Monday, December 28, 2015

Walking the Dog at Stax Records

I'm in Memphis today, just noodling around with the wife. One required stop:  Stax Records,

Stax is the mother ship of quite a lot -- soul music, integration, and the Memphis Sound.

Started by brother and sister Jim STewart and Estelle AXton, Stax was the first studio to record Rufus Thomas, Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, and Booker T. and the M.G's.

Booker T. and the M.G's. became the fully-integrated house band at Stax and the backbone sound of 60s soul,

Other groups and artists that came out of Stax included Sam & Dave, Albert King, and Wilson Pickett.

The fact that Stax operated as a fully integrated recording studio in a fully segregated city in the 60s South was no small thing, and had a lot to do with the fact that Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton were white, but many of their best-selling acts were black. With green on the table, both sides got close enough to see beyond the color bar, a situation made easier by the good vibrations and steady beat of Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Al Jackson, and and other members of the Stax house band.

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