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Label Information - Hi Hat
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Sibling Labels:Blue RibbonDJElkMerry-Go-Round
Owner:Buddy Weaver
From the late 1950's to the early 1960's, Merl Olds, was choreographer and artist/repertoire man for Sets In Order Records, a subsidiary of Sets In Order Magazine. A prominent square dance caller and round dance cuer in the Los Angeles area, Merl along with his wife Deliah, began using talented Hollywood musicians to play square and round dance music for their newly formed company. In 1963, Hi Hat Dance Records premiered and while Merl no longer worked for SIO Records, he continued to do record reviews for SIO Magazine. Providing the new sound was Dick Cary, jazz trumpet and alto horn player, pianist, and arranger. Also playing was Joe Leahy, another jazz player who started his career with Les Brown and His Band Of Renown. Plus Jimmy Bryant, one of the most talented guitarists in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Many of the big name callers of the sixties enjoyed a long recording partnership with Hi Hat Records: Dick Houlton (CA), Red Bates (MA), Lee Schmidt (CA), Tommy Cavanagh (Great Britain), Dick Weaver (HI). Ernie Kinney would record 130 vocals in thirty-eight years with Hi Hat.

In 1976, Merl Olds split Hi Hat into a separate round dance label and square dance label, selling each to new producers, Pete Metzger and Ernie Kinney, respectively. Under new ownership, the Hi Hat Square Dance sound was guitarist Del Katcher, a protégé of Les Paul. Square dance hits during this time include, "Come To Me", "Fools Fall In Love", "10/20 Hoedown", "Green Grass Of Home", "Lady In The Blue Mercedes" and one of the biggest selling singing calls in history - "El Paso City". Joining the Hi Hat Records staff was Bronc Wise, Tom Perry, Mike Sikorsky, and Jerry Schatzer - a few of the most popular callers of the day.

The Hi Hat sound changed again in 1981, when Ken Carlton was enlisted as arranger/musician. The KC studio was the first to introduce electronic percussion to square dance music, where the rhythm was generated by a computer using recorded samples of live musicians. Within five years, all square dance record companies would be using sampled percussion.

In 1991, Ernie invited Buddy Weaver to join the Hi Hat Records staff. Hi Hat is the only square dance music company that had both father and son as staff artists, in this case separated by twenty five years. Under Ernie Kinney's supervision, Hi Hat Records added sister labels - Blue Ribbon Records in 1976, ELK Records in 1984, and DJ Records in 1993. The ELK label is the first "karaoke" record label with square dance callers doing the vocals on the flip side. ELK also produced cassette and CD releases featuring the Hi Hat Pioneers, a quartet of callers singing cowboy songs. The last members of the quartet are Ernie Kinney (leads), Tom Perry (baritone), Buddy Weaver (tenor), and Wayne McDonald (bass).

In 2004, Buddy Weaver, producer of Blue Star Music, acquired Hi Hat Records. Remaining autonomous, New Hi Hat Records debuted with a new staff of callers and new musical sound. Now, modern electronic arrangements done by Japanese caller, Hiroshi Yaoko are featured. New hits are made with "Glory Hallelujah", "You Are My Sunshine", "Ghost Riders Hoedown". New Hi Hat Records (along with Blue Star Records) are among the first square dance labels to offer vinyl and CD formats; with the close of the vinyl era, the label name graduated to - New Hi Hat Music.

In the fall of 2009, the First Japan Hi Hat Festival was held in Tokyo, featuring calling talent from the US, Canada, Sweden, and Japan. In December of 2011, the Second Hi Hat Festival (Laughlin River Romp) was held in Laughlin, Nevada commemorating Hi Hat Music's 50th anniversary.

If you have any additional pertinent information about this label, please contact Debbie.

Grid list of Hi Hat recordings

Edit label info (admin)
Types of Records
52Patter (two instrumentals)
12Round (two-sided)
529Singing Call
1Singing Call (two instrumentals)
Recording Artists

Recording Artist# of recordings on
Hi HatAll Labels
Dave Abbott418
Lottie Ainsworth (picture)1024
Betty & Al Albertson11
Andy Allemao (picture)218
Ken Anderson126
Clark Baker (picture)13
Charles & Edna Batchelor11
Red Bates (picture)941
Don Belvin14
Scott Bennett (picture)4105
Lone Blume (picture)224
Ken Bower (picture)1134
Mike Bramlett (picture)121
Deborah Carroll-Jones (picture)725
Tommy Cavanagh715
Vic Ceder (picture)911
Rex Coats26
Emmett & Monette Courtney (picture)11
Tim Crawford (picture)35
Jason Dean315
Mike Driscoll (picture)116
Wade Driver (picture)2156
Marty Firstenburg39
Wild Bill Foross22
Ed Fraidenburg125
Darren Gallina (picture)616
Kip Garvey (picture)1054
Jerry Gilbreath (picture)13
Bill Green (picture)99
The Hi Hat Pioneers211
Don Hills23
Dave Hoffmann77
Mike Hogan (picture)613
Dick Houlton (picture)1920
Walt Jessup11
Erika Johansson44
Joe Johnston89
Dick Jones233
Shauna Kaaria (picture)140
Joel Kadish (picture)22
Ernie Kinney (picture)130153
Bobby Lepard813
Jack Livingston (picture)218
Lee McCormack (picture)416
Wayne McDonald1017
Pete & Carol Metzger14
Tom Miller (picture)1766
Roger Morris (picture)49
Pete & Carmel Murbach11
Dan Nordbye (picture)1255
Merl Olds310
Joel Orme11
Ray Orme (picture)22
Tac Ozaki (picture)317
Tom Perry (picture)4151
Pete & Ann Peterman23
Bill Peterson (picture)316
Joe Saltel (picture)564
Jerry Schatzer1818
Dan Schmelzer36
Lee Schmidt (picture)2544
Elmer Sheffield, Jr. (picture)1370
Mike Sikorsky566
Ralph Silvius (picture)117
Erika Spur11
Ed Stephan15
Toshifumi Ueno (picture)12
Masaru Wada1023
Dick Waibel (picture)1034
Lanny Weaklend (picture)614
Buddy Weaver (picture)45334
Dick Weaver33
Wayne West (picture)450
Bob Wickers1925
Bronc Wise (picture)3388
Hiroshi Yaoko (picture)12
Keiko Yaoko25
Francis Zeller16
Glenn Zeno113

Lottie AinsworthAndy AllemaoClark Baker

Red BatesScott BennettLone Blume

Ken BowerMike BramlettDeborah Carroll-Jones

Vic CederEmmett & Monette CourtneyTim Crawford

Mike DriscollWade DriverDarren Gallina

Kip GarveyJerry GilbreathBill Green

Mike HoganDick HoultonShauna Kaaria

Joel KadishErnie KinneyJack Livingston

Lee McCormackTom MillerRoger Morris

Dan NordbyeRay OrmeTac Ozaki

Tom PerryBill PetersonJoe Saltel

Lee SchmidtElmer Sheffield, Jr.Ralph Silvius

Toshifumi UenoDick WaibelLanny Weaklend

Buddy WeaverWayne WestBronc Wise

Hiroshi Yaoko
14-December-2018 15:25:06
Copyright © Vic Ceder.  All Rights Reserved.