The city of Memphis is strategically located north of New Orleans on the banks of the Mississippi River. Memphis was an important location for commerce, migration and travelling entertainers. This culturally dynamic city has contributed to the development and creative evolution of gospel, blues, rock and roll, jazz and soul music. The city developed a significant group of multi-racial talents that altered the face of modern American music forever.
Memphis drew a powerful and explosive mix of black and white musicians, songwriters and producers, who came together to create innovative sounds that sent out ripples right across the musical world. The city is definitely the crossroads of America in terms of music; a place where black and white cultures, despite severe segregation, fused to yield some of the greatest soul sounds of the twentieth century. The two major labels that truly defined the Memphis sound were Stax and Hi Records. These two labels created a raw and yet refined sound that set them apart from other regional studios. Stax and Hi Records were instrumental in establishing Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Carla and Rufus Thomas, Booker T & the MGs and soul superstar Isaac Hayes. The most successful recording artist of all the Memphis stars was Al Green.
Photo: Roland Arhelger 2016