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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Samuel Jackson Narrates

This is not really film related, but is a must-see if you are a lover of 70's soul music like I am. And "Wattstax" is one of my favorite films ever. I'm a day late with this, but they'll be showing it in reruns:

Airing on PBS: GREAT PERFORMANCES and narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, "Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story" details the story behind the legendary label that launched a who's-who of soul music greats: Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, the Staple Singers, Isaac Hayes, Eddie Floyd, Carla and Rufus Thomas, Albert King and Booker T. and the MGs, to name a just a few. "Respect Yourself" traces the history of Stax Records in celebration of the 50th Anniversary -- and rebirth -- of this legendary soul music label.

"Stax Records defied convention from the start. Though it began in the deep South in the '50s, it was fully integrated from the front office to the recording studio. It gave rise to a totally unique sound, what we all have come to know as the Memphis sound that was heard and became loved around the world. Eventually, it also became the defacto sound track for the civil rights movement," said David Horn, series producer for GREAT PERFORMANCES. "Not only did Stax make great music, it made great history."

In 1957, a square, white bank teller who played country fiddle music and knew nothing about African-American music launched a record label in a barn on the outskirts of Memphis, Tennessee. Over the next two decades, the racially integrated Stax studio -- which had moved to a theater in South Memphis by 1960 -- would produce a string of hits that defined the "Memphis Sound": "Soul Man," "Dock of the Bay," "Green Onions," "Midnight Hour," "Respect Yourself" and the theme from Shaft. The label's artists included Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Booker T. and the MGs, Wilson Pickett, Isaac Hayes, even Richard Pryor and Jesse Jackson. Stax's story is entwined with the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the rise of black nationalism in the 1970s.

Isaac Hayes returned to the recently relaunched Stax label, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. "We were so busy working and having fun that we didn't realize the impact that we were creating at the time" says Stax superstar Hayes. In time, Stax Records would become one of the largest and most successful black-owned companies in the nation and a virtual soundtrack to the Civil Rights movement before succumbing in 1975 to financial and legal battles.


justjudith said...

i chuckled when i stopped to watch part of this show and heard ol' samuel l. narrating. the brotha works -- no doubt about that. it was a good show, what i saw of it. and it is nice that stax gets some love bc we only hear about motown.

Invisible Woman said...

Right? It was one of the reasons I posted this.