Stax Funk - Wattstax, Isaac Hayes, Dramatics, Emotions, Bar-Kays
I grew you listening to WLAC Nashville and WDIA Memphis.And guess what? Rufus "Dog" Thomas still has a Saturday evening song on WDIA. As for mentioning some memphis artist, man they had some greats pass thur Memphis.
The Dramictics "I Wanna go outside in the Rain"and what about Booker T & the MG's-Green Onions. What about Mel and Tim"starting all over again.I can go on and on.
Here's some I still remember by the color of the labels on the 45's. Sam and Dave, Jean Knight, Otis Redding, Rufus and Carla Thomas. The Staple Singers also.
One of the most important companies in Black music history. Stax is most often compared to Motown, but in this context, Stax can be viewed quite differently. Much more than simply being the “Southern Branch Of Soul Music” during the sixties. Stax, viewed in it’s proper context should be seen more as an “incubator for FUNK”. Ironically but not untypically, the label was founded by a white guy, Jim Stewart, whose musical background was actually in country music. During the late sixties and early 70’s Stax was far more identified with both the emerging Black Power movement and it’s cousin......FUNK than Motown ever would be.
They were a driving force behind the black music of the 70's. They had many a great artists performing for them. We won't ever forget the Emotions, Isaac Hayes (I Stand Acussed), the Staple Singers (I'll Take You There).
A lot of their artists produced a large volume of the sound tracks from the movies of the 70's. Isaac Hayesfrom Stax produced Shaft and other songs like I Stand Acussed and many others. The Staple Singers produced I'll Take You There and many other great songs.
However in my opinion we haven't been giving Stax the respect that it deserves. They were a great record company with a great roster of artists, produced a lot of classic jams in blues, soul, funk and rock. Very diverse, very southern very cool.
Wattstax - "Black Woodstock"|
August 1972 brought the Watts Summer Festival which commemorated the seventh anniversary of the Watts riots and achievements by blacks. Sponsored by Stax Records and Schlitz Beer, the festival ended with a seven hour concert at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum attended by 100,000 people. The proceeds benefited the Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation, the Martin Luther King Hospital in Watts and future festivals.
Hosted by Reverend Jesse Jackson, the show featured Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Kim Weston, Eddie Floyd, Albert King, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, The Bar-Kays, The Soul Children, Richard Pryor, The Emotions, and The Dramatics.
The concert was filmed and Wattstax was released as a movie and a double album (and another album the following year of material not included in the first). The concert and movie were very powerful in affirming unity and pride in the black community. I remember seeing the movie as a teenager and the impact it made on me and my friends.
| Isaac Hayes - "Black Moses"|
Isaac Hayes - "Black Moses"
1. Never can say goodbye
2. (They long to be) Close to you
3. Nothing takes the place of you
4. Mans temptation
5. Never gonna give you up
6. Medley: Ikes rap II - Help me love
7. Need to belong to someone
8. Good love 6-9969
9. Medley Ikes rap III - Your love is so doggone good
10. For the good times
11. I'll never fall in love again
12. Part-time love
13. Medley - Ikes rap IV - A brand new me
14. Going in circles
I have Isaac Hayes to thank for saving me from a bad situation. One of his songs came on the radio just in time to keep me from going through a bad situation. Isaac Hayes was great in his days.
I know we all remember Shaft. He made great music during the days when blacks were being portrayed in the movies as drug dealers, pimps, murders and bums (black umemployed males). It's sad to say that those seemed to be the only roles blacks could get back in the
late 60's and early 70's but the music that went along with the movies was great.
It's too bad that Isaac Hayes last attempt at music was not much of a success. I would love to hear him sing some more.
That HOT BUTTERED SOUL album has some great grooves. I had some extra space at the end of a tape I was just making for a friend, so I put "Hyperbolicsyllabic..." on there. Well, the extra space was no accident. I made sure to use an extra-long tape so there'd be room at the end for that track. That cut is so funky--I just had to get it on there to share it.
The Dramatics signed to Stax-Volt Records in 1968. The first Volt single,"Your Love Was Strange", flopped, and the Dramatics were dropped by the company, they were resigned two years later and placed under the direction of songwriter and producer Tony Hester. The Hester sound, which showcased the group's multilead vocals, immediately took the Dramatics to the top. The lively "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get" gave them their first gold single, and the album of the same title yielded "In The Rain", a ballad that went Number One R&B and number five Pop. An eight month cross-country tour with James Brown helped to solidify a fervent following for the group.
After years of spilt-ups and solo records, the Dramatics finally regrouped in 1983 for a reunion record and decided to keep it together (with the exception of Howard). Aside from their world-wide touring schedule, they have recently contributed their material and voiced to numerous special projects, including "Doggy Doggy World". This track was a part if the highly successful "Doggystyle", the Number One Album debut by controversial rapper Snoop Doggy Dog.
Looking through my collection, I ran across :
The Dramatics - "Joy Ride" which include hits like:
1. Finger Fever
2. Richest Man Alive
3. Stand Up And Move
4. Sing And Dance Your Troubles Away
5. I Get Carried Away
1. Be My Girl
2. After This Dance
3. Say The Word
4. I Can't Get Over You
5. Sundown Is Coming (Hold Back The Night)
The orginal members of this album: L. J. Reynolds, Lenny Mayes, Willie Ford, Larry Demps & Ron Banks. I find it had to find a group of such into the "rap" style of music.
Oh the Dramatics..My most memorable one would have to be "Toast To The Fool"...But you know there was one song that made people sit up and pay attention.."The Devil Is Dope".."Brothers and Sistas...The Devil is Dope..Out To Get Your Soul..While Your Gettin High Lucifer Is Out To Get Your Soul..He'll Make You A Slave...Dont You Help Your Pusher Man..He'll Pull You Down,Down Down....
Very Meaningful Lyrics..And with so many of our people "enslaved" to crack cocaine...also very appropriate and applicable to today's society......
One of my favorite Dramatic tunes was "Hey You Get Off My Mountain". That songs brings back really great memories for me. My Aunt in her older age use to like that song also. I had her listening to it. To bad I can't go back to those days of yesteryear and relive those wonderful moments.
Actually I enjoyed the video the Dramatics did with Snoop very much because of all the 70's refrences (always good to see Pam Grier again) !! Plus it showed me that Snoop has a keen sense of just where the roots of hip hop really lie. His view doesn't seem to be shared by many hip hop fans.
Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get
"Some people ...are made of plastic"
"Some people....are made of wood"
"Some people....have hearts of stone"
"Some people....are just up to NO GOOD"
"But baby.....I'm for REAL" "I'm as REAL...as REAL can get" "And if what your lookin for.....id REAL lovin" "Then What You See ......Is What You Get" !!
Me and Mrs. Jones....loved the Dramatics version of this....and then who could forget "Be My Girl " ??? Made ya wanna just say yes !!!!!! lol
Guess I will have to dub u this one !!!!! The Dramatics version is a BADD SLOW JAMMM!!!!!!
SO I CAN LOVE YOU
Uh huh.yeah,uh huh,yeah
Come on back (Come on back).... I'm not ready to let you go
Come on back (Come on back).... Baby.I'm not ready to let you go
No no no no
I will tell you when I'm ready....... (Tell you when I'm ready)
Got to.got to let you know...... (I got to let you know)
* Don't walk away from me,babv...... (Like that)
'Cause she came into the room....... (Don't turn your back)
'Cause you're gonna tell her today
That I mean what I say...... (And tell her right away)
When I say stay right here.baby......I just can't let you go
Stay right here,baby....... So I can love you.love you
A little bit more
When I say stay right here,baby
So I can love you,Iove you a little bit.......So I can love you,Iove you a little bit
So I can love you.uh huh,yeah
So I can love you,uh huh,yeah
* * So I can love you,uh huh,yeah
So I can love you
Just a little bit Ionger.baby
(* * Repeat with ad lib and fade)
Oh Why!! That is one baadaasss track! I loved the Emotions before they jumped ship to Columbia, back when they were on STAX Records. They were vocal divas!
This song came out when I was in the 9th grade and I remember it well because it got played at all of the school dances I attended that year. There is just "something" that the voice of a 22 year old woman does to the hormones of a 13 year old boy. Whatever that "something" is has stayed with me for all these years.
I still listen to the song often as it still does that "something" to me each & every time that I listen to it. The song came out in 1969 and it represents a real turning point in the approach of female singers. As noted earlier, when it comes to slo jams there is a differnce between FUNK & Soul music. The fact that "So I Can Love You" came out in 1969 is no accident. The period between 1968-1972 is a transitional one for Black music as Soul music is becoming Funky.
The singers on "So I Can Love You" are not begging, they are demanding:
"Stay Right here baaaaaby, sooooo I can LOVE you....LOVE you.......(just a little bit more).....uhhh uhhh yeah....Come on back....COME ON BACK...I'M NOT READY TO LET YOU GO........NO NO NO....I WILL TELL YOU WHEN I'M READY"
This kind of thing represents a major shift in thinking away from the "Come See About Me" ? ..kind of thinking best illustrated by groups such as the Supremes
Perhaps this change was in part due to the growing influence at this time of the Womans Liberation movement, where women were now demanding to be heard and acknowleged ?
Hey Baby Bro...Im right here...Now why you gotta go there....darn... sitting here in this place all alone..and yall know thats my JAM !!!!!!!!! The Emotions have got to be one of the baddest girl groups ever formed... now this one will make you get yo grind on !!!
HEY HEY HEY !!!!! yep they had it goin on !!!! U go ladies !!
Strong and assertive lyrics certainly were a distinguishing point about the Emotions. I think that sometimes it's too easy at tymes to just "clump" them into a pack of "nameless & faceless girl groups" without looking at the essence of what they were really doing.The Emotions were truly grounbreakers in my opinion for women in Funk. That's why it's no surprise that later on they hooked up with EWF !!
Hey man these ladies were baaad.That song was a theme song at dances and parties.Remember that organ on this song??
I can't begin to tell you just how important this song has always been to me.......:)
Someone once told me that GRINDING is something like having sex with your clothes on........(& "So I Can Love You" is one of the very best songs ever made to GRIND off of.....:))
"So I Can Love You"! Excellent choice from the power female group of the past. "Uh huh yeah"; Liked it very much.
The sweet sensuous sound of the Emotions was great. They hadvery simple lyrics which were worth their weight in gold!
Many times, simple is best especially when it comes to dealing with human emotions. Sometimes the sheer simplicity of it all can get lost in our desire to sometimes over analyze things to death. The music/message of the Emotions for me is something "to take to the bank."
I love the Emotions. I still have that album from way back in. I was in 10th grade I believe. I remember one of my little boyfriends tried to sing it to me.Boy that brings back memories. It was played at my tenth grade prom and I remember me and a couple girlfriends got in front of everyone and sang that song. That was the good ole days. Music just isn't what it used to be. The music seemed to have a message to it back then. Have a good one.
For me this was a truly powerful song that is one which has stayed with me all these years. Your right they certainly don't make them like this anymore !!
I wonder if the Emotions were just coming on the scene today, if they could even get a record deal ??
It's one of my all time favorites..................:)
Soul Finger! Soul Finger! :)
I even got to play that one in high school pep band. It was always a fun one to jam on....
Hey You got that one right on the money...Soul Finger is the Jam.......hmmmm...somewhere round 1967....the song went to # 3 on the Billboard R&B charts...Sadly enough however..several members of the original band were killed in December of 1967 in a plane crash with Otis Redding...as we know the two remaining original members went on to reform the band and came out totally FUNKIN in the 70's !!!!!
"Son Of Shaft", "Humpin", "In The Hole", "Holly Ghost","I Thank You", "Don't Stop Dancing" (parts 1&2), "Memphis Sunrise". The Bar-Kay's were some badd MF's !!!!
"You didn't have to love me like you did... but you did...."
The Bar-Kay's were a nice compliment to Booker T & the MG's and I always thought are what Booker T & the MG's would havesounded like if they had stayed together.
I remember seeing Stevie Ray Vaughn playing "Soul Finger" once at a concert
Listening to the Bar-Kays tear it up behind Otis on his live recordings, I know the original band were some serious MFs to deal with. But I don't know anything about the second edition that was popular in the '70s. Did that group have a vocalist, or did they remain an instrumental band?
I wonder because of your quote from "I Thank You," which of course was originally a great Sam and Dave record. How did the Bar-Kays approach the song?
The Bar-Kay's had a vocalist (Larry Dodson) and also still played instrumentals in the second edition. James Alexander - bass & Ben Cauley - trumpet survived the plane crash and put a new band together and in 1970, when Booker T & the MG's left became the "first string" house band at Stax.
They played behind Isaac Hayes on "Hot Buttered Soul" & "Shaft" so that will give you a pretty good idea of what they sounded like.
Another thing about the second edition of the Bar-Kay's that distingued them from the first edition was how they dressed. Several of the members would appear on stage in blonde wigs and what I might call "Jimi Hendrix type threads", very different from the band that toured with Otis.
Did they play behing Otis at Monterey ???
If they did I wonder if they had a chance to meet Jimi Hendrix and were influenced by him ?
I can't remember off the top of my head who played with Otis at Monterey, but the Bar-Kays would be a good guess. I'll have to check my Stax/Volt and Otis stuff next time I get back to my parents' house--most of my music collection is still there. I do know that Monterey made a big impression on Otis and the Stax people, however. People who knew Otis said it was a real eye-opener for him to see such a large
crowd of white hippies go so crazy for his set. The Monterey experience had a direct influence on the approach he took torecording "Dock of the Bay."
I wouldn't be surprised if the Jimi Hendrix Experience had a big influence on Stax style, as well!
I'm a big time Bar-Kays fan, I loved them on Stax records.Also I can remember back in the 70's they tour as much as any band of the period.Holy Ghost is still you of my favorites as well as the whole "Flying high on your Love"album.Also the story of James Alexander missed the plane with Otis Redding is still a topic of discussion with funk fans.
I heard that Larry Blackmon of Cameo once said he tour with the Bar-kays to learn the ropes.Also the Barkays had some nice slow songs back then,anybody remember them.
I can understand why Larry Blackmon wanted to tour with them.. The Bar-Kays had it goin on..However I dont feel that they ever really got the recgonition the deserved..do you ??
Boy...I was into the Bar-Kay's also as well as the rest of the artists on Stax. Whew...the Memphis sound. How many artists can we name from that city? Also how does that sound compare to the Muscle Shoals Mississippi sound? Did'nt some of the same musicians also work at Stax?
I tore up many dance floor and wore out many a brotha on Holy Ghost !!!!
Oh yeah..Oh Yeah......
You "wearin out brothas" again I see ??...........lol I always dug "Shake Your Rump To The Funk" !!!
(s) Glad to hear your such a big fan...You and I could have probably worked out a time or two to Holy Ghost !! lol