Guide to the Jay Payton Papers

Sean Dickerson
African American Museum and Library at Oakland
659 14th Street
Oakland, California 94612
Phone: (510) 637-0198
Fax: (510) 637-0204
Email: aamlo@oaklandlibrary.org
URL: http://www.oaklandlibrary.org/locations/african-american-museum-library-oakland
© 2013
African American Museum & Library at Oakland. All rights reserved.

Guide to the Jay Payton Papers

Collection number: MS 205

African American Museum & Library at Oakland

Oakland, California
Processed by:
Sean Dickerson
Date Completed:
February 9, 2017
Encoded by:
Sean Dickerson
© 2013 African American Museum & Library at Oakland. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Jay Payton papers
Dates: 1955-2003
Collection number: MS 205
Creator: Payton, Jay.
Collection Size: 1.75 (2 boxes + 1 oversize box)
Repository: African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
Oakland, CA 94612
Abstract: Legendary Bay Area emcee Jay Payton (1925-2016) was born William J Payton on Oct. 29, 1925 in Asheville, North Carolina. Beginning in 1972 Payton hosted the KEMO-TV music show “Soul Is” (later “The Jay Payton Show”), a weekly entertainment show on Channel 20 featuring national and Bay Area African American musicians next hit and performers. The Jay Payton Papers consists of 2 quad videotapes of “The Jay Payton Show” recorded in 1976, photographs of Jay Payton at various events and with performers on the “Soul Is” and “The Jay Payton Show,” and certificates of distinction awarded to Payton for his contribution to Bay Area entertainment.
Physical location: African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.) Oakland, CA 94612
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

Access

No access restrictions. Collection is open to the public.

Access Restrictions

Materials are for use in-library only, non-circulating.

Publication Rights

Permission to publish from the Jay Payton Papers must be obtained from the African American Museum & Library at Oakland.

Preferred Citation

Jay Payton papers, MS 205, African American Museum & Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library. Oakland, California.

Acquisition Information

Donated to the African American Museum & Library at Oakland by Larry Payton on August 16, 2016 and April 13, 2017.

Biography / Administrative History

Legendary Bay Area emcee Jay Payton (1925-2016) was born William J Payton on Oct. 29, 1925 in Asheville, North Carolina. Payton made his show business debut in 1947 as a tap dancer at the Apollo Theater in Harlem before serving in the Army during the Korean War. After his service, he settled in Sacramento, California, where he worked as master of ceremonies at numerous music clubs. He made his Bay Area premiere in 1954 at Music City Records in Berkeley as a member of the Sacramento singing group the Rovers. While working as a dancer and emcee at the It Club in El Cerrito he met disc jockey and club owner Don Barksdale. In 1959, he began as the emcee at Facks 2 on Bush Street in San Francisco, where he appeared on bills with such mainstream acts as Billy Eckstine, Dorothy Dandridge, Della Reese, Johnny Mathis, and the Hi-Los. During the '60s, he was club emcee at Barksdale’s the Showcase and the Sportsman clubs, and throughout his career he was a hosting fixture at such African American clubs in Oakland as The Continental Club, the Paramount, Esther’s Orbit Room, Ruthie’s Inn, Ed Howard’s Place, and Jimmie’s Entertainment Complex, as well as at the Oakland Coliseum Arena, Berkeley Community Theater, Paramount Theatre, and other Bay Area concert venues, sharing stages with the likes of Count Basie, Redd Foxx, B.B. King, Lou Rawls, Jackie Wilson, the Ballads, the Whispers, and Marvin Holmes and the Uptights.
Beginning in 1972 Payton hosted the KEMO-TV music show “Soul Is” (later “The Jay Payton Show”), a weekly entertainment show on Channel 20 featuring national and Bay Area African American previous hit musicians next hit and performers. The show also acted as a platform to promote performers from the Top Star Awards, an annual music award show produced by Payton for Bay Area African American R&B previous hit musicians next hit held at the Showcase, Bimbo's 365 Club, the Claremont Hotel, and other venues. For 29 years (1968-97) the Top Star Awards served as a counterbalance to the better-known Bay Area Music Awards, or Bammies, which in its formative years largely ignored rhythm and blues acts.
Other notable highlights of his career included acting as technical advisor, along with Barksdale, for the 1973 blaxploitation film The Mack directed by Michael Campus and starring Max Julien and Richard Pryor. The film was produced in Oakland and written by Payton’s friend Robert J. Poole, then an inmate at San Quentin State Prison and a member of the Barbwire Theater Company, an outgrowth of the San Quentin Drama Workshop. Payton appears in the film playing himself as the pimp convention emcee who awards Goldie the "Mack of the Year Award."

Scope and Content of Collection

The Jay Payton Papers consists of 2 quad videotapes of “The Jay Payton Show,” a weekly entertainment program on KEMO-TV Channel 20 that began in 1972 as the “Soul Is” show. Promoted as “the show that boasts about Bay Area entertainment being as good as you’re going to get,” it regularly featured national and Bay Area African American previous hit musicians such as Jackie Wilson, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, and Lenny Williams, lead vocalist of Tower for Power. Directed by Drew Pfeiffer, the program was produced by Sal Watts and Jay Payton with dance coordinator Little André. Included in the collection are also photographs of Jay Payton and performers on the “Soul Is” and “The Jay Payton Show,” as well as photographs of Payton at various Bay Area music awards shows, and certificates of distinction awarded to Payton for his contribution to Bay Area entertainment.

Arrangement

Series I. “The Jay Payton Show” television show Series II. Photographs Series III. Recognitions and awards

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
African American entertainers.
African American television producers and directors.
Rhythm and blues music--California.
Video Recordings.


Collection Contents

 

“The Jay Payton Show” television show

Physical Description: 2.0 reels

Series Scope and Content Summary

Contains 2 quad videotapes of “The Jay Payton Show,” a weekly entertainment program that aired on KEMO-TV Channel 20. Guests of the 1976-07-18 episode include the musical groups Fresh, The Black Resurgents, The Tent of Darkness, dancers The Fantastic Four, and special guest Delacey White of the Uptights. Featured on the undated 1976 episode are the musical act Joe Washington & Wash, performers The Saul Serenade, Graham Central Station, the Lelandre dancers, and an interview with Lenny Williams of Tower of Power.

Arrangement

Videotapes are arranged by television program date.
Box 1

The Jay Payton show” television show 1976-07-18

Creator: KEMO-TV, San Francisco
Physical Description: 1 Tape of 1: 2 inch videotape: Quad
Box 1

“The Jay Payton show” television show 1976

Creator: KEMO-TV, San Francisco
Physical Description: 1 Tape of 1: 2 inch videotape: Quad
 

Photographs circa 1950s-2003

Physical Description: 5 folders + 1 oversized box

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes 79 photographs of Jay Payton and performers on the “Soul Is” and “The Jay Payton Show.” There are also a number photographs of Jay Payton at various Bay Area music awards shows and events.

Arrangement

Arranged by photograph accession number.
Box 2:1

Portrait of Jay Payton, inscribed “lovingly yours” [001] circa 1950s

Box 2:1

Portrait of Jay Payton in a suit [002] circa 1950s

Box 2:1

The Rovers, reverse “Left to right: Jay Payton (lead-second tenor), Billy Ray Williams (bass), Oliver Stetson (lead-first tenor). Seated: Henry Swann (guitar-baritone)” [003] 1955

Box 2:1

Jay Payton performing at the California Medical Facility, reverse “entertaining the inmates” [004A/B] circa 1960s

Box 2:1

Jay Payton on stage, caption “The San Quentin Show” [005] 1963

Box 2:1

Jay Payton performing with unidentified band [006] circa 1960s

Box 2:1

Jay Payton on stage [007] circa 1960s

Box 2:1

Promotional flyer for Sammy Lee and Reg Boom's Latin Quarter Theatre Restaurant featuring Jay Payton [008] circa 1960s

Box 2:1

Portrait of Jay Payton and Dee Jonson [009] circa 1960s

Box 2:1

Jay Payton at unidentified event [010] 2000

Box 2:1

Portrait of Jay Payton in a tuxedo [011] circa 1960s

Box 2:1

Jay Payton, Bobby Poole and Little Jamie on “Soul Is” [012] circa 1970s

Box 2:1

Group photograph of (left to right): Max Julian, Jay Payton, Rico Thompson, Ted Ward, Marvin Holmes, Willie Ward, Melvin Shadrick, Terrible Tom and Michael Campus [013] circa 2000s

Box 2:1

Charlie Sifford and Jay Payton [014] circa 1980s

Box 2:1

Group photograph, reverse “(left to right): Clem Daniels, Dorsey, Jay Payton, Bill Boyette, Bill Graves” [015] circa 1970s

Box 2:2

Clem Daniel and Joe Morgan [016] circa 1970s

Box 2:2

Group photograph of(back row, left to right): Judy Pace, Jim Brown, Don Oversreet (front, left to right): Jay Payton and Billy Caver, caption “The Jim Brown Golf Tournament” [017] circa 1970s

Box 2:2

Gene Upshaw, Chuck Wallace, Clem Daniels and Jay Payton on “Soul Is” [018] circa 1970s

Box 2:2

Group photograph at awards ceremony table [019] circa 1980s

Box 2:2

Jay Payton with James Timothy "Mudcat" Grant [020] 1972

Box 2:2

Group photograph of (left to right): Ted Ward, Zollie Dubios, Reggie Jackson, Ron Freitas, Jay Payton, Andrew Ward, Frank Ward, Mudcat Grant, caption “Oakland Coliseum Reggie Jackson’s First World Series” [021] 1972

Box 2:2

Jay Payton on the set of “The Jay Payton Show” [022] circa 1970s

Box 2:2

Jay Payton with Barbara Lynn [023] circa 1990s

Box 2:2

Jackie Wilson performing on the first “Soul Is” [024] 1972-07-09

Box 2:2

Jay Payton and Lou Rawl at the Fairmont Hotel [025] 1964

Box 2:2

Jay Payton on stage with B.B. King at the Showcase, inscribed “To Jay, you are the greatest, B.B. King” [026] 1970

Box 2:2

Hamptonic, David Ruffin and Jay Payton at the Sportsman Club [027] 1970

Box 2:2

Louis Jordan and Jay Payton, reverse “Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, California” [028] 1964

Box 2:2

Joe Tex and Jay Payton at Ruthie’s Inn [029] circa 1970s

Box 2:2

Jay Payton and Johnnie Taylor at the Showcase Club [030] circa 1970s

Box 2:3

Group portrait of The Whispers [031A/B] circa 1970s

Box 2:3

The Whispers performing on “The Jay Payton Show” [032] circa 1970s

Box 2:3

“Mr. Blues” Jimmy McCracklin with Jay Payton [033] circa 1970s

Box 2:3

Jay Payton with Sylvester [034] circa 1970s

Box 2:3

Dorothy Powell on “The Jay Payton Show” [035] circa 1970s

Box 2:3

Pastor Shirley Caesar on “The Jay Payton Show” [036] 1974

Box 2:3

Jay Payton with unidentified woman on “The Jay Payton Show” [037] circa 1970s

Box 2:3

The Chain Reaction Group on “The Jay Payton Show” [038] circa 1970s

Box 2:3

The Black Resurgents with Jay Payton [039] circa 1970s

Box 2:3

The Variations on “The Jay Payton Show” [040] circa 1970s

Box 2:3

Johnny “Guitar” Watson on “The Jay Payton Show” [041] circa 1970s

Box 2:3

Jimmy Lewis on “The Jay Payton Show” [042] circa 1970s

Box 2:3

Al Wilson with Jay Payton [043] circa 1970s

Box 2:3

Illustrated poster for the Entertainers of the Years [044] circa 1975

Box 2:3

Jay Payton emceeing the Top Star Awards at HS Lordships, Berkeley, California [045] 1975

Box 2:4

Larry Graham holding Top Star award [046] circa 1974

Box 2:4

Top Star Awards at HS Lordships, Berkeley, California, Larry Graham accepting award [047] circa 1974

Box 2:4

Lenny Williams with unidentified woman at Top Star Awards [048] 1978

Box 2:4

Lenny Williams with unidentified woman at Top Star Awards [049] 1978

Box 2:4

Twenty-first annual Top Star Awards ceremony, unidentified performers [050] circa 1989

Box 2:4

Twenty-first annual Top Star Awards ceremony, unidentified performers [051A/B] circa 1989

Box 2:4

Top Star Awards commemorative calendar [052] 2000

Box 2:4

The Thirtieth annual Top Star Awards show announcement [053] 1997

Box 2:4

Jackie Wilson, Jay Payton and John Wilson [054] circa 1970s

Box 2:4

Jackie Wilson with Jay Payton and Sal Watts, Executive Producer, reverse “First ‘Soul Is’ TV show 1972” [055] 1972-07-09

Box 2:4

Antonio Fargus, Too Short, Richard Roundtree and Jay Payton at the Too Short Players Ball [056] circa 1980s

Box 2:4

The Promatics with Irma Thomas [057] circa 1970s

Box 2:4

(?) Denice, Jackie Wilson, Little Jamie and the Hartfield Brothers on the first “Soul Is” [058] 1972-07-09

Box 2:4

Grand Theft on “The Jay Payton Show” [059] circa 1970s

Box 2:4

The Yates Brothers and Sisters appearing on “The Jay Payton Show” [060] circa 1970s

Box 2:5

The Yates Brothers and Sisters with Jay Payton [061] circa 1970s

Box 2:5

The Dramatics and the Yates Brothers and Sisters with Jay Payton [062] circa 1970s

Box 2:5

Group portrait of the Green Brothers Band [063] circa 1970s

Box 2:5

The Whispers at the first annual Top Stars Awards, reverse “Scotty of the Whispers excepting [sic] trophy for the Whispers” [064] 1968

Box 2:5

The Whispers at the first annual Top Stars Awards, reverse “Marvin Holmes excepting [sic] trophy, looking on Jay Payton (hostess), Joel Dorham,band in the background, Eugene Blacknell and New Breed” [065] 1968

Box 2:5

Marvin Holmes & The Uptights [066] 1968

Box 2:5

Group photograph of (back row, left to right): Kenny [?] of the Promatics, Stan McClelland, Richard Dickson, Bobby Cochran (front row, left to right): Marvin Holmes, John Turk, Nate Arthur James, Minor Williams, and Jay Payton on “Soul Is” [067] circa 1970s

Box 2:5

Jules Brousard and The Uptights with emcee Jay Payton at Don Barksdale’s Showcase [068] circa 1970s

Box 2:5

Walt Thornton and Joe Thornton with Jay Payton and Tower of Power [069] 1974

Box 2:5

Group photograph at Esther’s Orbit Room & Breakfast Club of (back row, left to right): Henry Clement, Finney Mo, Lenny Williams, Ishamel Reed, Delhart Johnson, Olan Christopher, Jesse James, John Turk, Richard Lewis, Carl green, Carl Robinson, Marvin Holmes, Stix, Bib Bob, Bobby Cochran, Kito Gamble, Terrible Tom Bowden, Larry Vann (middle row, left to right): Lil Frances, Beverly Stovall, Stanley Lippett, Lady Bianca, Faye. Carol (front row, left to right): Jimi McKinney, Rusty Allen, James Nelson, Gino, Jimmy McCracklin, Jay Payton, Ronnie Stewart, Wylie Trass, Bobby Reed, Teddy Watson, Ronald Wells (inset): Esther Mabry, Bill Mabry [070] 2003-03-22

Box OM 13

Portrait of Jay Payton [071] circa 2000s

Box OM 13

Walt Thornton and Joe Thornton with Jay Payton and Tower of Power [072] 1974

Box OM 13

Bobby Freeman, Dorothy Morrison, Jay Payton, Herman Henry, and Lu Vason [073] circa 1970s

Box OM 13

Greg Morris, Jean Woods, Elijah Turner and Jay Payton [074] circa 1970s

Box OM 13

Grand Theft on “The Jay Payton Show” [075] circa 1970s

Box OM 13

Portrait of Jay Payton [076] circa 1960s

 

Recognitions and awards 1981-1987

Physical Description: 1 folder + 1 oversized box

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes letters of recognition and certificates of distinction awarded to Payton for his contribution to Bay Area entertainment.

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.
Box 2:6

Proclamation to the Citizens of Oakland by Lionel J. Wilson re: “Jay Payton Day” 1987-02-22

Box 2:6

1993 Blues Hall of Fame inductees [two copies] 1993

Box OM 13

Photo-collage of letters of recognition to Jay Payton from Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., Congressman Ronald V. Dellums, Assemblyman Elihu M. Harris and Mayor Lionel J. Wilson, caption “Jay Payton 1947, celebrates 34 years in show business” 1981