Tompkins Square Records

Last updated
Tompkins Square Records
Founded2005 (2005)
FounderJosh Rosenthal
Distributor(s) Fontana Distribution [1]
Genre Jazz, American primitive, gospel, blues, country
Country of originU.S.
LocationSan Francisco, California
Official website

Tompkins Square Records is an independent record label producing archival releases of gospel, blues, jazz, and country music. [2]



In 2005, Josh Rosenthal launched Tompkins Square Records in New York City after working 15 years in a variety of positions at Sony Music. Tompkins Square moved to San Francisco in 2011. [3] Rosenthal runs the label on his own with help from an art director and publishing company. [4]


Tompkins Square's first album was Imaginational Anthem, an anthology of music by fingerstyle guitarists including Jack Rose, Sandy Bull, John Fahey, Max Ochs, and Kaki King The series has grown to seven volumes. [5] [6]

Tompkins Square issued a previously-unreleased concert recording by Tim Buckley, Live at the Folklore Center, NYC — March 6, 1967. [3] [7]

Tompkins Square has released several comprehensive gospel music compilations, including 2009's Fire In My Bones: Raw & Rare & Other-Worldly African American Gospel (1944–2007) and This May Be My Last Time Singing: Raw African-American Gospel On 45RPM (1957–1982). [8]

Rosenthal brought Charlie Louvin in to record a series of albums, introducing Louvin to a new generation of listeners. [4]

Tompkins Square released Remembering Mountains: Unheard Songs of Karen Dalton , an album of songs written by Dalton and performed by artists such as Lucinda Williams, Sharon Van Etten, Tara Jane O'Neil, and Diane Cluck. [9]

Tompkins Square released several 78 rpm Discs for Record Store Day. Artists involved included Luther Dickinson, Tyler Ramsey, and Ralph Stanley. [10]

In 2015, Rosenthal wrote and published the book The Record Store of the Mind, a memoir about being a record collector and owning a record company. [2] [11] [12]


See also

Related Research Articles

Prefab Sprout

Prefab Sprout are an English pop band from Witton Gilbert, County Durham who rose to fame during the 1980s. Formed in 1978 by brothers Paddy and Martin McAloon and joined by vocalist Wendy Smith in 1982, they released their debut album Swoon to critical acclaim in 1984. Their subsequent albums, including 1985's Steve McQueen and 1990's Jordan: The Comeback, have been described by Paul Lester of The Guardian as "some of the most beautiful and intelligent records of their era". Frontman Paddy McAloon is regarded as one of the great songwriters of his time and the band have been credited with producing some of the "most beloved" pop music of the '80s and '90s.

The Louvin Brothers American country music duo

The Louvin Brothers were an American musical duo composed of brothers Ira and Charlie Louvin. The brothers are cousins to John D. Loudermilk, a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member.

Tift Merritt

Catherine Tift Merritt is an American singer-songwriter and musician. She has released seven studio albums, two for Lost Highway Records, two for Fantasy Records, and three for Yep Roc Records.

Charlie Louvin American country music singer and songwriter

Charles Elzer Loudermilk, known professionally as Charlie Louvin, was an American country music singer and songwriter. He is best known as one of the Louvin Brothers, and was a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1955.

<i>Jordan: The Comeback</i> 1990 studio album by Prefab Sprout

Jordan: The Comeback is the fifth studio album by English pop band Prefab Sprout. It was released by Kitchenware Records on 7 September 1990. It peaked at No. 7 on the UK Albums Chart. "Looking for Atlantis" and "We Let the Stars Go" were released as singles, peaking at No. 51 and No. 50, respectively, on the UK Singles Chart. Additionally, Jordan: The EP peaked at No. 35 on the UK Singles Chart.

<i>Protest Songs</i> (album) 1989 studio album by Prefab Sprout

Protest Songs is the fourth studio album by English pop band Prefab Sprout. Recorded quickly and self-produced, the album features a minimal production style at odds with most of the band's work. Originally planned to be released in December 1985 as a quickfire follow-up to the band's critically acclaimed second album Steve McQueen, it was put on hold for commercial reasons and the band moved on to record 1988's From Langley Park to Memphis. The album was finally released by Kitchenware Records and CBS on 19 June 1989. Despite the band undertaking no promotional activities, the album peaked at number 18 on the UK Albums Chart.

<i>Steve McQueen</i> (album) 1985 studio album by Prefab Sprout

Steve McQueen is the second studio album by English pop band Prefab Sprout, released in June 1985 by Kitchenware Records. The album was released by CBS in the United States as Two Wheels Good in anticipation of legal conflict with the estate of American actor Steve McQueen. The album cover references Steve McQueen's lifelong passion for Triumph motorcycles and the 1963 film The Great Escape.

Karen Dalton

Karen J. Dalton was an American folk blues singer, guitarist, and banjo player. She was associated with the early 1960s Greenwich Village folk music scene, particularly with Fred Neil, the Holy Modal Rounders, and Bob Dylan. Although she did not enjoy much commercial success during her lifetime, her music has gained significant recognition since her death. Artists like Nick Cave, Devendra Banhart, and Joanna Newsom have noted her as an influence.

Patrick Joseph McAloon is an English singer-songwriter and a founder of the band Prefab Sprout.

<i>From Langley Park to Memphis</i> 1988 studio album by Prefab Sprout

From Langley Park to Memphis is the third studio album by English pop band Prefab Sprout. It was released by Kitchenware Records on 14 March 1988. It peaked at number 5 on the UK Albums Chart, the highest position for any studio album released by the band. Recorded in Newcastle, London and Los Angeles, it has a more polished and commercial sound than their earlier releases, and features several guest stars including Stevie Wonder and Pete Townshend. The album's simpler songs, big productions and straight-forward cover photo reflect frontman Paddy McAloon's wish for it to be a more universal work than their more cerebral earlier albums.

<i>Swoon</i> (Prefab Sprout album) 1984 studio album by Prefab Sprout

Swoon is the debut studio album by the English pop band Prefab Sprout, released in March 1984 by Kitchenware Records. Written over a period of seven years, the record was produced with David Brewis on a low budget. The group mostly chose to avoid recording the material they had played live over the years, preferring to make a more intricate record of mostly recent material.

The Gunman and Other Stories is the seventh studio album by the English pop band Prefab Sprout. Released in June 2001, the album was the band's only release for the EMI Liberty label.

<i>Lets Change the World with Music</i> 2009 studio album by Prefab Sprout

Let's Change the World with Music is the ninth studio album by the English pop group Prefab Sprout. It was released on 7 September 2009 by Kitchenware Records. It was the band's first album of new material since 2001's The Gunman and Other Stories and marked a return to Sony Music, Kitchenware's parent label. The album reached No. 39 in the UK Albums Chart at the end of the week of its release. Although no singles were technically released, "Let There Be Music" was sent to radio stations, and "Sweet Gospel Music" was due to be a one-track digital release to highlight the album, but received no airplay and therefore was pulled.

<i>Satan Is Real</i> 1959 studio album by The Louvin Brothers

Satan Is Real is a gospel album by American country music duo The Louvin Brothers, released in 1959.

<i>Country Love Ballads</i> 1958 studio album by The Louvin Brothers

Country Love Ballads is an album by American country music duo The Louvin Brothers, released in 1958.

<i>The Music Is You: A Tribute to John Denver</i> 2013 studio album by various artists

The Music Is You: A Tribute To John Denver is an album consisting of songs originally performed by country and folk singer-songwriter John Denver. It was released on April 2, 2013 by ATO Records. Denver died in October 1997 when the single engine plane he was piloting crashed off the coast of California. The album has been praised by some as a way to help Denver's catalogue reach a new, younger audience.

Nashboro Records was an American gospel label principally active in the 1950s and 1960s.

Lions in My Own Garden (Exit Someone) 2021 single by Prefab Sprout

"Lions in My Own Garden " is the first single by English pop band Prefab Sprout, released on the band's own Candle Records in 1982. The single was reissued in 1983 after the band were signed by Kitchenware Records. The song received its first CD release in 1999 on the 38 Carat Collection compilation.

The Devil Has All the Best Tunes 2021 single by Prefab Sprout

"The Devil Has All the Best Tunes" is the second single by English pop band Prefab Sprout. The single was their first release to feature Wendy Smith and their first release after signing with Kitchenware Records. As of 2020, neither side of the single has been released on CD.

<i>The Giuseppi Logan Quintet</i> 2010 studio album by Giuseppi Logan

The Giuseppi Logan Quintet is an album by American jazz saxophonist Giuseppi Logan, recorded in September 2009 and released in 2010 on the Tompkins Square label. The album, which includes five Logan originals and three standards, marks Logan's first recorded appearance following a hiatus of over 40 years, and features two of his collaborators from the 1960s, pianist Dave Burrell and drummer Warren Smith, along with bassist Francois Grillot and trumpeter / bass clarinetist Matt Lavelle.


  1. Martens, Peter (14 January 2006). Fontana, Tomkins Square Use Their "Imaginational". Nielsen Business Media. pp. 18–. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  2. 1 2 Spice, Anton (October 27, 2015). "Only start a label if...A candid guide by Tompkins Square, the ultimate label of love". The Vinyl Factory. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
  3. 1 2 Gilbert, Andrew (November 2, 2015). "Vinyl connoisseur on label's decade of revolutionary reissues". San Francisco Gate. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
  4. 1 2 Gokhman, Roman (January 13, 2016). "SF label Tompkins Square Records marks decade of crate-digging for lost masterpieces". The Bay Bridged. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
  5. Matos, Michaelangelo (February 14, 2012). "Reissue king Josh Rosenthal is mining for musical gold (with a gold record on his wall)". Politico New York. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
  6. Meyer, Bill (April 18, 2016). "Josh Rosenthal of Tompkins Square reads from his new crate-digging memoir". Chicago Reader. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
  7. Roberts, Randall (August 20, 2009). "Tompkins Square to Issue Previously Unreleased 1967 Tim Buckley Live Set". Los Angeles Weekly. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
  8. "Follow Up To Tompkins Square Gospel Comp Fire In My Bones Incoming". The Wire. August 24, 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
  9. Steven P. Marsh (April 15, 2015). "Sharon Van Etten, Diane Cluck, Lucinda Williams and more record 'lost' Karen Dalton songs". Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone?. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
  10. Battan, Carrie (March 30, 2012). "Tompkins Square to Release Series of 78s". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
  11. "Dig Through Label Founder Josh Rosenthal's 'Record Store Of The Mind'". NPR Music. April 6, 2016. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
  12. Blum, Jordan (February 1, 2016). "'The Record Store of the Mind' Is a Memoir Worth Spinning". PopMatters. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
  13. Walters, Barry (November 1, 2010). "Prefab Sprout, 'Let's Change the World With Music' (Tompkins Square)". Spin. Retrieved August 13, 2017.