Mercury Records (1945-1955)

Feb 11, 2016

Memphis Slim
Credit Allmusic

Muddy Bottom Blues

Program #63 (February 12 at 8:00PM)

Mercury Records was formed in 1945 in Chicago, Illinois. During the record company’s first ten years, they were an early pioneer in jazz, blues, rhythm and blues and country music.

Performers who recorded for the label included Dinah Washington, Jimmy Witherspoon, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Johnny Otis, Lightnin’ Hopkins, , Memphis Slim and many others.

Mercury opened two pressing plants, one in Chicago and the other in St. Louis. With the use of automatic presses, they were able to compete with major recording labels at the time including Columbia, Decca and RCA Victor. Rather than rely on radio airplay, Mercury was one of the early pioneers to utilize jukeboxes to promote their music.

Mercury Records also released recordings under smaller labels including Blue Rock Records, Cumberland, Fontana, Limelight, Smash and Wing Records.

Performers featured on this program include Big Bill Broonzy, Roy Byrd & The Blues Jumpers, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Julia Lee, Memphis Slim, Johnny Otis, Arthur Prysock, Titus Turner, Dinah Washington, Jimmy Witherspoon and others.

(story provided by Allmusic)