A short-lived company out of Chicago which emerged from the bankrupt Miracle Records in the spring of 1950 with the same owners and operators and many of the same artists.

Like the earlier label there was some verifiable success thanks to blues artist Memphis Slim, a holdover from their earlier enterprise, and newly signed saxophonist Lynn Hope who actually crossed into the pop charts with his version of “Tenderly”, but their rock output was confined to former Miracle stalwart Eddie Chamblee who also cut sides which marked the debut of singer/guitarist Danny Overbea who got a solo release as well.

As had happened with Miracle however, the owners Lee Egalnick and Lew Simpkins were cheapskates and crooks who left a string of outstanding debts in their wake, not paying musicians or pressing plants and despite a few hits and generally decent output over a variety of styles – blues, jazz, gospel and rock – the label folded in the summer of 1951 a little over a year after it began.

Egalnick never ventured into the recording business again, though he tried becoming a distributor and song-plugger, presumably hoping none of his clients heard about his shady practices owning a label.

Simpkins on the other hand wasn’t deterred from getting right back into things with a new label and started up United Records which somehow convinced many of the same artists to follow him there despite having not being paid for their work before. Surprisingly that label too scored hits with Tab Smith, who had cut sides for Premium, while Eddie Chamblee also recorded on his own there as well as adding his saxophone behind The Four Blazes on some hits.

The catalog of Premium Records eventually wound up being controlled by Chess Records who re-issued some of the recordings which accounts for them being included in that label’s history as well.

PREMIUM RECORDS DISCOGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date on Spontaneous Lunacy):

EDDIE CHAMBLEE: Every Shut Eye Ain’t Sleep (6) (Premium 856; August, 1950)
EDDIE CHAMBLEE: Sweet Lucy (5) (Premium 856; August, 1950)