What, Where, and Why was “Record Row”?

Were Specific Labels Known for Certain Types of Music?

An instrument that was brought over to slavery was the banjo which later evolved from the African instrument the kora and both instruments are made of wood and strings. There were many instruments used by Africans. More examples are the bones, djembe, horns, and kora. Drums were greatly appreciated within African society because they conducted activities such as dance while also serving as a way for slaves to honor and declare their shared cultural identities. 

Certain labels were known for fabricating certain types of music. Such as Chess records, they were known for producing  blues and R&B compared to Vee Jay and they were known for producing soul, gospel and jazz. Chance records was known for blues, doo-wop, and gospel.Even though each record label Brough out R&B and blues, certain labels computed different types of music and looked for certain artists in these genres.. One-derful records was known for doo-wop along with many other hits.

Name the Companies on Record Rows and Name the Artist on the Label.

Compare Record Row to other record company creations in American cities.

Chess Records, Chance, King, One-derful, Constellation, and Vee JayVee Jay and Chess Records were the most famous record labels under Record Row during the 1950s- 60’s.

There were many talented artists under the company, including…

The Magnificents – Vee Jay

Jimmy Reed – Vee Jay

Curtis Mayfield – Vee Jay

Eddie Harris – Vee Jay

Muddy Waters – Chess Records

Chuck Berry – Chess Records

Little Walter – Chess Records

Sonny Boy Williamson – Chess Records


In the 1950’s and 60’s, Record Row was huge in Chicago` It was constructed as a way to offer black artists with opportunities  to produce music and become known. Due to segregation, black music was shunned and overlooked and therefore Record Row became a way for black people to publicize themselves. Beneath Record Row, were well known labels including Vee Jay and Chess Records. Chess Records was made by Lenerd and Field Chest. They were two brothers that were very relevant in the black community during this time.  Muddy Waters really jumpstarted the label because of his talented voice and guitar playing.  Under Vee Jay Records, Jimmy Reed became  well known for blues. In comparison to Motown Records, located in Detroit.  Record Row is quite similar to Motown Records because of the fact that Record Companies wanted to give black communities an opportunity to the music industry.