Local Current Blog

Secret Stash to release the Holy Grail of Jackson 5 recordings

courtesy Secret Stash

Jackson Five fanatics rejoice—on Oct. 28, Minneapolis label Secret Stash Records will release the clan’s long-lost first recording of “Big Boy” circa 1967. The rare 45 RPM will be part of an elaborate anthology of soul, funk, and gospel tracks recorded for Chicago’s One-derful! Records between its founding in 1962 and 1971.

Previously thought to be Steeltown Records’ “Big Boy” of 1968, the true oldest recording by the quintet was discovered five years ago by Eric D. Leaner, an inheritor of the One-derful! masters. Leaner hunted down the fabled track when approached by Jake Austen, who was writing about the Steeltown releases for the Chicago Reader. The original features the Jacksons using their own instruments and a merely eight-year-old Michael Jackson belting his legendary lead vocals.

“Until Jake Austen called me to explain that there was potentially a missing Jackson 5 demo tape, and if we had it it would be the holy grail of Jackson recordings, we had no idea we had it in our possession,” Leaner told Rolling Stone. “I asked my brother-in-law Herb Newkirk to see if he could find it with little hope since we had already been through the tapes. A couple of days later, he called me and said, ‘Brother-in-law, I found it!'”

Uptown’s Secret Stash is well-renowned for their uniquely collectible LP packages. With this musical myriad compiled on seven CDs or 12 discs of vinyl, the One-derful! Collection is sure to be no different. Of its 147 tracks, 57 have never previously been issued to the public.

Only the first 500 customers to order the One-derful! Collection subscription will receive a 45 of the original “Big Boy.” The much-anticipated compilation can be preordered here.

Tom Weber of MPR News talked about the release with Eric Leaner, the son and nephew of One-derful! founders Ernie and George Leaner; and Will Gilbert of Secret Stash. Listen to their conversation below, and read Jay Gabler’s essay on the towering but complicated legacy of Michael Jackson.

  1. Listen MPR News: Long-lost Jackson 5 track released by Secret Stash

Selena Carlson is currently tackling a double major in journalism and music business at Augsburg College. In addition to writing, she is an avid enthusiast of all things banjo; biking; and breakfast for dinner.