Thursday, July 25, 2024

Obamas Will Celebrate Memphis Soul with Sam Moore, Booker T, Mavis Staples and…Justin Timberlake?


The White House will celebrate Memphis soul this month with a PBS special taped next week and to be shown on April 16th. The Memphis soul special was already on PBS schedules for April 16th. And I’d been told some time ago that the producers had contracted Al Green and Justin Timberlake, the latter a soul sort of ‘interpreter” who was born in Memphis. Now a press release has already gone out saying Al Green is not coming. He’s tricky to settle dates on.

But the special looks like it will be great otherwise with Grammy master Ken Ehrlich doing the production. From Stax we get Sam Moore, William Bell, Booker T Jones– music director of the night, some members of the Bar-Kays and the MGs including Steve Cropper. We also get Mavis Staples. Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite will perform from their new album of blues music. (It’s very good.)

Cyndi Lauper will perform from her outstanding album called “Memphis,” a blues collection from a couple of years ago. Queen Latifah is on the bill, along with Timberlake and the up and coming Alabama Shakes. I sure wish they’d invite Carla Thomas and her brother Marvell, who played and sang on nearly every Stax Records. They’re also the children of Memphis’s most beloved music man, the late Rufus Thomas.

But anything that promotes Memphis soul is good by me. A great evening is coming!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News