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Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion Hardcover – November 12, 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 132 ratings

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  • Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In the late 1950s, Jim Stewart, and his sister, Estelle Axton, moved their little fledgling recording studio into the defunct Capitol Theater in Memphis, Tenn., opening their doors and establishing the record label that gave birth to gritty, funky soul music. A masterful storyteller, music historian Gordon (It Came from Memphis) artfully chronicles the rise and fall of one of America's greatest music studios, situating the story of Stax within the cultural history of the 1960s in the South. Stewart, a fiddle player who knew he'd never make it in the music business himself, one day overheard a friend talking about producing music; he soon gave it a try, and eventually he was supervising the acclaimed producer Chips Moman in the studio as well as creating a business plan for the label; Estelle Axton set up a record shop in the lobby of the theater, selling the latest discs but also spinning music just recorded in the studio and gauging its market appeal. Gordon deftly narrates the stories of the many musicians who called Stax home, from Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, and Otis Redding to Isaac Hayes, Sam and Dave, and the Staples Singers, as well as the creative marketing and promotional strategies—the Stax-Volt Revue and Wattstax. By the early 1970s, bad business decisions and mangled personal relationships shuttered the doors of Stax. Today, the Stax sound permeates our lives and, in Gordon's words, became the soundtrack for liberation, the song of triumph, the sound of the path toward freedom. (Nov.)

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Say “Stax Records” and certain names may come to mind: Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Booker T. and the M.G.’s, Isaac Hayes. Others may think of the guitarist Steve Cropper and bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn or the producer Chips Moman. Stax was the epitome of southern soul. These people and many others are all part of the Stax story as described in music writer and filmmaker Gordon’s wonderful cultural history of not only a record company but also the city of Memphis itself. But it is also the story of America writ large: of racism and segregation, of civil rights and riots in the street, of President Lyndon Johnson and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Stax was founded in 1957 as Satellite Records by white siblings Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton; their combined names gave the company its now historic name, Stax, in 1961. They believed in racial harmony and felt, or at least hoped, that their record company could in some way mend the deep chasm between the races. Gordon tells the Stax story—from its humble beginnings to its heyday, to its bankruptcy, and to its present-day incarnation as the Stax Museum of American Soul Music—with expertise, feeling, and a sure hand. --June Sawyers

Product details

  • Item Weight : 1.75 pounds
  • Hardcover : 480 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 9781596915770
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1596915770
  • Product Dimensions : 6.58 x 1.51 x 9.47 inches
  • Publisher : Bloomsbury USA; 1st Edition (November 12, 2013)
  • ASIN : 1596915773
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 132 ratings
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