Thursday, September 8, 2011

Stax Records

I've always been a big fan of everything Stax Records related. The Memphis label operated for a good 15 years before shutting its doors in 1975. It also shut the door on a significant time in soul music. A period that brought us Otis Redding, Johnnie Taylor, Eddie Floyd, The Staple Singers..just to name a few.

They were the soul underdogs in many ways(Not to mention the Northern Soul that was brewing in England). Berry Gordy cornered the market with a more polished, aesthetically pleasing, radio friendly soul sound. The people agreed. But the people didn't always see what else was happening. That artists were and could be grittier. That the neat and highly successful Motown label had talent lurking and working in the background that just weren't be noticed passed Gordy's dollar sign dreams. What fit into his idea of the perfect radio hit. I guess it was basically a pre-cursor to what radio hits are measured against nowadays(MAIN DIFFERENCE: Motown artists(though polished) were extremely talented and had some of the best instrumentally talented backup musicians that music will know).

But Stax was here and Memphis had an army of voices that could not be denied. It was encouraging and exciting to see someone battle the biggest soul label.

Otis Redding would have turned 70 years old tomorrow. What would Otis be like now? I wonder. Still performing? Would there have been a time when people didn't love Otis Redding? It's weird to say I'm glad he never faded out because his potential was obviously endless. But a part of me is content that we are left with such a powerful legacy to admire. Even if it was short lived.

In the spirit of Stax Records and Otis Redding

And my new(ish)favorite Stax Tune. Pops did it right.

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