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Flying Music - Shows from 2007 - Sweet Soul Music

Do you like good music? Sweet Soul Music? Then this show is for you!

To honour the 40th anniversary of the first UK joint Stax/Atlantic tour and the 50th Anniversary of the foundation of Stax, the producers of the hit West End shows “Dancing in the Streets” and “The Rat Pack – Live form Las Vegas” bring you Sweet Soul Music. A spectacular celebration of the greatest hits from sensational soul legends Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Sam Cooke, Arthur Conley, Ben E King, Carla Thomas, Percy Sledge, Sam & Dave, Eddie Floyd, James Brown, Booker T + The MG’s and many more.

This brand new show, directed by Ivor Novello award winning director Keith Strachan, is based on the sensational Stax review with musical arrangements in the style of Booker T and the MGs and the legendary Memphis Horns. The show features our very own “SSM Band and Funky Horns” and a full company who will leave you gasping for more! Sweet Soul Music will take you on a musical journey featuring all the classic hits including a selection of the following: “Respect”, “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”, “Mustang Sally”, “You Send Me”, “Stand By Me”, “When a Man Loves a Woman”, “Soul Man”, “Knock on Wood”, “I Feel Good”, “Midnight Hour” and of course “Sweet Soul Music” to name but a few!

Stax in the 21st Century

2007 sees a year long celebration of all things Stax starting off with a “Best Of” double CD package followed by re-issued and re-mastered classics from Booker T and the MG’s and Steve Cropper and never before released live albums by Johnnie Taylor and Isaac Hayes, culminating with a Stax Christmas album and a special “Secret” box set containing all previously unreleased demos and publishers tapes.

2007 also sees to premiere of Respect Yourself – the Stax Record Story a feature length documentary from famed documentary makers Robert Gordon, Mark Crosby and award winner Morgan Neville. Respect Yourself will include never before seen footage including home movies by Stax artists, Otis Redding’s last ever performance, interviews with Stax artists and employees as well as Jesse Jackson, Elvis Costello, Bono, Chuck D, Pete Townsend, Dan Akroyd and Justin Timberlake, with The Stax Museum of American Soul Music serving as the back drop.

Background

Starting out in a small record shop in an old cinema in Memphis, Tennessee, Stax grew to become a cultural phenomenon that changed music forever - locally, nationally, and internationally. Satellite record founder Jim Stewart joined forces in 1959 with his sister, music shop owner Estelle Axton, they combined the first two letters of their surnames and “Stax” was born. Their first releases went nowhere, their second proved a hit in their local Memphis area, their third, “Gee Whiz” by Carla Thomas went to #5 on Billboard and was the first national hit for Stax. Local musicians started hanging around and Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn, and Al Jackson became the house band that created the backbone of the "Stax Sound”. Steve Cropper later become one of Stax most important and prolific writers and producers and scored several hits as part of Booker T and the MGs.

In September 1947, Turkish born Ahmet Ertegun and A&R man Herb Abramson had united to create Atlantic Records. They made several good records but they weren’t selling! Traveling through the South, Abramson and Ertegun discovered that the kids just couldn’t dance to the classy, urbane Atlantic beat. So they added a bassline and mixed country blues with city sound and had their first major hit with Stick McGhee's "Drinkin' Wine Sop-Dee-O-Dee”. Over the years their roster grew to include the likes of Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett

One of Stax most successful artists recorded his first record while working as a driver for singer Johnny Jenkins who came to the Stax studio to record a track for Atlantic Records. Johnny’s session didn’t go well, so the last half an hour was used to record a ballad written by Johnny’s driver. “These Arms of Mine” charted in March 1963 and was the start of an amazing, if short lived music career for the incomparable Otis Reading. One hit lead to another and more and more artists were attracted to the Stax studios including many Atlantic Records recording artists.

Together, Stax and Atlantic launched the careers of numerous artists who would become icons and whose music is as fresh and popular today, as it was back then.

In the mid 60s Stax and Atlantic combined to bring their music to the UK. In March/April 1967 the now legendary Stax Review Tour “Hit the Road Stax” arrived and the rest, as they say is history! This show is a celebration of that great music and those wonderful artists, with a little help from their soul brothers and sisters


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