Wednesday, March 13, 2013

steve cropper

I’m sure there have been many articles, books and even Ph.D. dissertations written on this subject, but it’s pretty cool that Stax Records, located deep in the heart of Memphis, was a fully integrated record label in the mid 60s.  When I say integrated, I don’t simply mean that Stax had white and black artists on its roster of talent, but rather that the label had an in-house group of session players – AKA Booker T. and the MGs – featuring both white and black musicians, who played together, and did so in the South, in the 60s. I think that’s pretty damn heroic, don’t you?  I’m sure it wasn’t easy for them. When, for example, they went out on the road as the backing band behind Otis Redding, I bet they went into certain towns where the locals didn’t take too kindly to having them all on the same stage together, and where they couldn’t all stay in the same hotels or eat in the same diners. In the clip I’ve posted today, we see them performing in Los Angeles, and in 1965, the year of the Watts Riots. I find it very inspiring and courageous. And amidst all of the social volatility and daring, we’re also talking about one of the greatest, tightest rock ‘n roll bands of all time. Steve Cropper is one of my all-time favorite guitar heroes.  I love the way his Tellie slashes, and lashes, and gets down and nasty, but not without singing so gorgeously.  And I love the way he conducts himself, the very embodiment of dignified professionalism. Southern gentility may be a flower of evil in historical terms, but perhaps it shouldn’t be entirely poo pooed.  I’m a sucker for people with good manners, who do things the right way. Steve Cropper is just such a person. He walked softly but carried a stick big enough to breakdown daunting barriers

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