On April 14, 1967, Stax Records released the first single by the Bar-Kays. It was an odd little track that began with a manic, Rufus Thomas-esque run through the nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb" before bursting into an irresistibly easy groove, topped by screechy, vibrato-laden trumpet and party sounds created by neighborhood kids. Apart from the ambient banter in the background, the song's only real lyrics consisted of the mysterious, naughty-sounding, shout-along chorus: "soul finger!"
On Friday, March 7th, the Bar-Kays (featuring the band's original bass player James Alexander) will celebrate 40 years of "Soul Finger" at the Rose Theater on the University of Memphis campus. The concert, which is being called "Get Down for Down Syndrome," is a benefit to help the Down Syndrome Association of Memphis & the Mid-South in their efforts to assist and empower families that have been affected by Down syndrome. Bar-Kay musician Larry Dodson is an association board member whose 36-year-old daughter, Precious, was born with Down syndrome.
"Get Down for Down Syndrome" at the University of Memphis Rose Theater, Friday, March 7th, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased from the Down Syndrome Association, 2893 S. Mendenhall. For additional information, call 547-7588.