(Sound Stage 7) 12 tracks - Original 1963 'Sound Stage 7' LP album from the Dixiebelles -
Produced by Bill Justis and recorded at Sam Phillips' 'Phillips Recording Studio' - Canadian Pressing
I first heard Down at Papa Joe's while driving home from downtown Nashville late one afternoon. It absolutely elated me. It sounded wholesome, friendly, yet it had a ferocious beat. But the ferocity was kindly tempered with a smattering of real, slick, well-played Dixieland. Moreover, the song is a celebration of the first tune I ever learned how to play on the piano: that one in which you roll your knuckles up three black keys and knock the C# twice, then roll your knuckles down the same three keys and knock the E-flat twice. (But, I sadly report, this curious and nostalgic interlude has been left out of Papa Joe's, per-haps for the better.)
Papa Joe's is a place anywhere (although this song is inspired by a place in New Orleans that serves fried chicken and turnip greens) where happy people congregate and eat their favorite food. Such as fried chicken and turnip greens. In today's atmosphere of harsh, homiletic vindictives hurled in the face of our "brutal", "immoral", "obscene" juvenile population, Papa Joe's seems a figment of the twilight zone: They get a little mad but they don't fight, down at Papa Joe's.
Jerry Smith wrote Down at Papa Joe's which I am sure will be to his everlasting credit. Bill Justis arranged and produced this very colorful LP with loving-care. Please note that the paper circles on either side of the record bear the name "Sound Stage 7". It's a new label fostered by Fred Foster as a subsidiary of Monument Re-cords, of which Foster is both Founder and President. A whole generation separates Dixieland from rock and roll. The Dixie Belles with their accomplices, music director Smith and producer arranger Justis, bring the two mu-sical types into a wonderful, eu-phonic, glorious expression of a new sound, a new world. Tupper Saussy
Article properties: The Dixiebelles: Down At Papa Joe's (LP)
The Memphis-based Dixie Belles enjoyed a brief moment in the spotlight in 1963 when they achieved a top ten pop hit with their first single "(Down At) Papa Joe's". With "Southtown U.S.A." they also had a top 20 follow-up hit. Mary Hunt, Mildred Pratcher and Shirley Thomas had previously worked as background singers in the South, but their career did not begin until 1963 when they met producer Bill Justis, the man behind the boards of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis in the 1950s. Justis even had his own degree of success with the instrumental hit "Raunchy". Fred Foster, president of Monument Records, signed Justis and his protégés with his label and chose the unusual"(Down At) Papa Joe's" for their first single, which began with the girls laughing uncontrollably to the sound of the Dixieland piano and going to an ode to an old salon where "they serve fried chicken and cabbage green". The song proved very popular, climbed to number nine on the pop charts and even provided for a sonic successor, "Southtown U.S.A.", which climbed into the top 20.
An album produced by Bill Justis called (Down At) Papa Joe's (engineered by Billy Sherrill) was quickly released. This was followed by the third single of the Dixie Belles, which followed the style of their two predecessors. The Dixie Belles were dropped by Monument and no more singles followed. The group probably went separate ways and it is not known if they ever joined to a tour.