University of Delaware
Office of Public Relations
The Messenger
Vol. 5, No. 4/1996
The Blue Hen label

     The Blue Hen label? That's right. Fans of West Coast music
looking for the initial compact disc offering by Jim Campilongo
and the 10-Gallon Cats will find it on the small but growing Blue
Hen label.
     The San Francisco-based Blue Hen Records is the brainchild
of Mark Crafts, Delaware '85. The company was formed in August
1995, after a series of serendipitous events.
     "I had been working in the computer publication industry for
the last eight or nine years when I had a revelation that it was
time to leave one company and move on to the next," Crafts says.
     "As I was going through the transition, I thought, 'I'm 30
years old. What is there that I want to do that I haven't done?'
It came up, playing guitar."
     Several of Crafts' friends were talking lessons with
Campilongo, whom he found to be "a heck of an instructor in
addition to a playing artist."
     Crafts became aware that Campilongo was interested in
gaining a recording contract with a major label, but needed a
place to start.
     Blue Hen Records was born as Crafts decided to take a "total
risk," going from guitar student to business manager with nothing
in his background that prepared him for such a move.
     Since then, it has been "kind of a magical ride," he says.
     The CD, which Campilongo dedicated to Crafts' late brother,
John, who died of a heart attack last summer, was completed in
January and quickly gained a West Coast distributor, with stores
from Chicago to Hawaii. Campilongo earned rave reviews in the
April issue of Guitar Player, as well as in Audio magazine,
Vintage Guitar and San Francisco's Bay Guardian. The CD began
getting air play in the Bay area and throughout the Northwest.
     In early May, Crafts learned that the CD would be made
available on the East Coast in Tower and Virgin record stores.
     "What started out as a fun project with Jim and the guys is
becoming a national act," Crafts says. "It's been amazing. I
never would have projected anything like this."
     He calls the recent events "a hobby gone wild, a
moonlighting job that turned into a freight train."
     Once Crafts decided to start a record label, he said naming
it came easy. "I told Jim that with a name like the 10-Gallon
Cats, you've got to know about Delaware and the Fightin' Blue
     "I've always been proud of my time in Delaware, and I miss
it," Crafts says. "Plus, I knew that if I called it Blue Hen
Records, I could get East Coast distribution, and it happened."
     Crafts says that occasionally he will meet someone who can
pinpoint the origin of the name, "but those people are few and
far between."
     Delaware connections have been important in providing Crafts
assistance in company start-up. The "accounting brains" behind
Blue Hen Records is Don Ratledge, Delaware '85, a UD classmate
and friend who is a senior partner with Sanderson, Thompson,
Ratledge & Zimny certified public accountants in New Castle, Del.
     Another UD alumnus, Crafts' college roommate, Mike Santori,
Delaware '85, who owns the Quality Concepts printing business in
Pensauken, N.J., has assisted with Blue Hen Records promotional
     "Little Blue Hen Records is really a cross-country
operation," Crafts says.
     Becoming an entrepreneur "has been a real catalyst for me,"
says Crafts, who majored in business with a focus on marketing
and finance. "I realized how much fun it is to run your own
     As a result, he found a partner and is preparing to launch
Think Twice, a computer graphics service bureau for large
     Crafts anticipates that Think Twice will be his primary
source of income. "Of course," he adds, "Blue Hen Records might
continue to exceed my expectations in fine fashion."
     The Campilongo CD is available through World's Records, 
1-800-742-6663, or on-line through CD Now
                                -Neil Thomas, Delaware '76