R&B Trivia: Otis Redding and the Stax Legacy
Did you know that Otis Redding’s first hit, "These Arms of Mine," was recorded almost by chance?
Redding was working as a singer and driver for the left-handed guitarist Johnny Jenkins and his band, the Pinetoppers. Jenkins had come to the young Memphis record label, Stax, to record a single for Atlantic. At the end of the session there were forty minutes of recording time unused (some say because the session was such a disaster) and Redding took the opportunity to record a song that he had written.
The song put the twenty-one year old Georgian on the map. It also helped bring attention to Stax Records. Stax became widely known for its Southern/Memphis Soul music; the famous "Stax Sound," and its racial progressiveness (the Stax studio band, Booker T. and the M.G.’s, was an interracial group).
The Smithsonian is excited to be bringing members of the Stax Music Academy to perform the first week of the Folklife Festival. Stax Music Academy is a creation of the Soulsville Foundation, a group dedicated to preserving the rich history of Stax and Soulsville, USA. The Stax Music Academy serves at-risk youth in the Memphis community through a unique method of mentoring experiences, high-quality education, and performance opportunities. The Stax Music Academy performs the first week of the Folklife Festival.
Tucker Foltz is a production intern for the Rhythm and Blues Program of the 2011 Folklife Festival.