When were you, Joe and Stanley born?
"I was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1945. Joe was born in Brooklyn, New York 2 years before me and Stan was
born in Texas in 1940."
And you grew up where? I mean, you were all born in different places so...
"Yes, we were born in different places 'cause my father used to move a lot for his business. I stayed in Kansas City
for 7 years, I think, and we left there in 1953 and moved to Miami Beach. I went to elementary school there, junior high
school, high school and I went to the university of Miami for two years."
So, What did your father do for a living making you move around so much in your early years?
"My father was really a retailer, he had some art galleries in New York and in Miami and that's how we got our starting.
From the retail store on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach. We used to go to work after school, which was about four blocks away
from Miami Beach High school, the very old school on 14th Street in South Beach now. We used to walk from school and help
our father in the store."
In the Cayre Imports store in Miami, the boys father - Jack Cayre, taught his sons the 3 basic principles for
running a successful business:
- You need a good quality product that people want [Product]
- You need to let people know you got this product [Promotion]
- It must be easy for people to buy the product [Distribution]
The boys learnt from their father and what he taught them would soon pay off...
In 1959 the Cayre brothers got their first opportunity to go into business themselves:
"At that time a friend of ours had a cruise ship going from Miami to the Bahamas and he invited us to operate the Duty
Free retail store [called the Paris Freeport Shop], selling Whiskey, Cigarettes, top brand Perfumes, Watches
The name of the ship was the Calypso Liner - it used to leave Miami every day at 9 o'clock, arrive in Bimini in the
Bahamas at 1 o'clock, spending two hours on the island, leave there at 3 o'clock and return to Miami at 7 o'clock. There
were no sleeping quarters as it was a day trip, but every day it used to get like 3-400 people. They also had a Calypso band
playing on the ship. And we did that for about 7 years, until the ship was taken out of business in 1967."
So, from the Duty Free store - how did you get into music?
"I got really my early music training while living in Miami Beach, somehow I used to like to listen to all the R'n'B
stations and the Black radio stations and I just felt closer to that music. I never really associated myself with Rock'n'Roll.
I guess I like the more soulful sound, I like the groove, I like the beat.
I remember as teenagers we used to go to downtown Miami across the bay of Miami Beach to the Nightbeat Club and the
Sir John Club and we used to see Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Dionne Warwick. I've always liked R'n'B music and I always listened to it frequently when growing up.
But I never had any desire or ambitions to be in the music business when growing up, it came by chance and I'll get to that
After I finished College I was helping my father out in the retail store in Miami Beach and then an opportunity came to get
into the textile business with my cousins from Mexico, to open up a factory in Puerto Rico for nylon fabric. I did that for
a couple of years."
With your brothers?
"Always with my brothers, I've always been in business with my brothers.
Then, I believe in 1963 we opened up a ladies pantyhose factory in Hialeah, Florida. At that time pantyhose was just being
invented. Before that, ladies were wearing ladies hosiery. We saw an opportunity there to jump on a new industry and we
opened up that factory and I stayed there for about 3 or 4 years."
Stan was running the Swan Tricot Mills, their Puerto Rican nylon factory while Ken was running the Kandy Mills,
their pantyhose factory in Florida. Already here the 3 basics of selling came to great use as they had a wanted Product that
more or less Advertised itself and they sold their pantyhose through retailers like Sears and others [Distribution].
But what about Joe, what was he up to?
Ken continues; "Right about then my brother Joe started working with my cousins from Mexico and they opened up a plastic
injection molding machine factory, they made the cartridges for the 8-track cassettes, 8-track tapes. From there my cousins
started licensing the Spanish music from Mexico's CBS and RCA to put on the tapes. They sold the sound of
music from Mexico and they manufactured too much inventory, so they asked us - me, Joe and Stanley - to sell some
of the excess inventory in the United States along the border - Texas, California, Miami - wherever there was a Spanish
We started to do that and we sold it to the radio stations, we started getting the dealers, we set up a distributorship.
Six months later we got a letter from CBS and RCA in New York, saying 'STOP! You don't have the rights for the Unites States,
you only got the rights for Mexico. Season desisted.' We got on a plane and flew to New York and we told them - 'Yes, we'll
stop. We're sorry, we didn't know and by the way, can we license it from you?' We offered them a pretty big advance, more
than they ever would make and at that time they were not making Spanish 8-tracks. They were only making
Spanish LP's because the 8-track market was very small at that time.
So they gave us the license for the United States for 8-track Spanish music. We did such a good job, we kept that license
and in a year or two they gave us the license to manufacture LP's also, which was the big sellers at those days. We started
the distributorship and the licensing company, selling the Spanish music from CBS and RCA - headquartered out of 10th Avenue
in New York. We sold our shares in the pantyhose business to our Mexican cousins and I moved to New York in 1972 to help my
brothers Joe and Stan with their Spanish distributor business."
So, that was Caytronics?
"That was Caytronics! We set up Caytronics Distributing and we started distributing the records. Being in New York we
found out that the Mexican music that we had was very good but it really wasn't THE most popular music in New York, because
Spanish music is fragmented. Mexicans like a certain kind of music, Puerto Ricans like another kind of music, Columbians
like the Merenge and what was really popular at that time was Salsa music!
There was another label in New York that was quite popular - Fania Records. We did not have any Salsa music so we
decided to open up a label called Mericana Records and we took some artists into the studio and gave them at that
time some 5-6000 dollars and they delivered us a complete master. We started releasing albums on the Mericana label.
This was the first time for me because I didnít understand Spanish. We had some mediocre hits and one of the artists my
brother Joe signed was Joe Bataan. He was previously with Fania. Joe was not Spanish, he was Afro-Filipino, but most
people took him for Spanish, because he sang Spanish and he sung in English and Spanish. He was with Fania Records - it was
a big thing for us to be signing a Fania artist and Joe gave us an album, the first album was entitled SalSoul and..."
And he made up the name - so to speak?
"The name was around. It was used to describe a Spanish person but also from America that liked, in addition to the Salsa
music, the dance music and that's the Soul part.
So he called his first album SalSoul and we took it to the radio stations and got mediocre play. But to our pleasant
surprise Frankie Crocker of WBLS, which at that time was one of the biggest stations in New York, started
playing one song called 'Latin Strut', a Deodato tune, quite frequently. It was a big hit and we started taking it
to the R'n'B stations.
Then CBS Records offered to buy it from us to take it Pop. They gave us a hundred thousand dollars [$100.000 !!], just what
we asked for, because we thought that was how much we could make. We turned over the record to them and they had the rights
to the album and anything new for the next 5 years. They were not successful taking the records Pop. But we had the money
we would have made anyway.
So I told my brothers 'We have some money here, we know we made it, let's take a chance... Because there's an opportunity
now that Joe Bataan showed me, that you could start with an instrumental, you don't really need a singer and because these
new clubs are opening up called Disco's'. Which were not big at the time but they were just starting in New York. I knew
about them because I was going out with Joe Bataan at night - hanging out with him, as I was single at the time. We were
going to these clubs and that was the first time they had these big speakers and the lights and the sound was really
something you never heard or saw before.
So I said 'I think we should take a chance and try to do something on the American market, something I know and I think
there's an opportunity - there's not too many people doing it.' So they said 'OK!' and I did three things..."
" thing I did was that I went up to Philadelphia because all the records that I liked
I use to look on the back to see who the musicians were and they were all from Philadelphia... the O'Jays, the
Blue Notes, the Spinners...
I found out that there was one set of musicians that were recording the rhythm section for all these groups and I tracked
them down - they were Earl Young on drums, Ronnie Baker on bass, Norman Harris on guitar, Bobby
Eli on guitar, Bunny Sigler on keyboard, Ron Kersey on keyboard, there was Vince Montana Jr. on
vibes and Larry Washington on the congas. This was the sound I was looking for to start the SalSoul label.
I went to Philadelphia and I met Vince Montana there. I told him of my idea to do an instrumental and calling the group the
SalSoul Orchestra, which I was naming the label. We recorded three songs, one of them was the 'SalSoul Hustle'.
I met Floyd Smith who came into my office in New York and he had an uncandid
similarity to Barry White, so I recorded a couple of songs with him.
And the thing I did was Carol Williams, I recorded a couple of songs with her.
And there went my $100.000."
"I finished the three songs with the SalSoul Orchestra, at that time we had to take them to CBS, as they had the first
right of refusal. CBS at that time turned it down, they were busy with their other bigger artists - Barbra Streisand,
Bob Dylan... and they really didn't feel at that time Disco would be big. So by turning us down they released us to
shop it elsewhere or put it out ourselves. I shopped elsewhere, I went to Atlantic Records,
I went to Polydor Records and I couldn't get anywhere.
My brothers were upset at me that I spent that money they could have had and I said 'Look! Because they don't want it
doesn't mean we can't get our money back out of it. We have a distributorship set up here in New York, we're selling
Spanish records, we know all the retailers, we have trucks going out to the area, let's take a chance and put it out
ourselves like we do on Mericana. We just make it on a different label - SalSoul...
I think I can get it on some of the R'n'B stations and I think Frankie Crocker will play it - he keep playing the other one.'
And... Frankie played it and he played it to death. He played it very quite frequently, from there we got it around the
country played on all the R'n'B stations and we started selling a lot of it - the 7" single of the 'SalSoul Hustle'. Some
We then went into make up an LP. We did 7 or 8 more songs, I was going out to Philadelphia twice a week. I did Tuesday and
Thursday nights recording, starting at 7 o'clock at night. After work I would drive to the artists in Philly to record to
3 or 4 in the morning and I'd get back in the car to drive back to my apartment, go sleep for a couple of hours and then
got to work. It was exciting because the tracks were hot. There was very good acceptance..."
"When the album came out I put all the musicians names on the back of the record. It was one of the first times a company
did that. They [Record companies] never gave the musicians recognition and when I did that on the back of the first
SalSoul Orchestra LP all the R'n'B discjockeys around the country knew these musicians from Philadelphia from the
Gamble & Huff stuff and they loved them. They really gave us a lot of play, they helped out a lot just because they
liked the musicians - Earl, Ronnie, Norman and Vince. So the first LP we put out - SalSoul Orchestra - did sell about half
a million copies. We didn't go Gold because we were not RIAA certified, but it made a lot of noise.br>
I missed one thing though... Before we put out the 'SalSoul Hustle' we did another album with Joe Bataan. This time it was
on the SalSoul label, that was the first album on the SalSoul label. It was called Afrofilipino and I went into the
studio with Joe to do a little more dance-oriented album. He did a remake of 'the Bottle' by Gil Scott Heron and I'll
never forget it... We were in the studio with Richard T. on piano, Gordon Edwards on bass, I forget the
drummers name but he has been on all the Gloria Gaynor hits and it was the most
amazing session I've ever been on.
At that time it was a 24-track session and luckily all our songs were recorded on 24-tracks. They still stand up today
sound wise, because of that. Just a few years earlier. Some of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones
were recorded on 8 track or 16 tracks, when you play them today they really don't... match up to what's being played today.
But we were fortunate, we were there at the right time when 24-track was invented.
We went into the studio with Joe Bataan in New York and we did the session live with all the musicians. At the time, we had
the Brecker brothers, they were very big Salsa horn players, I think it was Randy and Michael Becker. And they brought in a
young saxophone player who did the tremendous sax solo on 'the Bottle', that was really the main reason that record was so
popular and that musician who did that solo was David Sandborn, who was later a big star with Warner Brothers.
What was most amazing to me was that this all happened on the first take. There was no overdubbing, there was no re-recording.
Everything was recorded at one time and you know it was like that the room was on fire. There was a magic in the air and
everybody felt it as they were playing it - they knew we had a Hit! You could just feel it in the air and it's a special
moment that I was very honored to be there and experience that. That single went on Joe Bataan's album, that album did very
well also and the single, was a hit. That was our first album on SalSoul.
After that I went to Philadelphia to do the three songs with Vince and then the ones with Floyd and Carol Williams.
Through Floyd Smith I met Loleatta Holloway who was his common law wife and
that started my relationship with Loleatta..."
"the Bottle" became a huge hit in 1975 for Joe Bataan and the Cayre's new SalSoul Records and it's sometimes considered
one of the first New York Disco hits.
Joe, who was born Peter Nitollano, would also be one of the first to bring a rap song into the charts with his 1979
hit song "Rap-O Clap-O". The track was even bigger in Europe than in the US and I [Discoguy] actually made my first
own rap lyrics ["Clabbe rap"] over the instrumental version... ;-)
So from these first steps in 1975, what did the Cayre brothers do then?
"This was basically the beginning of SalSoul - from there as we had the hit with the SalSoul Orchestra, we began to get
a lot of publicity and a lot of press. We also started licensing music overseas, other artists started coming to us hoping
that, what we did for SalSoul Orchestra in terms of promotion and air play, we could do for them. That's basically how the
label was growing.
We also started promoting our records in the Clubs. We had good relationship with all the clubs because we felt those were
the people helping us break these records. At that time radio was really in tune to the clubs. Whatever was hot in the clubs,
would be added to the radio list. Because we went to the clubs we recognized the importance of the DJ. We respected them,
they respected us and later on we got more involved with them...
We were the first company to let an outside person, not involved in the recording, to come into the studio and sit down
with the 24 tracks and mix the record. There was a lot of sensitivity at that time because the record producer or whoever
was mixing the record on the creative side finds it offensive that you would bring someone from the outside. But once we
explained to them what we were doing and trying to mix it from a different perspective, they reluctantly agreed. We found
that the producers involved in the recording were trying to put too much in the mix. They were not looking at it from a
dance standpoint or from a club standpoint. We were the first record company to let an outside mixer come in. His name was
Walter was the first Disco DJ in history, to come into the studio and to actually remix a record. The very first one he
did was 'Hit and Run' by Loleatta Holloway. If you listen to both versions, the LP and the 12" version, they're like day
and night. Walter's mix is a legend. He did things that nobody would have thought of doing, in fact he even left Loleatta's
voice out of the first two verses - but it worked! And there was a magic to it. It was a breakthrough at time, nobody had
ever done that. Then people realized that it worked and other people started doing it."
You mentioned the promotions. Did you do the Club promotions yourself? You didn't go through like 'For the
Record' or these other record pools that had just started?
"No, I had too much fun doing it myself. I mean, I came out of the studio with a mix and we would go press up a test
pressing, an acetate, I couldn't wait to go to the clubs that night or that weekend... I had a good relationship with all
the clubs and the DJ's and they would wait for me. You know, sometimes we tried something that didn't work, sometimes we
tried something that would work and I would get such a big kick out of it. I also enjoyed seeing the people dance and having
a good sound. And a lot of times we took a record to the club before it was finished and we saw the reactions to certain
parts and it helped us, because we went back in and made changes. And you could only get that experience by doing it first
Yes, that's for sure! So was it any special clubs you did your promotion towards?
"I used to go to Paradise Garage, the Loft, Sanctuary,
12 West, Studio 54, I'm sure there's a few others that I've forgot. But
those are most of the clubs that I went to. And remember, by that time when we first started SalSoul I was in my mid 20's
and I loved good music and dancing, I was just at the right place at the right time."
It must have been great to be there at the right place and the right time in the dawn of Disco...
"It was really that, I still treasure it today as an honor, it was Great! A great experience!"
When starting up SalSoul, which was your vision for the label?
"Well, the first vision I had was for the SalSoul Orchestra, because that was the first thing I did, except for Joe
Bataan, and I wanted to make it the first Latin and Soul Dance Orchestra ever.
You know, when we played in Madison Square Garden and Radio Music City Hall we had 42 pieces orchestra on stage, we had the
whole place jumping and dancing. I mean, it was a magnificent sound, it was very overwhelming and nobody ever done that
before with the Congas on stage and the deep groove beat of the drums and the bass, and then the strings and horns. It was
quite an overwhelming sight and sound.
My vision for the label after that when we started to get popular, is that I really wanted a high dance oriented energy
label. That's was what I was interested in at that time and that's what I saw as a vision for the label. That's why we did
the Double Exposure with 'Ten Percent', First Choice with 'Dr. Love' and Loleatta Holloway with
'Hit and run'. They were all high energy oriented dance songs."
Yes, and great songs!
"Thank you, thank you!"
You mentioned Double Exposure's "Ten Percent". That was the first commercially released 12-inch singe...
"That's a very interesting story how that happened... At the time Double Exposure released 'Ten percent' the mindset for
radio was still a three to three and a half minute record. If you wanted to get your record played on the air you had to
tell your story in those 3 to 3,5 minutes.
Well, there was a conflict there with Disco because the Clubs started mixing one record into another and you know the Clubs
and the Disc Jockeys tried to get a feel and a grove going and you couldn't do that with 3 to 3,5 minutes records. So
companies like ours started recording songs that were six or seven minutes. At that time the songs had a 'standard'
structure the intro, first verse, second verse, another bridge, maybe a third verse and then it would fade out. While we
couldn't change the structure, what we tried to tell the musicians was 'We need something 6 to 7 or 8 minutes long. We care
about the radio but we also care about the Clubs so try to Ad Lib some things at the end to extend it and make it interesting
and not just stop.'
So we started recording that way from the beginning and then we tried to edit them down to a 3-3,5 minutes single. What
happened on Double Exposure's 'Ten percent', was that the best part of the record did not happen in the 3 first minutes.
There was a lot of the magic was in the so called Ad Libbing session at the end. There were some magic in terms of musicians
playing and in terms of the singers Ad Libbing some riffs... What do you call them today, today it's related - it's called
Rap. It was a little more real, there was no structure there, it was natural and the public loved it.
When we recorded Double Exposure we had to pick a single and naturally we picked 'Ten percent'. So we put out two versions
of it, we put out a 12" promotional version to the Clubs - which nobody sold at that time and neither did we - and we put
out a 7" single commercially for the customers. So we put out the 6 or 7 Minutes version to the Clubs and what made that
one even more popular was that we asked Walter to edit it. He didn't remix that record, he took the actual final mix and he
edited it. He lit up. Because Norman's album version which was a little longer than the single version was OK but not really
great. Walter did something to it, he heard something else by playing it in the Clubs. I gave it to Walter before it was
released and by playing it in the Clubs he found certain things worked and didn't work, so he did some edits for me. And we
used his edits on the 12" promo.
When we put out the 7" single we were afraid it wouldn't satisfy the people in the Clubs. Because they were hearing that
promotion copy being played and it was not available. So I said, 'Listen, we have to sell this 12" version at the same time
we release the 7" version.' Everybody looked at me and said 'You're crazy, it has never been done before.' So I said; 'So,
what - that doesn't mean it's not right. The right thing to do is to offer the people who want to buy the 3 minutes the 3
minutes version and the people who hear it at the Clubs they should have this because it's not available.'
So, we took the chance and we decided to release the 12" of 'Ten percent' commercially at the same time we did the 7". It
caused a lot of hullabaloo in the Press as we were the first record company to, ever sell a 12" single but it was the right
thing to do".
After that all the labels started releasing their 12" versions commercially to give the club people the chance to buy the
versions they used to dance to. But still some versions was kept as DJ promo's only, for example there's the Judy Cheeks'
hit "Mellow lovin'" which was officially released on SalSoul SG 2063 in it's 5:14 minutes version... But
there was also a much better 7:35 minutes "A Tom Moulton Mix" white label promo version on SalSoul SG 2063TM(DJ).
As said above, SalSoul released the first commercial 12". But the 12-inch single had been "accidentally" invented some years
earlier when remixer Tom Moulton couldn't get a blank 7" master at the mastering
plant, he had to cut his track on 10". When spreading the grooves, there was a need to raise the levels and it just made
the sound so much louder and deeper. The next track he mastered he cut directly on 12", which was the actual birth of the
Tom was also one of the most used top remixers for SalSoul.
One can't mention SalSoul without talking about Tom Moulton - what did he and his remixes mean to the
"Tom really meant a lot. Tom was like my bridge to the producers who at that time were used to mixing their own records
and sometimes they got too involved in making their music. Some of these producers like Norman [Harris] was a guitar
player and arranger had a tendency to make the mix too complicated. Putting too much in the mix. It would confuse the ear,
I believe that Tom was a great asset in convincing them that even though something was good - to leave it out for the
benefit of the song, so it could be heard more easily. And he had a tremendous ear for doing that.
He mixed the Trammps' 'Disco Inferno' and he mixed my 'Dr. Love' and if you listen to the LP version that the producers
mixed and the version that he mixed - it's like night and day. His is much cleaner, smoother, not as busy and it really
came across very well.
Some of these mixers like Tom and Larry Levan, I think was also the reason why
SalSoul had such big hit songs... Like Instant Funk's 'I got my mind made up'. Larry's mix on that one also made a
difference and Tee Scott with 'Love thing' made it a hit.
So Tom had a really really big impact on the whole music scene at that time. And he really loved to sit in the studio and
take a song apart and build it again, you know, track by track. And he became very good at it!"
So, any other remixers you would like to mention? Larry Levan, Walter, Tee?
"My favorite remixers were Walter Gibbons, Larry Levan, Tom Moulton and Shep Pettibone."
Walter was the first DJ that I took into the studio, it was the first time any label had taken a Disco DJ into the studio
to remix a song and I liked Walter's approach. You know, he really didn't care what was on the tracks, he just cared what
would make them go crazy on the dancefloor. He just came for a completely different approach and he did that. He knew what
would work on his club dance floor.
Other people who also did that and that I love was - Larry Levan. With 'I got my mind made up', He did a complete turn
around on the song when he mixed it. I think his mix was something like 12 minutes long... Still it didn't seem long
You know, Larry had a passion for music and seeing people having fun by dancing. I used to go down to the Garage, and Larry
would be in his glory when the people were dancing and he was doing his mixing. He really loved what he was doing, he loved
the music, you could see on his face, you could see it on his personality - he was an upbeat positive person and it was a
thrill and honor and a tremendous experience working with Larry. He had the Garage in up roaring. People came from around
the world just to hear the aura that he was creating for the whole club. It was just a feeling that you could get only by
So, I think my favorite mixers were Walter, Larry Levan, Tom Moulton and... Shep Pettibone. Even though he came on late,
Shep really developed into a great remixer."
SalSoul brought in all the famous DJ's and remixers to work on their tracks and besides the ones already mentioned above one
could mention top names as Jim Burgess and Bobby "DJ" Guttadaro.
We also have got the SalSoul Orchestra and Vince Montana - any comments on him?
"Vince was great. Vince really understood what I was trying to do and he had the knowledge of arranging the violins,
violas, trumpets and all the different horns to get the smoothness I wanted on top. And he really really did a great job!
We had some conflicts with Vince regarding the rhythm section, but I think it's kind of normal. You know, the rhythm section
always wants to out do the stings and horns section, but I believe we were able to meld them together and Vince was very
very instrumental in that. He was a great tremendous music arranger. He read music, he played the vibes, he really had the
melodies for the strings and horns to be able to put them on top of the dance tracks in a great way. And also, he came from
the experience of being with MFSB in Philadelphia with Gamble & Huff."
Any others you want to mention?
"The whole rhythm section was great. I mean, you can't have this orchestra or this label without mentioning the two
groove masters, my drummer and my bass player... My drummer was Earl Young and Billboard gave him the award 'the Disco
drummer of the year' one of those early years and his partner Ron Baker on bass.
Ronnie was a genius, I mean, he made up the O'Jays bass line for their hit 'For the love of money'. That was Ronnie just
fooling around in the studio and they made a song out of it. They put the tape on just while they were fooling around and
it's still popular today.
He also made up the bass line on Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes' 'Bad luck'... You know, the...
'Dum-di-di-dum-di-di-dum-di-di-dum-di-di-dum-dum-dum'. Those were all Ronnie Bakers lines and Ronnie had a great way of
playing, he used to play along with Earl's bass drum. He would put his notes on top of the bass drum to get us a fatter
sound and with Earl hitting the drum with the fat part of the stick and Ronnie playing his bass lines on top of the bass
drum lick, we really had fat fat bass tracks for dancing.
And that was our team.
They started that with MFSB, the O'Jays and the Trammps. That's what I loved and that's what they gave me."
Yes, they gave you great stuff!
"Yeah. But Ronnie Baker also was a great writer and producer. He produced a couple of tracks for me, he did two songs on
the SalSoul Orchestra. One of them is my favorite - 'Tale of three cities' and 'Get happy'. He also produced Eddie
Holman's 'This would be a night to remember'. Besides producing it he wrote the song, he played on the track, he
arranged the strings and horns, he produced and he mixed it. He was quite a gentleman."
A very talented guy.
"Yes, a talented guy. Those three guys were very close together - Earl Young, Ronnie Baker and Norman Harris.
They were childhood friends and Norman I think was the only one who knew how to read music in the beginning. Earl didn't
even know how to read music when he was playing the drums and he would get his cues from Norman in the studio. All three
of them learned the secret of making a hit record, which was to create a great song with rhythm section. And that's one
thing that they always had!"
Now we have learned about the SalSoul Orchestra and its phenomenal musicians. When vocals needed to be added to a piece,
the Orchestra was fronted by either of the labels greatest voices - Loleatta
Holloway or Jocelyn Brown.
Loleatta was the Disco diva supreme of the label, both by adding the vocals to the SalSoul Orchestra along with making a
name of her own as a solo artist.
Jocelyn lived a little in the shadow of Loleatta, but she had the same powerful and energic voice as Loleatta, even though
she never got a solo career on the label. But she fronted many of the labels top acts with her voice, acts like the
mentioned SalSoul Orchestra, the studio act - Inner Life and she also added her voice to top tunes by
Joe Bataan ["Sadie (She smokes)"], Weeks & Co. and several others.
Loleatta added for example her vocals to the SalSoul Orchestra's top tracks "Runaway" and "Seconds", while
Jocelyn fronted the band in for example "Take some time out for love"...
Let's talk about Loleatta Holloway, she's got a fantastic voice...
"She's a fantastic person with a fantastic voice. She has a powerful voice and knows how to communicate with her
audience, she tells it like it is. Loleatta and I are still very close and we speak often...
I remember there was a time when Loleatta was booked to perform at a local club, where the promoter did a poor advertising
campaign. We arrived at the club and there were only about fifty people there instead of 2000 as promised. I was heartbroken
and afraid Loleatta would not perform - but Loleatta gave her show as if there were a thousand people in the audience. I mean,
she just had those people going crazy with her great performance. She was just that kind of performer, if she was paid to do
a job she did her best and she had a passion for singing.
Her background was church and Loleatta LOVES to sing and she LOVES to see people have a good time."
You can hear it, just listening to her voice through the records and everything - you can hear it.
Still today, Divas like Loleatta Holloway and Jocelyn Brown are both high in demand for dance music. How
does it feel to have been being part of launching artists like them?
"It's a good feeling, I'll tell you again... I'm just happy to be at the right place at the right time. These are
geniuses, Loleatta and Jocelyn, I just spoke to Jocelyn yesterday. She's in London and she's doing quite well. I think she
was working with Leroy Burgess, another talented singer and songwriter who did some work for me.
Loleatta I speak to several times a month. We've kept in touch all these years. We're friends and she should have been more
popular than she is..."
Yes, I really feel that too...
"She was very popular on the dance crowd, I think she really deserved to be more popular in the radio and the crowd.
But it is what it is. But she is truly one of the greatest talents in this business."
The Cayre's SalSoul label was always associated with wonderful rhythm and danceable Funky beats blended together into the
SalSoul sound. I just had to ask Ken one of the hardest questions for any label head to answer: If you
would choose one song that represents what you think SalSoul should stand for, I know it's an impossible mission, but which
song would it be?
"I knew you would ask that question... Hahaha! [both laughing] They're all my babies but, you know, each one is
different. I think for instrumentals my favorite song is and will always be 'the Bottle' by Joe Bataan, in the sense of
power and the sense of fun and good feeling.
And for vocals there were different classifications you know, for raw Funk it was Instant Funk. For smooth Funk there was
Skyy with 'Here's to you' and 'High'.
But my favorite song I really believe is 'Dr. Love' by First Choice."
Yes, it's a wonderful song.
"It's a wonderful song, it's a wonderful arrangement, there's great lyrics, very clever lyrics..."
And it gave Tom Moulton a mild heart attack while mixing it...
"Yes, Tom had to mix it, because Norman played guitar on it and he did the arrangement, he mixed it from his producer
perspective and we felt it was good, but it was a little busy and Tom really did a great job on it. At first Norman didn't
like it, but he grew to really love it."
So, Which was SalSoul's biggest hit?
"I would say the biggest hit we had was, two of them I think, or really three of them... the biggest single we had was
Instant Funk's 'I got my mind made up' and Skyy's 'Call me'. One of them went platinum and other one went gold, I forget
which one... I think Instant Funk went platinum. It was a number 1 R'n'B and Pop hit and 'Call me' was a number one Pop hit.
And for the albums I believe the SalSoul Christmas album was the most popular ever. I think we sold over 5 million copies
worldwide over the years. It's like an evergreen album..."
Yes, and it's still selling.
"Yeah, it was just played, played and played. I think those were the biggest hits we had."
Do you remember how many releases that were released on SalSoul?
"There were approximately 100 LP's released and approximately 200 12"s during the 10 years period we were active in the
Yes, that's a lot...
"Yeah! Some of them were great, some of them were mediocre."
But it's always like that, isn't it?
Have you kept a personal copy of every SalSoul release?
"Yes I have!"
That's great. Because I have been talking to several artists and label owners and they have kept nothing.
Yes, and they're so sad today and regrets it.
"Yes, I'm very fortunate I saved them. I have like maybe one or two copies of mostly everything."
That's great to hear. Stick to them.
"I cherish them."
Is there some full matrix listing available of all the SalSoul and sub-labels 12" releases?
"Yes, we have the matrix' of the 12"s and the LP's. I could e-mail it to you."
THANK YOU! I really would appreciate that!
"Very good. We will e-mail them to you. And 7" we have them, but I don't know how accurate it is. I doubt we got everything
Have you got some own personal favorite SalSoul 12" releases? I know it's hard to pick one since they're
all your babies...
"I DO have some... I think my favorite 12"s are 'My love is free', the 12" that Tom Moulton mixed. 'Hit and run', the
one that Walter Gibbons mixed. 'I got my mind made up' that Larry Levan did a tremendous job on. And 'Love thing' by First
Choice mixed by Tee Scott."
Yes, they're all great songs and wonderful mixes!
"Those are my favorites. I also think the 12" of Inner Life's 'Ain't no mountain high enough' is very good."
Yeah, some other Great work by Larry there as well!
Any favorites from the Sub labels?
"Definitely, it was 'Dr. Love' and 'Love thing'."
When talking favorite tracks. Have you got some other favorite Disco tracks, which is not SalSoul related?
"Oh yes, definitely! Definitely! Harold Melvin 'the Love I lost' featuring Teddy Pendergrass. the O'Jays 'I love music'.
I would say 'Boogie oogie oogie', I forgot who the girl is..."
A Taste of Honey.
"Yes, Taste of Honey and let me think... I would say... some of the music by Michael Jackson - later on. The Thriller
album was phenomenal."
Yeah, it's one of the greatest ever.
"Yes, one of the greatest albums I ever heard."
It's sorry though that he's not doing that kind of music no more.
"Ah yeah, well you know, Quincy Jones produced that album and I think that was Michael Jackson at his peak."
"Quincy Jones is great and also, by the way, he produced another song for the Brothers Johnson, they had one that was
one of my favorite songs also - 'Stomp!', by the Brothers Johnson."
Yes another wonderful song!
"You know that song?!"
Yes, absolutely! It's definitely a favorite.
We briefly mentioned sub-labels earlier and actually there were many sub-labels connected to SalSoul,
GoldMind, Dream and others... Which was the relation to the sub-labels?
"Well, you know, some of them we gave to the producers and the mixers who were really doing great work, to try to get
them to have something that they had their name attached to and that they would take some pride in their work.
The first one we did was GoldMind with Norman Harris. He was my guitar player, arranger, producer and he was a member
of B-H-Y [Baker-Harris-Young] that also played on all the Trammps hits and he produced the Trammps. Norman was quite
an arranger and producer and a songwriter too. So, I thought by giving him his label it would inspire him to do greater work.
When I signed First Choice, I put them on the GoldMind label in the beginning.
With the Dream label... I really forget how that came about. I think we just wanted to have some additional labels at
the time, so that when our promotions men went out to the radio stations they would not be playing too many SalSoul records.
Tom'n'Jerry was a Tom Moulton label that I gave for him. Tom and his brother's name is Jerry, and I think he did it
as a take off of the cartoons - Tom'n'Jerry. He also signed some artists and put them on his label.
So, that's how we did the sub-labels."
Which one was the most successful?
"I would say the GoldMind label with Norman Harris. We had this First Choice hit song there."
Back in these days, were there any competition between you and the other NYC Disco labels, like
WestEnd and Prelude?
"You know, there's always competition in music industry, but one good thing about the music business is... it's almost a
monopoly. If you have your artists and your sound that you are going after, I mean, no one can copy the works that you're
doing. But there were other local labels like SalSoul, I think we were one of the biggest of the local labels. It was
Prelude and WestEnd and the biggest one at that time, that went national, was Neil Bogart's -
Neil did a tremendous job. He was a great... A much better promoter than we were and still we were really happy with what
we were doing. We were into the sound that we had, we were into the artists that we had, I loved the musicians that we had.
So I really feel that in terms of competition I just felt that I had popped into some geniuses and I wanted to go along
for the ride and try to get as much out of them as I could.
It wasn't so much the artists that sang a song that was responsible for a hit record, naturally it did have to have a good
sailor but equally and maybe more important you needed a number one good story which came from the writers. You had to have
a good song and once you had the right song you needed the right producer that knew how to make it an up today sound and I
think we had the hottest rhythm section of all - these guys from Philadelphia. We also really thought we used the best
studio around - Sigma Sound Studios, which really gave us a tremendous clear sound on our tracks.
Then we started incorporating the best mixers and it turned out to be people like Walter Gibbons, Tee Scott, Shep Pettibone,
Tom Moulton and I'm sure there was many others like that, we had Frankie Knuckles
and Larry Levan.
But basically we just tried to do the best that we could and we had a lot of fun along the way."
Within SalSoul, did you three brothers all have different roles? It seems like you were the more creative
"We were a good combination. We all had different talents... You know, if you are interested in something, you'll be
good at it. As you say I was the more creative one and I also did A&R and promotions. Stanley ran the financials and Joe
handled licensing and relations."
And how many employees did SalSoul have during its top years?
"At the peak I think SalSoul maybe had, I don't know, maybe 20 employees."
OH, not more?!
"Not more - No."
A very small organization for a big company.
"We tried to keep it small, we tried to keep it family, we tried to keep it friendly. We didn't want to get too big. We
had our distribution deal with RCA, so that took off a big responsibility off us. All we had to do was A&R and promotions."
Download the FREE basic RealPlayer...|
CLICK to hear some SalSoul songs...
Checking you out
When I come home
By the way you dance
Don't stop me, I like it
This will be a night to remember
Let no man put asunder
Let no man put asunder [Frankie Knuckles remix]
Rio de Janeiro
Ain't no mountain high enough
I like it like that
Moment of my life
I got my mind made up
Slap, Slap, Lickedy lap
It's just begun
Jimmy Castor Bunch
Sadie (She smokes)
I know you will
the Greatest performance of my life
Hit and Run
Just as long as I got you
Law & order
I love New York
Body to Body Boogie
Boogie's gonna get ya'
the Beat goes on and on
Ooh, I love it (Love break)
Salsoul Orch. feat. Loleatta Holloway
First time around
Come and get it on
CLICK to hear some related songs...
Boogie oogie oogie
A Taste of Honey
Ride on time
Relight my fire
Dan Hartman & Loleatta Holloway
Somebody else's guy
Love is the message
Mysteries of the world
MFSB feat. Three Degrees
Click to buy from
the Bottle - Joe Bataan
Dr. Love - First Choice
Hit and run - Loleatta Holloway
My love is free - Double Exposure
Love thang - First Choice
I got my mind made up - Instant Funk
Runaway - SalSoul Orch. feat. Loleatta Holloway
Checking you out - Aurra
Moment of my life - Inner Life
Just as long as I got you - Love Commitee
Ten percent - Double Exposure
Love sensation - Loleatta Holloway
Let no man put asunder - First Choice
Call me - Skyy
Dreamin - Loleatta Holloway
Ooh I love it "Love break" - SalSoul Orchestra
the Beat goes on - Ripple
Ain't no mountain high enough - Inner Life
This will be a night to remember - Eddie Holman
Magic bird of fire - SalSoul Orchestra
Click to buy from
Tangerine - Salsoul Orchestra
Moonboots - ORS
Funtown U.S.A. - Rafael Cameron
Let Me Party With You - Bunny Sigler
No Stoppin' That Rockin' - Instant Funk
War Dance - Kebekelectrik
Double Crossed - First Choice
Law and Order - Love Committee
I Love NY - Metropolis and the Sweethearts Of Sigma
Spring Rain - Bebu Silvetti
Rio De Janeiro - Gary Criss
Rapper Dapper Snapper - Edwin Birdsong
Let's Celebrate - Skyy
Catch Me On The Rebound - Loleatta Holloway
The Greatest Show On Earth - Metropolis
Newsy Neighbors - Double Exposure
Jingo - Candido
Dancing Into The Stars - Logg
Mellow Lovin' - Judy Cheeks
Click to buy from
Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Inner Life feat. Jocelyn Brown
How High - The Salsoul Orchestra
By the Way You Dance - Bunny Sigler
Handsome Man - Sparkle
Double Cross - First Choice
Greatest Performance of My Life - Loleatta Holloway
Crying - Instant Funk
When I Come Home - Aurra
I Know You Will - Logg
I Got My Mind Made Up - Instant Funk
First Time Around - Skyy
It's Just Begun - The Jimmy Castor Bunch
Everybody - Instant Funk
Summertime Lovin' - Steve Arrington
Skyzoo - Skyy
Slap Slap Lickedy Lap - Instant Funk
High - Skyy
Bodyshine - Instant Funk
Make It Last Forever - Inner Life feat. Jocelyn Brown
Click to buy from
The Little Drummer Boy
Christmas Medley: Joy To The World / Deck The Halls / O Come All Ye Faithful / Jingle Bells...
New Year's Medley: Auld Lang Salsoul / I'm Looking Over / A Four Leaf Clover / Alabama Jubilee...
There's Someone Who's Knocking
Merry Christmas All
New Year's / Americana Suit
Click to buy from
Love Sensation [A Tom Moulton Mix]
Dance What 'Cha Wanna
I'll Be Standing There
I've Been Loving You Too Long
Short End of the Stick
Long Hard Climb to Love
Two Became a Crown
Love Sensation [A Tom Moulton Mix]
Love Sensation [Remix]
Click to buy from
I Picked A Winner
Moment Of My Life
I LIke It Like That
Feel What I'm Feeling
If You're Gonna Love Me
Moment Of My Life - (12" version)
For more SalSoul CD's...
We're now reaching the early 80's and the "Death of Disco" has already set several labels into bankruptcy. Disco has become
something ugly and no one wants to be caught buying it, while people are still enjoying it in the clubs. But in 1984 the
three brothers decide the SalSoul saga needs to end...
So, What happened in 1984? I've heard different stories - it's told you sold SalSoul off to RCA Records and
I've also heard you just folded the label... So what's the story? What actually happened?
"OK, we started around 1972-73, and SalSoul some years later. I got married in 1981 and at the time I got married I
think Skyy had their big hit with us - 'Call me'. We were riding over a nice crest, but there were factors creeping in that
was going to make it harder and harder for us. We had most of the field to ourselves in those 8-9 years, but I guess because
we were doing so well - making a lot of attention and a lot of noise worldwide - the majors started beefing up their
dollars towards dance music and they were putting on big staffs, they were going for big artists...
We didn't have the mix that we had in the marketplace and another factor that was creeping in was the sound was changing a
little bit. It was becoming more Funk and more R'n'B. We kind of changed with that a little bit by signing Aurra,
which I believe is one of the best Funk groups around, and Skyy.
Then the eighties started creeping in the Funk and the Rap started creeping in, no very popular but it was creeping in and
I was getting married and I no longer had the desire to spend as many late hours that the record company needed every night.
And in 1981 or 1982 I believe, there was an opportunity for us to go into the video business..."
Was that the birth of Good Times?
"Yes, Good Times Home Video is born because at that time Betamax and VHS formats was just being invented and there were
opportunities in the marketplace for a person to watch a movie at home. At that time it was only expensive rentals in the
marketplace and we went with the concept of try to get the low end of the triangle and we started selling movies at really
deep discount prices - $3.99, $5.99, $9.99 retail - to Wall-Mart, K-Mart and others. So we found this golden opportunity to
go into the video business."
By releasing old Hollywood classics like It's a wonderful life with Jimmy Stewart and workout/exercise videos by
Cindy Crawford and Richard Simmons, their new video business was blooming. They also released their own animated versions
of children's classics like Snow White and Aladdin, this led to a Disney ten million dollar lawsuit - which the brothers
Ken continues; "So what we did is that we just started to cutting back less on recording because we were not getting the
results we were used to get. We had our distribution deal with RCA internationally, contrary to what rumors are we never
did sell the label. We always had just a distribution deal with RCA around the world, a licensing deal and a distribution
deal in the US. But we stopped recording I believe around 1982, we were inactive recording, but we were still active
Then we started putting our efforts into the video business. We retained Glenn LaRusso for international sales and Tom
Moulton to manage our library and do our remixing and releases domestically. And I think from 1982 to around 1993, something
like that, we did not release any new records domestically, only re-releases. But somewhere in the mid 90's we started to
re-release the records in the US."
Do you mean Double J?
"Well, Double J was not myself. Double J was my nephew, my brother Joe's son - Jack. Jack was interested in the music
business and at that time had a concept to take some of our old songs and give it to some really good mixers and do some
remixing and that what's started Double J. Two J's as in Jack & Joe, that's how they go that name.
And Jack did a pretty good job, I wasn't really on top of what he was at, I just gave him permission to use the tracks and
I think he did pretty well. He remixed about 10 or 12 tracks and then we incorporated it back into the SalSoul label.
That's the only real new re-recording we've done since and we started taking some of these top mixers, like we took
GrandMaster Flash and let him re-edit and make a LP and I think he did a tremendous job. I listen to his record
every day almost when I exercise. You asked me earlier if I still listen to SalSoul - I do!"
I understand that since the tracks are still sooo good!
"Yeah! Another favorite instrumental was 'Tear up 330s' with Ron Baker. Great song!"
During the early 90's the home PC business started out and more and more people had their own computer at home. This raised
the demand for software and computer games.
Through their new company GT Interactive, Stan, Joe and Ken produced some of the most popular computer games ever
made, like Doom, Nukem and Quake.
In 1995 GT Interactive was introduced on the Stock Exchange and in 2000 the company was sold to the computer software company
After being active in many different branches, what are you and your brothers up to today?
"Well, we ran Good Times from 1982-83 up until last year - 2003. We run that for 20 years. During that time we manufactured
and sold over 350 million [!!!] videocassettes and DVD's. In 1994 we branched into an infomercial business - Good Times
Entertainment - and sold products on TV directly to the consumer. We had Richard Simmons with his diet exercise systems.
We sold both Good Times companies last year to an investment group - Quadrangle Capital Partners."
But you didn't sell SalSoul with it!?
"We only sold the video business, we did not sell the music business. We still own SalSoul and the Bethlehem
catalogue, which is a Jazz catalogue of about 210 LP's."
The Bethlehem label, with recordings of many legendary Jazz artists including Duke Ellington and Nina Simone,
had been folded in 1962 and the Cayre's had acquired the full catalogue through Caytronics in 1975. And in the early to mid
90's they used the label to re-release many classic SalSoul songs for the first time on CD, like the famous double-CD
the Original SalSoul Classics along with the SalSoul Christmas Jollies, as well as CD's by the SalSoul Orchestra,
First Choice, Instant Funk, Inner Life, Joe Bataan, Loleatta Holloway and others... All digitally remastered, compiled and
produced by Tom Moulton.
Else the brothers are no longer in business together as they used to. They still own SalSoul, Bethlehem and some real estate
investments together, but now all three of them are running businesses with their kids - trying to pass on the basics of
selling as their father once taught them. Ken and Stan are both in ladies and children's wear and Joe in real estate
This brings us 'till today - at this time it seems SalSoul is as popular as ever. So, I asked Ken SalSoul
tracks are still VERY popular today all around the world and many of them are really timeless masterpieces, how does that
make you feel today?
"I'm very fortunate to have been at the right place at the right time."
During the late 2003/early 2004 there have been many SalSoul classics re-released on 12" by
in the UK. What's exciting about those is that some even have previously unreleased mixes. Have you still got lots of
unreleased mixes and other material laying around?
"We had a few of them and we will put them on the Internet. We signed a deal with DJ Express, Tommy Silverman,
and I think we will be starting during late summer 2004. Tom Moulton is now working on them. There are a few unreleased
versions out there, but not many."
Besides the re-released 12" singles and the downloading through DJ Express, Suss'd released the double CD - Larry Levan -
the Definitive SalSoul Mixes '78 - '83. It's a jam packed record with Larry's SalSoul high-lights and it also include
several commercially unreleased remixes by acts like Instant Funk, Bunny Sigler and Sparkle. But you'll also find
the classic Garage version of "Ain't no mountain high enough" by Inner Life feat. Jocelyn Brown and tracks by the
SalSoul Orchestra, Loleatta Holloway, Logg, Aurra, Skyy and others.
For full track listing, check it out in the right hand column above.
I think almost every SalSoul song have been sampled and several have been sampled over and over again...
Like; Loleatta Holloway's "Love Sensation". It's a great song so I understand people want to sample that, but how does it
make you feel and what do you think of sampling and the re-use of these classics?
"Well, you know, sampling to me - is a good thing. It recognizes the past and uses it in the future. It gives recognition
to the artists as talents. Loleatta, I think her greatest talent besides singing was her feel for the song. She used to
make up a lot of the lyrics after the structure was over. You know, after the first 3 minutes and that's what's really
gotten sampled on Loleatta. You know, her impulse Ad Libs and it's just a tribute to the artist because she has such a strong
feeling for the work that she's singing. She's able to come up with these lines that are interesting and she delivers them
with such feeling that they're too good to use just one time. People hear them and say 'Hey, I could use this in this song,
I could put it this way. I'll just take these 4 words...' And it works! So, I think it's a tribute to the artist and the
whole recording time that we did at those 10 years."
So, What do you think of today's dance music? Here in the US it seems like it's mostly Rap and HipHop, but
in Europe it's still more Dance music.
"Over here it's a lot of HipHop. You know, there's a realism to HipHop. And that's why I think it has been widely
accepted. It's more like reality TV. It's not just telling a story of a song, they're talking about their life experiences
and it's very real and there is a need for that. The big difference I find is not so much in the lyrics or the way it's
done. The big difference I find today is the sound - it's more electronic.
You know, at the time when I was recording in the 70's and 80's we didn't have a drum-machine, we didn't have as much
synthesizers... I mean, we had synthesizers but not like they have today. We took a live rhythm section into the studio.
We took a drummer, a bass player, two guitar players, two keyboard players, congas, a percussion player and these poor
guys had to play that song for 7 minutes long. The drummers speeded up after a while and they had to do a punch-in or had
to do it again.
Nowadays they go into the studio they do not tape... and most times they do not take a rhythm section in there. It's all
done at home with a drum-machine. It's good, but it's not the same sound. You don't get the same excitement. You don't get
the same feel. You can not duplicate that, that's the difference to me in the sound today than in the classic recordings.
I've been to a lot of weddings and parties now, and I notice that when it comes to dancing - to get the crowd on the floor -
a lot of times they're playing music that's 10, 20 and even 30 years old rather than some of today's hits to get the people
to dance. That's interesting!"
Yes, it really is. I think it shows that there's still room and interest for the classic songs. They really
had a longer life back then, probably because everything you just mentioned.
What kind of music do you personally prefer?
"I like anything R'n'B oriented. Right now [late March 2004] I listen to OutCast. One of my favorite new
songs by the way, it sounds a little bit of a Beatles song, is 'Where is the love?'. I'm not familiar with the artist though.
But it's a great song."
Yes, I know the song. It's the Black Eyed Peas.
"Yes - the Black Eyed Peas, right! And that's the kind of music that I like. Anything sensuous, anything real, anything
with a good sound, anything with a good fat groove. That's what I'm into. It's a big fat groove of the bottom... the bass,
the bass drum and the bass player and that's why I was really honored and fortunate to be around Ronnie Baker and Earl Young,
because they had a way of being so tight with each other that Ronnie would always play his notes on Earls four beat bass
drum which would make it sound even fatter and it just gets you in the groove, it just gets you wanna dance!"
The SalSoul Orchestra was also fronted - but in some of the album covers - by a knockout gorgeous looking, girl. The girl's
name is Ellen Michaels
and she's the girl in the legendary "Dance your ass off..." T-shirt in the cover of the Original SalSoul Classics CD.
She is also to be seen in the covers of the Nice N Naasty, SalSoul Classics 2 and SalSoul Christmas Jollies
I get so many many requests from people who wants to buy one of these SalSoul "Dance your ass off..."
T-shirts... and other stuff like that. I know that with the Double CD 'Original SalSoul Classics', which came in the early
90's, you could order that T-shirt. Are there any plans to make them again?
"Yes! Now that we've sold our business, I'm in the fashion apparel business. I have just signed a license for Von
Dutch, I don't know if you're familiar with it, but it's a fashion brand and we just signed the license for children's,
for all their clothing and apparel. So we are going to put out some SalSoul apparel!
I have talked to some retailers now and we're pretty excited about it and we do wanna pay tribute to Ellen Michaels who was
the model on the SalSoul T-shirt shot that was seen and heard about around the world. That was another pleasant surprise,
when we did that... We always wanted to be an edgy brand, an edgy label. When we started out that was our concept - to be
on the edge. To be, you know, sensuous and sexy but not vulgar. When we asked Ellen Michaels to model that T-shirt the idea
was 'They were dancing their asses off at the clubs' and we made that our motto and the out concept was to shoot a girl in
the T-shirt with no panties on her ass and somehow doing it a way that it wasn't vulgar.
We did the shot and it worked and... we never anticipated the demand and the excitement and the ruckus that this photo
started. It ended up on matchbooks, playing cards, posters, pictures in Japan to Germany, France, Italy, South America, I
mean - it was just a phenomenon. And we were very happy about that."
Ellen her self told me the following memory from back in the days; "The year that Nice N Naasty came out,
probably 1976, I went to the Billboard Magazine music awards with the Cayre Bros and Vince Montana Jr., and Billboard Magazine
called me up to the stage for an honorary music award for the best album cover of the year. My speech included 'From the BOTTOM
[get it?] of my heart, I thank you all.'"
Who designed the trademark SalSoul logo and the clouds and rainbow sky Disco 12" cover jacket?
"At the time when we started SalSoul I was friendly with a graphics artist named Johnny Crespo and I explained to
Johnny what I wanted - it was a label for all the people, not just black, not just white, not just latinos - it was for
everybody and we wanted to just have a good time in the music and then would it appeal to all kind of ethnic classes. Johnny
came up with the rainbow and he came up with the clouds and he gets a 100% of the credit for that logo and the clouds."
It's a wonderful logo.
"Yes it is!"
When you started hearing "Disco" songs in the early 70's, what did you think about it? I guess you must
have liked it as you were one of the first on the train...
"I thought it was GREAT! As I told you, I used to go to the clubs and right about that time in the early 70's, somehow I
guess the technologies for manufacturing bigger space speakers, better quality sound and better midrange speakers, better
tweeters, these lights that were somehow synchronized to the music and putting that all together in a dark room and playing
some good music that was recorded pretty well - it was something that we never we never heard before. We never experienced
it. It was just an out of this world experience. It kind of gets to you, it's like a magnet which kept drawing you back.
Today we take it for granted because it's been around for 30 years, but at that time it was something new, something
exciting and you know Studio 54 opened up right about that time, so there was a show business aspect to it. Clubs started
opening up, some good some bad, but the sound was the thing and 'Dancing your ass off' was another thing. You know, it was
non-stop dancing and no one before had ever played a record without stopping and going into the next record.
So it was a new phenomenon, it works, the concept works and I think it's still popular today. The music has changed but the
club concept is popular, the non-stop music with lights and sound effects. And you know, as young people... we like to move,
we're not old, we've got ants in our pants and this is an attraction to us."
Finally Ken, Have you still got contact with any of your old acts?
"Yes, I have contact with Earl Young and Bunny Sigler. Bunny was a singer and producer for me. In fact, Bunny Sigler was
gracious enough to come with me... I had a driver for over 40 years, he passed away last year and Bunny flew down with me
to Miami to sing at his funeral, the Lords prayer. He just was tremendous and everybody there was breath taken, a breathtaking
So I've kept a very close contact with Earl Young, Bunny Sigler, I speak to Vince sporadically and also, as said earlier,
I'm in contact with Loleatta Holloway. Loleatta and I are still very close."
OK Ken - THANK YOU THANK YOU so very very much for your time...
"THANK YOU for your interest."
It was really a great pleasure to talk to you and I hope to see you next time when I'm in New York.
"Thank you very much. Thanks again Claes. And when you come - you call me..."
Yes, I will. Thank you!
"Thank you buddy!"
Ken, Joe and Stan Cayre went all the way from duty free shopping, through pantyhose to start one of the most influential
record companies of the whole Disco era.
Even though they shut their recording business down in 1984 and the brothers moved into the video and computer games
industry, they always kept ownership of their SalSoul label.
It's fascinating to see (and hear) that the music they recorded almost 30 years ago, still have a large impact on today's
music scene and that it's still very popular.
Their SalSoul recordings sounds as good today as they did way back...
Long live SalSoul !
Ken tells me his own view of the huge success he and his brothers had with SalSoul...
"I'm very fortunate to have been
at the right place at the right time!"