Curtom Records

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The Curtom Records logo

Curtom Records was a record label started by producer, composer and lead singer Curtis Mayfield, of The Impressions group, along with Impressions' associate, Eddie Thomas, the band's manager and Jerry Butler's former driver) in 1968. . 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 former RCA studio (at 1 North Wacker Drive), originally 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, while Marv Stuart, Mayfield's manager for many years, became a partner in Curtom.

The label went through various changes of distribution - first by Buddah Records, then Warner Bros., RSO Records, and finally Boardwalk Records, before closing for good in 1980, due to a decline in popularity of soul music, (although the very first Curtom 45ss were independently distributed). The Curtom master tapes are now owned by the Warner Music Group and the Mayfield family[citation needed]. All subsequent re-issues 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 solo back catalog.

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