Argo Records

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Argo Records
Parent companyChess Records
Founded1955 (1955)
FounderLeonard Chess
Phil Chess
Defunct1965 (1965)
GenreJazz, blues
Country of originU.S.
LocationChicago, Illinois

Argo Records was a record label in Chicago that was established in 1955 as a division of Chess Records.[1][2]

Originally the label was called Marterry, but bandleader Ralph Marterie objected, and within a couple of months the imprint was renamed Argo.[3]

Although Chess was a blues label, the Argo division began to record jazz in 1955 and over decades attracted some big names: Gene Ammons, Kenny Burrell, Barry Harris, Illinois Jacquet, Ahmad Jamal, Ramsey Lewis, James Moody, Max Roach, Red Rodney, and Ira Sullivan.[4]

Argo also recorded pop, blues, and calypso. Its first big hit was by Clarence "Frogman" Henry, whose song "Ain't Got No Home" came out in 1956.[5] By 1960, rhythm and blues performers on the label included Etta James and the Dells.[6]

Argo changed its name in 1965 to Cadet Records when the company discovered that an Argo Records already existed in the UK.[7] As with its parent label and British Argo, the catalog is owned by Universal Music Group. Argo was one of several record labels to lose master recordings in the 2008 Universal fire.[8]


Jazz Series (1956–1965)[edit]

Catalog number Title Artist
LP-601 Melodies by Al Hibbler Al Hibbler
LP-602 Chamber Music of the New Jazz Ahmad Jamal
LP-603 Flute 'n the Blues James Moody
LP-604 Lonely One Pinky Winters
LP-605 Without Sauce Dick Lane's Quartet
LP-606 Doorway to Dixie Cy Touff, Miff Mole and Mike Simpson
LP-607 Norman Simmons Trio Norman Simmons
LP-608 Zoot Zoot Sims Quartet
LP-609 Chicago Scene Ira Schulman, Sandy Moose and Eddie Baker
LP-610 Count 'Em 88 Ahmad Jamal
LP-611 Ramsey Lewis and his Gentle-men of Swing Ramsey Lewis
LP-612 Young John Young John Young Trio
LP-613 Moody's Mood for Love James Moody
LP-614 Chubby's Back Chubby Jackson
LP-615 Dick Lane Quartet Dick Lane Quartet
LP-616 Chet Chats Chet Roble
LP-617 Time on My Hands Seymour and His Heartbeat Trumpet
LP-618 Many Moods Al Russ Orchestra
LP-619 My Memories Melavano and Orchestra
LP-620 Out on a Limb with Clark Terry Clark Terry
LP-621 MJT+3 MJT+3
LP-622 Jazz Exponents Jazz Exponents
LP-623 MAX Max Roach Quintet
LP-624 Johnny Griffin Johnny Griffin Quartet
LP-625 I'm Entitled to You!! Chubby Jackson
LP-626 Cookin' Paul Gonsalves
LP-627 Ramsey Lewis and his Gentle-men of Jazz Ramsey Lewis
LP-628 At the Pershing: But Not for Me Ahmad Jamal Trio
LP-629 Sonny Stitt Sonny Stitt
LP-630 The Colorful Strings of Jimmy Woode Jimmy Woode
LP-631 Swinging the Loop Vito Price
LP-632 Theme for the Tall One Bess Bonnier Trio
LP-633 This Is Me, J. C. Heard J. C. Heard and Orchestra
LP-634 Lateef at Cranbrook Yusef Lateef
LP-635 2:38 A.M. Ralph Sharon Quartet and Friend
LP-636 Ahmad Jamal Trio Volume IV Ahmad Jamal Trio
LP-637 Last Train from Overbrook James Moody
LP-638 Portfolio of Ahmad Jamal Ahmad Jamal Trio
LP-639 Relaxin' with Sandy Mosse Sandy Mosse
LP-640 Marian McPartland at the London House Marian McPartland
LP-641 Touff Assignment Cy Touff
LP-642 Lem Winchester and the Ramsey Lewis Trio Lem Winchester and Ramsey Lewis
LP-643 Red Rodney Returns Red Rodney
LP-644 Breakin' It Up Barry Harris Trio
LP-645 An Hour with the Ramsey Lewis Trio Ramsey Lewis Trio
LP-646 Jamal at the Penthouse Ahmad Jamal
LP-647 [Unissued] Will Green
LP-648 James Moody James Moody
LP-649 Remember the Oldies Various Artists
LP-650 Taylor Made Jazz Billy Taylor
LP-651 Holiday on the Riviera Caesar Giovannini
LP-652 Where There's Fire... There's Smokey Stover and his Original Firemen Smokey Stover's Original Firemen
LP-653 The Last of the Big Plungers Al Grey and The Basie Wing
LP-654 Blue Lou Lou McGarity Big Eight
LP-655 A Night at the Vanguard Kenny Burrell Trio
LP-656 Fanfare of Hits Various Artists
LP-657 Jazz Herb Pilhofer Trio
LP-658 Richard's Alamac Richard Evans Trio
LP-659 The Legend of Bix Metropolitan Jazz Octet
LP-660 Mighty High Milt Buckner
LP-661 Burnin' Sonny Stitt
LP-662 Happy Moods Ahmad Jamal Trio
LP-663 Early in the Morning Lorez Alexandria with the Ramsey Lewis Trio
LP-664 Meet the Jazztet Art Farmer and Benny Golson
LP-665 Stretching Out Ramsey Lewis Trio
LP-666 Hey! It's James Moody James Moody
LP-667 Ahmad Jamal At The Pershing, Volume 2 Ahmad Jamal
LP-668 The Music of Quincy Jones Benny Bailey, Joe Harris, Åke Persson and the Quincetet
LP-669 Introducing Roland Kirk Roland Kirk and Ira Sullivan
LP-670 Please Mr. Organ Player Milt Buckner
LP-671 The Ramsey Lewis Trio in Chicago Ramsey Lewis Trio
LP-672 Big City Sounds Art Farmer and Benny Golson
LP-673 Listen to the Ahmad Jamal Quintet Ahmad Jamal
LP-674 Jubilee Smokey Stover's Original Firemen
LP-675 Home Cookin' Richard Evans Trio
LP-676 Playtime Buddy Rich and His Buddies
LP-677 The Thinking Man's Trombone Al Grey
LP-678 Art Art Farmer
LP-679 Moody with Strings James Moody
LP-680 More Music from the Soil Ramsey Lewis Trio
LP-681 Take a Number from 1 to 10 Benny Golson
LP-682 Sing No Sad Songs for Me Lorez Alexandria
LP-683 Sonny Stitt at the D. J. Lounge Sonny Stitt
LP-684 The Jazztet and John Lewis John Lewis, Art Farmer and Benny Golson
LP-685 Ahmad Jamal's Alhambra Ahmad Jamal
LP-686 Never on Sunday Ramsey Lewis Trio
LP-687 Sound of Christmas Ramsey Lewis Trio
LP-688 The Jazztet at Birdhouse Art Farmer and Benny Golson
LP-689 The Al Grey - Billy Mitchell Sextet Al Grey and Billy Mitchell
LP-690 Dorothy Ashby Dorothy Ashby
LP-691 All of You Ahmad Jamal
LP-692 Themes and Things John Young Trio
LP-693 The Sound of Spring Ramsey Lewis Trio
LP-694 Deep Roots Lorez Alexandria
LP-695 Another Bag James Moody
LP-696 Look Out! Look Out! Red Holt
LP-697 Dig Him! Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt
LP-698 Just Jug Gene Ammons
LP-699 Just for Kicks Eldee Young and Company
LP-700 Snap Your Fingers Al Grey and Billy Mitchell
LP-701 Country Meets the Blues Ramsey Lewis Trio
LP-702 Midnight Mood Milt Buckner
LP-703 Ahmad Jamal at the Blackhawk Ahmad Jamal Trio
LP-704 Soul Cookin' Thornel Schwartz and Bill Leslie
LP-705 Bossa Nova Ramsey Lewis Trio
LP-706 Blues on the Other Side Mike Mainieri Quartet
LP-707 Breakthrough Gene Shaw Quintet
LP-708 Trumpet Caliente Don Goldie
LP-709 Rearin' Back Sonny Stitt
LP-710 Diggin' the Chicks Bill Leslie
LP-711 Night Song Al Grey and Billy Mitchell
LP-712 Macanudo Ahmad Jamal
LP-713 A Touch of Pepper John Young
LP-714 Soul Merchant Sam Lazar
LP-715 Pot Luck Ramsey Lewis Trio
LP-716 Free Benny Golson Quartet
LP-717 Basie Is Our Boss Frank Foster
LP-718 Having a Ball Al Grey
LP-719 Poinciana Ahmad Jamal
LP-720 For Swingers Only Lorez Alexandria
LP-721 French Cookin' Budd Johnson
LP-722 The Message Illinois Jacquet with Kenny Burrell
LP-723 Barefoot Sunday Blues Ramsey Lewis Trio
LP-724 Signifyin' Lou Donaldson
LP-725 Great Day James Moody
LP-726 Debut in Blues Gene Shaw
LP-727 Ready and Willing Herman Foster
LP-728 Here's Love Hank Jones
LP-729 World of Travel Jimmy Grissom
LP-730 Move on Over Sonny Stitt
LP-731 Boss Bone Al Grey
LP-732 Bach to the Blues Ramsey Lewis Trio
LP-733 Naked City Theme Ahmad Jamal
LP-734 Possum Head Lou Donaldson
LP-735 Desert Winds Illinois Jacquet
LP-736 Ya! Ya! Budd Johnson
LP-737 Fantabulous Oliver Nelson and his Orchestra
LP-738 Perception Art Farmer
LP-739 Mo' Rock Baby Face Willette
LP-740 Comin' on Strong James Moody
LP-741 The Ramsey Lewis Trio at the Bohemian Caverns Ramsey Lewis Trio
LP-742 Summer Dawn Sahib Shihab
LP-743 Carnival Sketches Gene Shaw
LP-744 My Main Man Sonny Stitt with Bennie Green
LP-745 More Sounds of Christmas Ramsey Lewis Trio
LP-746 Bosses of the Ballad Illinois Jacquet
LP-747 Cole Slaw Lou Donaldson
LP-748 Off the Wall Budd Johnson
LP-749 Behind the 8 Ball Baby Face Willette
LP-750 You Better Believe Me Ramsey Lewis Trio with Jean DuShon
LP-751 The Roar of the Greasepaint Ahmad Jamal
LP-752 Cool Rune Ofwerman's Piano
LP-753 Testifyin' Time Bunky Green
LP-754 Spectrum Illinois Jacquet
LP-755 Choice! The Best of the Ramsey Lewis Trio Ramsey Lewis Trio
LP-756 Cookin' the Blues James Moody
LP-757 The In Crowd Ramsey Lewis Trio
LP-758 Extensions Ahmad Jamal
LP-759 Musty Rusty Lou Donaldson
LP-1078 At the Spotlite Club Vol. 1 Ahmad Jamal Trio

Pop/Blues/Folk Series (1961–1965)[edit]

Catalog number Title Artist
LP-4000 The Eyes of Love Osborne Smith
LP-4001 Johnny Hamlin Quintet Johnny Hamlin Quintet featuring Marci Miller
LP-4002 Space Flight Sam Lazar
LP-4003 At Last! Etta James
LP-4004 Misty Night King Fleming Trio
LP-4005 The Three Souls The Three Souls
LP-4006 Morris Grants Presents JUNK Various Artists
LP-4007 Drum Sum Buck Clarke Quintet
LP-4008 Drums, Drollery And Drivel Professor Paradiddle
LP-4009 You Always Hurt the One You Love Clarence Henry
LP-4010 Brilliant! The Trumpet of Don Goldie Don Goldie
LP-4011 The Second Time Around Etta James
LP-4012 Dodo's Back! Dodo Marmarosa
LP-4013 Etta James Etta James
LP-4014 [Unissued]
LP-4015 Playback Sam Lazar
LP-4016 For the First Time Shelley Moore
LP-4017 Brown Gal Bonnie Graham
LP-4018 Etta James Sings for Lovers Etta James
LP-4019 Stand By! King Fleming Trio
LP-4020 House Warmin'! Howard McGhee and the Blazers
LP-4021 The Buck Clarke Sound Buck Clarke
LP-4022 Let Me In/Music, Music, Music The Sensations
LP-4023 The Campus Singers at the Fickle Pickle The Campus Singers
LP-4024 I'm on My Way Willie Wright
LP-4025 Etta James Top Ten Etta James
LP-4026 The Blues, Volume 1 Various Artists
LP-4027 The Blues, Volume 2 Various Artists
LP-4028 Cheer Up Me Lads The Outsiders
LP-4029 Martin Yarbrough Showcase Martin Yarbrough
LP-4030 Folk Swinger Dean DeWolf
LP-4031 Folk Festival of the Blues Various Artists
LP-4032 Etta James Rocks the House Etta James
LP-4033 Road of Blue The Campus Singers
LP-4034 The Blues, Volume 3 Various Artists
LP-4035 High Tide: The Folk Songs of Dean DeWolf Dean DeWolf
LP-4036 Dangerous Dan Express The Three Souls
LP-4037 The Soul of Blues Harmonica Shakey Horton
LP-4038 Composer's Choice Johnny Nash
LP-4039 Make Way for Jean DuShon Jean DuShon
LP-4040 The Queen of Soul Etta James
LP-4041 Dick Williams Kids Sing for Big People (and Little People Too) Dick Williams
LP-4042 The Blues, Volume 4 Various Artists
LP-4043 Mixed Moods Martin Yarbrough
LP-4044 Soul Sounds The Three Souls
LP-4045 The Real George Kirby George Kirby
LP-4047 Jammin' with the Windjammers The Windjammers

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Edwards, D & Callahan, M. The Chess Story, accessed September 12, 2012
  2. ^ Cook, Richard (2005). Richard Cook's Jazz Encyclopedia. London: Penguin Books. p. 17. ISBN 0-141-00646-3.
  3. ^ Cohodas, Nadine (2000). Spinning Blues into Gold: The Chess Brothers and the Legendary Chess Records. New York: St. Martins. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 4, 2017. Retrieved October 19, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Gardner, Mark (2002). Kernfeld, Barry (ed.). The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. Vol. 1 (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc. p. 65. ISBN 1-56159-284-6.
  5. ^ "Clarence "Frogman" Henry Biography by Bill Dahl". Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  6. ^ Edwards, D & Callahan, M. Argo Album Discography, Part 2 (1961–1965): Pop/Blues/Folk Series, accessed September 12, 2012
  7. ^ Brack R. Chess 'Withdraws' Argo Name, Billboard, October 9, 1965. pp. 8–10.
  8. ^ Rosen, Jody (June 11, 2019). "The Day the Music Burned". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 2, 2019.

External links[edit]