Stan Lewis

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Stan Lewis is the owner of the seminal blues/R&B/gospel/rock label Jewel-Paula-Ronn-Records. In 1948, Lewis opened a record store, Stan's Record Shop, on Texas Street in Shreveport, LA. A frequent customer…
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Stan Lewis is the owner of the seminal blues/R&B/gospel/rock label Jewel-Paula-Ronn-Records. In 1948, Lewis opened a record store, Stan's Record Shop, on Texas Street in Shreveport, LA. A frequent customer was a young performer on "The Louisiana Hayride" radio program, Elvis Presley. Lewis became a one-stop operator (other record stores would buy from him) and distributor of independent record labels: Atlantic, Chess, Modern, Specialty, and Imperial. Lewis began a mail-order operation, advertising on John R's (and others) nightly blues/R&B show on Nashville's WLAC-AM, whose powerful signal was heard in most parts of the country.

The record entrepreneur began to write and produce R&B and rock & roll acts. Fellow Louisianan Dale Hawkins' 1957 number 27 pop hit on Chess, "Susie Q," was written about Lewis' daughter Susan. In 1963, Lewis founded the Jewel label and soon after the Paula and Ronn imprints. The roster included Big Joe Turner, Inez Andrews, John Lee Hooker, Reverend Oris Mays, Clifton Chenier, Charles Brown, Lowrell Fulson, Ernest Franklin ("My Lord and I," "There's a Leak in This Old Building"), Ike & Tina Turner, the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, Reverend C.L. Franklin, Memphis Slim, the Violinaires, Lightinin' Hopkins, Reverend Clay Evans, Bobby Rush, Reverend W. Leo Daniels, Roosevelt Sykes, and Toussaint McCall. Also in the Jewel catalog are recordings by Aretha Franklin, Fats Domino, Redd Foxx, and B.B. King. In the late '60s, Lewis bought the masters of Chicago blues label Cobra Records, owned by Eli Toscano, whose roster included Harold Burrage and "West Side" blues guitar stars Buddy Guy, Otis Rush ("I Can't Quit You Baby" -- written by Willie Dixon, number six R&B, fall 1956) and Magic Slim.

Paula act John Fred & His Playboy Band held the number one pop position for two weeks in January 1968 with the million-selling Beatles/"Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" parody "Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)." The follow-up, "Hey Hey Bunny" went to number 57 pop in February 1968. Chicago group Magnum Force had a dance hit on Paula with "Cool Out," number 72 R&B in early 1985.

Lewis was still active in the music business in the '90s, working with Southern soul singers Carl Sims and Vickie Baker. A Jewel Records boxed set was issued by Capricorn Records in 1993. Tiring of the rigors of trying to run a competitive independent record label in a major-label dominated industry, Lewis decided to offer Jewel for sale while still retaining control of his music publishing companies and the Susie Q and Gospel Jubilee labels (Doug Kershaw, Ace Cannon). Several major labels and music companies expressed interest.

During the summer of 1999, EMusic.com purchased the master recording rights of the Jewel family of labels from Lewis. One of the few remaining pioneers of classic '40s, '50s, and '60s blues, R&B, and rock & roll, Stan Lewis plans to act as a consultant with a Redwood, CA-based Internet music merchant.