Memphis soul legends, the Bar-Kays, are currently touring Iraq and Kuwait, performing for U.S. troops. They've visited troops in camp, hospitals, and one of Saddam Hussein's palaces. They recorded video footage, even conducted interviews with troops, and have taken plenty of pictures along the way, which they'll share with us upon their return.
The band will be back in Memphis Wednesday, June 4. I suppose the cynical question will be "where do you hear more gunfire?"
Eddie Floyd, New Stax, Old Soul Former Bar-Kays' Stax colleague Eddie Floyd of "Knock on Wood" fame, became the first old school soul artist to record for the new Stax label. The Tracks on Eddie Loves You So cover mostly familiar territory for Floyd, going back to his days with the Detroit supergroup, the Falcons. He gives us a fresh rendition of "You're So Fine," originally cut nearly 50 years ago. In a neat twist on the veteran-artist-sings-standards format, Floyd performs a few successful tunes he penned for other singers, but never waxed himself, including "I Will Always Have Faith in You," which Carla Thomas reached the Top 20 with in 1967, and Sam & Dave's "You Don't Know What You Mean To Me."
Eddie Loves You So hits the streets July 29.
The reinvigorated Memphis Music Foundation has opened the new Musicians Resource Center at 431 S. Main Street. The foundation, under the leadership of Dean Deyo and aristocrunk artiste Cameron "Lord T" Mann, will provide independent artists with technological tools and music industry expertise needed to further their careers in a perplexing and ever-changing field.
Blue Monday at the Plush Club: That's right, the Beale Street nightspot that's known for hip-hop and (alleged) Tiger brawls is mellowing things out. At least on Monday evenings. WDIA disc jockey Steve Ladd hosted the first installment of the weekly after work blues party at 380 Beale last Monday.
The great Big Don Valentine band, which features original Bar-Kays trumpeter Ben Cauley, provides the accompaniment to an all-karaoke-star lineup of singers including the great Preacherman, Nate Dog, and Charles Holifield. The entertainment begins at 6:30p.m. and runs till 10.
You never know who you might encounter there. Martial arts hero Steven Seagal. Tito Jackson, and Kevin Kane have been spotted within the walls of the purple palace. It is also theoretically possible that you'll see Joey Dorsey there since he's out from under Coach John Calipari's repressive social mandate of "no Plush Club."
-- Preston Lauterbach