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Biography

Joyce Harris was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in 1939, and moved to New Orleans with her family in the early '50s. She began performing with her sister Judy, and in 1958, the sisters were signed by New York producer Danny Kessler, who had come to New Orleans on a talent hunt. They had two singles, "He's the One" and "Washboard Sam," but the pair split up when Judy got married. By 1960, Joyce Harris was in Mexico, singing in restaurants.

Lora Richardson, one of the owners of Domino Records, was vacationing in Mexico and heard Harris. (An aside on Domino–one of the odder indie labels of the '50s. Based in Austin, Texas, Domino was founded by 11 respectable Texan professionals who had attended a seminar in 1957 on "How to Market a Song." So Domino, essentially a night-class project to which all the members contributed $5 a week, began signing local singers and bands, and wound up with some popular singles–The Slades' "You Cheated" being the most prominent.)

By 1960, Domino was winding down. Most of the original owners had sold out, leaving three women in charge–Richardson, Kathy Parker and Anne Miller. In a last bid to save the label, they re-launched Domino with a string of new singles, and some new talents, including Harris, who was backed in the studio by a black Austin-based bar band called "The Daylighters."

"No Way Out," Harris' second single for Domino, was released at the tail end of 1960 and by April 1961 it had sold enough to be leased to an LA-based label, Infinity (which was allegedly backed by Howard Hughes), and Harris made an appearance on American Bandstand. But that was as far as it went–Domino Records closed later in '61, while Harris, after a move to LA that proved unrewarding, eventually came back to Louisiana, where she lives in retirement and sings bluegrass on occasion.

As for the Daylighters, they were Clarence Smith, leader and rhythm guitarist (he later changed his name to Sonny Rhodes and, wearing a turban on stage, became a modest success playing the blues in Europe); Willie Cephas (lead guitar), George Underwood (b), Mack Moore (p) and Ira Littlefield, Jr. (d).

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