Quinton Claunch

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Born in Mississippi, guitarist and label exec Quinton Claunch's love for the music business started when the 20 year old relocated to Muscle Shoals, AL in the 1940s. There Claunch played guitar in a local…
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Born in Mississippi, guitarist and label exec Quinton Claunch's love for the music business started when the 20 year old relocated to Muscle Shoals, AL in the 1940s. There Claunch played guitar in a local country band before marrying and moving to Memphis. In Memphis Claunch hooked up with old friend Sam Phillips who had opened Sun Studios. Quinton lent his guitar work to many of Sun's early recordings and got involved in another small Memphis label, Hi. The label remained successful regionally, but had a breakout hit in 1959 with "Smokie-Part 2" by the Bill Black combo. Unfortunatley for Claunch, he quit Hi and returned to his hardware job to support his growing family.

Throughout the early '60s Claunch stayed on the fringes of the music scene, occasionally discussing the possibilities of entering into business with FAME studios owner Rick Hall, but always opting for the security of the hardware business. Then, in 1964, with financing from Doc Russell, Claunch became a partner in the Goldwax label. Releasing a funkier brand of gospel music than most labels were willing to, Goldwax built a solid catalogue of hits by O.V. Wright and James Carr, among others. Like Jim Stewart at Stax, Claunch realized that, though he had a country background, his instincts were well suited in R&B. Goldwax was successful until 1969 when differences between Claunch and Russell, as well as James Carr's personal problems, caused the label to fold. Claunch remains on the fringes of the business, occasionally inking a production deal and always on the look for new talent.