I’ve rarely, if ever, searched for 78s at record shops. Up until a few weeks ago, 78s had been the illusive blind spot in my collection’s rearview mirror. Finding the occasional (Lawrence Welk) 78 at the corner thrift shop, I got a hunch and stopped by the local b&m to see if this rickety ol’ obsolete format was still being bartered enough to possess a specific nook on the floor. After scouring the relatively small shop, I asked the cashier (read: fellow record nut) if they had a section for 78s. They did, and they were neatly tucked away in the back of the $1 bin area, a section they call “the attic.” 10 minutes later, I unearthed this 1957 copy of Chicago Blues great, Muddy Waters. Along with a few Glenn Millers, a few Les Browns, a few Woody Hermans, and a Frank Sinatra, I walked out of my local brick & mortar with 12 78s, equalling 12, happily spent dollars I’d kept tucked inside my wallet. Moral of the story… formats may be lost, but they’re never forgotten.
From what I can gather, the hard-working women and men behind this magnificent name, and alluring logo, performed admirably for their better-known Windy City chiefs at the Chess Record Corporation, Checkmate’s steadfast older brother. Records worthy of a king’s ransom only spin until the booty runs dry… or until the company is sold in 1969 for $6.5 million. A momentary blip In the radar of bygone yesteryears, Checkmate Records’ well may have run dry, but its game-winning logo is worthy of momentary appreciation.