A visit to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music will transport you back in time to the beginning of Soulsville USA, where artists the likes of Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, and Rufus Thomas recorded the music that created the “Memphis Sound”.
Talk about music royalty! But the real beauty of Stax Records was that despite the racial division of the city, and country at the time, it recognized and celebrated musical talent for what it was, regardless of skin color, age or gender. And that legacy continues today with the creation of the Soulsville Foundation and the Stax Music Academy across the street, a public charter school that offers opportunities for Memphis’s next generation of musicians to find their talent and follow their dreams.
Solid Gold Soul
Stax Museum would like to present its latest exhibit entitled “SOLID GOLD SOUL: The Best of the Rest from the Stax Museum”. The Stax Museum has showcased over 3,000 musical artifacts over the years, reaching back to the days when American soul music first started in Memphis. However, the museum’s archives have thousands of other objects just waiting to be displayed! Some of this treasure trove includes stage costumes, recording equipment, musical instruments, photographs, documents, vinyl records, eight-track tapes, and other items of memorabilia.
For “SOLID GOLD SOUL: The Best of the Rest from the Stax Museum,” the museum staff has poured over the archives and chosen their favorite objects that have never been part of the permanent collection that have been on display for some 18 years. With the exception of a very few items, these carefully chosen artifacts are now being exhibited for the first time. ~https://staxmuseum.com
A large part of the new exhibit focuses on the history of Stax Records, and how it helped to shape the sound of American soul music. The addition of the new artifacts dig a little deeper into the story of Stax and tell previously undocumented stories about The Memphis Sound, in addition to other stories about American soul music. Some of the artifacts have been recently acquired, but others have been tucked away for quite some time and are now ready to be in the spotlight!
Some of the highlights of the new exhibit are:
- Isaac Hayes’ white and red tufted-velvet desk and chair from his days at Stax.
- Rare photographs of Otis Redding giving his final Memphis performance on July 29, 1967.
- The Bob Abrahamian Collection of more than 35,000 rare records and other memorabilia that help tell the story of Chicago’s lesser-known soul music scene of the 1960s and 1970s.
- A “prison suit with handcuffs” worn on stage by Isaac Hayes’ guitarist and Stax session/touring player Harold Beane during his short stint playing guitar for George Clinton and Funkadelic.
- Rare photographs of Isaac Hayes.
- Rare videos of the Bar-Kays.
- A stage costume and bass guitar that belonged to Jerry Jenkins of the Texas-based band the T.S.U. Toronadoes, some of whose records were ultimately distributed by Stax Records in 1969-1970.
This exciting new exhibit isn't the only thing going on at Stax this summer. They offer a variety of community and youth programs, live music, book signings, and of course tours of the original Stax Records studio. For more information about the Solid Gold Soul exhibit and other events at the Stax Museum, see their official website.
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