Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Trade Martin's career has covered so many eras of music -- as a producer, arranger, songwriter, and even occasionally as a recording artist -- that he's almost impossible to pin down as a musical figure. In the late '50s, in a partnership with Johnny Power, he began recording acts such as Johnny & the Jokers and released their work on the Harvard Records label before the two formed Rome Records in 1960. Rome only lasted until 1962, weighted down by its lack of reliable distribution, which prevented the company from succeeding despite signing such talent as the Earls (who went on to score their hits for Old Town Records), Del & the Escorts, and the Glens. Martin usually played all of the instrumental accompaniments for these groups, overdubbing the instruments one at a time. In 1963, following the demise of the Rome label, Martin left the partnership and recorded under his own name on Roulette and other labels through the end of the '60s, and even got an entire LP, Let Me Touch You, out on Buddah Records in 1972. His main activity and success, however, were rooted in his work as a producer, arranger, and songwriter, functions that he has performed over the years in idioms ranging from '60s girl group pop/rock, folk, and electric blues to '70s funk and '80s dance-pop. He has also worked with artists such as Eric Andersen, Ellie Greenwich, Lesley Gore, the Tokens, Ian and Sylvia, Rick Nelson, B.B. King, B.T. Express, Pam Russo, and Solomon Burke. What's more, his songs have been recorded by the likes of Dusty Springfield ("Take Me for a Little While"), Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles, B.B. King ("Peace to the World"), and Dave Edmunds ("Don't You Double Cross Me"). He has also written and produced a handful of film soundtracks, principally during the '70s.