The Goldwax Record label was formed in 1964 by Quinton M. Claunch and Rudolph V. "Doc"
Russell in Memphis, Tennessee. Goldwax recorded soul music.
Quinton Claunch was born in 1922 in Tishomingo, Mississippi, and in the 1940s played in a country band on radio station WLAY in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. When he got married in 1948, he moved to Memphis and got a job as a traveling salesman, selling hardware supplies. While a salesman, he still dabbled in the music business, and he was a friend of Sam Phillips (of Sun fame). Claunch played guitar and co-wrote some songs with Bill Cantrell that were recorded on the Sun label. In 1957 he, Cantrell, and others formed the Hi Record label, but Claunch sold his interest in the label in 1959. When Doc Russell, a Memphis pharmacist, expressed an interest in forming a record label, Russell and Claunch established Goldwax. Their first record was "Darlin'" by the Lyrics, which was a good-sized regional hit.
Claunch and Russell had their biggest success with two members from a gospel group called the Redemption Harmonizers. The two, along with a songwriter, showed up on Claunch's doorstep one midnight and told Claunch they had some tapes they'd like him to hear. The first singer was O.V. Wright, who had been a member of the Sunset Travelers that recorded on the Peacock Label. They recorded Wright on a tune the songwriter of the trio -- Roosevelt Jamison -- had written called "That's How Strong My Love Is." The record was a soul music classic -- later recorded by both Otis Redding and the Rolling Stones. As the record was climbing the charts, they were notified by Don Robey of Peacock Records that O.V. Wright was under contract to Peacock as a member of the Sunset Travelers. Even though Claunch and Russell felt that Wright's contract with Peacock did not cover solo recordings, they eventually agreed to give up future rights to him in exchange for continued distribution of the single.
The other singer of the three that visited Claunch that night was James Carr. Carr began singing gospel at age eight in his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana, and he later spent time in several gospel groups including the Harmony Echoes (along with Wright). Carr had some great soul hits for Goldwax, including "You've Got My Mind Messed Up," "Pouring Water on a Drowning Man," and the Dan Penn/Chips Moman tune "At the Dark End of the Street." Unfortunately, Carr was unprepared for success and slipped into mental illness. It became more and more difficult for him to complete a recording session, and that, coupled with the dissolution of Goldwax in 1969, effectively ended his career in the charts, although he has performed occasionally even into the 1990s. There have been many reissues of the James Carr Goldwax records. Many regard these as some of the best soul music ever recorded.
Another group recorded by Goldwax was the Ovations, with lead singer Louis Williams. Claunch and Russell recorded them on the Sam-Cooke-soundalike song "It's Wonderful to Be In Love," which made the lower reaches of the Top 30 soul charts in 1965. The Ovations went on to more success on MGM records in 1972 and 1973.
Goldwax albums were distributed by Bell Records of New York. The only known albums released by Goldwax in the United States are by James Carr [Goldwax 3001 and 3002]. There was a Goldwax Ovations' album issued in Japan; the number was 3003. Whether this album was ever released in the United States during the 1960s is unknown. The label was dissolved in 1969 due to personal differences between Claunch and Russell.
In the 1970s, almost nothing happened with the Goldwax catalog, but by the mid-1980s, Memphis businessman Elliott Clark acquired the tapes, re- established the label, and persuaded Claunch to join as President. In 1991, a GW-5000 CD series appeared on the Goldwax label. Unlike some of the reincarnations of '60s labels, Claunch knew about preserving tapes, and the problems of deteriorating tapes. The sound quality on the CDs indicates the sources were tapes, not vinyl, and are quite good, considering. The company was located in Memphis in the early 1990s, but soon opened a Nashville office, and Claunch left the company. Later they also opened an Atlanta office, and today they have an Atlanta address. Goldwax's email is GoldWaxRec@aol.com.
The Goldwax label was yellow with black printing. "GOLDWAX" was above the center hole, the "O" in Goldwax was a 45 RPM record drawing. Promotional records were white with black printing, graphics were the same, "PROMOTION COPY" to the right of the center hole. The CDs listed below had the same yellow and black label colors as the albums. None of the albums made the pop LP charts.
This story and discography was constructed by using our personal record and CD collections, Schwann Catalog, Sweet Soul Music by Peter Guralinck, and Robert Gordon's article James Carr: Way Out on a Voyage."
We would appreciate any additions or corrections to this discography. Just send them to us via e-mail. Both Sides Now Publications is an information web page. We are not a catalog, nor can we provide the records listed below. We have no association with Goldwax Records, which is currently still in operation. Should you be interested in acquiring albums listed in this discography (which are all out of print), we suggest you see our Frequently Asked Questions page and follow the instructions found there. Goldwax CDs are available in record stores or by going to Goldwax' web site at www.goldwaxrecordcorp.com. This story and discography are copyright 1999, 2003 by Mike Callahan.