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(october 7th, 2000)

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Estelle Axton in the Soulsville, USA offices

The Soulsville, USA web site, about the "Stax Museum" foundation has been completely redesigned and largely augmented. There is even a shop where you can order Stax caps and T shirts. You will find all details about the revitalizing of the former Stax surroundings, maps, history of Stax, etc... and a lot of photos. A great site which is due to grow regularly. You can skip the intro if you do not have a fast Internet connection. Go to

(september 30th, 2000)

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Wayne Jackson, ace Stax trumpet player, invaluable member of the Mar-Keys and Memphis Horns is well and alive and living in Nashville, when he is not on the road. He just had his first solo CD out. It's available on his own new web site, full of great photos, previously unseen and listings of the many hits he had a part in (not all, as the list would be too long!) and many other interesting informations about him and his career. There are also many details about his present activities and you can subscribe to a mailing list..

Here is the review of this CD by the master himself: "After thirty years of making number one records for everyone else in the world, I decided to go into the studio and make my first solo album. My goal was simple - have fun! Recorded in the dining room/studio of a funky, old Victorian house owned by engineer and co-producer, Bob Kruzen, we stirred up a bit of blues, a dash of jazz, a pinch of R&B to create a simmering stew of Sweet Medicine.

The instrumental album includes six spontaneous originals and six of my all time favorites. I was glad to share space on my CD with five other musicians I consider to be creative geniuses: Johnny "The Funk Master" Neal on keyboards, Mark Harris on upright bass, Warren White on drums, Tim Hinkley on keyboards, and Clinton Gregory on fiddle."

Songs featured: Sweet Medicine / Green Onions / St. Louis Blues / Finding Amy (Am-E) / The Other Side of Blue / Mouse Town Fireworks / St. James Infirmary / Apache Dance / Watermelon Man / The Bottom Line / Blue Monk / September Moon.

The price is $19.95 from Wayne's own web site at .

I will make a complete review in about one week time, as soon as I receive the CD.

(september 22nd, 2000)

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Ron Gorden was the organ player of the Bar-Kays mark 2, just after Otis' tragic death (under the name of Ronnie Gordon at the time). Then, he was the Art Director for most of the Stax covers from 1969. Here is what he recalls:

"My affiliation with Stax spanned nearly seven years, beginning as a member of the Bar-Kays in early 1968 and ending as Advertising Manager in late 1974. In the former capacity I traveled extensively playing such places as the Manhattan Center, Fillmore West, Whiskey A-Go-Go, and many others from coast to coast and from Montreal to Nassau. I had many enjoyable hours in the McLemore studios playing organ on sessions for the Bar-Kays, Steve Cropper, Little Sonny and others. I was standing under the Stax marquee when word came that Martin Luther King was killed.

Working in the advertising department began in February, 1970, in the brand new Avalon offices. During my tenure, I was directly responsible for the development of over 130 album covers and the trade and consumer advertising that accompanied those products. We were very busy and productive, and I could often be found talking on two phones at the same time. I experienced the unbelievable prosperity of the mushrooming company when there were no budgets and the sky was the limit. We did great work and won numerous awards ranging from local Memphis Advertising Federation "Addy's" to a Grammy Award nomination for package design ("Isaac Hayes Live at Sahara Tahoe"). We were well thought of and respected in all business circles. It was an unbelievable ride!

In only a year, however, circumstances completely changed. As we experienced the corporate "strangulation" of Stax, every possible corner of expense had to be cut - and more. I spent much of each day in my Union Avenue office during 1974 consoling and encouraging suppliers who were wanting payment. We quickly became outcasts in the community with Stax having such a stigma that, after being laid off, I could not get a job anywhere in Memphis. Even knowing what I know now, I would have stayed longer if allowed. (I believe my last paycheck was part of the last regular payroll ever paid.)"

Thanks Ron. More to come soon from a friend who has been eat the heart of Stax.

(september 8th, 2000)

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On the Ace Records web site, Roger Armstrong talks about the marvelous hours he spent working on master tapes, including the original session tape of Otis' "Dock Of The Bay". Here is the excerpt:

"Otis and a chilling moment
I was in the middle of the first of what was to be two 10-day blitzes through the Stax vaults at Fantasy Studios, it was around 3am and I had a trolley full of 4 track tapes in the studio. I was on my own and I picked up a box that simply had 'Otis' written on the spine. As I removed the tape a scrap of paper fell to the floor and on it was written 'Dock of the Bay'. I threw the reel up on to the machine and re-wound to the head. The unmistakable drawl of Ron Capone laconically announced 'Dock of the Bay take 1'. I couldn't believe it as the familiar intro started and within moments Otis was making seagull noises. So that's where the idea came from! The irony is that he never did know that the idea was used as the overdub session for the electric guitar and the keyboards were recorded after his tragic death and the seagulls and waves were spun in from a separate tape on the final mix. I later found the seagulls and waves 2 track tape. I mixed all of the available basic tapes that night and though I remixed on a couple of other occasions eventually the mixes I made of takes 1 and 2 that night were what I used on It's Not Just Sentimental (CDSXE 041). Given that takes 1,2, 5 and 6 are the only complete takes on the multi track master and that take 3 has a piece missing, I assume therefore that the issued and overdubbed master is take 4 with a small piece of take 3 edited in."

Roger Armstrong. Ace Records 2000

(august 14th, 2000)

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Newton Collier played horns on stage with the greatest ones, including Otis Redding, Sam & Dave and Aretha Franklin. He also worked for Stax. He kindly sent me form Macon, GA, a lot of documents, including exclusive photos, press articles (including several local ones about Otis Redding's fatal accident) and very unusual Stax related items.

I will publish along the next weeks these invaluable documents on this very site. Stay tuned and thanks a lot, Newton.

(august 14th, 2000)

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Kenny Wiggins was kind enough to send me a demo copy of one of the tracks he recorded at Stax at the end of the 60s, never issued (see NEWS page 7). The title is "I Came Back", written by Andrew Love and Wayne Jackson. Two more tracks are lying in the Stax vaults in Berkeley, CA. With permission, here is a small excerpt in Real Audio. CLICK HERE

(august 14th, 2000)

Andrew Love, David Porter and Wayne Jackson

Rita MacHann from The Blues Agency (, kindly sent me the URL for the official Memphis Horns site at . There are a lot of recent informations, fantastic photos with the greatest singers and musicians in the world (the one above is with David Porter), bios, discos and a great MP3 mix which includes some of their biggest hits. A very fine site, very informative, a must see.  

(august 14th, 2000)

Less than a month ago, I was talking about the River City Street Band. Fuzz Foster, one of the members of the group has advised me that Blan Heath was killed in a farming accident on Wednesday, July 26,2000. Fuzz said that he was a brother and a friend to him for over 30 years. Blan was the best keyboard player that he ever worked with, and one of the finest people he ever knew. Blan was buried in his hometown of Blytheville, Arkansas. He will be dearly missed.

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