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Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story
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The scenes where Stax was temporarily ruined by gangsters is an eerie foretelling of the Suge Knight/Death Row saga involving rap music in recent times. At least Stax and Motown never had shootouts with each other in spite of their rivalry (the Motown musician's snobbish comments about Stax and Otis Redding in particular will shock and anger many fans today).
Miraculously, the documentary ends on a high note in spite of the thuggery, mismanagement, and failure to read the fine print that doomed the label for a number of years. The scene of Booker T. and the MG's perfoming "Time is Tight" (trust me, you'll know this if you hear it) as the label's fortunes crumble is a masterpiece of editing.
On the whole, this documentary is as entertaining and inspiring as it is informative. However, their rivals in Detroit (Berry Gordy and co.) need to get with it and put some of their stuff on DVD as Stax is doing such an excellent job with this, the Otis Redding documentary, and the 1967 Live Stax-Volt Tour DVD.
Support these so that more classic soul can at long last be available on non-bootleg DVD in America.
However, this is not meant to be a comprehensive review. This film's highlight is that it contains the rarest clip of Albert King EVER shown (this is besides his brief appearance in Wattstax and the bonus clip of him doing "I'll Play The Blues For You"). It is in colour and he is playing his break from "Blues Power". While the audio narration goes over part of this, if you are a Blues lover this is the rarest film of him ever shown. He is also playing his Korina wood Gibson Flying-V original "Lucy" (now worth in excess of $100,000). Wouldn't it be unbelieveable to see the entire concert--King at his height in the late 1960s! It is in colour and the sound is great too! To access it on the DVD-go to scene selection and view it from "CBS".
I apologise if my enthusiasm for this may be too much. But this is so rare, and even if it's only just over a minute, all Blues lovers should see this. It is at least 12 years earlier than anything ever released so far.
Plus the documentary is five stars too!!!!
`Respect Yourself' has many flaws both as a film, and as a telling of the Stax story. First of all, the history of Stax can hardly be done justice in two hours. This is made all the worse by the directors apparent lack of understanding about using context to further a story. Martin Scorsese used context masterfully in his Bob Dylan bio, No Direction Home. He richly illustrated how Dylan's work fit into the society and time period it was a part of, and because of it he created a powerful film that can be enjoyed even by those who aren't Dylan fans. In `Respect Yourself' not a word is said about the history of Memphis music leading up to the creation of Stax, and the contemporaneous events in the music scene and civil rights struggles are given only very fleeting mentions (with the exception of the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.). The ineptitude with context causes the director to constantly go back to interview snippets of people saying `this was the only place in the south where black people and white people could work together' which becomes repetitive to the point of being patronizing. (Ok, I get it, let's talk about the music, or at least WHY that was significant and HOW it was influential).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Amongst the blues and rock history shows I have watched, this one wasn't as enjoyable. Maybe it was just the subject matter of the slow self-destruction of the Stax management.Published 25 days ago by reader rabbit
This was a great documentary about the leading soul music record label of the 60's and 70's! The music was awesome and the history was so interesting. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dawn M.
Old School Music History of all the Stax Music Label Performers. The Founders of Stax Music had a dream that came alive. I grew up on this music.Published 7 months ago by Cinch
I am enjoying collecting documentaries of the music industry behind the scenes. This is a good onePublished 8 months ago by j
This is an excellent dvd about the history of STAX records. If you are a music lover this is a keeper.Published 11 months ago by Harold Mims