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Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion [Kindle Edition]

Robert Gordon
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
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Book Description

The story of Stax Records unfolds like a Greek tragedy. A white brother and sister build a record company that becomes a monument to racial harmony in 1960's segregated south Memphis. Their success is startling, and Stax soon defines an international sound. Then, after losses both business and personal, the siblings part, and the brother allies with a visionary African-American partner. Under integrated leadership, Stax explodes as a national player until, Icarus-like, they fall from great heights to a tragic demise. Everything is lost, and the sanctuary that flourished is ripped from the ground. A generation later, Stax is rebuilt brick by brick to once again bring music and opportunity to the people of Memphis.

Set in the world of 1960s and '70s soul music, Respect Yourself is a story of epic heroes in a shady industry. It's about music and musicians -- Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett, the Staple Singers, and Booker T. and the M.G.'s, Stax's interracial house band. It's about a small independent company's struggle to survive in a business world of burgeoning conglomerates. And always at the center of the story is Memphis, Tennessee, an explosive city struggling through heated, divisive years.

Told by one of our leading music chroniclers, Respect Yourself brings to life this treasured cultural institution and the city that created it.

Product Description


A masterful storyteller, music historian Gordon artfully chronicles the rise and fall of one of America's greatest music studios, situating the story of Stax within the cultural history of the 1960s in the South...Gordon deftly narrates the stories of the many musicians who called Stax home. (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

A compelling story, and Robert Gordon's well placed to tell it. (Bookforum)

A spellbinding history of the one of the most prolific hit-making independent record companies in the history of American music... (Kirkus)

Superb (New York Times on It Came from Memphis)

...Gordon tells the Stax story - from it's humble beginning to its heyday, to its bankruptcy, and to its present-day incarnation as the Stax Museum of American Soul Music - with expertise, feeling, and a sure hand. (Booklist (starred review))

Gordon gets the deep lowdown on the original rolling stone. A major feat of research and a fascinating read. (Jay McInerney on Can't Be Satisfied)

An affectionate rumination. (The New Yorker on It Came from Memphis)

Respect Yourself is a prototypical American bootstrap story of poverty, race, music, money, and greed. But it is also a story of 'shifting the paradigm, breaking the covenant, pursuing the dream...riffing, an economic jam session, a socioeconomic symphony...determined to reach the next eight bars.' (Shelf Awareness)

Meticulously researched.. Gordon lays out the story of Stax in remarkable detail, tracing the label's history from early stumbles to unimagined success to eventual collapse. He knows Memphis, and what Stax meant there, and he clearly loves the music and the people who made it.In 1972, the Staple Singers had a huge hit on Stax with 'I'll Take You There,' written and produced by Al Bell. With Respect Yourself, Robert Gordon does exactly that. (The Dallas Morning News)

His fluent prose and quotes from interviews keep the reader's attention as he combines technical accounts of recording sessions with the unfolding of historical events in the African American community of Memphis.. . For anyone interested in independent record labels and their music in mid-20th-century America. (Library Journal)

Respect Yourself is the rare music book with an exciting subject matter, in this case it's the multiple rises and falls of Stax Records, that's also really well written. Author Robert Gordon's lyrical prose and exquisite word choices, are difference maker, elevating the book beyond just a good story, simply told. (Midnight to Six)

Book Description

The enduring artistic and cultural history of the legendary Memphis record label, by the premier authority on the subject.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 10767 KB
  • Print Length: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (12 Nov. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #72,094 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Respect Yourself Robert Gordon 4 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ace book in the Stax story! Covers well The music and the racially divided social context from which it emerged, and shows how a love of music making created an integrated haven from which emerged the great music to which we are still listening. Full of insights into the music, the people who made it, the MGs, Isaac Hayes, Al Bell, and the Memphis from which it emerged. Gordon not only is a good writer but he loves the music and the people who made it. He is a sweet soul writer and he will "take you there"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book about music I've ever read! 2 Jan. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In 2014 I've read and seen more biopics about music than in the rest of my life and I would have to say this one is the best. The Muscle Shoals story, Nile Rodgers biog, Standing in the shadows of Motown, all excellent but this story, the passion and spirit that Robert Gordon captures, the characters he paints and the way he frames them all in the brewing storm of racially segregated Memphis and the tales of unlikely success and daring, single minded determination make reading this book a whirlwind adventure. I almost feel sad to leave behind the gang at Stax and return real life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 29 Oct. 2014
By Robert
If soul is your style, then this detailed book is a must.
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By sunra59
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a terrific book for anyone interested in delving deeper into the creation of some of the greatest music to come out of the1960's. The story of Stax Records is very much a reflection of its time; social tensions and creative team-work; individual genius and hard work; personal triumphs and tragedies; high stakes risk taking in a dog-eat-dog music business; and so much more. If you love the music, this book gives it a great sense of purpose and place. If you've only listened to a few of their hits, read the book and be prepared to listen to a lot more. Great stuff.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stax Records Soul explosion 21 Feb. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great book full of facts from the late 50s early sixties on the late, great soul music of that era, that was so popular with the Mods here in the UK.

Recommended necessity !!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If Loving You is Wrong.... 13 Nov. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A wonderfully detailed exposure of the record industry, politics, racism and the highs and lows of one of the most important labels in history. If you thought payola was just about money, think again. Even if you have no interest in 60's and 70's soul, this is still a fascinating story, but if you were brought up listening to Otis, Booker T., Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Rufus Thomas and dozens more of the Stax greats, then this really is an essential read. Once you hit the top, there is only one way to go-so enjoy the journey along the way and don't worry where it will all end!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 27 Nov. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great read for the soulies out there who like their history
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 9 Mar. 2015
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great book for a music lover.
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