WKNO Looks at the Birth of the “Memphis Sound” in a new documentary on Stax Records
From the Juke joints of Mississippi to the rock n’ roll river town of Memphis Tennessee, the sounds of southern culture echo and reverberate into a four letter word – STAX. The latest installment in WKNO’s popular Memphis Memoirs series will look at the birth of this iconic label in Stax – The Early Years It’s produced by Bill and Tess Carrier, the award-winning team from API Cine.
From the illuminating history of Stax, written by Rob Bowman, to the illustrative archival photography lensed by API Photographers, the engaging story of Soulsville USA will be set to motion. The story of Stax documents not only the origins of the world famous “Memphis Sound”, but also the pre-civil rights cooperative spirit of southern blacks and whites – who worked together to create a cultural phenomenon.
Stax – The Early Years will include interviews with participants and archival photography to share the story of the birth and legacy of Stax Records.
“This has been a remarkable journey,” said Bill Carrier of API, producer/director of the documentary. “Stax is one of the pieces necessary to tell the story of Memphis. It was a one-of-a-kind institution and important to the fabric of our community.”
“Music is an integral part of everything in Memphis,” said Michael J. LaBonia, President and CEO of WKNO. “It tells our history and underlies everything we do today. WKNO is proud to be able to bring this incredible story to our viewers as part of our mission to be the community’s storyteller.”
In Stax – The Early Years¸ we will discover how Stax got its name changed from Satellite Records in 1961, and how James Stewart and Estell Axton, brother & sister, founded the company. We’ll see how WLOK’s exposure of “Green Onions” boosted the careers of Al Jackson, Steve Cropper, Booker T and Lewis Steinberg, and how the Hamond B2 enhanced the sound.
We’ll take a journey with Otis Redding and his unique voice and gospel background in “These Arms of Mine” and discover how Jerry Wexler, of Atlantic, guided the success of Rufus Thomas with “Walking the Dog”.
We’ll also highlight the songwriting team of Isaac Hayes and David Porter, with hits like “Hold on I’m Coming”, and the memorable Mabel John, who captured the Memphis sound along with Sam & Dave.
Memphis Memoirs: Stax – The Early Years airs Monday, December 10 at 9:30 PM on WKNO.