HISTORY AND DISCOGRAPHY

 


Minor label without a consistent musical vision but not without a few notable entries during its six year run.

Founded by Larry Newton who’d previously worked for Black & White Records before starting Derby in mid-1949 with partner Eddie Heller, who was concurrently running Rainbow Records, another small New York label for which Newton had also worked as a salesman.

Derby’s musical scope was seemingly comprised of whatever local talent was available regardless of genre, but the most prolific output came via saxophonist Freddie Mitchell who also took the reins as the leader of the house band and musical director of the company.

Despite not having much organizational skills nor any long-range business plan Derby stumbled into some hits along the way, courtesy of Mitchell who was placed squarely in the middle of the tenor sax instrumental revolution in rock around that time, though their biggest hit came via vocalist Sunny Gale fronting a group led by former Jimmie Lunceford sideman Eddie Wilcox on a version of “Wheel Of Fortune”, a big seller in 1952 that registered hits on it by a number of artists.

In spite of that flurry of success Derby’s finances were stretched too thin and the company folded by 1954 as both Newton and Heller found their way to RCA Records in different capacities. Newton moved onto ABC-Paramount Records by 1959 eventually rising to President of that company before moving into ABC-Pictures in 1970.

[**The Derby Records name was used in the early 1960’s by singer Sam Cooke for a label he owned and operated but was completely unrelated to the Newton-led Derby which spanned June 1949-early 1954.**]
 
 
DERBY RECORDS DISCOGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date On Spontaneous Lunacy):
 

FREDDIE MITCHELL: Slider (2) (Derby 711; June, 1949)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: The Derby (4) (Derby 711; June, 1949)
DOC POMUS: Kiss My Wrist (2) (Derby 712; June, 1949)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Doby’s Boogie (5) (Derby 713; July, 1949)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Hog Head (3) (Derby 713; July, 1949)