Todd Records got its start in New York City in 1958. Paul Cohen was owner and president of the
company and also the main producer. Todd was distributed by Dot Records in the 1950s, but by the
time the Joe Henderson album came out in 1962, they were being distributed by Jay-Gee (Jubilee) in
New York. Todd had a companion label, Briar International, of note as the first record label of Hoyt
Paul Cohen (born in Chicago in 1908) was a veteran of the music business, having broken into the business in the 1920s with Columbia Records. By 1934 he had moved to the new Decca label, where he remained, eventually becoming head of A&R in their country music division, until 1958, when he left to do pop production as head of A&R with Coral Records and then to form his own Todd Records. He was one of the producers who dealt with Buddy Holly when Holly recorded unsuccessfully for Decca in 1957.
In the first year, 1958, Todd Records, run out of an office on 55th Street in New York City, issued but two singles, "Dear Daddy"/"Won't Cha Squeeze Me" by the Lovell Sisters [Todd 1001] and "Lieben"/"Happy People of Monterey" by George Campbell [Todd 1002]. The next year, however, was their big year, as they issued just under 50 singles and two albums in 1959. This was about half of their eventual singles output, and two-thirds of their LP output in a single year! The records didn't chart — any of them — and for the most part, were done by artists unknown today and equally obscure then.
There were a few exceptions. Clyde McCoy had scored a #2 record in 1931 with "Sugar Blues" [Columbia 2389], charted a half-dozen other songs over the next ten years, then spent the rest of his career re-recording "Sugar Blues" for an endless string of different labels. In 1959, he apparently was in New York for his next try, "Hot Sugar Blues"/"Swinging Shepherd Blues" [Todd 1023].
Pee Wee King was more recently famous, having had about a dozen top country and western sellers during the period 1948-1954. He was the songwriter and first hit artist with "Tennessee Waltz," a #3 country hit for him in 1948 and two years later a huge pop hit for Patti Page, and "You Belong to Me," a hit for Jo Stafford. He also had a big crossover hit on his own in the fall of 1951 with "Slow Poke." But for Todd, his try to recreate the hit with "Slow Poke Cha Cha" (first coupled with "I Got A Wife" [Todd 1009] and later with "Too Tall" [Todd 1020]) failed.
Offering lots of product with no sales could not last forever, and by 1960, Todd's output was down to a trickle, with seven singles during the entire year. It was in April, 1960, that Cohen was hired as A&R chief for Top Rank's new country division, and moved to Nashville. Being busy recording for Top Rank, many fewer sides were done for Todd. The next year, 1961, was about the same story: eight singles, including a try with a Clyde McCoy single from the two-year-old album.
There was one bright spot in 1961, though. They signed a vocalist named Joe Henderson, whose rich baritone earned him the nickname "Mr. Voice". [He is sometimes confused with his several namesake artists, including jazz tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson from Ohio (1937-2001), an earlier namesake, British pianist Joe "Mr. Piano" Henderson, and others.]
Todd's Joe Henderson was born in 1937 in Como, Mississippi, but grew up in Gary, Indiana. He spent some time in the Fairfield 4 gospel group, one of the early groups for Randy Wood's Dot label. He moved to Nashville in 1958, and a few years later came to the attention of Paul Cohen there. He was influenced in his pop style by Bobby Bland, who guided him in his early show business years. His first single for Todd was "Baby Don't Leave Me" [Todd 1066] in early 1962, which made #7 on the R&B charts and #106 pop. His followup, "Snap Your Fingers" [Todd 1072], was a huge hit, making #2 on the R&B charts and #8 on the pop charts. He charted three other sides within the next two years, "Big Love" [Todd 1077, 9/62, #74 pop], "The Searching Is Over" [Todd 1079, 11/62, #94 pop], and "You Take One Step (I'll Take Two) [Todd 1096, 5/64, #128 pop]. In between the latter two, there were about a half-dozen duds, chartwise.
Other artists of note on the label were: bandleader Lew Douglas, who had many hits backing pop acts of the early 1950s but none here; the Lucky Millender Orchestra who put out "Let It Roll" and "Trouble In Mind" on Todd 1037 in 1959, the latter credited to Annisteen (Allen) & Mervin (Moore); Dee Dee Ford, whose 1959 single "Good Morning Blues"/"I Just Can't Believe" [Todd 1049] pre-dated her hits with Don Gardner three years later; country singer Redd Stewart, the front man in Pee Wee King's band, whose "Vagabond Waltz"/"Hi Diddle Diddle" [Todd 1058] was issued in 1961; a 1963 incarnation of the Five Royales, who put out two singles [Todd 1086 & 1088]; an early Johnny Winter single, "Road Runner"/"The Guy You Left Behind" [Todd 1084, released April 1963]; and last but not least, "Saturday Night"/"The Stinger" [Todd 1090] by the Bobby Fuller Four in 1963. None of these charted.
Todd Records spent its seven-year existence almost entirely by recording unknowns or artists before or after their prime, although Cohen's connections with the country music industry brought him several well-known country artists to record. Todd had one real star, Joe Henderson. By mid-1964, Paul Cohen had run out of time for his "side project" label and Todd Records closed for good. Paul Cohen joined Kapp Records as the head of their Country Music division, which undoubtedly required his full attention. By 1968 he had moved to head ABC's Country Music division in Nashville, but he was forced to retire in late 1969 after developing cancer. He died April 1, 1970, in Bryan, Texas, at the age of 61.
"You Take One Step (I'll Take Two)" proved to be Joe Henderson's chart swan song, as he died of a heart attack at the age of 27 on October 25, 1964. He was found in his apartment by his friend, soul singer Arthur Alexander. Since Todd Records had shut down several months earlier, Henderson had signed with Ric Records, and had recently cut 12 songs for that label. Henderson was survived by his wife, Mamie McClain Henderson.
|Todd 45rpm singles were in the 1000 series, starting with 1001 in 1958 and running to 1103 in 1964. Early Todd singles (far left) were black with silver print, with a broad white band across the middle. The label name was in red at the top, with "AURAPHONIC SOUND" at the very top in red (a notation that was on all their records). The promotional version of this label (near left) was light blue with the same design.|
|At about single #1035, Todd switched to a white label with a black field on the left side, with the label name in purple (far left). Starting with Todd 1085, the label was changed slightly with the label name being changed from purple to red (near left).|
|Promotional copies of the labels with the black field on the left side (far left) were white with black print with the same design. Todd released two LPs in the 5000 series in 1959, and one in the 2700 series in 1962. Todd used the "MT-" prefix for mono albums and the "ST-" prefix for stereo albums. The album label (near left) for all three albums was the same, resembling the second singles label, above. The stereo version of the album label was the same, but with a large "STEREO" to the right of the center hole.|
Number - Title - Artist - [Release Date] (Chart) Contents
Todd MT/ST-5000 Series (Distributed by Dot Records):
MT/ST-5000 - Clyde McCoy and His Waaa Waaa Dixieland Band - Clyde McCoy 
Bill Bailey/Dardanella/Birth Of The Blues/Hot Sugar Blues/Jada/Tear It Down//Smiles/Swinging
Shepherd Blues/Avalon/Just Before Dawn/When The Saints Go Marching In/Hot Eyes Of Texas
MT/ST-5001 - The Big Circus (Soundtrack) - Kurt Graunke & His Symphony Orchestra of
Munich  Winter Headquarters (Big Circus)/The Big Circus/Rehearsal/A New Romance/The
Rodeo/Party Band/The Big Trek/The Firemen/Zack Starts The Crossing/Another Rodeo//Nearer To
Heaven/High Flying/The Mastadon March/Point Of No Return/Press Party/The Chase/Finale (Big Circus)
Todd MT/ST-2700 Series (Distributed by Jay-Gee Record Co., Inc.):
MT/ST-2701 - Snap Your Fingers - Joe Henderson [9/62] (10/62, #93) Snap Your
Fingers (S)/Sad Teardrops At Dawn (S)/Three Steps (S)/Cause We're In Love (S)/Baby Don't Leave Me
(S)/Just Call Me (S)//Big Love (S)/After Loving You (S)/Love Me (S)/You Can't Lose (S)/If You See Me
Cry (S)/Right Now (S)