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Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion [Hardcover]

Robert Gordon
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
RRP: 22.95
Price: 15.61 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

16 Jan 2014

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.

Frequently Bought Together

Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion + Muscle Shoals [DVD] + Stax: Respect Yourself/The Stax-Volt Revue Tour 1967 [DVD]
Price For All Three: 34.14

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (16 Jan 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596915773
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596915770
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 16.6 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,693 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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)

Book Description

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

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Respect Yourself-Does just that! 22 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An excellent read for anybody who is interested in great music along with social history of the 1960,s. United States.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great authentic read! 25 Mar 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What a great interesting Book, hard to put down.
A true reflection of how things really were - what an era!
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