Monday, January 5, 2009

Sweet Memphis Soul on TV

Although I almost definitely will not watch it tonight -- the whole not having a television thing makes it difficult -- I enjoyed reading Jon Pareles' article from Saturday's New York Times about Sweet Soul Music: Stax Live in Europe 1967, which will air at 8:00 p.m. tonight on Long Island's WLIW (Channel 21) and then nationwide on PBS in March.

Stax Records did not choose timid singers. The tour lineup was all belters — Redding, Sam & Dave, Eddie Floyd and Arthur Conley — who bounced percussive phrases off the band’s unswerving beat. They were R&B troupers from an era when performers didn’t need to lip-sync when they danced. The Stax singers commanded the stage with moves no choreographer taught them, and they didn’t rest until their audience became an ecstatic congregation.

Sign me up! I wish I could have been there, and I hope to see the documentary some day.

I also love the description of Steve Cropper's playing:

The Norwegian audience, which gets generous camera time throughout, looks earnestly appreciative as Booker T. and the M.G.’s steam into “Green Onions,” with Steve Cropper flicking out vicious jabs of blues guitar.

For my money, Stax reigns supreme.

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