Sunday, November 25, 2012

Blue Thumb: One Way Sunday

I took a few days off for the Thanksgiving holiday and now that it is the fourth week of the month, we’ll commence with our week long record label special. This month, I’m looking at Blue Thumb Records which started as independent label in 1968. It was former King Records exec Bob Krasnow’s brainchild and he recruited A&M veterans Tommy LiPuma and Don Graham to handle production and marketing duties.

Typical Blue Thumb Label Configuration

Captain Beefheart was the inspiration for the label’s name as he had suggested it for the name of his band; however, Krasnow vetoed the name for the band, but kept it for the label. Initially, Blue Thumb distributed their own material, but by 1970 they saw the need to partner with a major label to provide distribution. From late 1970 to 1971, Capitol Records distributed Blue Thumb. In late 1971, Gulf+Western/Famous Music began distributing the label and bought it directly from Krasnow in 1972.

By 1974, ABC Records bought out the Gulf+Western/Famous Music family of labels that included the Blue Thumb, Dot, and Paramount labels. Until ABC was sold to MCA/Universal in 1979, the Blue Thumb logo appeared alongside the ABC logo on record labels. Universal resurrected Blue Thumb from 1995 to 2005 for blues, adult contemporary, and jazz recordings.

This week, we’ll look at some recordings on the Blue Thumb imprint that show the variety of musical styles found on the label. Since today is Sunday, I thought I might feature a song from “Mark-Almond II” called “One Way Sunday.” Mark-Almond, led by Jon Mark and Johnny Almond, was a jazz and blues influenced band that was established by these two alumni from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in the 1960s.

Jon Mark provides the vocals and guitar and Johnny Almond shines on the stellar flute lead. This very mellow piece is perfect for a quiet Sunday.

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