Today we are pleased to announce the addition of a Memphis Music Listening Station to the Memphis and Shelby County Room. This listening station, which contains 594 CDs, will allow easy patron access to our large archive of Memphis Music. This listening station contains materials representing every stage of music written and recorded by Memphians and in Memphis. From the Memphis Jug Band, to Justin Timberlake; from Memphis Minnie to Packy Axton; classical, country, jazz, soul, rockabilly, R&B and more can all be listened to and enjoyed in one spot. Additionally, many rare and out-of-print albums are included in the listening station along with local independent releases (of course, Elvis and Stax are here too!).
Feel free to browse through the Guide of available music and come by anytime to listen to some great tunes!
Filed under Audio, Elvis, Music
Today we are very excited to announce that the Memphis & Shelby County Room is the new repository for WREG Channel 3’s broadcasts of the Memphis in May Sunset Symphony. Late last year WREG graciously donated their broadcasts to the library and we have been hard at work preparing these to go up on Dig Memphis for your enjoyment. The broadcasts span a 12 year period from 1988 -2000 and include such highlights as the 20th Anniversary concert (1996), performances from Ruby Wilson (1992) and Isaac Hayes (1994), a symphonic work composed by the King of Thailand (1995) and, of course, many renditions of “Ol’ Man River” by the inimitable James Hyter (1988-1998).
We are going to be rolling out all these broadcasts over the next few weeks but today you can view both the entirety of the 1994 and 1998 broadcasts on Dig Memphis (all the broadcasts will also be available on our Vimeo channel). While every concert is a treat, we have chosen to post these two broadcasts first because of their special significance: the 1994 broadcast features a special performance from Isaac Hayes (including the “Theme from ‘Shaft'”) and the 1998 broadcast represents the end of an era with the final performances of both Maestro Alan Balter and James Hyter.
We would once again like to give a large and sincere Thank You to WREG for the donation of these videos, insuring that, although the Sunset Symphony is no longer a part of Memphis in May, music lovers the world over can watch these incredible performances whenever they desire. Enjoy!
The 1994 broadcast may be viewed by following these links: Part 1, Part 2.
The 1998 broadcast may be viewed by following these links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
While many people are familiar with the music of the famed Stax label, the story of its earliest day isn’t one that’s frequently told. In our latest podcast episode, we explore the life and music of Charles “Packy” Axton, son of Stax co-founder Estelle Axton. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the music of the Stax label would’ve been very different if not for Packy’s early involvement. If you’d like to read more about Stax and southern soul music be sure to check out Respect Yourself by Robert Gordon, Sweet Soul Music by Peter Guralnick, and Soulsville U.S.A., by Rob Bowman.
Need some music to listen to while you read? Check out our Packy Axton playlist on Spotify. Other Memphis Room Music Show episodes are also available at Dig Memphis.
In this episode, we discuss the melting pot of Memphis’ musical history and how it gave rise to one of the all-time great jazz pianists: Phineas Newborn Jr. Though little known today outside of jazz circles, in his prime Newborn was frequently compared to Art Tatum and Bud Powell while also being acknowledged as one of the most talented musicians working and recording.
After you listen, be sure to check out our Spotify playlist of music discussed on the show.
In this episode, Dr. David Evans sits down with us to discuss the creation and history of the University of Memphis’ High Water Records. Since 1979 Dr. Evans has been recording local and regional blues, jazz, and gospel artists for the label. Listen as we discuss his personal interest in blues music, play some tracks, and discuss the importance of preservation in the digital era.
After you listen, be sure and check out our Spotify playlist of music discussed in the show. Additionally, Dr. Evans will be giving a presentation in the Memphis Room on April 23rd at 6pm. Dr. Evans will be playing music and discussing the revitalization of blues music in Memphis during the 1980s.
Check out the first episode of our new podcast – the Memphis Room Music Show. Eldon “Chip” Holliday has been hard at work creating a show that will allow everyone to get to know more about Memphis’ musical heritage. The first episode is all about the history of the Memphis Jug Band, and several of their tracks are included.
After you’ve listened to the show, be sure to check out the Spotify playlist of music mentioned in the episode and a bibliography of bonus materials related to the episode.
Many thanks to Gil Worth at OAM Audio for production assistance.
In 2004, the library’s TV station (WYPL) first aired a new show called “Memphis Sounds with George Klein.” Each month George Klein would sit down with local musicians, legends and others related to the music industry to discuss the past, present, and future of our city’s musical heritage. We have digitized a few episodes of that show and they are now available for your viewing pleasure on Dig Memphis. They will eventually be added to our Vimeo channel as well. So if you’d like to hear from Jerry Lee Lewis, Isaac Hayes, Jim Dickinson, Sid Selvidge, Sam the Sham, Kallen Esperian and many, many more… take a look and listen.
Memphis Sounds with George Klein – Episode 32 from Dig Memphis on Vimeo.
As G.K. would say, “Rock on, Memphis!”