Category Archives: Stax

Elvis Presley recording history in Memphis

Elvis in the front yard of his home at 1034 Audubon Drive in May 1956
Elvis in the front yard of his home at 1034 Audubon Drive in Memphis – May 1956

Elvis Presley in front of Graceland in 1957
Elvis Presley in front of Graceland, Memphis – 1957

I’ll stay in Memphis.
~Elvis Presley

I’m visiting Memphis in a couple of weeks, so I will have put out some “Memphis related” post the next weeks.

Elvis was proud of his hometown and though most of his music was recorded in Nashville & Hollywood, some of his finest art was made in Memphis.

I’ve put together an overview of his Memphis recording session, embedded a couple of videos & made some best of lists (as usual).

But let’s first get started with his great version of Chuck Berry’s “Memphis, Tennessee“…. recorded in Nashville.

Recorded May 1963 at RCA’s Studio B. Nashville.


  1. The Sun years (1953-55)
  2. At American Sound Studio (1969)
  3. At STAX Studios (1973)
  4. Live (1974)
  5. The Jungle Room Sessions (Graceland 1976)

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November 24: The late Donald Duck Dunn was born in 1941

DonaldDunn A 2 minute history of Donald “Duck” Dunn:“We were recording almost a hit a day for a while there. But I never knew how popular that music was until I came to England with Otis Redding in 1967.”
– Donald Dunn (about the Stax period)

Continue reading November 24: The late Donald Duck Dunn was born in 1941

Documentary: Otis Redding – Soul Ambassador

soul ambassador

Otis Redding Soul Ambassador. Documentary from the BBC.

First-ever TV documentary about the legendary soul singer Otis Redding, following him from childhood and marriage to the Memphis studios and segregated Southern clubs where he honed his unique stage act and voice. Through unseen home movies, the film reveals how Otis’s 1967 tour of Britain dramatically changed his life and music.

After bringing soul to Europe he returned to conquer America,first with the ‘love-crowd’ at the Monterey Festival and then with Dock of the Bay, which topped the charts only after his death at just 26. Includes rare and unseen performances, intimate interviews with Otis’s wife and daughter, and with original band members Steve Cropper and Booker T Jones. Also featured are British fans whose lives were changed by seeing him, among them Rod Stewart, Tom Jones and Bryan Ferry.

– Hallgeir

Today: The Dock Of The Bay by Otis Redding was released in 1968


“…It’s two thousand miles I roamed, just to make this dock my home.”

This should have been the start of a magnificent career, instead it gives us,  in a fine and vital way, Otis Redding’s place in soul music at that time. It was released posthumously (and it was the first of many).

The songs are chosen by Steve Cropper (produces and guitar player) and he did a remarkable job, it must have been a difficult task to assemble this album, the first after Otis’s death. It could have been a cash-in and a dark memorial album but instead we got lively, and fitting presentation of Otis’s fantastic abilities.

The album consists of singles, A and B-sides, a one hit duet with Carla Thomas, and some previously unreleased tracks (1966-1967). It IS a mixed bag, but in a good way!

Otis Redding – (Sittin’ on) The Dock Of The Bay (Official video):

I love the album and think Steve Cropper did the best job any one could do when putting it together. The choices are not obvious but we get a good representation of what Otis Redding was about and what he could do. A sad but vivid soul classic!

In 2003, the album was ranked number 161 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

My favorite track is the incredible ballad, I Love You More Than Words Can Say.

Otis Redding – The Dock of the Bay (Spotify):

– Hallgeir

The 5 Best box sets and reissues of 2013


I am one of those old guys that still buy physical copies of art (albums). I say it is because I need it to play in the car, but that’s really just an excuse. I love the sensation of unpacking a new album, the feel, the artwork, the printed lyrics, the smell, hell, the whole package!

When the record companies have sold me all the classic albums, they release them again, with better sound, with more songs and bonus features, I don’t feel cheated, I feel blessed. I love archival music stuff, and long to hear studio outtakes, live takes and alternative versions of songs.

It has been a good year for music archivists, and my favorite reissues/archival releases this year are:

 1. Bob Dylan – Another Self Portrait (1969-1971) The Bootleg Series Vol.10


This is from my post right after I bought the box set:

I have now had a few days listening to the new Bootleg series 10 deluxe box set. It is very interesting, and it is actually rather good. I am one of those few that kind of liked the original album, so I expected to like Another Self Portrait. I was not expecting that I would like it as much as I do.

That said, there are two things that stand out however. The first is the demo version of When I Paint My Masterpiece, it knocked me out. It is breathtakingly beautiful.

But the best of the release is the full Isle of Wight performance with The Band, and I really did not expect that!

– Hallgeir Olsen (

When I paint my masterpiece – Demo:

A fantastic historical document!

2. The Band – Live at the Academy of Music 1971


A 4-CD/1-DVD box set chronicles Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Rick Danko and Richard Manuel’s 1971 concerts at New York’s Academy of Music, featuring arrangements by New Orleans great Allen Toussaint.

One of the best live albums in rock history got the deluxe treatment, and yes, it got even better. Rock of Ages had 18 wonderful tracks, this upgrade has 56(!) tracks with The Band (and Bob Dylan) at their very peak. 56 best takes of songs from  four evenings in 1971 (including the New-Years eve show in its entirety). I have played Rock of Ages so much I thought that nothing could surprise me, but this set did. The sound, the packaging, the liner notes and the pictures, everything is top-notch.

Life is a Carnival (Live, 1971):

Continue reading The 5 Best box sets and reissues of 2013