Nomar Records

‘All in My Mind’ was recorded in September of 1960, at the Allegro Sound Studio in the basement of 1650 Broadway.  Maxine Brown had met an enterprising charmer named Mal Williams (whom she later married) at a club on Linden Boulevard in Jamaica, Queens, and whatever faults he may have had (and there were reportedly many), he was a man who recognized talent when he saw it, and arranged for Maxine to record a demo during a shared session at Allegro.  Having accomplished this, he was unable to interest anyone in it, until one bright afternoon in October, when Maxine and Mal where standing outside of the Brill Building on Broadway at quitting time, and Tony Bruno of Nomar Records came walking out.  Bruno had a slight acquaintance with Mal, and when he learned that he was trying to promote Maxine and her song, he asked them to come by the next day and play it for him.  He loved the song and it was released later that month.  This was quite a brave thing for Tony Bruno to do, because Nomar Records was nothing more than a front for a New Jersey bookmaker, or ‘bookie’, as we say in America, and the attendant publicity of releasing a big hit like ‘All in My Mind’ was probably the last thing that bookie wanted.  The office was there for the convenience of gentlemen placing wagers on horse races and sporting events, and Bruno was the man who collected the money and handed out the betting slips.  If the guys from the Plainclothes Division didn’t get their envelope, or if the P.C.C.I.U. was breathing down the precinct Captain’s neck and someone had to be thrown to the wolves for appearance’s sake, Bruno would have been the one to get locked up.  The bookie has been identified by Bruno on various occasions as one ‘Joe Romano’, but the real name is distinctively Central European.

† Police Commissioner’s Confidential Investigations Unit

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