Huron Records was formed in Dayton, Ohio in 1961 by Bob Holliday, Mal Wilson and Everett Hopkins. Bob Holliday was a popular disc jockey at radio station WING. Originally from Ballinger, Texas, he had migrated to Dayton via Tucson, Arizona and then Cincinnati in 1959 and took the 3-6 p.m. slot at the station, Monday through Friday. His show was called The Hits of The Day. The play list was derived from daily surveys of local record shops and outlets. Bob became the manager of the popular group Teddy and the Rough Riders from neighboring town Fairborn. Mal Wilson was the father of Phill Wilson, a singer who had a local hit with a song called One Love. He and Mal Wilson decided to start their own label to issue recordings by the Rough Riders, Phill Wilson and other local artists that were unsigned and showed promise. Everett Hopkins, owner of a tool and die company, was a major investor in the new company. Rough Rider guitarist, Jim Colegrove, was appointed head of A&R for the label.
Initially, they wanted to use the name Lodestar Records but it wasn’t available. So, they called their corporation Lodestar Records and then used the name Huron for all records issued. Early pressings stated “Division of Lodestar Records Inc” on the label. Later pressings stated “Distributed by King Records.” The red and yellow star design on the label was the idea of Jim Colegrove. He got it from one of his school drafting books. The star design was in place before they decided on using the name Huron. The name Huron would be set vertically on the left side of the label. This was inspired by the design of Chess records at the time. They arranged for the label to be distributed through King Records in Cincinnati.
The first recordings made by the company were done in Nashville in 1961. Bob took Phill Wilson and Jim Colegrove to Bradley Studios. They used the top session players in the city: Hank Garland, guitar; Ray Edenton, acoustic guitar; Floyd Cramer, piano; Bob Moore, acoustic bass; Buddy Harman, drums; Harold Bradley, six-string bass; and the Anita Kerr Singers. They also used a french horn player for one track. Three sides were recorded: Wishin’ On A Rainbow, a tune that Phill had written along with Just Me and A Dream Come True, both songs by Jim Colegrove. The first record issued by the company was Wishin’ On A Rainbow/Just Me, on Huron 45-22000. The record made the Billboard Hot 100 for a week or so but didn’t ascend the chart.
The next release was by a group from Middletown, Ohio. Originally called The Buddy Boys (after Buddy Holly) the group disbanded leaving only two members, guitarist Jerry Raleigh and drummer Jerry Quinn. They wanted to call themselves The Two Js but Bob didn’t go for it. He took the group into a local studio along with Jim Colegrove as the producer. Since they didn’t have a bass player, Jim played bass on the session. Jim Colegrove also had the idea for the name of the group: The Bounty Hunters. The results were issued on the next Huron 45 and a two-sided instrumental was issued as White Feather/Echo Express by The Bounty Hunters on Huron 45-22001. This record did not chart but became a big local hit in Detroit.
The third release on Huron was the next Teddy & The Rough Riders release. The sides had been recorded in Cincinnati at King Studio as a follow-up to their first record on Tilt. Tilt was a Louisville label that was started by Louisville DJ Jack Sanders. Teddy & The Rough Riders single of instrumentals Tomahawk and Thunderhead was the second release on Tilt and sold well. So well, in fact, that Tilt got a deal with London Records for national distribution. The tracks for the follow-up, again both instrumentals, were Path Finder and A Dream Come True. Path Finder was a take-off on the Dale Hawkins instrumental La-Do-Da-Da to which Jack Sanders claimed some authorship. Jim Colegrove took the idea and adapted it. A Dream Come True, the first song that Jim had ever written, was done instrumentally for side B. The single was issued on Huron 45-22002 and was a local hit although not as great as their first on Tilt.
The next Huron single was a little different. Another group from Fairborn, The Sayre Brothers were distinctly country. The group was made up from twin brothers, Orren and Warren Sayre, their younger brother Les, and guitarist Don Stapleton. Les would later become the drummer with Teddy & The Rough Riders. They went to King Studio to record. During this same session, Don Stapleton also recorded. The whereabouts of his tracks are unknown. The songs that were issued on Huron 45-22003 were the traditional Greenback Dollar and Train Ride To Nashville, another Jim Colegrove composition.
Nashville was again the spot where Bob and Jim took singer Sonny Flaharty to make his next record. Sonny was a known singer from Dayton. He had records out on the Spangle and Epic labels and was popular in the region. The session was again filled with all the same players who worked the Phill Wilson session with the exception of Floyd Cramer. He was replaced by Hargus “Pig”
Robbins on piano. The sides recorded on Sonny’s session were Mystery of Love, and Teen-age War Chant, both Sonny songs, and C’mon Little Mary another Jim Colegrove song. Mystery of Love/Teen-age War Chant was issued on Huron 45-2004 and charted locally. Sonny had another single issued on Decca later that year titled Please Don’t Wear That Bikini and C’mon Little Mary was released as the B side on that single. Sonny later achieved some notoriety with a recording titled Hey Conductor.
Around 1959 a singer from Kentucky named Terry Redman had a single that made some charts in the local area. The song was titled Lonely. He had other singles out on MGM but was looking for a record deal in 1961. Jim Colegrove got together with him and they came up with the idea to record a song based on a popular dance called the Stomp. Jim wrote a song with that title and they went to King Studio to record. Using Teddy & The Rough Riders as the backing band they recorded The Stomp and a tune written by Johnny Burnette and Jody Reynolds titled Golden Idol. Jim got Jerry Raleigh from The Bounty Hunters to play guitar on the session so he could be in the control booth. He also got Fraternity Records’ female vocal group The Charmaines to sing backup vocal on these two sides. This single was issued on Huron 45-22005.
After this record was released and not much was charting for the label dissension reared its head at the company. There was general disagreement with the way things were going. The next record the company released was another Phill Wilson single. Since they had one side from the Nashville session in the can they only needed one side. Another group that Bob Holliday was interested in was a group from Indianapolis, Indiana called Keetie & The Kats. The group was a powerful show band and played mostly in the Midwestern club circuit. Teddy & The Rough Riders worked a show with them in Indiana at the Whiteland Barn and that’s how Bob became familiar with their music. Bob brought them to Cincinnati to King to record. On the same session, he recorded Phil Wilson and used them as back up band on a song Phil wrote called Game of Love. Huron 45-22006 came out with A Dream Come True on the A side and Game of Love on the B side. Game of Love appeared to be an attempt at the Bobby Darin styling of the day.
Then it was time for Keetie and The Kats single. On the session at King they did two instrumentals. One was an original titled Way Out featuring a Hammond Solovox. The other was a version of the Dale Hawkins tune Crossties. These sides were issued on Huron 45-22007.
By now it was 1962 and the end of the line was in sight. The final single that came out on Huron was the third record by Teddy & The Rough Riders. The group went to King again to record. They did a tune that Teddy Grills wrote that was closely based on the Bo Diddley song She’s Fine, She’s Mine. After they recorded it they decided to take the instrumental sections of the track and loop them into an instrumental version. The song was called Money & Gold (Part 1 and Part 2) and was issued on 45-22008. It was top twenty on the WING Hits of the Year chart.
The company folded and Bob Holliday left WING. He became an independent disk jockey doing shows and record hops in Dayton and around southwestern Ohio. He eventually left the area and went to Arizona where he was killed in an automobile accident during the 1980s.