The Bar-Kays ( House Band for Stax and Otis Redding)

Gary: This is a Soul Band from the late sixties, that was basically the house band for Stax and Otis Redding’s Band.  They all (except one) died in a plane crash with Otis on December 10, 1967.  Only Ben Cauley, the trumpeter, survived and he reformed the band later.  I will only deal with the Otis Band…

The Bar-Kays


I believe this is the only available live performance


Lake Monona Crash Recovery… 


Soul Finger/ Volt 149/ July 1967/ #17

The Bar-Kays were a popular Memphis, Tennessee, soul, R&B, and funk group performing from 1966 that continues in some form to perform to this day, although with only one original member. They began as a favourite soul studio sessions group backing major artists at Stax Records, chosen in 1967 by Otis Redding to play as his touring backup band.

On December 10, 1967, Redding, his manager, and band members Jimmy King (b.1949; guitar), Ronnie Caldwell (b. 1948; organ), Phalon Jones (b. 1949; saxophone), and Carl Cunningham (b. 1949; drums) died in a plane crash in Lake Monona while on their way to a performance in Madison, Wisconsin.

Trumpeter Ben Cauley survived the crash and bassist James Alexander (who missed the flight due to returning a rental car) rebuilt the group.

The reformed band consisted of Cauley; Alexander; Harvey Henderson, saxophone; Michael Toles, guitar; Ronnie Gorden, organ; Willie Hall, drums and later Larry Dodson, lead vocals.

The group backed dozens of major Stax artists on recordings afterwards, including Isaac Hayes’ Hot Buttered Soul album, and changed direction in the 1970s to have a successful funk music career.

Lloyd Smith joined the Bar-Kays in 1973.

They continued to score hits on R&B charts well into the 1980s and lately have incorporated contemporary rap & remix elements into their continuing career and have performed all over the world.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.