Little is known of Jim Watson but musician Joel Cowan established a long and rich recording legacy before his brief stint on the Band Box Records subsidiary, Spicy Records – partnering up with comedian Jim Watson in an adult entertainment gig at Denver’s adult night club The Tropics.
Thanks to “Uncle” Marv Goldberg, here is what we do know about Cowan’s musical legacy: Toward the end of World War II and R&B pianist Al Russell met and teamed up with guitarist Joel Cowan & William Joseph forming the Al “Stomp” Russell Trio.
From there Cowan’s musical journey would lead to the release of two 78 rpm discs on the Los Angeles “Coast” label. Next, the trio released a series of singles on the Excelsior label and they began performing across the country. Next it was onto Philadelphia recording on the local 20th Century label there. This was followed by recordings on Apollo Records and De Luxe Records.
In about 1947, there were personnel changes and Cowan found himself in The Do Re Me Trio (with several different spellings used for this group). There were further recordings on many different labels. Cowan stuck it out until 1950 when he departed to join the Camille Howard Trio – a group which would perform together for a very short time before breaking up.
The Band Box Connection
It gets sketchy from here on out. Cowan appears in 1958 playing guitar on a couple of sides again with the Do Re Me Trio, but apparently did not officially rejoin the group. The “Do Ray Me Trio” would go on and on into the 1970’s.
It is sometime in the late 1960’s that Joel Cowan momentarily teams up with Jim Watson to appear at Denver’s adult night club The Tropics which was located on Morrison Road in the west part of Denver. The duo found their way onto a comedy LP issued on Spicy Records label number 5001. Two versions of this LP were issued, the first with a “promotional” version of the LP inside. Interestingly this LP label does not carry the Band Box address in the rim print.
But the record was reissued with a new cover and with a commercial stamping of the label – this time with the usual Band Box studio address on 41st Avenue. Cowan is presented on the LP as a “guest star” indicating that he was not Watson’s usual partner. Cowan also penned two of the releases – one on each side of the LP.
Joel Cowan is now long deceased and the mystery of Jim Watson for Band Box fans remains. Here is the entire Marv Goldberg account of this fascinating story. Check out his many intriguing articles on the R&B artists from the past.