NEWS

OTIS REDDING – LIVE AT THE WHISKY A GO GO: THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS SET FOR OCTOBER 21st RELEASE

COMPREHENSIVE SIX-CD COLLECTION CELEBRATES THE SOUL SINGER’S BARRIER-BREAKING 1966 PERFORMANCES ON THE SUNSET STRIP

 ROLLING STONE PREMIERES NEVER-BEFORE-RELEASED “HEARTFELT AND PASSIONATE” VERSION OF “MR. PITIFUL”

Stax Records, an imprint of Concord Bicycle Music, is pleased to announce the release of Otis Redding – Live At The Whisky A Go Go: The Complete Recordings. In chronological order, this six-CD collection presents the entirety of Redding’s historic performances over three nights at the famed Sunset Strip venue. The seven sets, recorded Friday, April 8th – Sunday, April 10th,,1966, feature the singer’s popular songs of the time, including “Respect,” “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” and his cover of The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Several of these recordings–all remixed and remastered from the original 4-track analog tapes–will be made available for the very first time on October 21. In fact, this collection will be the first to offer fans the chance to relive all of the sets in their entirety–including between-song banter by Redding–exactly as they were performed. Rounding out the package is a poster, plus new liner notes from Los Angeles-based journalist Lynell George and box set co-producer Bill Bentley.

Today (8/5), Rollingstone.com debuted an unreleased live version from the Whisky shows of Otis’ 1965 hit “Mr. Pitiful, calling it “electrifying,” “heartfelt” and “passionate.Click here to check out the premiere.  The excerpt includes lively stage banter, where Otis implores the Los Angeles crowd to “Holler as loud as you want, stomp as hard as you want to…Just take your shoes off…Get soulful…”

By the spring of 1966, 24-year-old Otis Redding was a bona-fide star on the R&B and soul radio waves. The singer was enjoying the critical and commercial success of his third studio album, Otis Blue, and was watching his singles cross over to the (typically very white) pop charts. Redding had yet to be fully embraced by a white audience, and this weekend-long gig in Hollywood–booked at a venue known more for hosting hippies, and launching bands like The Doors, The Byrds and Buffalo Springfield–was a shrewd move to introduce Redding to a new market. In fact, Redding would be the first major soul act to perform on the Whisky’s stage. In her liner notes, Lynell George adds context: “The Strip, like much of 1960s Los Angeles, had invisible but tough to permeate dividing lines…Redding began to see this three-night run as just the right spark to help him jump over all those many lines–from star to superstar, from R&B/soul to pop, from all-black rooms to arenas…” In the end, these Whisky sets (with Otis’ nine-piece band) did prove to be an important step in Redding’s career, and introduced him to the emerging counter-culture of the 60s. Of the Whisky shows, The Doors’ guitarist Robby Krieger said, “I remember standing right in front of the stage for the whole show. I never heard of Otis Redding before and I was amazed at the energy that he created on the stage.”  A year later, Otis would be the star act at the Monterey Pop Festival, sharing a lineup that included Jimi Hendrix and The Who. Tragically, just as his career was reaching its peak, Redding’s life would be cut short in a plane crash, in December 1967.

Redding has been inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, Georgia Music Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame.  He has been honored with a U.S. Postage stamp and won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement AwardRolling Stone named him the eighth greatest singer of all-time and U.K.’s Q magazine ranked him at number four.

In his liner notes, Bill Bentley recalls, “Redding’s music had a power and urgency that grabbed you by the throat…There wasn’t any other singer like him then, and those of us who had discovered his music knew we were listening to the very essence of what soul music really was.” Bentley wasn’t alone. The Los Angeles Times’ music critic, Pete Johnson, covered one of Redding’s sets that weekend, calling the performance, “The most exciting thing the rock-worn room had ever harbored.” Redding’s legacy is well known – his brief but iconic discography speaks for itself; but these particular recordings will allow fans to step back in time, and experience a pivotal moment in the rise of a star.

The package can be ordered here: http://smarturl.it/Otis_CompleteWhisky.

IN LOVING MEMORY: WAYNE JACKSON 11/24/41 – 6/21/16

Written By Tim Sampson, Stax Memphis and reposted with permission.  Tim’s original piece can be found here.

Wayne Jackson, Stax and Memphis Horns Legend, passes at age 74.

Wayne Jackson loved to fly small airplanes. He loved to cook his special chili for the many bands with whom he recorded. He loved to collect memorabilia. He loved the Stax Music Academy and often performed with the students. He loved his late Memphis Horns partner Andrew Love, often joking that he and Andrew were a couple and that their wives were their “mistresses.” He loved his family, especially his wife of 25 years, Amy, and their fluffy white dog, Gracie.

More than anything, however, Wayne loved life – in particular, his life. It was never lost on Wayne that his life was magical, having played on 52 Number One Records and 83 Gold and Platinum records. He was in awe of the gifts of talent and opportunity that had shaped his career and life, always seeming surprised that so many wonderful things could happen to one person.

Wayne Jackson, arguably the world’s most important trumpet player, passed away last night, June 21, 2016 from congestive heart failure with Amy by his side.

The first time Wayne Jackson encountered a trumpet, which his mother bought for him when he was 11 years, he knew something magical was about to happen. As he writes in In My Wildest Dreams: Take 1, the first in his trilogy of memoirs, “I took one puff of the light oil and pungent brass smells and got goose bumps. I looked at the velvet that lined the case and was excited in a way I couldn’t describe. I picked the trumpet up and put the mouthpiece in. I made a satisfying noise, in fact, a beautiful sound! I blushed and Mom and Dad laughed. ‘I think he likes it,’ Dad said. He was right. And somehow I knew it wasn’t exactly a toy.”

Wayne Jackson and Huey Lewis at a Stax Music Academy fundraiser on October 18, 2010.

That insight proved to be very true for Jackson. So true, in fact, that it would take him on a decades-long journey that would eventually earn him the highest honor the music industry bestows the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award.

Jackson was born November 24, 1941 in West Memphis, a town he says, “had started life as a fruit stand on a long, dirt road.” From the time he was very young boy, he says, he wanted to be on the radio. When he got his first guitar even before elementary school, he listened to the radio and tried to emulate the sounds he heard as well as tinkering around with his own songs.

After taking up that trumpet, Jackson spent his years in school entering and winning talent competitions. While a senior, barely 18 with a short stint in the National, fate intervened and life would never be the same for the kid who had once dreamed of working for the Arkansas Highway Department.

Jackson’s first big break came in 1961, when he was jamming at a friend’s house and met some fellow teenage musicians who had a band in Memphis, The Royal Spades, who had an in at a new recording studio there called Satellite Records. Wayne joined the band, which soon changed its name to The Mar-Keys. He recorded the instrumental “Last Night” with them and it sold more than a million copies. It was then that label owners Jim Stewart and his sister Estelle Axton discovered there was already a Satellite Records in California and took the ST from Stewart and the AX from Axton and formed the portmanteau STAX Records.

Left to right: Eddie Floyd, Sam Moore, Steve Cropper, Otis Redding, Wayne Jackson, Arthur Conley upon arriving in England for the Stax/Volt 1967 European Tour.

With the success of the record, The Mar-Keys set out on a yearlong national tour, which included performances such as one at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida in front of 52,000 fans, where Jerry Lee Lewis, also on the bill, got into a fight with the crowd who began hurling the 52,000 hot dogs they’d been given at him. It also included a performance on the much-loved American Band Stand television show.

A few years after the tour, Jackson paired up with Stax Records’ saxophonist Andrew Love and together, along with a few other horn players, they would play on virtually every song Stax released that featured horns, which was the majority of its catalog, providing the famous horn lines for and helping skyrocket the careers of the likes of Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Sam & Dave, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Eddie Floyd, and countless others, helping make Stax Records one of the biggest and most influential record labels in the world.

Seated: Original Mar-Keys members Wayne Jackson, Ronnie “Angel” Stoots, Jerry Lee “Smoochy” Smith, and Terry Johnson visiting with students of the Stax Music Academy in 2007. Photo by Andrea Zucker.

In 1969, the two left Stax and incorporated as The Memphis Horns and for the next four decades they were the most sought-after horn players in the world, adding their magical brass sounds to a who’s who in the music industry, including Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Ike & Tina Turner, Neil Diamond, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Al Green, the Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, U2, Rod Stewart, Joan Baez, and dozens of others. To date, Jackson has performed on52 Number One records, 112 Top Ten records, 83 Gold & Platinum records, and 15 Grammy winners. In 2008 The Memphis Horns were inducted in the Musicians Hall of Fame and that year Jackson was inducted into the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame. In 2012, the two received the highest honor the music industry awards, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards. Love passed away later that year, and Jackson continued to record and give specially guided tours of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis at the original site of Stax Records.

You’d be hard-pressed to go through a day without hearing Wayne Jackson’s trumpet. Just a few of the songs he played on are Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds,” Neal Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” and most of Green’s other hits; Otis Redding’s “Try A Little Tenderness” and virtually all of Redding’s other hits; Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour” and “Mustang Sally,” Aretha Franklin’s “Think” and many of her other hits, Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” . . . . the list goes on and on.

For Wayne Jackson’s complete and audacious discography, visit his website HERE.

SOUL MAN WILLIAM BELL REUNITES WITH STAX RECORDS AFTER FOUR DECADES FOR ‘THIS IS WHERE I LIVE,’ OUT TODAY

SOUL MAN WILLIAM BELL REUNITES WITH STAX RECORDS AFTER FOUR DECADES FOR ‘THIS IS WHERE I LIVE,’ OUT TODAY
“A Memphis Legend Is Back” – The New York Times

this-is-where-i-live-album

Soul legend William Bell returns with ‘This Is Where I Live’ today, his first album for Stax Records in nearly four decades. William first signed to Stax in 1961 and helped put the label on the map, penning some of its most iconic hits. And now he has returned. The New York Times profiled William yesterday, declaring “A Memphis Legend Is Back” on the front page of their print edition. William has also appeared recently on NPR’s Weekend Edition and Studio 360, and has been featured in Pitchfork, Vice, Garden & Gun and more.

Here is an interview with William on Weekend Edition last Saturday: http://www.npr.org/2016/05/28/479824649/william-bell-heads-back-to-his-roots-in-this-is-where-i-live

Produced by GRAMMY-winner John Leventhal (Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell), ‘This Is Where I Live’ is an introspective soul album that finds Bell reflecting on a lifetime of experience. He worked with Leventhal to revisit the classic Stax sound, reimagining it with a maturity and vibrancy that ring with a timeless truth. Of their time writing songs and recording in the studio, William has said that only his Stax songwriting partner Booker T. Jones compares to Leventhal.

‘This Is Where I Live’ has been getting early raves:

“This feels like the album he should have made in 1967, but wasn’t ready for: with every smoothly delivered lesson about satisfaction and pain, you sense how hard each one was to learn, and how finding the right words—the right tone of voice to make what you have to say mean anything—is much harder.” – Pitchfork (Greil Marcus)

“Age becomes Bell’s voice…it’s a pleasure to once again hear his reliable romanticism.” – NPR Music

“It’s resonant, wise, and considered music, the kind of direct songwriting that helped Bell make his name, sung in his rich, sturdy voice.” – Vice Noisey

“William Bell, at age 76, is back with what may be the best album of his life.” – The Bitter Southerner

“Still in excellent form…the most personal work Bell has ever created.” – Chicago Tribune

William will be playing select tour dates, backed by John Leventhal and a hand-picked band, next week in Chicago, Nashville and New York:
6/4/16 – SPACE – Evanston, IL
6/5/16 – 3rd & Lindsley – Nashville, TN
6/7/16 – The Cutting Room – New York, NY
6/9/16 – BAM R&B Festival – Brooklyn, NY

Buy This Is Where I Live:

iTunes: http://smarturl.it/WBtiwiliTunes

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/WBtiwilamazon

 

www.williambell.com

www.staxrecords.com

www.concordmusicgroup.com