This digital collection provides insight into Houston’s music history, particularly into the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, gospel, and soul. Publicity photographs from the Duke and Peacock record labels depict artists, musical groups, and performances, while master books from Houston’s Audio Company of America document recordings that took place at ACA Studios. In all, the collection contains 90 photographs and 4 master books.
Most of the publicity photographs feature artists on the Duke and/or Peacock labels, both of which were owned by Don Robey, a Houston nightclub owner and businessman. These photographs date from the 1950s and 1960s, and feature artists including Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, B.B. King, Bobby “Blue” Bland, and many others. Most are headshots or posed group photos, but several capture artists as they perform. A small number of photographs contain handwritten inscriptions by the artist.
The master books contain handwritten logs of recordings cut at the Audio Company of America Studios, with entries that often include songs titles, artists, record labels, and dates. Many Duke and Peacock artists recorded at ACA Studios, and this is reflected in the master books. Three of the books contain entries from the 1950s only, while the fourth begins in the 1950s and continues all the way up through the 1990s.