Empire

2021-08-27T13:30:48+02:00August 27th, 2021|

U.S. record label produced by several manufacturers for the Empire Talking Machine Co. of Chicago between 1917-1921. The earliest releases were produced by the Rex Talking Machine Corporation and duplicated material and catalog numbers of releases on the Rex Record label.

Following the demise of the Rex Talking Machine Corporation, a second series of Empire releases was introduced in 1918, using steel-needle vertical-cut dubbings of Pathé Frères Phonograph Co. masters.

By 1919, Empire was obtaining its material from the Operaphone Company, which produced universal-cut dubbings of Pathé Frères Phonograph Co. masters. These releases were anonymous, and duplicated couplings and catalog numbers of Operaphone releases.

The final series of Empire records was produced by The Arto Company.

 

Source: Discogs

Owl

2021-07-30T16:42:38+02:00Juli 30th, 2021|

Owl Records was a cheap Chicago based label in the early 1950s esablished by former DJ Irv Victor (also secretary-treasurer at JEB Records).

Affiliated with the labels Folk Music Inc., IRENE Records, Record PAK and JEB Records labels, all of which may be sub-divisions of the Double Feature Record Products company.

Source: Discogs / Billboard

AMERICAN MUSIC

2020-03-21T21:08:51+01:00März 21st, 2020|

American label founded by William Russell in 1944.

The label specialized in traditional New Orleans jazz, both reissues and new recordings of elderly New Orleans pioneers such as Bunk Johnson and George Lewis. First releases were 12″ vinylite discs that appeared in early 1945. Starting in 1946, the label released standard 10″ shellacs.

Later address appearing on mid-century releases from Chicago.
1637 N. Ashland
Chicago, 22 Illinois

Source: Discogs

 

PREMIUM

2020-01-29T15:27:49+01:00Januar 29th, 2020|

US blues label from Chicago.
Successor of the Miracle label. Founded by Lee Egalnick.

Source: Discogs

 

DIAMOND

2019-12-02T19:38:56+01:00Dezember 2nd, 2019|

US record label from 1906-1916. Earliest releases were produced by Leeds & Catlin for the Diamond Record Company of Chicago and had enlarged (0.5″) spindle holes.

Issues from 1909 on were produced by the American Graphophone Company and the Columbia Phonograph Co..

Both single- and double-sided records exist.

Source: Discogs

 

Oxford

2021-11-16T07:57:09+01:00Dezember 2nd, 2019|

Oxford was a single-sided brand produced by several manufacturers (including Columbia Phonograph Co., Universal Talking Machine Manufacturing Company and Victor Talking Machine Co.) for mail-order sale through the Sears Roebuck & Co catalog.

Oxford discs replaced Sears’ earlier Harvard Disc Record, and were produced and marketed between 1906-1916. All issues duplicated material that had been issued earlier on Columbia or Zonophone Record, and were anonymous. In 1916, Oxford discs were replaced with records bearing the Silvertone label, in keeping with Sears changing the name of its phonograph line from Oxford to Silvertone.

Source: Discogs

 

Balkan

2022-03-31T09:46:14+02:00November 15th, 2019|

Balkan Records was a Chicago-based record label run by Slavko A. V. Hlad that produced Folk Music, Polka, and other ethnic recordings. They also produced custom records from clients’ tapes.

The parent company, Balkan Music Co., also maintained its own recording studio and a full service music store that carried sheet music, musical instruments, and offered music lessons. Many of the company’s recordings have been reissued on CD by Esoteric Sound.

Source: Discogs

Seymour

2019-11-14T15:20:12+01:00November 14th, 2019|

Seymour Records was the brainchild of Seymour Schwartz (1917-2008). Born in Chicago and orphaned at the age of 10, Schwartz was taught the cornet by the band instructor at the orphanage. He began in business as a reseller of used 78s from jukeboxes.

In 1947, after accumulating a huge stock of used jazz 78s, he opened Seymour’s Record Mart at 439 South Wabash in Chicago. For over a decade, the Mart was the number 1 specialty store for jazz records in Chicago.

After running both traditional and modern jam sessions in the store’s loft for 2 years, Schwartz decided to record some of the artists he had featured; another objective, as with many a small label, was to put some of the songs he had written on record.

Seymour Records was launched in August 1950.

The company recorded just five known sessions. Seymour 78s were pressed in editions of 1000 copies and sold out of the store. Lacking wider distribution, Seymour sought a pact with a bigger label, and on December 2, 1950, Billboard announced that the Lurlean Hunter sides had been sold to Discovery Records in Los Angeles, which promptly issued two of them (both tunes were his compositions). There was one final release on the label in the summer of 1951, when a strong Chicago White Sox team with a new slogan prompted Schwartz to record and release “Go-Go-Sox.” The Chicago White Sox fight song was also cut in the loft, with musical accompaniment by Seymour himself on cornet, Buddy Charles (1927-2008) on piano, and an unidentified individual beating on a wastebasket with a broom handle. In all, the Seymour label managed to get out 5 records.

In 1959, Schwartz sold his record store and its remaining stock to Bob Koester, who moved it to another location and renamed it the Jazz Record Mart. Seymour Schwartz died in New York City on October 3, 2008.

Source: The Red Saunders Research Foundation

 

Tempo-Tone

2019-11-14T10:56:16+01:00November 14th, 2019|

Tempo-Tone was in business in 1949 and 1950. It was founded by Irving Taman (1920-1992), who in 1946 opened a bar called Irv’s Boulevard Lounge. “Big Irv’s” establishment was located at 301 North Sacramento on the West Side.

From October 1948 through March 1949, a group led by pianist Sunnyland Slim enjoyed a long residency at the lounge, and at some point Taman recorded 10 sides featuring Slim and several of the musicians who worked with him. (Most surviving documents point to May 14, 1949 as the date.)

Tempo-Tone 1001, released in June 1949, featured vocals by guitarist Floyd Jones; Tempo-Tone 1002, which came out the same month, featured harmonica player Little Walter. The supporting musicians on these sides included Muddy Waters on guitar and Elga Edmonds in the drum chair. Both Tempo-Tone 78s proved to be classics of the Chicago blues, but neither sold well, and Irv Taman apparently shelved plans to release two further singles featuring vocals by guitarist Baby Face Leroy Foster and the otherwise unknown Lonesome Sam Moton. Two additional sides that featured Jimmy Rogers were never even given a tentative release number. The only other session for the company, done on May 14, 1949 by the Bruce Heller trio, was also left unreleased.

After closing Tempo-Tone, Taman continued to operate the lounge until 1968, when it was burned to the ground in the riots that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Taman moved to the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, where he opened a restaurant called the Korned Beef Kastle. In 1976, he revived Tempo-Tone just long enough to release a 45 by a family group called 14 Carat Gold, which was led by Blanche Jackson; Paul Jackson Jr. has gone on to a successful career as a smooth jazz artist.

Source: The Red Saunders Research Foundation

 

Glo Tone

2019-11-29T09:38:40+01:00November 13th, 2019|

Glo Tone may be the most obscure and fleeting of all the Chicago independents owned by trumpeter Melvin Moore. He was born in Chicago in 1923, led the cornet and trumpet section of the Du Sable High School marching band, and had already recorded with Marl Young on 5 sessions.

Glo Tone released two singles by Moore’s fairly big bop band. One side featured a vocal group called the Original Calypso Boys and the other three gave the spotlight to a still-scuffling nightclub singer named Joe Williams. And the arrangements as well as the presence of a Marl Young composition already recorded for Sunbeam (“Too Lazy to Work, Too Nervous to Steal”) hint at some piece of business left unfinished by the closedown of that label—in November 1947, when Young moved to Los Angeles.

Glo Tone vanished after less than a year in operation. Joe Williams went on to record for Columbia, OKeh, and Blue Lake and finally caught his break in 1954.

Melvin Moore made a brief stop at Chance and a slightly longer one at Vee-Jay before making his own move to Southern California, where he would eventually work with Charles Mingus and Johnny Otis, and play in the band for “Here’s Lucy” under the direction of Marl Young. Melvin Moore died in Los Angeles in 1989.

Source: The Red Saunders Research Foundation