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Outside Of Memphis - Juca Records

Outside Of Memphis - Juca Records magazine cover

James & Truitt with Black Smoke - What's wrong with it - Juca Records.

The label was based from a record store at 1119 Broadway, West Memphis, Arkansas. This was the home of several labels over the years including Delta and 8th Avenue. The store was run by one of the Craft brothers, the other ran the mastering service Craft Sound. Situated on the western side of the Mississippi river across from Memphis proper, this little sleepy town was also home to legendary radio station KWEM, which for a while was home to one Howlin Wolf who worked there as a DJ.

But back in the 50's and early 60's this was a happening place, with many all night clubs playing blues and dance R&B. One reason for this was that Memphis it's self had night time curfews that restricted the running of clubs, where as the sheriff of the town on the opposite side of the river was more tolerant of the venues and the people it attracted from around Arkansas and the city of Memphis.

A young Danny Craft who plays on this record and was the son of the store owner remembers as a young boy sitting in his dad;s shop and watching Howlin Wolf walking by on his trips to the radio station to do his shows. With so much music around it was no surprise that he would follow the family path to music. For many years he work in the house band in the small studio producing soul and R&B records.

The Juca record label was a short lived affair and to my knowledge had just three releases, Al Danner, John Bladwin and the aforementioned 45. Today you could drive through the town and if you blinked you would miss it, but for a short moment in time this was an active little centre for R&B music.

In the 1980's this little 45 saw popularity at the Stafford allnighters, a great drivin number with a funky edge, that has always been a tough one to find.




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