Search This Blog

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Black History Month Travel Tip of the Day: Finding Soul in Memphis

Editor's Note: I had something else in mind for today's Black History Month Travel Tip of the Day, but thanks to the power of Twitter, I've adjusted. This message from @StaxMemphis sealed the deal: "This week in 1966, Otis Redding releases his reworking of the Stones classic "Satisfaction."

Did you know the great Otis Redding recorded in Memphis?

I often wonder how much music listeners really appreciate the city of Memphis for its place in music history. Sure, the city has Elvis and Beale Street. Hundreds upon hundreds of musical legends have made stops along the way to stardom in Memphis. I could write a number of entries on the Bluff City's role in shaping music, but I think today's focus will center on the soul of Memphis, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.

Considering the role Stax Records played in combining black and white talents on its recordings, it seems like a perfect entry for today's Black History Month Travel Tip of the Day.

The museum is located at the site of the original Stax Records, the recording home to many American legends during the 1960s and '70s: Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, The Staple Singers, Booker T & the MG's, Wilson Pickett. The museum honors all of the Stax artists, as well as the influence of many other soul musicians on other labels from Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder to Aretha Franklin (Memphis born) and Al Green (recorded at Memphis' Hi Records and still resides in the city).

The museum has some 2,000 interactive exhibits, films, artifacts, items of memorabilia and galleries. In addition to hearing all the truly great music that was made at Stax, the highlight of the museum to me is Isaac Hayes' gold-plated Cadillac. 

Images courtesy of

To me, the Stax Museum is one of the gems in Memphis. If you live in the area but have never visited, I highly suggest it. If you are out of town and planning a visit to Memphis, by all means put this museum on your to-do list.

Through April 30, the museum's featured exhibit is "STILL LIFE IN SOUL: Contemporary Music Photography by Jacob Blickenstaff." It explores the resurgence in popularity of soul music through photography made since 2005 by Blickenstaff.

For more information about the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, go to Stax is at 926 E. McLemore Ave. just a few minutes southeast of the Downtown core.

No comments:

Post a Comment