Today’s Music to keep me SSSSsAaaaaNNnnnEeeE in Isolation – Booker T and the MGs – Green Onions

Still sounds just as fresh as it did nearly sixty years ago when I first heard it. Fantastic.

Simon Cunliffe-Lister and Ben Beattie’s After Midnight Band at the Burton Agnes Jazz And Blues Festival.

Simon is the organiser of the event. I think that really he just puts on what bands he enjoys and gives himself an opportunity to play with them! He has a great time.

For the finale he took his place in Ben’s band wearing a shirt that Ben quipped should have had a soundcheck of its own.

He’s not a bad sax player!!

Thanks Simon – you’ve got good taste in music! Much appreciated.

Today’s Music to keep me SAnnnnneeee in Isolation – Sam and Dave

Sam and Dave were a rockin’ Soul due from sixties Stax. Their voices blended perfectly (a little like Don & Dewey from the 50s). They performed some classic Soul Music.

This got me going! Hope it gets you going too! Great music for those, like us, still in lockdown.

Photography – Rock ‘n’ Roll, Country & R&B in the USA. Stax, Sun, Graceland, Nashville, BB King, Elvis

The Mississippi Delta and Louisiana was the place that all Modern Music sprung from. The Blues, Cajun, Rockabilly, Country, Soul, Rock ‘n’ Roll. This was the fertile melting pot. I was lucky enough to chase it all down,

This is the hotel we stayed at in Memphis.

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This is Sun Studios with its Pink Cadillac outside. Where Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Sonny Burgess and Billy Lee Riley recorded.

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This is Stax studio – the first integrated music – home of real Soul – Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Booker T & the MGs, Joe Tex, Wilson Pickett and Sam and Dave,

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This is the Gibson guitar factory

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This is BB King’s Blues club in Memphis on Beale Street

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Highway 61 the home of the Blues. Where Robert Johnson sold his soul at the crossroads and Son House taught him how to p;lay.

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On to Nashville – home of Country

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Nashville Country Music Hall of Fame

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Elvis’s Cabin in Tupelo where he grew up.File459 File94 File181   File39

Graceland

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War – Edwin Starr – lyrics about the stupidity of war – there’s always a better way other than violence.

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This is from when Soul really did mean Soul. This song was about the Vietnam War but it could have been any conflict. We build things up and we knock them down out of greed, hatred, fear and fanaticism. There seems no end to the violence and cruelty of human beings.

What we need is peace, love, tolerance, freedom, humanity, sharing, and a helping hand. Help build a positive zeitgeist based on brotherhood/sisterhood.

War – by Edwin Starr

War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Uh-huh
War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again, y’all

War, huh, good God
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Listen to me

Ohhh, war, I despise
Because it means destruction
Of innocent lives

War means tears
To thousands of mothers eyes
When their sons go to fight
And lose their lives

I said, war, huh
Good God, y’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again

War, whoa, Lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Listen to me

War, it ain’t nothing
But a heartbreaker
War, friend only to the undertaker
Ooooh, war
It’s an enemy to all mankind
The point of war blows my mind
War has caused unrest
Within the younger generation
Induction then destruction
Who wants to die
Aaaaah, war-huh
Good God y’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it, say it, say it
War, huh
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Listen to me

War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Uh-huh
War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again y’all
War, huh, good God
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Listen to me

War, it ain’t nothing but a heartbreaker
War, it’s got one friend
That’s the undertaker
Ooooh, war, has shattered
Many a young mans dreams
Made him disabled, bitter and mean
Life is much to short and precious
To spend fighting wars these days
War can’t give life
It can only take it away

Ooooh, war, huh
Good God y’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again

War, whoa, Lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Listen to me

War, it ain’t nothing but a heartbreaker
War, friend only to the undertaker
Peace, love and understanding
Tell me, is there no place for them today
They say we must fight to keep our freedom
But Lord knows there’s got to be a better way

Ooooooh, war, huh
Good God y’all
What is it good for
You tell me
Say it, say it, say it, say it

War, huh
Good God y’all
What is it good for
Stand up and shout it
Nothing

Otis Redding – Opher’s World pays tribute to a genius.

Otis Redding

Aretha was the Queen of Soul and Otis was the undisputed King. Nobody else came near. Otis ruled the Stax stable and Stax was the studio making the sound. Otis was so powerful that his voice stripped paint. If a butterfly’s wing flapping in South America could set off hurricanes in the Caribbean then Otis must have been responsible for the flattening of hundreds of millions of square feet of forest.

Otis not only sang, he wrote songs and helped create that production sound that was the hallmark of Stax studio on McLemore and College in Memphis. Otis worked closely with Steve Cropper, the Bar-Keys and Booker T & the MGs to hone those songs to perfection.

On stage the sweat sprayed off him as he put every ounce of energy into the performance. He would wrench every shred of agonised emotion out of every syllable, stamp and plead, beseech and implore. It wasn’t so much a musical performance as an emotional outburst.

This was real Soul. I haven’t been about to come to terms with all the soft new modern-day stuff that poses as Soul. After having heard Otis do the real thing all that other new stuff sounds insipid and pales. It’s not real Soul. What Otis brought to the table came with all the passion of Gospel and the heat and intensity of early sixties R&B. Otis lived every beat and poured his heart and soul out through that great voice.

At that time Soul was the commercial music of the charts and dance halls while the largely White sixties Underground was focussed on Acid Rock, Psychedelia, Heavy Metal and Progressive Rock. This was the age where commercial was a sell out to the establishment. Commercial stank.

Yet Otis was so dynamic and inspiring and had such integrity that he had begun building bridges and making the cross-over. His performance at the Monterey Festival blew everyone away and sent them screaming for more.

It got no further than that. Shortly after his triumph he was tragically killed in a plane crash. It left us all sitting on the dock of that bay.

Aretha Franklin – Opher’s World pays tribute to a genius.

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Aretha is and probably always will be the First Lady of Soul. I can’t see anybody on the horizon to challenge her now that the oommpphhh has gone out of Soul Music. Those golden years at Atlantic with Booker T & the MGs as the house-band were something special and extraordinary. It was the bringing together of black and white musicians to create something different with a lot of power, precision and style. That was almost unthinkable in the heavily racially segregation of the Deep South in Memphis. Yet it happened and it worked. There was an earthiness to the music they produced which augmented the powerful performances of Aretha, Otis Redding, Joe Tex, Sam & Dave and Wilson Pickett. That energy and raw sound was unique to that era. I don’t know if it was down to the equipment, the physical nature of the Stax studio, the musicianship, the ambience, that interracial harmony or the production techniques. I suspect it was the combination of all those and a few other magical ingredients as well. Whatever it was, it suited Aretha to the ground.

Aretha was a small lady with an enormous voice. She could really belt out the songs with personality, feeling and a range that was beyond all others. She came in, like so many, from the Gospel side, singing in the Baptist church, and then went into secular R&B. It wasn’t until she teamed up with Stax that she began getting into her stride. What a stride that was. Her version of ‘Respect’ epitomised the power of her performance. She demanded respect and she got it.

Aretha not only helped break down the racial barriers in getting black music played on white radio stations but she also set a standard for feminism. She was no cute bit of fluff to be dolled up by the label. She exuded stature and power and was someone to be reckoned with. With songs like ‘Respect’, ‘Think’ and ‘You make me feel like a natural woman’ she made her case for the equality of females at a time when feminism hadn’t yet been invented. Aretha had that pride that demanded attention. She was a feisty woman in the best sense of the word.

The First Lady of Soul still reigns supreme.