The enduring artistic and cultural history of the legendary Memphis record label, by the premier authority on the subject.
The story of Stax Records unfolds like a Greek tragedy. A white brother and sister build a monument to racial harmony in blighted south Memphis during the civil rights movement. Their success soon pits the siblings against each other, and the brother abandons his sister for a visionary African-American partner. Under integrated leadership, Stax explodes as a national player until, Icarus-like, the heights they achieve result in their tragic demise. They fall, losing everything, and the sanctuary they created is torn to the ground. A generation later, Stax is rebuilt brick by brick and is once again transforming disenfranchised youth into stellar young musicians. Set in the world of 1960s and '70s soul music, Respect Yourself is a character-driven story of racial integration, and then of black power and economic independence. It's about music and musicians?Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, the Staple Singers, and Booker T. and the M.G.'s, Stax's interracial house band. It's about a small independent company's struggle to survive in an increasingly conglomerate-oriented world. And always at the center of the story is Memphis, Tennessee, an explosive city struggling through volatile years. Told by one of our leading music chroniclers, Respect Yourself will be the book to own about one of our most treasured cultural institutions and the city that created it.
About the Author
Robert Gordon has been writing about Memphis music and history for thirty years and is the author of It Came from Memphis, Can't Be Satisfied, The King on the Road, and The Elvis Treasures. He won a Grammy in 2011 for his liner notes to the Big Star box set Keep an Eye on the Sky. His film work includes producing and directing the documentary Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story for PBS's Great Performances. Gordon lives in Memphis.
A masterful storyteller, music historian Gordon artfully chronicles the rise and fall of one of America's greatest music studios, situating the story of Stax within the cultural history of the 1960s in the South...Gordon deftly narrates the stories of the many musicians who called Stax home. Publishers Weekly (starred review) A compelling story, and Robert Gordon's well placed to tell it. Bookforum A spellbinding history of the one of the most prolific hit-making independent record companies in the history of American music... Kirkus Superb New York Times on It Came from Memphis ...Gordon tells the Stax story - from it's humble beginning to its heyday, to its bankruptcy, and to its present-day incarnation as the Stax Museum of American Soul Music - with expertise, feeling, and a sure hand. Booklist (starred review) Gordon gets the deep lowdown on the original rolling stone. A major feat of research and a fascinating read. Jay McInerney on Can't Be Satisfied An affectionate rumination. The New Yorker on It Came from Memphis Respect Yourself is a prototypical American bootstrap story of poverty, race, music, money, and greed. But it is also a story of 'shifting the paradigm, breaking the covenant, pursuing the dream...riffing, an economic jam session, a socioeconomic symphony...determined to reach the next eight bars.' Shelf Awareness Meticulously researched. Gordon lays out the story of Stax in remarkable detail, tracing the label's history from early stumbles to unimagined success to eventual collapse. He knows Memphis, and what Stax meant there, and he clearly loves the music and the people who made it...In 1972, the Staple Singers had a huge hit on Stax with 'I'll Take You There,' written and produced by Al Bell. With Respect Yourself, Robert Gordon does exactly that. The Dallas Morning News His fluent prose and quotes from interviews keep the reader's attention as he combines technical accounts of recording sessions with the unfolding of historical events in the African American community of Memphis. . For anyone interested in independent record labels and their music in mid-20th-century America. Library Journal Respect Yourself is the rare music book with an exciting subject matter, in this case it's the multiple rises and falls of Stax Records, that's also really well written. Author Robert Gordon's lyrical prose and exquisite word choices, are difference maker, elevating the book beyond just a good story, simply told. Midnight to Six
Number Of Pages: 480
Published: 1st December 2013
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.5 x 3.8
Weight (kg): 7.7
Edition Number: 1