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. 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 clear channel nighttime 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. Lewis founded Jewel Records in 1963 in Shreveport, LA. He started off his new Jewel label with #728, which was his store's address (728 Texas Street in Shreveport, Louisiana), with a single by Louisiana singer/songwriter Bobby Charles. In all, Stan Lewis issued 13 singles on Jewel in 1964, were fairly forgettable. The next year, after moving some artists to the pop/country oriented Paula subsidiary, Lewis issued 14 more singles on Jewel, mostly blues-oriented material. He signed Ted Taylor, Peppermint Harris, Cookie and His Cupcakes, and Jerry McCain, among others. His first national chart record, though, was by the Carter Brothers, with "Little Country Boy" [Jewel 745], which reached #21 on the R&B charts in the summer. At the start of 1966, Stan Lewis moved into a new field with gospel. Although Jewel's new gospel series only issued 6 singles in 1966, it would eventually include almost 300 singles. Jewel issued 21 singles in 1966 on the including blues by Frank Frost and "Wild Child" Butler. The year 1967 brought fifteen more singles and the start of an LP series. New artists included Ray Agee, Bobby Powell, Big Mac and blues Lightnin' Hopkins. Hopkins recorded the first album on Jewel, Blue Lightnin', and the next two as well. The Jewel Blues series only issued five singles in 1968, and nine in 1969. New artist signings for 1968- 69 included the Roman Carter (of the Carter Brothers), Little Joe Blue, and veteran Lowell Fulson. Over the next few years, Lewis would also sign blues veterans Charles Brown, Roosevelt Sykes, John Lee Hooker, Memphis Slim, and others. The series lasted until Jewel 852 in 1977. The Jewel label had three subsidiary labels; Paula, Ronn and Sue. In later years he aquired and reissued 1950's blues recordings of defunct labels like JOB, Cobra and Chief.
Lightnin' Hopkins who was given the first album on Jewel, Blue Lightnin', and in fact the next two albums. Hopkins and Stan Lewis got along well (an instrumental on the second Jewel album was called "Mr. Stan, the Hip Hit Record Man"), and Lewis remarked that he probably recorded more songs by Hopkins than any other artist. In all Hopkins cut over 40 sides for the label between 1965 and 1969. All these sides were issued by Westside as the 2-CD set Fishing Clothes: The Jewel Recordings 1965-1969.
Texas R&B singer Peppermint Harris is best known for two early-'50s hits, the classic "Rainin' in My Heart" and "I Get Loaded." Harris arguably did his best work with Jewel Records. While he didn't have any huge hits between 1965 and 1971, the length of his stay at Jewel, Harris nonetheless produced some excellent sides. All of these are collected on Westside's Lonesome as I Can Be: The Jewel Recordings.
Wild Child Butler was gigging professionally as a bandleader by the late '50s, but his recording career didn't blossom until he moved to Chicago in 1966 and signed with Jewel Records (his sidemen on these sessions included bassist Willie Dixon and guitarist Jimmy Dawkins). He cut eight singles for the label in 1966 and 1967.
Buster Benton was a member of Dixon's Blues All-Stars for a while, and Dixon is credited as songwriter of Benton's best-known song, "Spider in My Stew." Its release on the Jewel label gave Benton a taste of fame; its follow-up, "Money Is the Name of the Game," solidified his reputation. He cut A 1979 LP for Jewel's Ronn subsidiary titled Spider in My Stew.
Little Joe Blues recorded for various labels, including Kent and Chess's Checker Records division during the early to mid-'60s. In 1966 when he racked up a modest hit in 1966 with the song "Dirty Work Is Going On," which has since become a blues standard. He had extended stints with Jewel Records and Chess from the late '60s into the early '70s, and recorded until the end of the 1980s. He died in 1990.
Jerry McCain cut a series singles between 1965-1968 for Jewel Records, including a tailor-made tribute to the company, "728 Texas (Where the Action Is)" (Jewel's address). These sides have been collected on Absolutely The Best – The Complete Jewel Singles 1965 – 1972.
Frank Frost moved to St. Louis in 1951, learning how to blow harp first from Little Willie Foster and then from the legendary Sonny Boy Williamson, who took him on the road — as a guitar player — from 1956 to 1959. Drummer Sam Carr, a longtime Frost friend, enticed Frost to front his combo in 1954 before hooking up with Sonny Boy. Frost and Carr settled in Lula, MS. Guitarist Jack Johnson came aboard in 1962. The three cut Hey Boss Man!, issued on Sun's Phillips International subsidiary as by Frank Frost and the Nighthawks. Elvis Presley's ex-guitarist Scotty Moore produced Frost's next sessions in Nashville in 1966 for Jewel Records.
The Carter Brothers recorded for Jewel Records, among other labels. Roman Carter (lead vocals, bass), Albert Carter (guitar), and Jerry Carter (vocals, piano) came from Garland, AL, and began recording in 1964 for producer/songwriter Duke Coleman's local label. Stan Lewis' Jewel Records licensed a pair of their singles, of which "Southern Country Boy" got to number 21 on the R&B charts nationally. They never cut an album, but before splitting up in 1967 the trio recorded more than a dozen single sides. Lead singer Roman Carter some cut solo singles for Jewel as well. All of the Jewel sides can be found on Westside's Blues on Tour: The Jewel Recordings 1965-1969.
Lowell Fulson cut sides for Jewel in 1969 and issued the LP In a Heavy Bag in 1969. Hooker released the LP I Feel Good in 1971, which featured Lowell Fulson on taking lead on most tracks.
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.