Siblings Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton defied cultural norms in the Jim Crow era to found Stax Records, one of the most influential soul and R&B labels of the 1960s and '70s.
There's no obvious reason why Estelle Axton and her brother Jim Stewart should have been the kind of people who would established Stax Records in the Jim Crow South.
One of the most prominent and influential soul and R&B labels of the 1960s, Stax artists included Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett, and Isaac Hayes, backed by the house band, Booker T. and the MGs. The studio was located in the blue-collar African-American neighborhood of South Memphis, was founded by a pair of white siblings, and was a tightknit family of black and white artists working together.
"Jim and Estelle were righteous people who were living during a time and in a place that suggested that they should be anything other than who they were," says Deanie Parker, who joined the Stax family as a teenager and went on to become director of publicity. Parker helped establish the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, which opened in 2003 on the site of the original studio.... Read More →
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