Great Performances: The Stax Records Story

30 Jul


ETA:  Oooh, boy, this is gonna be good….

  Stax PBS Special Preview

Thanks to AH for the head’s up on PBS’ upcoming documentary on Stax Records. It premieres on PBS this Wednesday, August 1st. Check your local listings, but in Alabama, it’s on at 8:00 p.m. CDT.

It appears that the segment will also be available through iTunes podcast, as well. This should be a great retrospective of the institution that brought us such great Soul artists, like Otis Redding, Booker T. and the MGs, Sam & Dave, The Staple Singers, Isaac Hayes, Rufus & Carla Thomas and many more…Here is the fantastic Songlist that will be featured.

The prospect of hearing the back story on Mr. Big Stuff is, in itself, worth watching.

Mr. Big Stuff, Jean Knight (introduced by former Stax Records owner, Al Bell)


Posted by on July 30, 2007 in Influences, Music History, Soul


7 responses to “Great Performances: The Stax Records Story

  1. morewines

    July 30, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    Thanks. I intend to record it.

  2. wompuss

    July 31, 2007 at 5:26 am

    Now THIS is gonna be some good stuff! Check out our Jackson, MS newpapah’s coverage:

  3. huckleberryfriend

    August 2, 2007 at 7:29 am

    I have mixed feelings about the program. Maybe it was just too short to really do justice to all the great artists at Stax. If the producers really felt the need to focus so much on race relations, I think they should have made a 2-part series so they could spend more time on the artists and the music.

    Kind of like going to a great restaurant – food is great – service is so-so. Wouldn’t have taken much to make this a truly great program.

    On the other hand, I enjoyed the history lesson and learned a great deal. I grew up listening to all these artists and never appreciated what they had to go through to get their music heard.

    I just read the Stax entry on Wikipedia and I was surprised how much information was there that didn’t make it into the program.

    Overall, I would give it 4 out of 5 stars.

  4. music maven

    August 2, 2007 at 9:50 am

    Huck — I agree. I thought that they could have spent alot more time on the backstories of the music. While I think they did a nice piece on Otis Redding, I wanted more about Mr. Big Stuff and others.

    There is plenty of information on the Civil Rights Movement that didn’t need to be recanted in this program. However, it was very illuminating how color wasn’t a factor at Stax until MLK’s assasination.

    To me, the real tragedy of Stax’s demise was the fact that Jim Stewart lost everything in trying to help Al Bell save Stax, even after his sister was basically shoved out of the business. Al Bell is really part genius, part con man.

  5. morewines

    August 2, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    I agree it was too short. It should have been
    done in several parts.

  6. colette

    August 2, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    Pretty much agree, though I think the historical reporting on the racial situation in Memphis was critical. The stuff about MLK’s suicide in Memphis just brought back the horrible event to me very clearly. And a lot of younger folks don’t realize what pioneers these musicians were — loved seeing Booker T & the MG’s, and hearing their stories.

    But yes, I wanted more Carla! Rufus! Sam and Dave! and other folks in the Stax “family.” Also, someday I hope & pray to see video of Otis singing with Carla. Their album “King and Queen” is a soul masterpiece!

    Though I’ve seen a lot of Otis footage, the new clips in the show made it even more clear what a brilliant, charismatic he was — and what a fox! It was almost like he had to just give all of himself to every song, pack everything in before he left the planet. So sublime.

    Sam & Dave were glorious wild men on the bandstand too, as the film did show. Here’s a really fun duet between Sam Moore and Sting on “Soul Man”:

    couple more things: boy did the Isaac Hayes stuff seem dated. I know he represented something meaningful in the black community, but it sure seemed shlocky to me.

    And once again, this was yet another demonstration of how success can destroy something good. Sad but true!

  7. colette

    August 2, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    woops, sorry, that wasn’t as good as I remembered! Kind of a mess (the Sting-Sam Moore joint). So, let’s go back to the source:


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