Funky. Emotional. Raw. Powerful. That was soul music in the Civil Rights era; and Stax Records did it like no other. Stax quickly became a hit-making machine, producing a massive catalog of Top 100 records that defined... more » the "Memphis Sound;" such as "Soul Man," "(Sittin On) The Dock Of The Bay," "Green Onions," "Midnight Hour," "I'll Take You There," "Respect Yourself," "Theme from Shaft" and many more. Stax also launched the careers of a who's-who of soul music greats: Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, The Staple Singers, Isaac Hayes, Eddie Floyd, Carla and Rufus Thomas, Albert King and Booker T. and the MGs, to name just a few. Now, with the release of this exciting new DVD, Grammy-nominated filmakers Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville ("Muddy Waters Can't Be Satisfied") present the first comprehensive look at Stax, the greatest soul label of all time.« less
Genres:Music Video & Concerts Sub-Genres:Pop, Rock & Roll, Other Music Studio:Stax Format:DVD - Color DVD Release Date: 10/02/2007 Original Release Date: 01/01/2007 Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2007 Release Year: 2007 Run Time: 2hr 35min Screens: Color Number of Discs: 1 SwapaDVD Credits: 1 Total Copies: 0 Members Wishing: 8 MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated) Languages:English
"I've viewed this great documentry on PBS so I won't offer any assesment of the quality of the DVD and packaging. The story of STAX Records is what's significant here. And the fact that this story takes place in one of the most racially divided cities in the South is almost unbelievable. But the music and the vintage live performances are the real reasons to own this DVD. Sam & Dave, Booker T & the MG's, William Bell, Rufus & Carla Thomas, The Staple Singers, Isaac Hayes, Eddie Floyd and of course Otis Redding. Man with that kind of all-star roster who could compete with STAX?.....Who?.......Who you say?....You say that other soul label?.... That one way up North in Detroit?....You know the one they call Motor-Town or somethin' like 'dat....Surely You Jest!!!!!"
Scott T. Rivers | Los Angeles, CA USA | 02/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This excellent documentary on the classic Stax Records label emerges as a fascinating social and cultural overview. From Booker T. and the MGs to the Staple Singers, the Stax icons are seen in all their glory. Filmmakers Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville have done a remarkable job chronicling the soulful triumphs and brutal realities of the Memphis hit factory. "Respect Yourself" packs a dynamic musical punch."
The Best Documentary On Stax So Far---Even Has Albert King
Perry Celestino | Tahmoor, NSW Australia | 10/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is the best, most comprehensive documentary on Stax Records ever released. It covers the entire history of Stax from its origins in Memphis to its resurrection as a part of the Fantasy Organization in the 1980s and 1990s. All the famous artists are there, unlike some of the other footage that has been released, starting with a French documentary in the early 1990s. It makes fascinating viewing for all Soul enthusiasts.
However, this is not meant to be a comprehensive review. This film's highlight is that it contains the rarest clip of Albert King EVER shown (this is besides his brief appearance in Wattstax and the bonus clip of him doing "I'll Play The Blues For You"). It is in colour and he is playing his break from "Blues Power". While the audio narration goes over part of this, if you are a Blues lover this is the rarest film of him ever shown. He is also playing his Korina wood Gibson Flying-V original "Lucy" (now worth in excess of $100,000). Wouldn't it be unbelieveable to see the entire concert--King at his height in the late 1960s! It is in colour and the sound is great too! To access it on the DVD-go to scene selection and view it from "CBS".
I apologise if my enthusiasm for this may be too much. But this is so rare, and even if it's only just over a minute, all Blues lovers should see this. It is at least 12 years earlier than anything ever released so far.
Plus the documentary is five stars too!!!!
Excellent Soul documentary
Andre M. | Mt. Pleasant, SC United States | 10/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This documentary on the Stax soul powerhouse is very well done. Fine mix of rare performance clips and interviews that puts the story in full perspective. Those who have seen the documentary on PBS may be disappointed in the small number of extra features (just a rehearsal cut of the surviving MGs, William Bell, and Isaac Hayes done earlier this year), but that's okay, as the documenary itself does such a brilliant job.
The scenes where Stax was temporarily ruined by gangsters is an eerie foretelling of the Suge Knight/Death Row saga involving rap music in recent times. At least Stax and Motown never had shootouts with each other in spite of their rivalry (the Motown musician's snobbish comments about Stax and Otis Redding in particular will shock and anger many fans today).
Miraculously, the documentary ends on a high note in spite of the thuggery, mismanagement, and failure to read the fine print that doomed the label for a number of years. The scene of Booker T. and the MG's perfoming "Time is Tight" (trust me, you'll know this if you hear it) as the label's fortunes crumble is a masterpiece of editing.
On the whole, this documentary is as entertaining and inspiring as it is informative. However, their rivals in Detroit (Berry Gordy and co.) need to get with it and put some of their stuff on DVD as Stax is doing such an excellent job with this, the Otis Redding documentary, and the 1967 Live Stax-Volt Tour DVD.
Support these so that more classic soul can at long last be available on non-bootleg DVD in America."
A Valiant attempt, but falls short of subject.
kingofthejungle | Memphis, TN | 11/02/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The music made at 926 E. McLemore in Memphis, Tennessee has always been one of my passions. Funkier than Motown and every bit as innovative and important as Sun, Stax records turned out some of the best music ever recorded. So I was very excited to learn that Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville were directing a documentary about the history of Stax ,but after watching it, I feel that `Respect Yourself' falls far short of the glory of it's subject.
`Respect Yourself' has many flaws both as a film, and as a telling of the Stax story. First of all, the history of Stax can hardly be done justice in two hours. This is made all the worse by the directors apparent lack of understanding about using context to further a story. Martin Scorsese used context masterfully in his Bob Dylan bio, No Direction Home. He richly illustrated how Dylan's work fit into the society and time period it was a part of, and because of it he created a powerful film that can be enjoyed even by those who aren't Dylan fans. In `Respect Yourself' not a word is said about the history of Memphis music leading up to the creation of Stax, and the contemporaneous events in the music scene and civil rights struggles are given only very fleeting mentions (with the exception of the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.). The ineptitude with context causes the director to constantly go back to interview snippets of people saying `this was the only place in the south where black people and white people could work together' which becomes repetitive to the point of being patronizing. (Ok, I get it, let's talk about the music, or at least WHY that was significant and HOW it was influential).
This repetitiveness is made all the more infuriating when one sees the superficial coverage of the art and careers of giants like Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, and Rufus Thomas. Thomas was marginalized to only a scant retelling of the making of `Because I Love You' which seems over before it begins, Redding and Sam and Dave fare slightly better, but not by much.
At times the interviews seem somewhat fragmented and handled in a clumsy manner, as if the directors wrote the script first, and then plugged in clips that fit their story, rather than gathering the interviews first and weaving a narrative out of them. Performance clips also seem to be chosen in a somewhat haphazard fashion, with sometimes awkward and inferior performances chosen over other far superior ones available.
All of these faults conspire to throw of the pacing of the first half of the film covering the studio's most important years (1960-1967). There are a few highlights in the first half, such as the inspired juxtapositioning of the performances of `My Girl' by the Temptations and Otis Redding. It is an absolutely perfect way to bring into focus the contrasts between the polished Motown and the Soulful Stax.
In the second half, after the death of Otis Redding, things pick up a bit and it is obvious that this is the story the directors really wanted to tell. The Al Bell years are covered very competently, and the coverage of Stax's involvement in African-American struggles gives the viewer at least some idea of why Stax was important.
The performance footage shown here of Booker T & The Mg's playing `Time Is Tight' circa 1970 is absolutely incredible, and I would LOVE to see this full performance. These guys are without peer when it comes to a band functioning as a unit to make a unified groove. Gordon and Neville do a good job of showing the success and relevance of the company in it's last years, and portray Al Bell as the complex figure that he is in relationship with the company's history.
I also would like to say that this film LOOKS great, and whoever handled the graphic design did an EXCELLENT job, and that can't be overstated.
Despite all of it's faults, `Respect Yourself' is an entertaining two-hours, and packed with great music. It is however, far from the definitive statement on Stax. I hope one day Stax will get the treatment it deserves, until then however, this will have to do."