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Robert Fontenot

The History of Stax/Volt

By April 18, 2013

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President Obama's recent "Memphis soul" night at the White House was mostly a tribute to the Stax label and the distinctly Southern brand of gutbucket soul it somehow got onto the pop charts. And as he noted that night, it also helped bring together a divided nation -- not just because the label helped perfect soul, midwife funk, and presage disco, but because black songwriters and producers (not to mention soulful white counterparts) worked together to create a thriving business and cultural community in the heart of Memphis. This is the story of the Stax phenomenon, the gritty counterpart to Motown's Sound of Young America.

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