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date: 27 February 2021


  • Howard Rye


American record company. It was established in 1950 by brothers Leonard and Phil Chess who had bought out their partners in the Aristocrat label, founded in 1947. The new label concentrated on blues, and included recordings by Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Rogers, Willie Mabon and Eddie Boyd. A sister label, Checker, began in 1952 with a similar policy, and its catalogue included Little Walter, Lowell Fulson, Sonny Boy Williamson ‘II’ and (briefly) Elmore James. Two leading African-American pioneers in the transition to rock and roll, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley, were on Chess and Checker respectively from 1955. Some white artists were also recorded, notably Bobby Charles. The labels' doo-wop acts included the Moonglows and the Flamingos. In 1955 Argo was formed as a subsidiary label for jazz. Recordings for Chess were made by Buddy Guy, Otis Rush (both from 1960) and Koko Taylor (...

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