The music man of Jersey City

I really enjoy doing profiles and this guy was one of the coolest people I have gotten a chance to do a profile on thus far. When I first called him to set up an interview he was a total d**k because I called him after 6 p.m. He asked me on the phone how long I’d been a reporter and I said “a few months” and he said “I thought they would get somebody more important to cover my story”. The next day when I went to meet him I brought coffee and donuts with me.

We got along great after that.

This story ran on December 4, 2014.

Nestled between a fish market and a Dunkin Donuts on Bergen Avenue is a true historical gem of Jersey City. The place is called Stan’s Square Records and it is owned by a man named Stan Krause.

The walls of his store are covered with vinyl records from artists like Lionel Richie, Joe Tex, and The Beatles as well as Nas, Lorde, and Emenim. His customers all greet him by name and shake his hand. After 36 years in the same location, Krause is a neighborhood fixture.

He was also one of the biggest catalysts of the acapella movement of the sixties and seventies, and will be honored for his success December 12th inside the Council Chambers at City Hall.

“I never looked at it as success,” said Krause, 76, of his career in the music industry. “Every record I ever put out was a love, every band I worked with was a love.”

Born in North Arlington, Krause first developed a passion for music when he was 12, listening to the “big band” sound of the fifties. When he turned seventeen, he went to work with his father in a pressing plant in Jersey City, where they manufactured vinyl.

Through a friend, his father scored him a job at Manhattan recording studio –Variety Records — where he would come in on weekends and sweep the floor while watching bands record.

Krause was starstruck.

“I couldn’t believe I was there and these people were recording records right in front of me,” he said.

Through his work at the pressing plant and the recording studio, Krause developed a technical understanding for music. He decided to forgo college (where he planned on studying environmental science) to pursue music as a career.

He got his first break in 1962 when he was introduced to the female R&B band “The Juliets,” and produced their first studio album, “Uncle Willie,” at Variety records.

From then on, Krause was a music producer, producing a dozen albums and 45 records ranging from rhythm and blues to apcapella and rap over the next 40 years.

He named his record label Catamount Records.

“I was always in love with cats,” Krause said. “A cat is self-assured and independent, I guess I think of myself that way.”

It was that self-assurance that led him to a group of Jersey City acapella singers named The Persuasions. Krause arranged a live show for The Persuasions at the State Theater in Journal Square in 1968, for which he would record a live album.

“It was a rainy Tuesday night around final exams time and we still drew a crowd of over 2,000 people,” Krause remembers.

Through a friend, the record found its way into the hands of Frank Zappa, who brought the Persuasions under the wing of Reprise Records, which was founded by Frank Sinatra in 1960.

From then on, The Persuasions and Krause’s fame grew exponentially. Stan toured all over Europe with the band, even meeting Eva, the woman he would marry, at a show in England.

He would go on to work with many famous acapella groups, including 14 Carat Soul, with whom he appeared on Saturday Night Live with in 1983.

“We made acapella music the sound of Jersey City,” said Krause. “From Boston to Baltimore, everybody was listening to it.”

Today Krause is retired, but still opens Stan’s Square Records from Thursday through Sunday. The store originally opened in 1965 in Journal Square, but found its permanent home on Bergen Avenue in 1978.

Of his musical career, Krause has no regrets.

“Ask me if I have a penny, I don’t, but I have a lot of love.”

Catamount Records still operates as well, as Krause is currently working with an acapella group called “The True Devines”.

Of the recent resurgence of vinyl, Krause is also pleased;

“I’ve been preaching vinyl’s comeback for the last five years,” said Krause. “If you print music that way, people will understand it. Were finally going forward in the music industry for the first time in a long time.”

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