Print | Back to e-WV The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Cozy Records


Cozy Records, located in Davis, Tucker County, was probably the most successful and long-lasting recording company ever in West Virginia. Started by John Bava (1913–97), a coal miner who sang and wrote songs, Cozy turned out vinyl records in the 78 rpm and 45 rpm formats, as well as long-play albums, for three decades. The music ranged from country string bands to rock ’n’ roll to polkas.

Musicians, including radio personalities such as Dusty Shaver and Hank the Cowhand, came from all over the region to record at Bava’s studio. When a Bava recording became an area hit in the 1950s, the song was sometimes released on Coral Records, a major record label with which Cozy had a relationship; this is how such West Virginia groups as the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers and Rex and Eleanor Parker reached national audiences. Collectors especially seek out ‘‘The Ambridge Boogie,’’ a 1958 rockabilly tune by Dale Brooks (1933–2013), a disc jockey in Berkeley Springs and later in Spencer. Brooks also wrote ‘‘I’d Like To Hear My Name,’’ a gospel song recorded by more than one Cozy artist and published by John Bava’s Music, which printed many songbooks through the years.

Increasingly, Bava’s interest turned to religion. With a family band including his wife, Lucy, and daughters, Janet and Juanita, he embarked on a musical ministry on radio and TV and at his Gorman Church of God in Gormania.

Written by John Douglas