For those of us who have lived through the epochs, and for our children and theirs, reliving life of the 1960’s could be jaw dropping, bewildering, selfish, frustrating, and throat chokingly disgusting.
Then, it was the birth of “SOUL” music, out of which came Don Cornelius’ successful television show SOUL TRAIN.
African Americans (blacks) always had soul, but to hear it in the rainbow of colors, one had to attend a Baptist church, and they were aplenty in the South. Memphis Tennessee, perhaps the poorest state in the Union, gave birth to STAX records, and like buffaloes on a stampede, “watch out, here they come”: RUFUS THOMAS, OTIS REDDING, JOHNNY TAYLOR, CARLA THOMAS, and Academy Award winner, ISAAC HAYES. (Shaft, the bad mother…!)
Yes the days of Mavis Staples, with papa Staples, shouting, “I know a place,..with nobody crying”. But we cried, because it was the said time and in Memphis, when, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot dead, and STAX records began its slow death. JESSE JACKSON an eager disciple, like the apostle Peter, drew his sword, and said to America, “I AM SOMEBODY”, with PUSH AND the RAINBOW COALITION.
I sat there, immersed in reliving history, I was watching a live documentary, a mix of politics, religion and music. SOUL THE STAX MUSICAL, is currently at Center Stage Baltimore.
It is not just a rehash of the past, but it is the clever timing employed by the writers and director.(Kwame) The costume changes, the background scenes, the goose bumps that will pop up all over your body depending on your familiarity.
BOISE HOLMES (Isaac Hayes) will send the women wild. HARRISON WHITE (Rufus Thomas) is making his first appearance in Baltimore; he comes from performances in The Lion King, and Smokey Joe’s Cafe. (“Nuff said”).
It is always a joy to watch the movie production art that Kwame K Armah brings to Center Stage, and the subtle messages that run through his productions. This one even though a musical, has social and political neons. Depending on what space you occupy at this time, you may want to wear that Tee shirt, that says, HOLD ON, I AM SOMEBODY.