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The Return of Nighthawk Records

Legendary reggae label to be reissued starting with the Gladiators and Ethiopian & His All Stars albums, December 15.

St. Louis reggae label Nighthawk Records was co-founded in 1976 by Robert Schoenfeld in a close partnership with musician and producer Leroy Jodie Pierson. Originally a label dedicated to post-World War II blues compilations, Nighthawk shifted its focus solely to reggae by 1980, issuing albums by genre greats like Justin Hinds, Gladiators, The Itals, Albert Griffiths, Winston Jarrett and the Ethiopian. Nighthawk nearly made it into the 21st century, but ran out of steam in the late ’90s.

Omnivore will reissue the Nighthawk catalog, adding bonus tracks where available and remastering from original master tapes starting in December and continuing until the entire catalog has been restored, including previously unissued albums. All releases are being co-produced by Grammy® Award-winning producer Cheryl Pawelski and Nighthawk co-founder Leroy Jodie Pierson. Pierson, who often contributed liners notes to the original releases, will update or supplement his original notes with new information and will share photos and ephemera from his archive. Grammy® Award-winning engineer Michael Graves will handle mastering and restoration.

Says Pierson, “I’m thrilled to be involved in the revival of Nighthawk Records and in the production of forthcoming Omnivore Recordings issues and reissues from Nighthawk’s small, but important reggae and blues catalogs. In the early 1980s I supervised studio sessions, compiled albums, wrote liner notes and took photographs for the label. My time spent in Kingston, Jamaica with legendary artists like Gladiators, Culture, the Ethiopian, The Itals and Justin Hinds remains the source of enduring inspiration and personal pride.”

In addition to the master catalog for Nighthawk Records, Omnivore Music Publishing has also acquired the accompanying Blackheart Music Publishing catalog.

“Band Your Belly” by Ethiopian & His All Stars, and the Bob Marley cover “Fussing And Fighting” by Gladiators, are streaming now. Full albums available December 15.