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!