Tagged: Dick Pennington, Greenwich Village, Mississippi Fred McDowell, New York, Tom Pomposello, Village Gaslight, blues, brief history, jazz, origins, Live in New York, Honest Tom Pomposello,.
In late 1971 my new friend Tom Pomposello and I decided to start a record company to record his music, and so I could become a record producer. He was 21, married with a small child, and owned a local hippie record store in Huntington, New York. I was 19, single, a college student in New York City.
Tom loved the blues. I loved jazz, especially the avant garde variety. We both wanted to do more to promote artists we believed in.
And it was the early 70s, the height of don’t trust anyone over 30 and the man can’t bust our music, and indie record culture was starting to flourish again.
It seemed like a smart move not to start with the unknown Tom’s record —especially since we hadn’t figured out exactly what it would be yet— but we had a viable commercial tape we’d recorded of college concert star Mississippi Fred McDowell (with Tom on bass guitar) at the Village Gaslight in Greenwich Village. With the sales of this sure fire hit, we’d be on our way to the big time of indie labels. Our agreement was to make blues records for Tom and jazz records for me. We had a passion for underexposed American music and we were certain we’d be the two to bring unknown artists to prominence.
The only question that lingered was where we would get the outrageous sum of $1800 to press the first 2000 copies? Tom came to rescue by bringing in our third partner Richard (Dick) Pennington, a friend of his from, uh, somewhere (I never actually found out). Dick stepped right up with enthusiasm and verve and stayed until our fourth album when he and Tom fell explosively out over something neither of them ever revealed.
Tom chose the name “Oblivion” off of the back of a Leo Kottke LP and we released Obivion OD-1 —Mississippi Fred McDowell: Live in New York— in 1972; altogether we put out six records in four years (it still feels like 100 records in 1000 years) before we flamed out with musical dignity intact. Tom’s album was our last, so we had fulfilled our mission.
You can listen to the complete Oblivion Records library (and bonus tracks) by clicking the on the album covers in the right hand column of this blog»»»