DJ Hairy Larry Presents Joe Lee Playing Tuxedo Junction

DJ Hairy Larry Presents Joe Lee Playing Tuxedo Junction
From The Archives Of Something Blue March 24, 2024

Thanks Marty, today we’re going to hear a jazz quartet play a jazz standard at Blues Fest.

Joe Lee was the proprietor of Variety Recording Studio on Monroe Street in Jonesboro, Arkansas, the home of Alley Records. Joe released regional and national hits on the Alley label. Many recorded by other musicians and some written and recorded by Joe Lee, himself.

He had a two sided jukebox hit he recorded in 1963. The A side was a song Joe wrote, “Black Eyed Peas”. It’s a blues played with the Memphis Sound popularized by Booker T. & the M.G.’s. Back in the day, in Memphis, both Steve Cropper and Donald “Duck” Dunn had played on Joe’s band so he had a deep understanding of that style. In my informed opinion there is no doubt that Ronnie Coletta is playing guitar on “Black Eyed Peas”.

Joe included “Black Eyed Peas” on the first album I helped him with, The Best Of Alley Records – Vol. 1, “Sounds of the Sixties”.

The other A side was “Tuxedo Junction”, a song written by Erskine Hawkins, Bill Johnson, and Julian Dash that was a #7 hit in 1939. The lyrics were written by Buddy Feyne who asked Erskine Hawkins why he titled it “Tuxedo Junction.” Erskine explained that the Junction was a whistle stop on the “Chitlin’ Circuit”. That information inspired Feyne’s lyrics.*

Then in 1940 Glenn Miller recorded the song and it shot to #1. Of course it’s the cover versions that make a song a standard and “Tuxedo Junction” was recorded by The Andrews Sisters, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Harry James, Frankie Avalon and Joe Jackson. Stan Kenton included it on his 1961 Mellophonium Magic album. And it became the theme song for The Manhattan Transfer.

Joe’s single version of “Tuxedo Junction” was an uptempo instrumental with Joe on tenor and a muted trumpet answering back. On his album “Diversified” Joe arranged harmony vocalists singing the lyrics also featuring Ronnie Coletta on guitar. And then, at Blues Fest, Joe played the song with Kenny Caldwell on guitar. I’ll include links at

Who knows? There may be other versions of “Tuxedo Junction” lurking in the Something Blue Archives. If you played with Joe Lee on these recordings or others, let me know. I’m all about filling in the blanks.

So now, recorded in Jonesboro, Arkansas, at Blues Fest on September 5, 1998, here’s Joe Lee with Kenny Caldwell playing “Tuxedo Junction”.

Joe Lee Combo Live At Blues Fest September 5, 1998
Something Blue Archives

Something Blue Archives – List Of Concerts

“Tuxedo Junction” on “Diversified”

“Tuxedo Junction” Alley 1010 Single


And that’s the Joe Lee Combo featuring Kenny Caldwell playing “Tuxedo Junction” at Blues Fest. Don’t miss Something Blue, Saturday night at 10:00 to hear more great jazz from Karl Berger and Dave Holland, Kenny Garrett, and Chris Potter.

* Wikipedia –

DJ Hairy Larry with Kenny Garrett Playing Ain’t Nothing But The Blues
Something Blue – Fragments – 29 second spot

This is Hairy Larry inviting you to enjoy Something Blue every Saturday night at ten. This week we’re featuring Karl Berger and Dave Holland, Kenny Garrett, and Chris Potter. For more about the show visit the Something Blue website at

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