Henry Stone on The Juke Box Era: “Every Shine House Had a Juke Box In It”

Migratory laborers outside of a "juke joint" during a slack season, Belle Glade, Florida. Photographed by Marion Post Wolcott for the U.S. Farm Security Administration in 1944.

Migratory laborers outside of a “juke joint” during a slack season, Belle Glade, Florida. Photographed by Marion Post Wolcott for the U.S. Farm Security Administration in 1944.

“Back when I first got to Miami, it was all juke boxes . There were guys, “juke box operators” we called em, they had maybe 20 or 30 juke boxes.

They used to have these joints with bootleg beer and wine, shine houses, like moonshine, yeah, every shine house had a juke box in it. And the funny thing is I used to go around with their operators with the records cause I’d bring all these r&b records, man. I was distributing Amos Millburn, Wynonie Harris, I’m callin names off like Joe Liggins, Jimmy Liggins see?

Id bring all these records and they’d freak out at these shine houses cause they’d make a lot of money on these records. Cause once you get a big hit record in the juke joint at that time, man, they’d play the shit out of it.

There were no record stores to buy these records.

Shine house is sorta like a whorehouse, but they had em all over the place especially down south Goulds and plenty in Miami too, I used to go around Miami with the juke box guys, and oh man, bring these records and watch everybody freak out.

Real funky man, plenty funky, wood floors, no sawdust, but wood floors. I was there to do business, to collect the quarters with these guys.”

  • From a 2013 interview with Henry Stone where I asked about juke box routes for early 1950s r&b throughout greater Miami

 

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