Friday, November 25, 2011

Chicago Record Labels, Part One

During the 1960's, Chicago was an epicenter of popular music; not only were labels such as Chess and Mercury thriving, but the city was a centralized distribution center with "Record Row" (located on South Michigan Avenue) housing labels and distributors,

Alteen, 1969. This record was later reissued on Chess Records.



Bunky, first variation (1968). Bunky was started by legendary DJ "Bunky" Shephard. Many Chicago soul records have the text "Bunky's Pick" on the predicted hit side, as Bunky was one of the top tastemakers of the scene.

Bunky, second variation (1969)

Centaur, 1966

Dispo, c1969

Cha Cha, circa 1966. This label issued one of the most elusive and rare sides from Syl Johnson, among a scattering of odd pop and r&b.

Constellation, 1964. white label DJ copy.

Constellation, 1965

Constellation, 1966

Genna, 1971

Curtom, 1971

Crash, c1965

Jacklyn, 1966

Kellmac, 1966

Jerry-O, 1964

Han-Di, 1967

Lamarr, 1971

M-Pac, 1963

M-Pac, 1966

Mayfield, 1967

Lovelite, 1970

Nat, 1961

Special Agent, 1967

Shama, 1967. This label was owned by Syl Johnson.

Satellite, 1965. Not to be confused with Satellite Records out of Memphis.

Satellite, 1966

St Lawrence, 1965

Toddlin' Town, 1969

TMP-Ting, 1965

Thomas, 1966. Named after musician Jamo Thomas

Tarpon, 1967

Twilight, 1967. This label was issued a cease and desist order (as a California label was trademarked with the same name) and became Twinight Records after a few releases.

Twinight, 1968

Twinight, 1969

Twinight, 1971 DJ label

Zachron, 1966


  1. Great post! Coming from a Chicagoland Native! Loved the SF Labels as well! Cheers!

  2. Have you ever heard of Daniels Eight Records? They were a late 60's early 70's soul/gospel label in Chicago.

  3. Don't forget BOSS records, home of the legendary Rannels!

  4. There was also Down To Earth records which was a subsidiary of Lamarr Records. Dakar, Bashie, Zodiac, Star-Vue, Mayfield (subsidiary of Custom) G.E.C., Gerim, Fountain (owned by Jerry and Billy Butler), We-Is (distributed by Stax out of Memphis), Sagport and many others.

    Oh and the correct info on Thomas Records is it was owned by Eddie Thomas who was the manager of The Impressions. It became a subsidiary of Curtom Records. Eddie Thomas also was co owner of Curtom along with Curtis Mayfield. Notice the Cancer zodiac sign on the Thomas label and notice the same sign is featured on the Curtom label along with Curtis' sign (Gemini). Great blog post!