Last night we went to a special screening of a new documentary about Stax Records, ‘Respect Yourself’. You may think you don’t know Stax as it perhaps isn’t quite as much of household name as its big rival Motown, but it was home to some of the biggest names in soul music in the sixties – Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Booker T and the MGs, Sam & Dave and The Staple Singers.
It was the first UK screening of the documentary and I was shocked at the poor turnout – probably less than 100 people and most of those were probably connected to the film in some way. It only cost £15 which isn’t much more than the usual price of a cinema ticket in the West End. But as well as the film, there was a Q&A session with Sam Moore (of Sam & Dave fame). I’m not sure he actually answered the questions that were asked, not directly anyway, but he was full of anecdotes and spark, and very charming. The film was ok, perhaps a little negative as it seemed to dwell on the bad times a bit too much - the music, obviously was fantastic – but really it was the session with Sam that made the night special. They showed some footage of them performing in Norway in the sixties which was bizarre – they were amazing performers, with such energy and great dance routines, but the audience were sat on the floor and when they were encouraged to get up by the singers, army officers moved in to sit them back down.
Sam’s wife was also present and she introduced some special footage of the soul musician Billy Preston (who played with the Beatles) who died last year. She was overcome with emotion and had a bit of cry. At that point, the record label boss stood up to announce the prize draw! He did apologise and said how typically British it was to follow a legend with a raffle. Sam and his wife (still fighting back tears) drew the winning numbers – at this point we decide we would rather not win as it was rather embarrassing. Following on from last week’s surreal pub quiz win, I’ve found this week’s surreal moment – the soul legend and the raffle!
Anyway, here is a clip of Sam & Dave back in the day.