Our Music Is For Free You Can Download Mp3 Lyrics My Dozen

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My Dozen

These albums were coming out when I was happening. I was, and still am, really into real R&B. These kinds of tunes were very true – there was an honesty that went with them. Those artists used to tell people about the times and events happening in our country at that time. You hear that tune, and then you know what happened. They were great musicians because they played from the heart.

He didn’t shine much on the records. Motown was great in its own way, but in Memphis we didn’t have polish and we weren’t trying to do that. Motown had their way of making records and we just came from the hip, honestly – whatever happened, we did it. As Rufus Thomas used to say, “There’s Motown up north, but below the Mason-Dixon line, your ass is mine!”

Essential collection

Artist: Ray Charles

Release date: 2002

I first learned about Ray in the 50’s. I recently saw a guy wearing sunglasses and thought it was cool. It sounded like gospel at first, but the callbacks, but he revolutionized the thing with an electric Wurlitzer piano – it was a different sound, I’d never heard anything like it. Or saw something similar – the body of that grand piano looked like papier-mâché. He has some very touching tunes like “What’d I say”, “I got a Woman”, “Georgia on my mind”, “Baby Won’t you please come home”. It came through, it communicated. He’s got some standards, he’s got some funk, R&B, even some country. Ray is sadly no longer with us, but this album can introduce him to a younger generation. His longtime fans may find some of the tunes they’ve been looking for here.

When a man loves a woman

Artist: Percy Sledge

Release date: 1966

I was in Bowlegs Miller’s band when that song came out. We used to go on the road a lot and listen to “When a Man Loves a Woman” on the radio. The music is simple, the lyrics are simple, and all the melodies are very repetitive, but it drives home the point: When a man loves a woman—really loves her—anything really can happen. And he empowers the woman by saying that. Just like a contract. This is a classic. That song didn’t really influence me musically, but it opened up the possibility of falling in love.


Artist: Isaac Hayes

Release date: 1971

I just had to include it. Campaign collection – a lot of hits from it. I love Shaft’s Love Theme and Cafe Reggio. And “Soulsville,” played during the set of Shaft driving through Harlem—people still relate to that song because the ghetto is still like that. “Do your own thing,” people will always relate to that. “Sulphur’s Mourning” came out one Saturday night when I was working until dawn in Los Angeles and heading home in the morning down La Cienega with all these papers flying around the streets from the events of the night before. As soon as I got home, I wrote that tune. The shaft is still relevant and alive, and part of what keeps it alive is sampling. Hip-hoppers sample a lot of my stuff, so the music sticks in people’s minds after all these years. The theme of the song is still there and the sound is still there because it was sampled.

remember me

Artist: Otis Redding

Release date: 1992

Otis is important because he was so powerful at the time. It was exciting to see him and his voice was unique. Even his voice was unique. Most of the pop world remembers him from Doc of the Bay when he went to Monterey to play a hippie band at that festival. Otis could really make a tune. There was something pleading in his voice. He captures all emotions in one word. Whatever Otis does, he makes it his own.

Funny chicken

Artist: Rufus Thomas

Release date: 1997

Rufus believed in singing comedy songs. He could have taken the nursery rhyme and done something with it – in fact he did in parts one and two of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”! Rufus came out of vaudeville, where he honed his skills, making jokes from jumps like “The Preacher and the Bear” or “The Itch and the Scratch.” He had funky beats like “Boogie Ain’t Nuttin’ (But Gettin’ Down)” and “Turn Your Damper Down,” and if you heard him cruising slow, he had a nice vibe. People need to hear fun R&B, and Rufus provided that. He was a communicator. It made you feel good, really good.

Really the best

Artist: Ike and Tina Turner

Release date: 1998

Tina is from Nutbush, Tennessee, less than twenty miles from where I was born. He is the most exciting person to watch on stage. And Ike, people forget he’s one of the forefathers of rock ‘n’ roll – Sam Phillips had him at Sun Studios very early on, and Ike had one of the first rock ‘n’ roll tunes, Rocket ’88. And he used a lot of experience with Tina. “Idolize You” is one of their earlier songs and they use the Ikettes very well. Same with “Work Out Fine” – it’s also a good use of backup singers; They make great use of reverb in the vamp, like Phil Spector used in his “wall of sound”. Spector did “River Deep, Mountain High” with them and Tina did it her way, it’s a masterpiece. Like Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City.” Ike was also a great producer – you might not agree with his methods, but he got results, you know what I’m saying?

The seventh miracle

Artist: James Brown

James always took advantage of what was happening at the time, just as hot pants were in vogue. Songs like “Cold Sweat” and “I Got the Feelin'” and the way they came together with those beats and the horns, he just nailed it. One of his great ballads that dominated the airwaves was “It’s a Man’s World,” a piano minor key and another woman-glorifying tune. The world would be nothing without a woman or a girl. James always knew the right thing to say. On “Daddy’s Brand New Bag,” he talked about getting something new – something he does best, and now he has a brand new bag. That’s one of the great things about James is that he’s always evolving. My daughter sang with James for six years. He always told me that he learned a lot from Mr. Brown. He had such a command, especially live – people went crazy when he played. That’s what you hear in these tunes.

McLemore Ave

Artist: Booker T. And The MG’s

Release date: 1970

They cover some of the Beatles’ Abbey Road album, and the cover references the cover image of Abbey Road, but they’re crossing McLemore Avenue, the same street that Stax used to walk on. At Stax we listened to everybody and the Beatles really moved us. We’d listen to some of the breaks they did, like “Day Tripper,” and that would end up in our music. The way they did the rhythm was just as affecting as in Here Comes the Sun, the rhythm was unusual but still rhythmic like some jazz tunes. When Stax went to England it was a huge hit – Booker T., Otis, Sam & Dave and we had a great kinship with British music and British audiences. About a year later, the Beatles were supposed to come to Stax, but someone turned it off and it spread like wildfire, and the girls camped out and the whole thing had to be canceled.

Only the strong survive

Artist: Original Soundtrack

Release date: 2004

DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus did a documentary about the Stax people that we released a few years ago, but they were all still amazing. That whole movie was part of the 60s and 70s. R&B had a huge place in popular music at the time. You hear the tune on this album, you can hear it. It’s unadulterated R&B – it’s right there in the chords, the rhythm, the theme – the things that were going on in the hood, the things that people love about the hood, it’s all there. During live shows, people tend to stretch the tone a little bit – they want to capture the whole essence of the moment, maybe talk about what they saw behind the scenes. You have to work with a live audience and your audience. It’s not like a record – it’s a nice exchange. You get so much from the audience and you take your time and do it…do it until you’re satisfied.

The best singers

Artist: The Staple Singers

Release date: 1990

That music makes you feel so good. The party singers came out of real raw gospel, they were a family and they were as harmonious as a family. It was raw and it was pure — the bass line, “I’ll take you there,” that’s raw, man. Mavis, her voice, oh, she would make different sounds in the depths of her voice, or she could improvise and spread it out. The pops played their guitars with that tremolo like you sing in church. When I was a kid in church, it went back to the old country days of kicking up little clouds of dirt on the floor when I stomped my feet. It’s what you want to do. Thank God Stax had the knowledge to capture it and present it to the world. They came out at a time when the Civil Rights movement was in full swing and the good old days were still being thought of. It was about the brotherhood that was needed back then.

Mr. Big Thing

Artist: Jean Knight

Release date: 1971

That’s what that tune, Mr. Big Thing, is all about. Just listen to those horn lines – Stax has always been known for their horn lines. You know the weight was different. Although she wasn’t fat, she was full, but her voice sounded very feminine. In many of his songs, he tries not to get away from something and has a fierce attitude. Like in “You City Slicker,” she’s a country girl who’s protective of this city guy, or “Call me stupid if you want” — and she doesn’t care what people say about her. These tunes that he chose meant something to him like, “Why am I still living with these memories?” Of course, they were good memories and he would continue to sing these songs.

After all, Isaac Hayes: Can You Dig It? (Disc 1)

Artist: Isaac Hayes

Release date: 2005

This is a great collection of early Stax and very comprehensive. It has a lot of soulful tunes and shows how I became Black Moses and Stax’s #1 seller. That’s how I got to where I am today – it’s the beginning of the journey. These tunes describe the times and represent true soul music. In addition to my own songs, there are songs I wrote with writing partner Dave Porter (“Help Me Love”) and duets (me and Dionne Warwick “The Time I Get To Phoenix/Say A Little Prayer”). And what I’m famous for: Burt Bacharach’s “The Look Of Love” and “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Still With You),” a reinterpretation of another artist’s song that was originally Hank’s country song. Williams. There’s also the movie theme, The Shaft (of course!) and The Men’s Theme. Also check out the “Title Theme from Three Tough Guys” which was recently used in Kill Bill: Volume One and Two.

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