February 23rd, 2024

Music from Memphis’ Stax Records, Detroit’s Motown featured in online show

By Adrian Sainz, The Associated Press on January 31, 2024.

This Nov. 11, 2023 image provided by the Soulsville Foundation shows, from left, Stax Music Academy students Lauren Sanders, Pasley Thompson, Teiona Echols (holding hands with) Rickey Fondren, Joi Stubbs, Zander Henley, Johnathan Cole Jr. from the cast of "Stax Meets Motown." The online show to commemorate Black History Month features music from Memphis-based Stax Records and Detroit’s Motown. (Claire James/Soulsville Foundation via AP)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Fans of the soulful sounds of Detroit’s Motown and Memphis’ Stax Records will be able to enjoy music from both brands in the same place if they watch and listen to a free, online show streaming during Black History Month in February.

Registration has begun for “Stax Meets Motown,” which features musicians from Stax Music Academy playing hits from both of the influential soul and R&B music labels. It features musical performances intertwined with filmed segments related to Black history.

The show includes songs from Motown’s Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and The Supremes, Marvis Gaye and Tammi Turrell, and the Jackson Five. Stax’s contribution comes from Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Rufus Thomas, Johnnie Taylor and the Bar-Kays.

The presentation recorded at historic Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis is geared towards students, teachers, youth associations and other organizations, “with a focus on groups that typically lack access to the arts,” a Stax news release said.

“Think Glee meets Grease meets Fame meets Hairspray, all with classic 1960s soul music,” Stax said in the release.

A companion study guide included with the presentation looks at the civil rights movement and discusses Black radio, race and the recording industry, fashion, and the Detroit Riots of 1967, Stax said.

Stax Music Academy began these virtual presentations in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year’s show is a lively comparison of Stax and Motown,” said Stax Music Academy Executive Director Isaac Daniel. “Think of it as the best of both worlds of music from the 1960s and 1970s.”

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