Wonder Where The Design of the Punch Label Came From?

Dave Barker Prisoner of Love Punch 45Ever wonder where some of the ideas for your favorite record label designs come from? I know I do as a designer and fan of all sorts of label art. Some just come together or are put together with almost no thought at all. Still others are related to recent events, the recording studio where it all takes place (Studio One) or popular cultural events happening at the time. Some are named after the producers the labels were set up for (Upsetter or Prince Buster) or a favorite drink (White Rum/ Red Stripe). Even superheroes (Spider-Man!) or something simple like a cat like Blue Cat have graced labels.

Well Punch was a Pama sub-label with it’s first release in 1969 and the last dropping in 1975. The label was a hodegpodge of styles and tunes with releases from The Dynamics, Roy Shirley, The Maytones, John Holt, Laurel Aitken, Lloyd Terrel, The Slickers, Dobby Dobson, Martin Riley, Jackie Mittoo, Busty Brown and well pretty much about every major and many minor artists had releases at one point or another. There were of course releases from Dave Barker, Bob Marley & The Wailers and The Upsetters befitting the fact that a good portion of the output from the label were Lee Perry productions but with many other top producers having at least one single issued.

Chartbusters  USA CoverSo just where did the idea behind the label come from? A thread at the Pama Forum brought out the truth it seems about just where that inspiration may have come from and it seems spot on. The poster mentioned that an L.P came out sometime in the 60’s on Columbia and was a compilation of some of the ‘Okeh’ Soul tunes by the likes of ‘Major Lance’, ‘Billy Butler’, ‘The seven Souls’ etc. with a distinctive design. The LP CHARTBUSTERS U.S.A. (UK COLUMBIA SX 6016) seems to indeed be a direct influence to the overall design of the Punch label. Check out the cover to the left and let me know what you think in the comments below.


I've been involved in the Los Angeles music scene since at least 1995 going to shows, promoting, spinning records and running labels. Ska and Early Reggae are my passion among other things of course.