The goal of Trumpet Records was to provide a means of recording some of the most popular combos in the Mississippi Delta region that were going unrecorded because they did not have access to recording studios in New York City, Los Angeles, or Oakland. The company was in competition with the Bihari brothers of Modern Records. Between the two companies, they recorded some of the era's best blues music, from lively jump boogie woogie to slow blues ballads. The record company was only in existence from 1950 to 1955 but was nonetheless influential. Elmore James recorded his original "Dust My Broom" here. The company was also home to the first recordings of Sonny Boy Williamson II.
The label was founded by Lillian McMurry, whose husband owned a radio repair shop. Elmore James worked at the shop in 1949 fixing radios until Ms. McMurry started the label. Thereafter he was employed as a rhythm guitarist until he began his own solo career. In 1952, James' song "Dust My Broom" appeared on Billboard's "Best Seller" R&B chart at no. 9. At the time James was still working at Holston's radio repair shop. Talent scout Joe Bihari hunted him down there to alternatively record him at a local night club backing up Ike Turner.
The company was located on Farish Street, the black district of Jackson, and recorded a range of future R&B, gospel and blues artists including Elmore James, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Little Milton, Wynonie Harris, Willie Love, and James Waller. Arthur Crudup recorded at the label under the name Elmer James.
Williamson wrote about Lillian McMurray in two songs specifically. "Pontiac Blues" was about her Pontiac car, and the song "309" was named for 309 Farish Street, Trumpet Records' street address. In the lyrics he gave out Lillian's home phone number. They could not have parted too sourly; in 1977 Ms. McMurry paid to erect Williamson's headstone.
The company closed down in 1956. Creditors sold the artists' recording contracts; Sonny Boy Williamson II was sold to Chess Records in Chicago where he released another 70 songs.
- Robert McG. Thomas Jr. (29 March 1999). "Lillian McMurry, Blues Producer, Dies at 77". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
- Gillett, Charlie (1996). The Rise of Rock and Roll ((2nd Ed.) ed.). New York, New York: Da Capo Press. p. 136. ISBN 0-306-80683-5.
- George, Nelson (1988). The Death of Rhythm & Blues. New York: Plume. p. 30. ISBN 0-452-26697-1.
- "Trumpet Records Diamonds on Farish Street". Upress.state.ms.us. Retrieved 2006-11-06.
- Shaw, Arnold (1978). Honkers and Shouters. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. p. 32. ISBN 0-02-061740-2.
- "Mississippi Blues Commission - Blues Trail". Msbluestrail.org. Retrieved 2008-05-27.