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The Omen Records story began in the late 1950s at Madison Records with a doo-wop group called The Untouchables and their producers. Two members of The Untouchables were Brice Coefield and Chester Pipkin. Herb Alpert and Lou Adler were the group's producers. Alpert also played trumpet on some of those sessions and these singles. By 1961, all of them had met Jerry Moss who was at Keen Records.

Around 1964, Adler brought Pipkin and Coefield to A&M. Having worked together in the past, a new arrangement was formed, Omen Records. At some point, the label was deactivated and in 1965, Leland Rogers was hired to reactivate the label. In November 1965, the Sims Twins were signed. Having recorded for Sam Cooke's label, the Sims were a group that Herb Alpert knew.

From 1964 until 1966, the label produced 18 singles in the rhythm and blues, soul and doo-wop genres. It appeared that A&M had hopes for the label's success as its number of releases doubled each year. Chester Pipkin was the primary producer for the label. He also wrote and arranged or co-arranged some of the songs. He even adapted Tchaikovsky's 1st Piano Concerto into "Should I Give My Love Tonight" which was an "A" side by The Wooden Nickels on Omen.

In 1966, Omen began a production deal with James Brown which brought artist James Crawford of the James Brown Revue to the label.

Four of the label's 13 artists created two singles and the remainder had one-shot deals. Brice Coefield had a single that was also released on A&M. It was "Ain't That Right" (Omen 10 and A&M 774). Each single is collectible because the "B" side was different on each label. The single that is most collectible from Omen is "The Sweetheart Tree" by Joe Phillips, a Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer tune from the motion picture "The Great Race."

Pipkin and Coefield would reunite again in the group Africa which recorded two singles and an album for Lou Adler's Ode Records during the time that label was distributed by A&M.


Lelan Rogers

Omen Gets Masters. Record World, January 29, 1966.

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