Lonely and Feeling Blue (Otis Redding, 1964)

The discovery of Otis Redding by the then nascent Stax Records of Memphis Tennessee (named by combining the “St” of Jim Stewart and the “Ax” of Estelle Axton, the siblings and cofounders of the then neighborhood recording studio and what would be later known as Soulsville USA countering Motown’s Hitsville USA) remains a testament to the profundity of a series…

fun fact!

Released in 1932 and 1933, Try A Little Tenderness found a new home in Otis Redding’s soulful 1966 version: Otis’ idol Sam Cooke, though, had already begun to incorporate the song as a part of his regular live shows. Here it is from his seminal 1964 performance at the Copa in NYC:

my little bitty brother – Otis Redding (Sam Cooke), 1965

Ranked #74 in Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 greatest albums of all time, Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul is considered a masterpiece by the soul singer Otis Redding. The album — famed for having been cut in a span of 24 hours between July 9 and July 10 of 1965– contains original hits like Respect, I’ve Been Loving You…

fun fact!

When Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records first stumbled on Aretha Franklin, he knew Franklin would have the best chance of producing hits down south with his partner at Stax. He called Jim Stewart in Memphis and asked him if he would take Franklin’s contract. Jim Stewart, then busy trying to maintain a quickly growing label with…

ain’t gonna do you wrong – Aretha Franklin, 1967

Singers have been “covering” other singers’ songs for generations now. A cover song, or often colloquially just simply, “cover,” is a song that has already been released by a different artist, but has been renewed and reinvented by a different artist — or, “covered.” Historically and practically, cover songs offer practice and inspiration to developing artists, while, at best, they…

the way you love me is frightening – STAX RECORDS: Memphis, TN

We are of course dedicated to capturing the people and spirits who give birth to the sounds we hear: the singers and instrumentalists. They, after all, embody the very musicality we admire and ultimately cling to, even though people in other positions — engineers, producers, and writers — play critical roles too. Yet these artists and their…

Give Me Another Start (Leon Bridges, 2015)

It’s really exciting when I hear a new sound from an artist I’ve never heard of, especially in the soul tradition. There have been times when such an instance would occur, and I would discover that the artist really isn’t new at all; (s)he is just new to me, and I hadn’t heard of him/her simply…

Said Goodbye With Words (Amy Winehouse, 2006)

Today we feature an artist who has carried on the legacy and lasting impact of soul music since its apogee in the 50s and 60s with a defiance of convention that Otis Redding demonstrated with his authenticity. She would have the vocal genius to carve out her own purview of soul, blues, funk and jazz with unrivaled — and effortless…

How Grateful I Will Be (Otis Redding, 1962)

The exact meaning of “soul music” requires a deeper investigation. For now though, we might consider it rather literally, as music that is borne from, and also at once moves, the soul — that primordial, inexplicable spirit that injects life into all things seen, heard, and witnessed. It’s music that is unfiltered and honest, completely open to our…

fun fact!

Otis Redding never learned to read or write music. Everything he did was simply by ear and feeling; he conveyed to fellow musicians what he wanted by singing, shouting, or more often, dancing and rocking his body until everyone understood.