|Founder||Bill Traut, Eddie Higgins, George Badonsky|
|Country of origin||U.S.|
Dunwich Records was an independent American record label started by Bill Traut, Eddie Higgins and George Badonsky in Chicago in 1965. Dunwich was also a production company which licensed recordings to other labels, including Atlantic, Atco, Columbia, Mercury and SGC. The label was primarily known for the release of singles from the emerging Chicago rock scene in the 1960s. Only two artists, Shadows of Knight and Amanda Ambrose, released albums on the label.
Traut, Higgins and Badonsky formed their first record label, Amboy, in 1963 and released recordings of themselves and other bands. In 1965 they changed the label's name to Dunwich, and in December released a cover version of Van Morrison's "Gloria" by the Chicago band Shadows of Knight. By the spring of 1966, the song was a hit. After some difficulty with nationwide distribution, Traut, Higgins and Badonsky made a distribution deal with Atlantic subsidiary Atco Records. By mid-1967 Traut and Badonsky bought out Higgins. Dunwich soon stopped releasing their own records, concentrating instead on producing a range of artists and leasing the master recordings to other labels. The Dunwich lute player logo appears on these recordings. Above the lute player is a cartoon type word balloon that says "It's DUNWICH, man." This logo may have been on a few other Chicago groups records, such as "The Cryan Shames" Columbia albums.
In the spring of 1968, Traut split with Badonsky, joined with producers Jim Golden and Bob Monaco and reorganized Dunwich Records into Dunwich Productions, Ltd. The three continued to produce Chicago-based groups, notably the bands Mason Proffit and Coven. The latter group released their first album in 1969 on the Mercury label, but with the Dunwich Productions logo. In 1971, Traut briefly revived the Dunwich label for a live recording of Chicago folk artists, Gathering at the Earl of Old Town, which notably includes the first recording of late singer-songwriter Steve Goodman performing "City of New Orleans". The Dunwich label was eventually absorbed by its distributor, Atco, which issued two final Shadows of Knight singles bearing the Dunwich logo, but issued on the Atco label. In 1971, Traut and Golden joined with Jerry Weintraub to form Wooden Nickel Records, whose early acts included the band Styx.
Since the Dunwich label released mostly singles, two collections released by Sundazed Records in the 1990s are considered to be quite important to appreciating the history of Dunwich Records and its contribution to music. Oh Yeah! The Best of Dunwich Records, Volume 1, was released in 1991. This was followed by If You're Ready! The Best of Dunwich Records, Volume 2, in 1994. Artists appearing on these records include The Shadows of Knight, The Knaves, The Pride & Joy, The Luv'd Ones, Saturday's Children, The Wanderin' Kind, The Rovin' Kind, The American Breed, the H. P. Lovecraft band, Sounds Unlimited, The Del Vetts, The Warner Brothers and Little Boy Blues. The albums were produced by Bill Traut and George Badonsky. An earlier collection of Dunwich singles had been released in 1971 on the Happy Tiger label as Early Chicago, Volume 1.
- Early Chicago, Volume 1 Happy Tiger, 1971
- The Dunwich Records Story Voxx Records, 1990
- Oh Yeah! The Best of Dunwich Records, Volume 1 Sundazed, 1991
- If You're Ready! The Best of Dunwich Records, Volume 2 Sundazed, 1994
- 1925-2007. Noted jazz singer who became one of the first black Scientologists. The album was 1967's "Amanda", particulars of which are accessible at Dunwich Album Discography; www.bsnpubs.com. See Stephanie Hayes, "Famed jazz performer, Scientologist". Obituary of Amanda Ambrose, St. Petersburg Times, November 11, 2007. A collection of Amanda Ambrose work may be found here; www.ebonyawakening.org.
- Mike Callahan, David Edwards and Patrice Eyries, Dunwich Singles Discography; www.bsnpubs.com.
- See Mike Callahan, David Edwards and Patrice Eyries, Dunwich Album Discography;www.bsnpubs.com.
- See Biography of Steve Goodman by Colin Larkin in The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, as reproduced at www.oldies.com. This is a "Dunwich Productions" album, since Dunwich Records had stopped manufacturing its own records as of mid-1967. See Mike Callahan, David Edwards and Patrice Eyries, Dunwich Album Discography, which includes label and content particulars of Gathering at the Earl of Old Town; www.bsnpubs.com.
- To later evolve as the band Mason Proffit.
- For content particulars, see Mike Callahan, David Edwards and Patrice Eyries, Happy Tiger Album Discography; www.bsnpubs.com.
- Later made into a 1970 film starring Dean Stockwell, Sandra Dee and Ed Begley. See The Dunwich Horror; www.imdb.com. The film received mixed reviews.