Tom Shaker & Chris Cowles outside the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis, Tenn.
Tom Shaker and Chris Cowles, joined by Deljuan “Del” Calvin and Harold “Scotty” Scott of the Temprees who released 12 singles on the Stax subsidiary, We Produce.
Relive ‘Soulsville 2013’ as WRTC broadcast from Memphis
6-hour program from the Stax Museum now archived
On April 27, WRTC-FM broadcast live from Memphis, Tenn., where Greasy Tracks host Chris Cowles was joined by Tom Shaker for a six-hour feature at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.
The program marked the fourth edition of duo’s annual feature on Stax Records, the label that defined southern soul music and the place where such legends as Otis Redding, Booker T & The MGs, Albert King, Eddie Floyd, Isaac Hayes, William Bell as well as Rufus and Carla Thomas recorded their most famous material.
“There were times Tom and I had to pinch ourselves to see if we were dreaming,” admitted Cowles. “Here we were, in the very city where all of this amazing music was recorded, surrounded by some of the people who made it all happen. It was an incredible experience and we were honored to be able to do a broadcast like this.”
In addition to playing nearly 70 tracks, Cowles and Shaker were joined on the air by such Stax legends as vocalist and writer William Bell and Memphis Horns co-founder Wayne Jackson. Also included were vocal groups The Temprees, The Mad Lads and The Astors; musician/writer/producer Don Nix; writer and producer Bettye Crutcher; Deanie Parker, who headed the Stax PR department and engineer/producer/guitarist Bobby Manuel.
“This (broadcast) was like being in a musical history class,” said Shaker. “I’m just sorry the listeners weren’t able to see what we saw during this program. It’s one thing to play some of the timeless music recorded by groups like the Mad Lads or The Astors, but it’s another to hear them, pitch-perfect, singing along to the tracks we were airing.”
Sherman Willmott, who helped found the Stax Museum which was marking its 10th anniversary, talked about the origins of the institution, while Tim Sampson, the communications director for the museum and Stax Academy, shared some insight to the success the charter school and academy have attained.