Let’s start with the creation of Satellite Records in 1957.  In 1961 the name was changed to “Stax” to represent the Southern and Memphis Soul Sound.  So we will take a look at some of the musicians who evolved from the Satellite, Stax-Volt experience.

The Mar-Keys

  • Steve Cropper – guitar
  • Donald “Duck” Dunn – bass
  • Charles “Packy” Axton – tenor sax
  • Don Nix – saxophone
  • James Terry Johnson – piano, drums
  • Wayne Jackson – trombone, trumpet
  • Jerry Lee “Smoochie” Smith – keyboards
  • Booker T. Jones – keyboards
  • Isaac Hayes – organ
  • Al Jackson, Jr. – drums

They started playing together in 1958 in Memphis as a four piece group.  In 1961 Charles Axton and Jerry Lee Smith of the group, along with A & R man Chips Moman wrote a song called Last Night that reached #3 on Billboard.

1.   Last Night/ Satellite 107/ 7/17/61/ #3 Billboard

In early 1962…

Booker T. Jones persuaded  Steve Cropper, Donal “Duck” Dunn and Al Jackson to leave The Mar-Keys, not the Satellite label, and they  became “Booker T. & the MG’S” (MG = Memphis Group).

They established the Memphis Sound and their first song, written by Booker and Al was called “Green Onions” and they went on to national stardom.


Booker T & The MG's

 Booker T. & the MG’S
(left to right Donald “Duck” Dunn, Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper and Al Jackson)

Back in 1962. the unusual thing about this group was obvious: two white and two black musicians.


1.   Green Onions/ Stax 127/ 9/1/62/ #3 Billboard


2.   Hip Hug-Her/ Stax 211/ 5/20/67/ #37 Billboard

3.   Groovin’/ Stax 224/ 9/2/67/ #21 Billboard

4.   Hang ‘Em High (Clint Eastwood Movie)/ Stax 0013/ 12/28/68/ #9 Billboard

5.   Time is Tight (Movie Up Tight)/ Stax 0028/ 4/5/69/ #6 Billboard (my favourite)

6.   Mrs. Robinson/ (Dustin Hoffman movie)/ Stax 0037/ 7/5/69/ #37 Billboard

(I own the DVD of their European tour with Sam & Dave and, of course, Otis Redding.)

Not Charted Album Cuts, but great music

1.   Everybody needs Somebody to Love

2.   Working in a Coal Mine

3.   Land of a Thousand Dances

4.   Melting Pot

Sadly, Al Jackson was murdered in 1975.



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