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)
JOE BLACK: The Mainliner (6) (Derby 721; October, 1949)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Jingle Bell Boogie (5) (Derby 723; October, 1949)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Auld Lang Syne Boogie (5) (Derby 723; October, 1949)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Pony Express (4) (Derby 725; November, 1949)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Indiana Express (4) (Derby 725; November, 1949)
THE JAMES QUINTET: Paw’s In The Kitchen (4) (Derby 726; November, 1949)
THE JAMES QUINTET: I’m Just A Fool (4) (Derby 726; November, 1949)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Air Mail Boogie (4) (Derby 728; January, 1950)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: I Told You We Were Through (7) (Derby 728; January, 1950)
THE JAMES QUINTET: Don’t Worry (2) (Derby 732; March, 1950)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Easter Parade (a/k/a Easter Boogie) (7) (Derby 733; March, 1950)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Idaho Boogie (5) (Derby 733; March, 1950)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Rockin’ With Coop (3) (Derby 737; April, 1950)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Boogie Blues (3) (Derby 737; April, 1950)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Sugar Foot Rag (7) (Derby 738; June, 1950)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: On The Alamo Boogie (3) (Derby 738; June, 1950)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Fish Market Boogie (2) (Derby 739; July, 1950)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Summertime Boogie (4) (Derby 741; July, 1950)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Music Maker Boogie (3) (Derby 741; July, 1950)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Roll ‘Em Boogie (7) (Derby 747; September, 1950)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Louise (6) (Derby 747; September, 1950)
JIMMY PRESTON (with BURNETTA EVANS): Oh Babe! (8) (Derby 748; October, 1950)
JIMMY PRESTON (with BURNETTA EVANS): Stop That Baby (7) (Derby 748; October, 1950)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Home Sweet Home (6) (Derby 750; December, 1950)
JIMMY PRESTON (with BURNETTA EVANS): Rock With It Baby (6) (Derby 751; December, 1950)
JIMMY PRESTON: My Baby Done Left Me (6) (Derby 751; December, 1950)
EUNICE DAVIS: Rock Little Daddy (8) (Derby 752; December, 1950)
SARAH DEAN: Long Lean Daddy (6) (Derby 752; December, 1950)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Mary Ann (6) (Derby 753; January, 1951)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Mama Inez (4) (Derby 753; January, 1951)
JIMMY PRESTON: Roll, Roll, Roll (6) (Derby 755; March, 1951)
EUNICE DAVIS: I’m A Wild West Woman (6) (Derby 760; March, 1951)
EUNICE DAVIS: Evening Train (3) (Derby 760; March, 1951)
THE MAJORS: You Ran Away With My Heart (6) (Derby 763; June, 1951)
HONEY BROWN (with FREDDIE MITCHELL): Rockin’ And Jumpin’ (5) (Derby 761; June, 1951)
FREDDIE MITCHELL (with SARAH DEAN): I Got Your Boogie (5) (Derby 765; July, 1951)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Hot Ice (5) (Derby 777; November, 1951)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Jersey Bounce (4) (Derby 777; November, 1951)
THE MAJORS: Laughing On The Outside, Crying On The Inside (5) (Derby 779; December, 1951)
THE MAJORS: Come On Up To My Room (7) (Derby 779; December, 1951)
THE CARNATIONS: Tree In The Meadow (3) (Derby 789; January, 1952)
THE CARNATIONS: Clown Of The Masquerade (2) (Derby 789; January, 1952)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: Moon Dog Boogie (4) (Derby 793; April, 1952)
FREDDIE MITCHELL: String Of Pearls (4) (Derby 793; April, 1952)