2022-11-03T17:01:09+01:00November 3rd, 2022|

BUSY BEE was an American record label active from 1906-1909. It was founded in 1904 by Sherwin Bisbee.
Records were produced by several manufacturers for the O’Neill-James Company of Chicago.

O’Neill-James introduced Busy Bee disc phonographs in 1906. These had a rigid rectangular lug affixed to the turntable and so required use of a disc with a corresponding cut-out through the label area.

Busy Bee records were produced by several companies, including the American Record Company, Leeds & Catlin, Hawthorne & Sheble, Universal Talking Machine Manufacturing Company and American Graphophone Company/Columbia Phonograph Co.

The term ‘Amberized’ (an early form of plastic) describes the type of material used for the manufacture of these recordings.

O’Neill-James dropped the Busy Bee label in 1909, following reciprocal lawsuits between Columbia Phonograph Co. and Victor Talking Machine Co. over patent infringement and distribution disputes.

Source: Discogs


2022-09-05T14:47:39+02:00September 5th, 2022|

Jazz and Pop label owned by Mort Hillman. Active in Chicago, IL, USA from November 1956.

Do not mix up with later Chicago label Salem Records which has a similar numbering system.

Source: Discogs


2022-05-27T12:20:24+02:00Mai 27th, 2022|

EBONY, Chicago, Southern and Harlem were independent labels operated by music business veteran J. Mayo Williams (1893 or 1894-1980), Williams had already enjoyed success as a professional football player and as an Artists and Repertoire man for Paramount and Decca when he went out on his own in January 1945.

There were three phases to his independent label operations. From 1945 to 1949, he operated the Chicago (later Southern), and Harlem labels, dividing his time between New York City and Chicago (he was also involved with Ebony Distributors, out of New York).

He started a red Ebony label in 1945, but seems to have shelved it after a year. But in 1947, he picked up with a new, very small Ebony operation in Chicago, with a new label design (on black or on red), an “Ink,” Inc. logo, and no formal ties to Harlem-Chicago-Southern. To achieve wider distribution, he often struck deals in his early period with other companies, notably Syd Nathan’s King Records, Ivan Ballen’s 20th Cenury and Apex labels, and his former employer, Decca. The need become more urgent after he closed his New York office and its distribution wing (probably around the beginning of 1948).

After a brief hiatus in 1950 and 1951, he reopened an Ebony label based in Chicago; between 1952 and 1959, it was responsible for 31 known releases. For a little while, Williams licensed some of these Ebony masters to Art Sheridan’s Chance label and Joe Brown’s JOB. After being sidelined by illness in 1959, Williams regrouped and started a final incarnation of Ebony, which was responsible for at least 24 releases through 1971; some of these were licensed to Decca’s Trend subsidiary.

Williams always had a nose for talent, but eccentric concepts of marketing and no flair for popular music production. Consequently, releases on his labels have drawn little attention over the years.

During the Chicago-Southern-Harlem era, Wiliams featured such artists as Bob Camp, Lee Brown, Dossie Terry, J. T. Brown, Johnny Temple, Brother John Sellers, the Famous Blue Jay Singers, the Dixieaires, and Tab Smith. He also gave bluesmen Jimmy Rogers, Muddy Waters, and Leroy Foster their first opportunities to record commercially—though not to get a whole lot of publicity. The first Chicago-based Ebony label recorded Lil “Caldonia” Palmore.

During the Ebony II period, Williams recorded blues artists Birmingham Junior, Freddie Hall, Little Brother Montgomery, Earl Dranes, and Alfred “Blues King” Harris, gospel performers such as Brother George Curry, a doowop group (the Eagle-Aires), and R and B acts including Joe “Cool Breeze” Bell and more of Lil Palmore (who was now going as Cal Palmer). He also indulged in some trickery, overdubbing a 1945 Tab Smith instrumental with heavy drumming by Jack Cooley and marketing the resulting hybrid as “Tab’s Rocker” and “Cooley’s Cowboy Rock.”

The Ebony III period was less successful artistically (Williams intensified the overdubbing, applying it now to Decca recordings from the 1930s, and his new sessions gave undue attention to organ combos and lounge singers) but it provided opportunies to veterans such as Lil Hardin Armstrong and newcomers such as Bonnie “Bombshell” Lee.

By 1973, Williams had a bunch of leftover Ebony 45s that he wanted to unload in quantity. Williams’ manner of numbering his releases was wayward (there’s no telling how many different Ebony 1000s he put out), his Ebony II and III operations had a makeshift distribution network confined to Chicago, and most of his records are very rare today; we are sure some remain to be discovered.

Source: The Red Saunders Research Foundation


2022-05-27T11:55:44+02:00Mai 27th, 2022|

COOL was one of the tiniest of Chicago indepedents, probably opened in March 1953 and closed in October.

COOL was a division of Co-Ben recording, a partnership between Collenane Cosey (1909-2010) and her brother-in-law, Charlie Bennett. Collenane Cosey was a songwriter, the widow of alto saxophonist Antonio Cosey (1906-1951), and the mother of guitarist Pete Cosey (1943-2012). Co-Ben/Cool’s address was 1231 South Holman Avenue, and the company used RCA Victor for mastering and pressing, maybe also for recording.

Cool made just one known session, leading to two releases in July 1953.

Cat #Artist:Tune:MX:
& Bob Carter’s Orchestra
Gal! You Need A Whippin’
& Bob Carter’s Orchestra
One Half Hour
& Bob Carter’s Orchestra
Hello Stranger
& Bob Carter’s Orchestra
I Ain’t Got No MoneyE3CB-1864


As of 2018, all 4 released sides have finally appeared on some kind of reissue, just 65 years since the company folded.

Source: The Red Saunders Research Foundation


2022-05-04T14:48:56+02:00Mai 4th, 2022|

Chicago based jazz label owned by the Session Records record company. The label was set up in 1943 by Eve and Phil Featheringill and was operational for about a year. 31 discs were issued.

The label ran in conjunction with the Session Record Shop, operated by Phil Featheringill and his wife Evie at 125 North Wells Street in Chicago. The store’s specialty, as advertised in the September 1945 Chicago telephone book, was “Original & Re-release Hot Jazz Records.” Shop and label both opened for business on November 20, 1943, according to coverage in Down Beat. In his column “The Hot Box” (December 1, 1943, p. 13), George Hoefer, Jr. noted that the shop “will deal exclusively with hot jazz recordings with equal emphasis on the current crop from such sources as the Commodore, Jazz Man, etc. and the rare out of print classics.”

Featheringill was still pressing Sessions in the first quarter of 1947. In fact, Session 10-005 and 10-015 were first advertised in the Records, Inc. ad in the Record Changer for March 1947. Each may have been pressed earlier, but if so the editions were extremely limited.

Featheringill soldiered on a little longer. An ad on p. 15 of the Record Changer, June 1947, changed the name of the mail-order business to Records Consolidated and the address to 1661 West Santa Barbara in Los Angeles. Featheringill put his name at the bottom of the ad, identifying himself as “sole owner.”

The masters were purchased by Dante S. Bolletino who issued recordings on his label Pax Records.

More informations:

Source: Discogs / Campber.people.clemson.edu


2022-04-26T16:37:15+02:00April 26th, 2022|

Chance Records was an independent Chicago label that pioneered in recording the new African-American sounds that swept the city after World War II: the electrified Mississippi blues and the doowop harmony groups.

Chance cut 360 known sides from September 1950 through October 1954.

Source: campber.people.clemson.edu


2021-11-05T14:07:31+01:00November 5th, 2021|

Rocket Records was a short lived U.S. record label located in Chicago, Illinois established 1947.

Source: Billboard


2021-11-04T14:25:49+01:00November 4th, 2021|

The first label was produced between 1919-1923 and the second label was produced between 1928-1930.

The original Q·R·S label was produced by the Emerson Phonograph Company Inc. for the Q·R·S Company of Chicago, a major manufacturer of piano rolls. The initials stood for “Quality & Real Service”. Emerson-produced records were 9″ pressings from its own masters and cite a universal-cut patent. In the early 1920s, production shifted to Starr Piano Company and these were standard 10″ lateral pressings that duplicated couplings and catalog numbers of Starr’s Gennett Records. The label was discontinued in 1923.

A second Starr/Q·R·S label was launched in 1928. This record division was directed by Art Satherley, the former recording manager of The New York Recording Laboratories. Satherly recorded masters for Q·R·S’s exclusive use at the new Gennett Records studio in Long Island City, New York. Although some Gennett Records material was issued on the Q·R·S label, most releases featured original material. Satherly’s Q·R·S label was primarily a race- and country music record label. Artists of great merit recorded for Q-R-S in the late 1920s, including Clifford Gibson, Earl Hines, King Oliver and Clarence Williams. However, sales of both race (R-7000 series) and country (R-9000 series) records were poor and the records are quite rare today.

Source: Discogs


2021-09-30T13:07:07+02:00September 30th, 2021|

MERIT was a Chicago based record label founded in 1949 by the MERIT Record Co.
The label ceased in the early 1950s.


2021-09-22T12:10:44+02:00September 22nd, 2021|

TAZ was a record label from Chicago, Illinois – The TAZ Recording Co. was founded by the Tazmen. The Tazmen were a Chicago based instrumental rock group who released three singles on the Taz label.

The label was active in the 1950s.