Goldwax Record Label
Goldwax Records was a USA record label founded in Memphis,Tennessee, United States, in 1964 by Quinton Claunch and Rudolph V."Doc" Russell. Quinton Claunch was a hardware store owner who had previously worked as a country music guitarist, session musician at Sun Records, songwriter and record producer, and had co-founded Hi Records in 1957. Goldwax had offices at 2445 Chelsea Avenue, Memphis. The label issued 60 singles and 2 LP's from 1964 until 1969. The other two subsibery labels were BINGO and Bandstand USA. They had competition, Stax Records had been in Memphis since 1959. Goldwax was to become an independent R&B Soul record label eventually distributed by Bell. Not having their own recording studio they used Sam Phillip's Sun studio and Willie Mitchell's Hi studio and at times Fame in Alabama. With a talented collection of writers including OB McClinton, Roosevelt Jamison, George Jackson, Dan Geer and Quinton Claunch they had some successes regionally in the south due to radio play. They recorded some fine deep soul ballads. James Carr developed the Goldwax raw southern soul sound with his rich vocal and horn based backing. Recording artists included O V Wright, The Ovations, James Carr, Spencer Wiggins, Wee Willie Walker, Gene (Bowlegs) Miller, Barbara Perry, Percy Milem, Dorothy Williams, The Lyrics, George & Greer, Jeb Stuart, Ben Atkins, Timmy Thomas, The Five C's and Eddie Jefferson.
O V Wright had only one record issued on Goldwax in 1964, it was to became a soul classic. That's How Stong My Love Is a gospel influenced ballad written by Roosevelt Jamison. Overton Vertis Wright was born in Lenow, Shelby County Tennessee in 1939. He later fronted a gospel music group, the Harmony Echoes. After the record was released Don Robey of Duke/Peacock records claimed O V Wright was in contract to him as a member of the group Sunset Travelers. Goldwax rather than contest the claim, he was let go. Stax issued a version of the song by Otis Redding in 1965 on Volt which made No.18 on the Billboard R&B chart and no.74 on the US pop chart. O V Wright went on to record great Southern Soul for Backbeat and Willie Mitchells Hi record label. His biggest hits were You're Gonna Make Me Cry (R&B No 6, 1965), Eight Men, Four Women (R&B No 4, 1967) Ace of Spades (R&B No 11, 1970), A Nickel and a Nail (R&B No 19, 1971). He died on November 16, 1980 he was 41 years old.
James Carr was born in Coahoma, Mississippi in 1942. The family moved to Memphis when he was a young child. He gained his singing experience with the gospel group the Sunset Travellers and the Harmony Echoes. James Carr joined Goldwax in 1964 and had fourteen singles issued. In 1966, You've Got My Mind Messed Up reached No.7 on the Billboard R&B chart. Other chart entries with his later singles on Goldwax, including Pouring Water on a Drowning Man and A Man Needs A Woman in 1968 reached No.16 on the R&B chart. His most critically acclaimed performance came in 1967 with his original recording of The Dark End Of The Street, written by Dan Penn and Chips Moman. Produced by Quinton Claunch and Rudolph Russell. The song reached No.10 on the R&B chart and number 77 on the pop chart. Other notable releases were Freedom Train, I'm A Fool For You, That's What I Want To Know and A Losing Game. Only two LP's were issued by Goldwax both were by James Carr, You Got My Mind Messed Up in 1967. This LP on Goldwax a white promo sold for $425 in 2013. The other was A Man Needs A Women issued in 1968. He was "arguably the greatest deep soul singer of them all" said Mark Prinkle in Mojo magazine. When Goldwax closed in 1969 he signed to Atlantic and they released a 45 in 1971 Hold On / I'll Put It To You. He died in Memphis in 2001, he was 58 years old.
Spencer Wiggins was born in Memphis in 1942. His family formed a gospel group called the New River Gospel Singers. Later he formed a group with David Porter called the Four Stars. He sang in various clubs around Memphis, The Glee Club, Sounderama and The Flamingo Club. His first recording for Goldwax was Lover's Crime in 1964 issued on the Bandstand label. He had eight 45's issued by Goldwax. His recordings for Goldwax included Uptight Good Woman, written by Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, and I Never Loved A Woman (The Way I Love You), recorded at the Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals with guitar by Duane Allman. At the time his records were released none became hits. It was the Northern soul scene that played his records in the clubs. Lonely Man recorded in 1967 is one such example as is Lets Talk It Over a Fame master recording. However, Spencer Wiggins went on to record at Fame Records, where he recorded two more singles, including Double Lovin, which reached No.44 on the Billboard R&B chart in 1970. He went on to record for the Pama and Vivid Sound labels. A great Soul singer who outside Northern soul circles remains unknown.
The Ovations were Louis William, Elvin Lee Jones and Nathaniel Pedro Lewis. They had nine 45's issued on Goldwax. Louis William the lead singer modelled his singing style on Sam Cooke. He had previously sung with the Del-Rios, who recorded for Stax Records in 1962 when they were fronted by William Bell. Recorded in 1965 It's Wonderful To Be In Love, written by the group members, went to No.22 on the Billboard R&B chart and No.61 on the pop chart. Their second hit in 1967 was Me And My Imagination. From 1966, They Say was picked up by the all nighter clubs due to its fast beat. Another Northern soul favorite was Qualifications.
Many artists only had one 45 released on the label, which are worthy of a mention. These included Dorothy Williams and the bluesy The Well's Gone Dry issued first on Bandstand USA and later on Goldwax in 1965. George & Greer (George Jackson and Dan Greer) with You Don't Know But You Had Me. Ben Atkins & The Nomads with Love Is A Beautiful Thing issued in 1968.
Ace Records (uk) have done a fantastic job of issuing a number of CD's that tell the story of Goldwax records and highlight the various artists that made this great 60's soul music.