Vikki Styles – Tears Won’t Stop Falling

Here’s a cool 45 that is a product of the headache inducing labyrinth of entangled record labels out of Greenville Mississippi in the mid-late 1960s. The fact that this is such a direct bite of Darrell Banks’ massive “Open The Door To Your Heart” seems audacious & probably is. Vikki Styles released just two (possibly three although I’ve not seen the one on Lynn’s) 45s, this one & another on Leno (also a related label) before seemingly vanishing into obscurity. Both of her 45s are well worth tracking down, with the Leno title being by far the easier to find of the two.

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The whole story behind the operations of records coming out of Greenville at that time seems to be a long & messy tale. Far too difficult to ever totally decipher without help from the people who were actually there at the time. I tried to make some sense of it earlier this year, but it really is more intense than I’d ever expected. Throughout my years collecting soul & funk 45s I have come across a few different titles that originated from the Greenville hub but there appears to be so many labels & names which are psuedonyms, distributors etc. It really just gets bigger & messier the deeper you dig. None of this is helped by the fact that pretty much all the key players are MIA & the whole outfit had a very close relationship with Chicago distributors & artists resulting in cross releases by several Chicago artists & labels. The whole thing seems to be traceable back to two companies: Lynn’s Record Distribution & Reginald’s Records in Greenville. The two main figures in these appear to have been Lynn Williams & Henry Reginald Hines (Reggie). At some point in the late 60s/early 70s it looks as though the operation splintered with Williams having moved some of the mess to new operations in Chicago (they had already had something of a Chicago presence for at least a few years prior to the move). Word has it that Reggie Hines did a duck from the tax department at around this time & later surfaced as a preacher in the South under an assumed name, releases with the Georgia address may be from this period. Fanciful stories, but pretty par for the course as you dig through the rubble. It would be extremely interesting to track some of these people down, Reggie, Lynn, Vicki Williams, Vikki Styles or Virgil Griffin to have them try to decipher as much of this for us as possible, but who really knows what became of them??..


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