honey, baby, i been told: you know how to shake your butter roll ... BREAKDOWN, CHILDREN!!!
that's right. stax is turning the big five-oh, peoples! stax--the label that brought you otis redding, booker t. and the MGs, isaac hayes, carla and rufus thomas, the staple singers, sam and dave, the bar kays, the mar keys, eddie floyd, william bell, mabel john and MANY, MANY MORE--is 50! can i get an amen? failing that ... can i get, maybe perhaps, a witness?
here is where you come in, perspective putative witnesses: my four ventricles are currently bursting with love and admiration (and O-positive blood) for the peoples of stax, past and present. so my gift to them is a feeble gift to you. for your edification, entertainment, enjoyment, enlightenment, education and general good-groovy getdown butt-buckling benefit, i have compiled a tiny collection of video clips. these will make you deeply saddened by the fact that a certain independent record label from memphis will probably never be eligible for the Presidential Medal of Freedom nor the Nobel Peace Prize. be that as it may, let us be frank: the only person you are cheating by not watching these is yourself:
here is sam & dave telling you, live, to "hold on." why? because they're comin' ... and dammit if they don't sound sincere. this performance is SERIOUS--i am talking about world DOMINATION in eight minutes. this is check and mate. "i'm coming," indeed:
(sadly, even as you are still recovering from your groove-induced grand mal seizure, the above player automatically will go on to the next, less awesome video. ignore it and move on to the rest of my stax-related post of goodness!)
remember when otis redding showed up at the monterey pop festival exactly 40 years ago this summer and showed all those dirty hippies how it's really done? how it's all about the SHAKE?! no? well, watch ... and, bless my heart, isn't that a Smother Brother introducing him?
(can you believe otis was only 26 when he died? take a moment to absorb that.)
green onions--stax house band Booker T and the MGs live! this is what the monster that ate you was listening to as he was eating you. because people-eating monsters only listen to people-eating monster music. and this is a monster. ooooooof. let it eat you whole.
the staple singers want to know: "when will we be paid" (and i am pretty sure this question isn't directed at stax management)
rufus thomas asks "AIN'T I'M CLEEEEAN?" lord, yes you are--and, come on dude, you kinda know it. this chunk of Wattstax, by the way, is how i learned to dance. don't believe me? come to the next wedding/bar mitzvah/irish wake i'm invited to. then stand back and watch me conquer the dancefloor with one knee tied behind my back.
(incidentally, i don't care if you're man, woman or fowl ... if you watched that entire clip and DIDN'T fall head over heels in hopeless love with that girl in the wee red dress, well, you probably aren't human and i probably don't want to know you anyway.)