Robert Johnson is the subject of the most famous myth about the blues: he allegedly sold his soul at the crossroads in exchange for his incredible talent, and this deal led to his death at age 27. But the actual story of his life remains unknown save for a few inaccurate anecdotes. Up Jumped the Devil is the result of over 50 years of research. Gayle Dean Wardlow has been interviewing people who knew Robert Johnson since the early 1960s, and he was the person who discovered Johnson’s death certificate in 1967.

As a result, this book not only destroys every myth that ever surrounded Johnson, but also tells a human story … More

The long-awaited memoir of Booker T. Jones, leader of the famed Stax Records house band, architect of the Memphis soul sound; one of the most legendary figures in music. From Booker T. Jones’ earliest years in segregated Memphis, music was the driving force in his life. While he worked paper routes & played gigs in local nightclubs to pay for lessons; support his family, Jones, on the side, was also recording sessions in what became the famous Stax Studios & all while still in high school.

Nearly five decades later, Jones’s influence continues to help define the music industry, but only now is he ready to … More

Memphis was really jumping with black music in the early 1960s as its new studios began to attract the notice of major record companies like Atlantic Records. By 1965, Stax Records was a true Memphis powerhouse and as it became successful enough to manage its studio for its own contracted artists, it closed its doors to outside productions. But a few singers just nipped in under the wire – and these unofficial Stax productions form the major part of this collection. And here we have some perfect “Blue” Stax music from a bunch of vocalists accompanied by that fabulous Stax studio band. It features Louie Palmer, Eddie Floyd, Ted Taylor, Willie Cobbs, etc

Vinyl LP available in store and online.

The story of Stax Records unfolds like a Greek tragedy. A white brother & sister build a record company that becomes a monument to racial harmony in 1960’s segregated south Memphis. Their success is startling, & Stax soon defines an international sound. Then, after losses both business & personal, the siblings part, & the brother allies with a visionary African-American partner. Under integrated leadership, Stax explodes as a national player until, Icarus-like, they fall from great heights to a tragic demise. Everything is lost, & the sanctuary that flourished is ripped from the ground.

A generation later, Stax is rebuilt brick by brick to once again bring music & opportunity to the people of … More

Otis Redding remains a living presence in the canon of American popular music on the strength of such classic hits… As a singer, songwriter, bandleader, and arranger, Redding was the chief architect of the distinctly southern, gospel-inflected style of rhythm & blues associated with Stax Records in Memphis…

Yet, while Redding’s music has long served as the gold standard of 1960s soul, an aura of myth and mystery … More

The story of Stax Records unfolds like a Greek tragedy. A white brother & sister build a record company that becomes a monument to racial harmony in 1960’s segregated south Memphis. Their success is startling, & Stax soon defines an international sound. Then, after losses both business & personal, the siblings part, & the brother allies with a visionary African-American partner.

Under integrated leadership, Stax explodes as a national player until, Icarus-like, they fall from great heights to a tragic demise. … More