Curtom Records

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The Curtom Records logo

Curtom Records was a record label started by Curtis Mayfield of The Impressions along with Impressions associate Eddie Thomas (the band's manager and Jerry Butler's former driver) in 1968 although the name was used as early as 1963. The label's name was a combination of Mayfield's first name (Curtis) and Thomas' surname (Thomas). Curtis had previously made attempts at a record label with the "Mayfield" and "Windy C" labels.

It is noted for being one of the first ever record labels owned by an African-American recording artist.

Curtom was located in Chicago's old RCA studio (1 North Wacker Drive), acquired by Mayfield for cutting demos. Along with the Impressions' releases and Mayfield's own solo material, artists on or affiliated with Curtom included the Five Stairsteps, Donny Hathaway (principally as a songwriter/orchestration arranger), Linda Clifford, Baby Huey and the Babysitters, Leroy Hutson, The Natural Four, Bobby Whiteside, Holly Maxwell, the Staple Singers, and Mavis Staples' solo efforts. Most of the acts on Curtom's roster were either produced by Mayfield himself, or heavily influenced by his style. Eddie Thomas later developed the Curtom subsidiary Thomas records.

Due to the decline in popularity of soul music, the label went through varying changes of distributions from several labels - first by Buddah Records, then by Warner Bros., RSO Records, and finally Arista Records, before closing for good in 1980 (although the very first Curtom 45's were independently distributed). The Curtom master tapes are now owned by the Warner Music Group and The Mayfield Family[citation needed], and all subsequent reissues have been under Warner's supervision, with the exception of Curtis's replacement in the Impressions, Leroy Hutson, who owns the rights to his Curtom back catalog.

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