Memphis recording history

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2leftears
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Memphis recording history

Post by 2leftears » Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:04 am

Everyone knows of the great sessions at Sun Records, (Memphis Recording Services), but the history of Staxx Records down the street is very interesting as well. I was in a band called Phyrework that signned a deal with Mercury Records in 1978. Judd Phillips, (Sam's nephew), was A&R for Mercury in Memphis at the time. We started tracking at Ardent in Memphis with producer Michael Cooper, (ConFunkshun), and William Brown and Ron Capone engineering. At that time I did not realize Brown and Capone had been at Staxx through the very rich years producing many hits from that studio. I know Ron Capone has passed, but I think William Brown is still in Memphis and I know Booker T. Jones, Duck Dunne and Steve Cropper are still around.
I would love to see a story about those days and those sessions at Staxx.

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Post by percussion boy » Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:18 pm

That would be a great article, for sure.

In the mean time, you might also want to check out Rob Bowman's book, SOULSVILLE USA (if you haven't). The book doesn't really get into the details of recording equipment and such tape op stuff, but it does give a feel for the place and how it rose and fell. Bowman is a little over-diplomatic sometimes, but he talked to pretty much everyone who was involved with Stax.

There's also the documentary on DVD (RESPECT YOURSELF). Not real deep, but you get to see Booker, Duck Dunn, Wayne Jackson, etc. talking about Stax.

Hope this is helpful, and that Tape Op goes back to Memphis for more.
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Post by TapeOpLarry » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:48 pm

We've been to Memphis a few times and interviewed a number of folks there.
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Post by hank alrich » Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:34 pm

Terry Manning would be a worthwhile interviewee.

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Post by TapeOpLarry » Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:38 pm

Terry was in issue 58 in 2007
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Post by Brian » Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:07 am

Better yet, TAKE A TRIP TO MEMPHIS and find out the real deal of what went on and what's going on.
Duck is touring a LOT, owns a studio here, Leeway Music, with Chris Lee. Great guy.
Cropper has family around here but, I haven't seen him around here in 7 years, last time I saw him was 15 years ago in NYC with the Blues Bros. band doing preproduction.

Staxx/Soulsville is a badass tour here. You gotta get, that was done in the midst of one of the most racially charged atmospheres ever. The city knocked down the studio that saved that neighborhood and other stuff.
It's been rebuilt even better.
Staxx Soulsville now has an exemplary music school that's part of the public school system here. It also has a museum of the studio with the locally built Auditronics console and machines, Isaac Hayes cadillac, other such flavor. There are plenty of people around from that time. Don't fall for the Ardent crew as the local knowledge base for Memphis, they are only one part, Sun is still here, Staxx is still here, an engineers from those days are still here, producers are still here, but, you'll need to hurry, some have passed.
Some are still working in some capacity.
There are new engineers and projects going on too.
Forget Beale street, that's for drunks, hit the studio tour scene, and Boo Mitchell is still recording full on at Willy Mitchell's Royal. That's a trip back too.
There are a lot of other things going on here too.
FuelFilm is a group of people putting together a whole package of things to boost the local film making community, SOUND dept.s included, and getting production from out of state to come to Memphis and shoot and or do post production with the local rogue's gallery.
The school system's have been merged removing he biggest impediments to racial harmony, so, Memphis is officially on the upswing of realizing all it's potential and removing the madhouse of to much possibility and not enough realization.
Memphians are street smart, tough, not exactly friendly, not exactly open, but, given what Memphis has been through, that's expected. it's definitely a different kind of place. It's just re-finding it's soul and backbone again and we have a lot of support in the creative community.

Creative pursuits soon starve if not met by some form of reciprocal or profitable (to some degree) commerce.
Art street is a lonely street in a dark impoverished ghetto if it never crosses commerce street.
We are building the crossroads.
Last edited by Brian on Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by David_Kessler » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:29 pm

Wow, just recently found out 315 Beale is now a Hard Rock? How the hell did this happen?

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Post by Brian » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:40 pm

David_Kessler wrote:Wow, just recently found out 315 Beale is now a Hard Rock? How the hell did this happen?
That happened a LONG time ago. Over a decade man.
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Post by TapeOpLarry » Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:11 pm

#44 Nov/Dec 2004
Memphis: Sun Studios, Stax, Royal Studios
Scott Bomar
Doug Easley

#58 Mar/Apr 2007
Terry Manning - Compass Point
John Fry - Ardent Studios
Jody Stephens - Big Star

#77 May/Jun 2010
Cowboy Jack Clement


I was hanging with Matt Ross-Spang in Nashville a few months back and he's revved up Sun Studios these days. We're still praying Roland Janes will sit down for an interview! I'm a huge fan of Memphis, historically and currently. Plus it's the best US BBQ city (for my taste)! Though I like them all...
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Post by Brian » Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:18 pm

Scott & Doug work anywhere but have a studio in a music building.
Jody works for Ardent now.

Those guys are all Memphis History now.
People you'd interview now are The studio building at Crosstown (three recording studios in there), where my studio was, with my ex-partner (just had sushi with)Chris Swenson, he's got a VERY interesting set up there, and all his partners there. Probably Scott again to see what he's been up to. Then the Pezz studio two doors down, if you can get a hold of them, and Boo mitchell at Royal to see what he's been up to since his pop passed. Everybody is doing more film work here and some video programs too. There's a lot going on here now by Memphis standards, and it's all aiming itself toward me and all the guys I just mentioned studios.
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Post by TapeOpLarry » Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:10 pm

All stuff I'm aware of for sure. Just need to get back out there! It's hard to find time to visit and revisit all the amazing places, scenes and studios across the world. I love doing it though.
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Post by Brian » Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:33 pm

Bring it, sir, we'd love to have you back.
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Post by fossiltooth » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:10 pm

TapeOpLarry wrote:#44 Nov/Dec 2004
Memphis: Sun Studios, Stax, Royal Studios
Scott Bomar
Doug Easley

#58 Mar/Apr 2007
Terry Manning - Compass Point
John Fry - Ardent Studios
Jody Stephens - Big Star

#77 May/Jun 2010
Cowboy Jack Clement


I was hanging with Matt Ross-Spang in Nashville a few months back and he's revved up Sun Studios these days. We're still praying Roland Janes will sit down for an interview! I'm a huge fan of Memphis, historically and currently. Plus it's the best US BBQ city (for my taste)! Though I like them all...
Yeah, issue #44 is was heavy on the Memphis. That's a good one. I still have it. (I still have all of them, actually.)

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Post by CustomRecordingCo. » Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:46 am

TapeOpLarry wrote:We're still praying Roland Janes will sit down for an interview!
Reviving an old thread here... :)

Roland passed last Oct, but he had become a good friend. On one occasion, I asked if he had ever been interviewed for Tape Op. He couldn't really remember, but said he thought he did. He knew of the magazine though.

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