Album: Various artists

It Came from Memphis, MANTECA
Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Released to mark the Barbican's season of the same name, this double CD draws together 39 examples of the diverse musical culture of Memphis - often overshadowed by Nashville, but arguably even more crucial to America's musical development. In the Fifties, Sam Phillips' Sun Studio was a magnet not just for Elvis, Billy Riley and Jerry Lee Lewis, but for the R&B acts that influenced them, such as Rosco Gordon and Howlin' Wolf. In the Sixties, Stax Records was the base for the searing soul of Otis Redding (a glaring omission here), Eddie Floyd, Booker T & The MGs, The Mar-Keys and Isaac Hayes - whose "By The Time I Get to Phoenix" is here in its full 18-minute glory - while American Studios furnished the garage-band pop of the Box Tops/Big Star/Alex Chilton axis. The Seventies' soul focus shifted to Hi Records, represented here by Syl Johnson, Ann Peebles and Al Green. Later decades were less fruitful, restricted mainly to throwback neo-traditionalists like Tav Falco's Panther Burns, Jon Spencer

Released to mark the Barbican's season of the same name, this double CD draws together 39 examples of the diverse musical culture of Memphis - often overshadowed by Nashville, but arguably even more crucial to America's musical development. In the Fifties, Sam Phillips' Sun Studio was a magnet not just for Elvis, Billy Riley and Jerry Lee Lewis, but for the R&B acts that influenced them, such as Rosco Gordon and Howlin' Wolf. In the Sixties, Stax Records was the base for the searing soul of Otis Redding (a glaring omission here), Eddie Floyd, Booker T & The MGs, The Mar-Keys and Isaac Hayes - whose "By The Time I Get to Phoenix" is here in its full 18-minute glory - while American Studios furnished the garage-band pop of the Box Tops/Big Star/Alex Chilton axis. The Seventies' soul focus shifted to Hi Records, represented here by Syl Johnson, Ann Peebles and Al Green. Later decades were less fruitful, restricted mainly to throwback neo-traditionalists like Tav Falco's Panther Burns, Jon Spencer's Blues Explosion and The North Mississippi Allstars. Any album that can include Travis Wammack's "Scratchy", Big Star's "September Gurls", Ann Peebles' "(I Feel Like) Breakin' up Somebody's Home" and the Wolf's "Howlin' Wolf Boogie" has quality and diversity aplenty.

Comments