In 1974 Enyx Records released their second ’45. The group was Bad Medicine. The track was ‘Trespasser’. 25 years later it becomes widely sought after, although there isn’t anything ‘obviously funky’ about this sinister instrumental. Label boss Arthur Lane explained how the track came about and gave a brief history of Bad Medicine and Enyx Records
Enyx Records was started in early 1973 by William Armstrong and myself.
We were in the retail record business at that time and felt that manufacturing records would be a natural progression. We understood the record business and there was a lot of untapped talent that we felt should be represented on vinyl. Of course from time to time we had to solicit the expertise of others for various tasks. But we virtually ran the show and called the shots. We knew Willie Gatewood and the Tornadoes that did “The Camel” on Phil-L.A. of Soul and Larry Ellis & The Black Hammer. Wilmer Alexander & The Dukes who recorded for Aphrodisiac Records was by far the most successful artist at that time.
Trespasser is the second release on the label. ” When The Battle is Over” by Michelle Sobers (Bad Medicine laid all the music tracks) was our first release. It was written by Dr. John and you probably heard it before by Delaney & Bonnie on Electra Records. Our 4th and last release (EN-004) was an entry into the Disco market. “The Stranger” by C. Henry Woods Troupe was probably our best record in terms of production and sales. It was chosen to be included in a compilation album by a Record company in New Jersey. EN-003 “Look What You Done To Me” by Sheila Skipworth is unfortunately “still in the Can.” Aside from a few Deejay copies floating around we regrettably never got around to working on the master like we planned. If we had come across a good Blues artist or cocktail pianist, we would have recorded and released them, too.
Enyx Records sent out hundreds of Deejay copies to radio stations and alternative college stations playing Rhythm & Blues and top 40 Soul. “Trespasser” did receive sporadic airplay but not enough to chart locally. Disco ruled the radio “air waves” then and the disco club scene was just beginning to unfold the same time “Trespasser” was released-it was difficult trying to promote anything but. It seemed overnight that 12″ Disco Singles, some as long as 9 minutes long, were putting live bands out of business. Fortunately, Bad Medicine was already established with a booking agency long before we met them. They were usually booked solidly and played their material at random. In 1976, I did ponder the idea of totally “re-mixing” and “re-tracking” the song at a different studio and issuing it again as a 12″ Disco Single at 120 BPM. I felt the chances of it charting would be greatly enhanced.
But I knew that Bad Medicine wanted nothing to do with Disco and I respected that. And to avoid dissension down the road, the idea was dropped. Hence, C. Henry Woods Troupe, a Disco group from Syracuse University, signed with us and we were in the Disco arena.
We were part of an “underground distribution” network of independent labels that exposed our records and we exposed theirs to deejays, record stores and one-stops. Enyx Records worked very closely with Grammercy Park and Black Feeling Records out of New York City who were selling tons of records by Larry Ellis & The Black hammer. New York and the surrounding upstate markets were the initial target areas Enyx Records was concentrating on as far as distribution was concerned, though we’d like to think that someone in Texas or California could have very well heard “Trespasser.” We decided “Trespasser” would be included in the “mix” with other artists of the day that were doing well in the New York market. We felt Bad Medicine and Enyx Records would have creditability if introduced and became part of the same process that say Kool & Gang or the Meters had to endure to become profitable.
I met William Armstrong (producer) 35 years ago in the United States Air Force. He was just returning from Japan. He was a debonair, much in demand drill team instructor who allowed me to join his drill team. We have been friends since. William has always had a phenomenal ear for good funk music. So it came as no surprise that he would be the one to “get the ball rolling” for Enyx Records. He always made it a point to go the extra mile in exposing new funk artists to store customers and listeners on his weekly “Sugarbear” radio show. One day out of the clear blue, he took me to meet a new funk band named Jade I couldn’t believe how good they were. William was correct and I agreed with him that Jade would make an excellent choice for Enyx Records to start with. But Jade was very young and undisciplined with no direction and eventually broke up before we could sign them. William then decided to concentrate on the publishing end of Enyx Records and Lymonlee Publishing was created. He has been married to a lovely woman name Frances for some 40 years. Her middle name is Lee and his is Lymon, so hence: Lymonlee. George Day was the owner of the Dayson Recording Studio in New York where Bad Medicine recorded “Trespasser.”
Bad Medicine was a successful and established band that was very popular around the Syracuse University area as early as 1970. When we met them, they had already recorded a song called “Animal Assistance” on Orbit Records. Richard Clarke (drummer) put the band together and usually had five main members and occasionally featured a singer or maybe a congo player at some of their gigs, although they really had nothing “marketable” to record because they were always playing somewhere. I recall distinctly in the winter of 1974 telling Richard how cool it would be to record a song called “Trespasser.” I ask him to imagine the feeling he would have if someone were up to no good and trespassing on his property. So I said, “Richard, just transfer the intensity and rage you would have chasing this guy into a song called ‘Trespasser.'” In all fairness Richard Clarke was really the composer of “Trespasser.” He may or may not have been “inspired” by our conversation, but the finished product came from his head and was executed the way he “heard” it. “Trespasser” was released not necessarily to “go big” but to introduce Bad Medicine to the music industry. Of course we wanted to sell a lot of records but realistically, there was a lot more to learn about publishing, distribution, promotion and even the magic of making a record sound good. Time afforded us the opportunity to grow as a company. We were able to correct earlier mistakes and make new contacts that would benefit all of us down the road with other releases. As you know there were funk bands and vocal groups from every corner of America trying to record. And those that eventually did discovered very quickly the problem of getting airplay and selling records. Bad Medicine left the Syracuse, New York area I believe in 1977. They were still going strong as a band and settled for the Washington or Maryland area.
William and I are retired from the working world and the doors of Enyx Records have been closed now for over 20 years.
Richard Clarke and original Bad Medicine member, Tom Corradino are now part of a band called “Krewe Of Renegades.” The Band features vocalist Rita Clarke. They are working on their third CD and are headquartered in the Baltimore Maryland area