A Brief History
I started collecting the Chart Label LP's during the winter of 1997. It all started when a good friend of mine (Paul Gibson, who has assisted greatly with this website) asked me to try and locate a Lloyd Green LP for him, I think it was "Mr. Nashville Sound". After I found that for him he asked if I could locate a Johnny Dollar LP, "Big Rig Rollin' Man". Luckily I located an autographed copy on eBay just a few weeks later. Hmmm....both of these were on the Chart Label. I had recently gotten Junior Samples "The World Of Junior Samples" and was looking for any Jim Nesbitt records I could find, who coincidentally was a Chart artist also. When I was a kid we had "The World Of Junior Samples" and a 45 of Jim Nesbitt's "Looking For More in '64". I nearly wore those records out!
The first searches for myself were for all the Junior Samples and Jim Nesbitt material I could find and Paul wanted all the Lloyd Green he could find. Jim is one of my all time favorites and Lloyd is Paul's. As I was looking for these I started keeping a listing of the other Chart label records I came across. Pretty soon I had a fairly complete listing of the LP's and a good start on the singles. Since by this time I had about 8 or so Chart label LP's, Paul suggested that I should collect the entire catalog. I was hesitant at first figuring I'd never be able to locate all the albums, much less be able to buy them. It had taken quite awhile just to make a listing of the LP's. By 2001 I had been fortunate enough to locate the entire LP catalog. I own all 61 albums and friends, let me tell you, finding some of these records was like finding a needle in a hay stack.
I want to thank Dallas Corey for contributing 3 LP's (The
Best of Jim Nesbitt, Guitaration Gap, and You're The Reason) along with
an autographed copy of his "History of the American Revolution". Also, a
big thanks goes out to Kenny Vernon for contributing his "Country
Happening" Lp. Thanks also to all of the other artists who have
contributed memorabilia and records. I am eternally grateful!
Bradley L. "Slim" Williamson has
owned a few record companies in his time, Chart Records & Scorpion
Records being the most significant. Great Record Co. and Musictown
Records were divisions of Chart and operated concurrently with Chart.
Cliff Williamson, Slim's son, along with Vance Bulla owned and operated
a small label called Sugar Hill Records which was distributed nationally
by Chart. Scorpion Records was formed in 1975 and was famous for being
the label that released Ronnie McDowell's "The King is Gone" in 1977.
Scorpion closed it's doors in 1980. Williamson also owned 5 or 6 radio
stations at various times under the Better Broadcasting, Inc. umbrella.
Williamson wasn't satisfied with his small label though, he wanted something larger and something associated with the musicians union. He knew that in order for the label to be "legitimate" and be recognized by the music industry it had to be a union label, employing union musicians and union recording studios. By this time he had had several hits from his music publishing firm Yonah Music, Inc and was looking for an outlet of his own to release the music. One of the writers for Yonah Music was none other than Liz Anderson.
Williamson had been producing a
few artists and leasing the masters to labels such as Decca, Chancellor,
Vee Jay, Reprise, and Columbia. While cutting a session in Atlanta at
Bill Lowery's studio, he mentioned to Lowery that he would like to buy a
legitimate label already established with the musicians union. Lowery
told him that he should talk to Gary Walker. At that time Walker owned
Chart Records and had produced a few records and released them mainly as
promo's to mail to the radio stations in hopes a major label would pick
them up. Some of Gary's artists were Don Carroll, Lee Miles, The
Winchesters, Roy Cook, and Curtis Keen. As fate would have it,
Williamson had already used Walker's label for some of his projects. His
first two releases on the label was Vernon Stewart's "The Way It Feels
To Die" b/w "You're Not All Here" (Chart Y-501) and Frank Taylor's
"Bubbles In The Glass" b/w "A Part Of You" (Chart Y-502) in November
1962. Vernon's "The Way It Feels To Die" was picked up by Vee Jay
and made Billboards Top 100 Country in 1963. He released a few more
records this way with artists like Nell McBride, Rod Bain, Jimmy Louis,
and Gene Woods with some success.