Gold Star was founded in October 1941 by Bill Quinn under the name Quinn Recording. In 1950 Quinn changed the name of the studio to Gold Star Studios. They are the oldest continuously operating studios in the southeastern United States. Huey P Meaux took control in the early 1970s and gave the studio its current name, SugarHill Recording Studios.
The studio was important in launching the careers of such artists as Lightnin' Hopkins, The Big Bopper, George Jones, the Sir Douglas Quintet, Roy Head, and Freddy Fender. It is renowned for its collection of vintage recording equipment, reverb chamber rooms, EMT plates and a long history of music. A landmark in the Houston music community, SugarHill celebrated its 69th year of operation in October 2011.
Quinn's Gold Star Records featured Country music, then still commonly known as hillbilly music, Blues and Cajun music. In his first few years of business, Bill Quinn also recorded radio commercials and birthday greetings. That changed when Gold Star released its first hit record, a song called "Jole Blon" by Harry Choates, a swing and dance tune that and became the first and only Cajun record to reach the Billboard Top Five. It is still popular today.
The Gold Star label had a string of hits throughout the late-1940s, 50s and 60s including:
- Lightnin' Hopkins: "T-Model Blues" and "Tim Moore's Farm" were both top 10 hits (1948)
- George Jones' first hit "Why Baby Why" (1955)
- Six more George Jones hit singles: "What Am I Worth", "You Gotta Be My Baby", "Just One More", "Yearning", "Too Much Water" and "Don't Stop the Music" (1956)
- The Big Bopper's hit "Chantilly Lace" (1958)
- Johnny Preston's "Running Bear", written by The Big Bopper (1959)
- James O'Gwynn's "Talk to Me Lonesome Heart" and Eddie Noack's "Have Blues Will Travel/The Price of Love" (1959)
- Willie Nelson's first two official hits: "Family Bible" (a song he wrote for Claude Gray) and "Night Life" (1959 & 1960) (Night Life was recorded by Ray Price in 1960).
This is a collection of blues recordings made between 1947 and 1951 and originally as released as 78rpms on the Gold Star Label.
1. Gamling Blues - Lil' Son Jackson
2. Homeless Blues - Lil' Son Jackson
3. Cairo Blues - Lil' Son Jackson
4. Evil Blues - Lil' Son Jackson
5. Back To Santa Fe - Lee Hunter
6. Trying, Trying - L. C. Williams
7. You Never Miss The Water - L.C. Williams
8. Cruel Hearted Woman - Thunder Smith
9. Big Stars Are Falling - Thunder Smith
10. Hole In The Wall - L. C. Williams
11. Boogie All The Time - L. C. Williams
12. Rock Island Blues - Leroy Ervin
13. Blue, Black, And Evil - Lil' Son Jackson
14. Roberta Blues - Lil' Son Jackson
15. Freedom Train Blues - Lil' Son Jackson
16. Ground Hog Blues - Lil' Son Jackson
17. Bad Whiskey, Bad Woman - Lil' Son Jackson
18. Santa Fe Blues - Thunder Smith
19. Black Woman - L.C. Williams
20. Strike Blues - L.C. Williams
21. You Can't Take It With You Baby - L.C. Williams
22. Jet Black Woman - Buddy Chiles
23. No Money, No Love - Lil' Son Jackson
24. Gone With The Wind - Lil' Son Jackson
25. I Won't Be Here Long - L.C. Williams
26. Angel Child - Andy Thomas
27. All The Way From Texas - Perry Cain