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(july 24th, 2000)

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There is a Booker T. & The MG's mailing list, ran by Dave Baron. It's dedicated to discussing the music of legendary Stax/Volt recording artists, Booker T. and the M.G.'s, as well as related projects (Blues Brothers, solo work, etc.). You can subscribe to the list at


(july 20th, 2000)

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Kenny Wiggins sent me a very nice message. He was under contract with Stax Records back in 1969. He recorded three songs with Stax that were never released. Don Davis was to have them released but at the time he was tied up with Johnnie Taylor.
Before they could ever be released the company went bankrupt. Steve Cropper was one of the producers. The Mar-Keys (Wayne Jackson and Andrew Love) were the writers of the songs. The names of which were: "I Came Back", "This Time I'm For Real" and "A Boy Like Me, A Girl Like You".
The studio where he recorded the songs at was The Sounds Of Memphis Recording Studio in Memphis which was later taken over by MGM. After the initial recording at the Sounds of Memphis Studio, the rest of the sessions were moved over to Stax Studio
where the group The Emotions did the background vocals on the recordings.

Kenny is now living in New Orleans and working for the Postal Service. He still performs when ever he gets a chance with a couple of groups down there.
While in Memphis, Kenny was mainly the singer for the group The Mar-Keys, now known as the Memphis Horns. Of course they were an instrumental group and he was added to the group as they went out and played gigs so they would have a singer. Wayne Jackson and Andrew Love were responsible for getting him the contract with Stax.

Still other unknown treasures lying in the Stax vaults in Berkeley, CA. Please, Mr. Bill Belmont at Fantasy Records, let us hear all of them some day...

(june 10th, 2000)

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Lena Zavaroni was a scottish young singer who made a hit with a rendition of "Ma', He's Making Eyes At Me". Very curiously, Stax made a distribution deal in 1974 and issued the record, produced in UK, as Stax LP STS-5511. It made one of the most unusual releases in the Stax catalog, light years from the Otis Redding or Rufus Thomas recordings. She died of anorexia in Great Britain, last 2nd october, 1999 at the age of 35.

(june 3rd, 2000)

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The River City Street Band was a white group who had 2 LPs and 4 singles on Enterprise in the last years of Stax ( a FOCUS page and some photos soon). I have been contacted by two of their former members, Blan S. Heath Jr and Fuzz Foster. Here are some of Blan's memories about these Stax days :

"We were on Enterprise (with Isaac Hayes) in the very early seventies, but did our recording at Ardent Studios in Memphis. Ardent had just built a state of the art facility and was being used extensively by artists from all over the world. On one trip to Memphis to do some horn overdubs, we were greeted at the door and told to come in but be very quiet.  Turns out that James Taylor, Carole King, The Memphis Horns and Peter Asher were finishing up some work on Taylor's "Mudslide Slim and the Blue Horizon" album.

When Isaac won the academy award for "Theme From Shaft," I watched as John Frye, Terry Manning (late of George Martin's Air Studios), and Richard Roseborough put the finishing touches on the mix that was aired on television.  Several times master tapes (I especially remember the Staple Singers' "I'll Take You There") were always just sitting on the floor of the control room, begging to be carried off. Al Bell once came into a session we were doing, and I immediately began to play the organ as if I were wearing boxing gloves.

Over the years, I guess I met and played with just about all of the Stax luminaries, but my fondest memory is of Mavis Staples putting her arms around me and calling me her little white brother.

Being a son of the delta, I lived a dream. Sadly, our affiliation with Stax ended in 1974, just before the whole thing started going to hell. The real culprits of the fall were Memphis bankers (Lymon Aldritch comes to mind) eager to gain favor with the coolest people in town  and the realization on the part of Al Bell that the distribution agreement that was then in place guaranteed a profit, even if the record never sold a unit.   And, of course, a good dose of greed. I attended the auction, but didn't buy anything.  I would have bought our masters, but they went in with a group of much more highly prized master tapes.

If you have not already done so, I would highly recommend "It Came From Memphis," which is about the purest picture of Memphis music from the 50's to the fall of Stax that exists today.

Thanks for the caring and the memories,

Blan S. Heath Jr.

Thanks to yourself, Blan and let's hope to hear again from you and the River City Street Band.

(june 1st, 2000)

Cherrie Holden reports that great  Stax singer Johnnie Taylor died from a heart attack last night. He was only 62. More details as soon as possible. We will miss you very much, Johnnie.


(may 5th, 2000)

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From Curtis Johnson, published May 4, 2000, source: By Pamela Perkins The Commercial Appeal: "Deanie Parker is leaving a public relations career for "a dream come true." The Regional Medical Center at Memphis announced Thursday that  its vice president of communications and marketing is leaving Friday to become president and executive director of Ewarton Museum Inc.

So our wonderful and multi-talented friend Deanie, ex-singer then Director of Publicity of Stax comes back to her roots and kind of gets to her former activities. Good luck Deanie and hope to hear from you soon.

(april 10th, 2000)

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"Sweet Southern Soul and All That's Stax" . LeMoyne-Owen College Monday, April 3. Lecture by Rob Bowman. Comments by Curtis Johnson: "I was there, at STAX, for many of those years, I have also read the book, Soulsville U.S.A., written by Rob, but I was amazed listening to Rob tell the story of how Stax started, developed, and ended. He told individual stories of each person, put them together, their mind set, backgrounds, areas of the City that they came from, how, and why they became a part of Stax. While I listen to him, it's hard to believe he was not their. After years of interviewing, and just talking to practically every one that had anything to do with Stax, including family members of those deceased, he not only know the day to day details of Stax, but tells the story like he was in the Studio all the time. What was so amazing is that all of the spaces, during the time I was not their, were filled in, with what, why, who, and when. He is a Professor of Music at York University in Toronto, and I understand why. His lecture was extremely informative, but also enjoyable, filled with the music of Stax, how songs were conceived, evolved, produced, picked, promoted, and we even followed charts he put together, in understanding the mind set of Isaac Hayes, and others while writing this legendary music. Rob showed video of interviews with Isaac, and how he came up with ideas for songs. His story was about what Stax has meant to southernsoul, integration, Memphis, the surrounding community, the "family" of artist and people that worked their, and to the Music Industry as a whole. I could go on and on, but I will just say, I truly enjoyed the session, and learned a lot about the rise and fall of Stax Records as it was then. Thanks Rob for keeping the people of Stax, alive."

You will be able to read his comments too on his own web site about Stax and the Soulsville USA foundation at . See some photos shot on location on the STAX TODAY page 1.

Thanks again to our friend Curtis "Candy" Johnson, a very fine and kind Stax artist.

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