper cover, with no liner notes, & no record inner paper or plastic sleeves were used. Many had only 10 songs rather than the standard 12. The vinyl on these reissues was thin, & many have manufacturing defects.

In the true spirit of the Biharis brothers & "How cheap...?" Here for your listening pleasure, stricly free...strictly TABOO.



  1. the artist formerly known as Dr O12/1/07, 1:42 AM

    Holy crap... I didn't expect to see any comments about the Bihari Brothers and Modern Records on a Nathan Nothing blog! Talk about obscurities that speak my language!

    Will wonders never cease?

  2. To the artist formerly known as Dr. O
    Where your sigil, man?
    & this is NØ you're talkin' to.
    I'm one of the most obscure...

  3. the artist formerly known as Doctor O12/1/07, 2:15 PM

    Dig, daddy-oh! You da man!

    I'm downloading right now....

  4. When I was a kid back in the early 60's my oldest brother brought Taboo home with him. My next oldest brother and I listened to this album over and over. Being little kids we thought it was funnier than hell. We would dance around and sing along with it.

    When I became a teen (having long lost the album) I still remembered the words to Ben Je Engay (or what I thought was the words). I can't remember how many times I sang that song after drinking with my buddies at keggers in the mountains. About a month ago I was joking around with my little girls and I started singing the song again. To my amazement I remember the tune and was very close to the original words.

    Then I happened upon your blog and to my astonishment saw the Taboo album cover and even to a greater amazement find that you have the mp3's. I sent Ben Je Engay to my brothers a few minutes ago.

    Thank you for bringing this memory to me. I am very very grateful.

    Dennis Martinez

  5. Wow, I can't believe this is here, and mp3's too! Whooo-hoooo! I had this LP back in the 1950's as Tahitian Percussion and being a young boy of 7 or 8 years old back then I wore the poor grooves right out of that record over the years. 50 years later I still know the words to the songs, although I'm a bit rusty on 'em. Gonna de-scratch these mp3's and get 'em burned onto CD then proceed to torture the neighbors. *grin* I really love these songs.


  7. I remember my dad when I was real young playing this record on week-ends when he would do his work around the house. The album cover is simple and mysterious. But what drew me in was the tiger and the green mask on the front of the cover. The music was really good, even though I didn't understand the words, and it was different. Don't forget, movies were being made in different locales and foreign music was being intruduced thru the movies (a la "Hatari" featuring John Wayne, and other earlier pictures that were made in this time period), since then, my dad had bought 4 different albums of African drum music. After inheriting my dad's record collection, this album was still alive and well, a little scratchy (what do you expect after 50+ years) but after giving it a good bath and vacuuming, I played it back and still sounded as good as I can remember it. It is now alive and well on cd and I gave a copy of this to my granddaughter whose school music group is exploring African music, and the teacher was absolutely amazed at the music, so were the students. Every time I listen to this, it takes me back to my youth, Oh, the Good Old Days!!!

  8. These records have a fascinating history. Subri Moulin's LP first appeared on the RKO label where it was called 'Jungle Beat'. RKO shortly thereafter went kaput and Tops/Mayfair reissued it as 'Jungle Percussion'. OK so far. But then it gets complicated.

    When what appeared to be the same record popped up on Pirouette/Riviera/Hallmark/Sutton and a fistful of other bargain-basement labels, things were a bit different. For example, Pirouette tacked on ping-pong left-right intros to the tracks. And most of the bargain reissues (including Pirouette) did not do a straight reissue of the RKO/Tops original. Only about half the tracks were used, and the rest of the LP filled out by tracks that don't appear on the originals. Whether they were unused Subri tracks, or something contributed by other artists (like the anonymous Studio Group?), I have no way of knowing. Etunde, Yarbon, and Ah De Vous for example are on most of these later pressings, but do not appear on the original RKO/Tops/Mayfair LP that is credited to Subri Moulin. And then this later mix of tracks was reissued further with entirely different names made up for each song! (All the better to confuse the unwary buyer.)

    Meanwhile iTunes and other sources are offering an mp3 of the RKO original, mastered not from the original tapes but from a somewhat noisy vinyl LP. But it's good enough for me to verify the tracks that match with the many later pressings.

  9. MEGA decryption code

  10. I also listened to this record when I was a teenager and I LOVED it! I was going through a rough time in my life. I was in foster care. I brought the album with me and a couple other records. I believe my foster mother thought I was listening to devil music and one day while I was at school the album disappeared. I thought it was lost to me forever until I saw your blog. I'm so close now but I can't seem to get the decryption code to work. Has it changed? Thank you for bringing it back.

  11. I got it to download. Many, many thank you to you! I am so very grateful! I truly enjoyed listening to it again after all these years.