Lake Charles studio where Dolly Parton recorded first single torn down
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It's a sad sight for music lovers, knowing a label that put Lake Charles on the map in the music industry is now reduced to rubble.
"You can't get the smell back, you can't get the feeling back, walking on the floor, seeing the way things were," said Bam Arceneaux, who managed to rummage through the artifacts at Goldband Records before the facility on Church Street was torn down.
The recording studio was founded in 1952 by musician Eddie Shuler. He started the Goldband label for his own band but soon took on others. His label became one of the largest producers of authentic Cajun music.
"It wasn't just Cajun French music," Arceneaux said. "Iry Lejeune was a big Goldband artist and then it continued through gospel, blues, rockabilly; when rock-and-roll was first coming out Eddie was right in the cusp of that. Goldband was our Sun Studios, just like Memphis and Elvis and all of that, it's the same thing."
Mobile users, click HERE to see photos of the Goldband Studio on Church Street.
Located on Church Street, Goldband was a huge part of the musical culture in Southwest Louisiana for many years, producing music for some big names.
Goldband was the first record company to record Dolly Parton. She recorded her first single, "Puppy Love," at the studio on Church Street in 1959.
Phil Phillips also drew everyone's attention to Lake Charles with "Sea of Love".
"I mean, he sold three million records and it was number two on the charts in 1959, but everyone felt the impact of that, not just Eddie Shuler." Arceneaux said.
Shuler had a radio show at KPLC before KPLC became a television station. It was at KPLC that he met Cajun musician Iry Lejeune, according to a 1977 profile in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A copy of the article was found at Goldband Records.
A few residents scrambled to the site to salvage what they could before crews were done.
Some residents like Michael Van Dyke got there just in the nick of time and were able to save some relics - a soundboard, records, contract papers and other documents.
Arceneaux and Chad Moreno, who took several photos of the place in the days before it came down, both came to save more of that music history, a history they both say has been somewhat forgotten.
"A big part of it just got erased," said Arceneaux. "There were so many things that happened in that building."
Click HERE to go through archives on Goldband.
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