The label name was crafted by Rosenthal to suggest a combination of the Greek oracle, nearby Adelphi, Maryland, as well as a tip of the hat to a John Fahey song, "The Downfall of the Adelphi Rolling Grist Mill". Extensive field recordings were begun in 1969, including sessions in Chicago, St. Louis, and the Mississippi delta. In the 1970s the label began issuing blues-rock albums that were important to the development of the genre. Towards the end of the 1970s the label found that its output was more popular in foreign countries than in the United States. Sales growth was particularly marked in 1980. Musician signings continued into the 1990s and early 2000s.
Musicians on that label are (among others) The Nighthawks, Catfish Hodge and Roy Buchanan, (rock); Lenny Breau, Reuben Brown and Richie Cole (jazz); Yellowman, Big Youth and Toots & the Maytals (reggae); Rev. Gary Davis, Gene Johnson, and Rev. Robert Wilkins (blues and spirituals); plus Nathan Beauregard, Roy Book Binder, Roy Buchanan, R. L. Burnside, Gus Cannon, David Honeyboy Edwards, Paul Geremia, Mississippi John Hurt, Backwards Sam Firk, Skip James, Furry Lewis, Bill Blue, Little Brother Montgomery, Charles Tyler and Bukka White (blues), plus Patrick Sky (folk).
- Dunlap Jr., David (July 7, 2006). "The Cosmos Club". Washington City Paper. Retrieved March 10, 2010.
- The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues, ed. Edward Komara (New York: Routledge), ISBN 0-415-92699-8
- Komara, Edward M. (2006). Encyclopedia of the Blues. Psychology Press. p. 9. ISBN 9780415926997.
- "Adelphi Revamps Foreign Distrib, Ponders Licensing". Billboard. December 24, 1977. p. 18.
- Callahan, Jean (September 20, 1980). "No Recession for the Adelphi Label". Billboard. p. 10.
- "Roy Buchanan". Adelphirecords.com. Retrieved 2016-12-12.
- "4101PatSky". Adelphirecords.com. Retrieved 2016-12-12.
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