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Southern FusionAmericans Old and NewMidwestern CrossroadsSouthern FusionLouisiana, Where Music is King
Memphis Horns

In the 1960s, Stax Records and its competitors defined a new style called Southern Soul. The names on the record labels tended to be those of singers (Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Isaac Hayes), but what made the records cook was the churning, grinding rhythms of the backing musicians. The Stax rhythm section would become famous as Booker T. and the MGs, and the horn section would make its mark first as the Mar-Keys and later as the Memphis Horns. The Memphis Horns are, in fact, just two men, Wayne Jackson and Andrew Love, weaned in the Stax studio and the Memphis bar scene, and they have become the most-recorded horn section in the world, playing with everyone from the classic soul stars to later rockers like Sting.
       Andrew was the son of a black preacher, while Wayne's father was a white traveling salesman, but the first time they played together they realized that they were two of a kind. "There was something about the way our tones blended," Andrew says. "His sound and my sound, it was just perfect." They played together around Stax and the other Memphis studios, honing their distinctive sound. When the bottom dropped out of the local soul boom, they hit the road, becoming studio stalwarts who could always be relied upon to sail in and add that certain sound that, to a world of listeners, would always say "Memphis."
       River of Song caught the Horns in a familiar setting, a Memphis recording studio, but the session was anything but typical. After laying down horn tracks on a record by Ann Peebles, the soul diva who came to Memphis from St. Louis in the early 1970s and burned up the charts with "Can't Stand the Rain," they sat back and joined her on an acoustic blues, backed only by piano. In this setting, they stepped out of the riff-centered approach for which they are famous, and blew gorgeous jazz solos, Jackson's trumpet recalling Louis Armstrong while Love's tenor sax growled, warm and sexy, wrapping itself around Peebles's powerhouse vocals.

Related Links

        The Memphis Horns Historical Tour

        Review of the Memphis Horns Flame Out

        In-depth biography of Ann Peebles from Miss Funkyflyys Web Pages

        More on Ann Peebles

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