Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Kama Sutra Records: The Rapper

I had to make an emergency trip to Western Pennsylvania tonight, so for our look at Kama Sutra Records, I have decided to pick what may have been the only Pittsburgh act on the label: The Jaggerz. Their unusual name came from Pittsburghese slang for any number of plants that have thorns, burrs, and briers and were typically problematic for kids playing in the woods. The localized term is jagger or jagger bush. They may be the only band with a Pittsburghese derived name to have a hit record.

Kama Sutra was the second of three labels who had signed the band and the only one to have charting singles. Three out of four Kama Sutra issued Jaggerz 45s made it to the Hot 100 with one, “The Rapper,” charting at #2 in Billboard at #1 in Record World. It was also certified as a gold record by the RIAA.

With the success of “The Rapper,” you might think that the band released several albums with Kama Sutra. Unfortunately, their only LP with the label was “We Went to Different Schools Together.” The album peaked at #62 and it was the only one their three albums to chart. Despite having a hit single and mid charting album, it was not enough to sustain the group’s contract with Kama Sutra.

The best known alumnus of the band was guitarist/vocalist Dominic Ierace – who would be later known as Donnie Iris. Although much has been made concerning Iris’ membership in Steubenville, Ohio’s “Wild Cherry,” he joined the band it its waning years and only appeared on their final album. Donnie’s greatest fame came with his solo career in the 1980s when his songs became a staple of album radio.

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