Friday, June 29, 2007

And On The Seventh Day…

With an incredible week of events celebrating Memphis’ rich soul music heritage that included the United States Congress honoring Soulsville with a resolution sponsored by U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-TN, “7 Seven Days of Soul” came to at the historic Orpheum Theater, the chosen venue for one of the year’s most anticipated music events: “50 Years of Stax,” a concert to benefit the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.

Hosted by rap legend Chuck D and American Idol’s Randy Jackson, the evening was broadcast live on XM satellite radio and featured a reunion of sorts of some of Memphis greatest soul legends, including Eddie Floyd, William Bell and Isaac Hayes. Throughout the year Concord Records and the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau have produced and promoted events featuring many of the men who made Memphis Soul, and though these artists have proven to all who’ve listened that they still got it, Friday night’s show brought together some of Memphis Soul’s most important women.

Mavis Staples marked an important return to Memphis belting out classic hits from her days with the Staples Sisters, as well as cuts from her recent critically acclaimed album, “We’ll Never Turn Back,” produced by Ry Cooder. Mable John, one of the few soul artists to have worked with both MoTown and Stax, brought back some of that old school groove with an inspiring performance of “Your Good Thing (Is About To End).” And newcomer Angie Stone gave the audience a taste of the future of soul as the first prominent contemporary artist to sign with the rejuvenated Stax label.

Other performances included Lalah Hathaway, N’dambi, The Soul Children and Booker T and the MGs, who earlier in the day were honored by the University of Memphis College of Communication and Fine Arts with the Distinguished Achievement in the Creative and Performing Arts Award. Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn and the late Al Jackson Jr., along with the previously honored Booker T. Jones, enjoyed an informal celebration at legendary local barbeque spot, Rendezvous.

For a full recap of the night’s festivities, click on any of the links below:,1426,MCA_505_5599524,00.html,1426,MCA_505_5596364,00.html

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