"Suspicious Minds" by Elvis Presley. "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man" by Aretha Franklin. "Son of a Preacher Man" by Dusty Springfield. "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond. All of these legendary songs were recorded at Memphis' American Sound Studio, the last of the five studios we're featuring in our trip to Memphis as part of the quarterly "Sense of Place" series.
Star & Micey brings a fresh perspective on the Memphis music scene, where the band currently thrives; it was listed at No. 1 on Paste magazine's list of "12 Tennessee Bands You Should Listen to Now," and it was also our World Cafe: Next artist this week.
We couldn't leave Memphis without a taste of the blues from gospel-blues singer and preacher Rev. John Wilkins. He's the son of Rev. Robert Wilkins, who wrote "Prodigal Son," a song famously covered by The Rolling Stones on Beggars Banquet.
Here, we've got a performance by Rev. John Wilkins with his band — and his daughters on backing vocals. During our interview, Wilkins spoke about his faith and his father, and even sings a version of "Prodigal Son" himself.
Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 3:27 pm
As part of our "Sense of Place" tour of Memphis, we're on to Royal Studio, where Al Green, Ann Peebles and others made some of the 1970s' most important soul music for Hi Records.
Most of that music was produced by the late Willie Mitchell. Here, we've dug up a 2005 interview with Al Green wherein he tells the story of how Mitchell helped him find his voice. We also talk with Mitchell's son, Boo, who grew up at Royal. His dad told him, "Don't turn Royal into a museum when I die." Don't worry; he hasn't.
Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 2:13 pm
In this "Sense of Place" installment, we meet the blue-collar Memphis rock band Lucero, which performs a stripped-down session in Ardent Studio A, where they worked on their album 1372 Overton Park.
In the beginning, Lucero was all about combining a punk aesthetic with Tom Waits' lyrical sensibility. Over the years, the Memphis sound has crept into the band's music, including a horn section on its last two albums.
Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 7:25 am
Our "Sense of Place" visit to Memphis, Tenn., moves away from soul music to the place where some of the seminal American power-pop records were created. Ardent Studios is where the Memphis band Big Star made three albums that helped define the genre.
Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 7:29 am
In this installment of "Sense of Place: Memphis," we pay a visit to Graceland, Elvis Presley's storied estate. We hear from Kevin Kern, PR director for Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc., and Elvis' daughter Lisa Marie Presley.
Kern gives us a personal tour of The King's estate, shares how Graceland was really a home to the singer, explains why it might seem small to us today, and offers up a few facts listeners might not know.
Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 10:32 am
As part of World Cafe's "Sense of Place" spotlight on Memphis, Tenn., we have an interview with Sam Phillips, founder of the famed Sun Studio. In 2002, a year before the legendary producer died, Phillips shared his memories of his early days making records.
Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 4:50 pm
As part of World Cafe's "Sense of Place" series on Memphis, Tenn., we've dug up archival interviews with two legendary Stax Records performers: guitarist Steve Cropper and organist Booker T. Jones, both of Booker T. & The M.G.'s.