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On Thursday, August 21, 2003, at 2:45pm, my wife of 34 years, Rebecca, died in my arms in an emergency room.

The last words we spoke were in perfect synchronization: "I love you with all my heart."

 

 

STAX Checks And Other Vintage

     

    I found a treasure chest - well, it's actually a shoebox - in a filing cabinet that's traveled around the country with me for about 30 years. 

    In it were some STAX pay check stubs, Local 71 Union cards, union work dues receipts, writer's agreements from East-Memphis, and all kinds of other interesting paperwork.  More Local 71 Union cards.  

     

    I'm positive I used to have TWO shoeboxes - I'd really like to locate that second one.  It contained my agreements from Universal Recording Studio in Memphis, (which later was sold to Isaac, and became Hot Buttered Soul Studio), some production and writing agreements from Fame, a collection of my old STAX Fax newsletters, more BMI writer agreements, a lot of rare Polaroids, and most of my other session check stubs and information from my Memphis days.  It also contained a large envelope of I&TT pay stubs.

     

    I've searched everywhere imaginable, but I can't find the second box and it's really making me miserable.

     

    In this box was a Polaroid of Isaac's custom Eldorado, enroute to becoming the Super Fly of Cadillacs. 

    It's in the parking lot, right behind STAX.  Jim Stewart's office is directly behind the car, and you can see the white guard house to the left. 

    But all that chain link and barbed wire wasn't there in early 1969. 

    There was just a small guard house and a simple chain link gate. 

    College Street is visible in the background.  What appears to be chrome on the car is actually gold.  Click here to see the picture.

Sometime in late 1969, STAX hired Tom Nixon as Director of the Production Department. 

I found some STAX Inter-Office Communication Memos dated November 26, 1969, listing the personnel permitted in the production department. 

These memos instruct the production staff that "visitors will be signed in by a production person, for a production function, at the time of that function, and the visitor will be the responsibility of the person signing." 

Thirty two people are listed, including four secretaries.

    It should be obvious from the above paragraph that STAX was going through some serious changes at that time. 

    Not only was security increased, new people and new policies could (and did) appear overnight. 

    Sometimes, they just disappeared overnight, too. 

    I remember being aware of a "splitting" effect, especially when Steve wasn't producing as many sessions, and Al and Duck weren't in the studio every day, like they used to be. 

    There were resentments and politics, though that might not seem obvious. 

    Now, 30+ years later, I can understand that the "old STAX" was changing radically, and the "new STAX" was taking place before my eyes. 

    But I didn't understand those things in 1969.

     

    This part of the story is just my own personal observation, and I mean nothing negative by it. 

    I really feel that the STAX magic was a once in a lifetime combination of faith, events, people, music, ego, love, luck, trust, and foolishness. 

    I bet I left out several points, but I'll remember them some day. 

    STAX was a company that got started by cutting soul singles - 45s - and quickly grew to do very well in that area. 

    By 1969, when I got to Memphis, the market had changed, and STAX had already begun to move far away from that focal point. 

    I would have done anything to come to Memphis five years sooner. 

    Including sweeping the floors and washing the windows! 

    I'm lucky to have been at STAX at all, and I'll always cherish those days, but sometimes I feel like I missed the very best music of STAX.

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