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.
- 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
(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.