Monday, 19 August 2013

Steve Cropper (Part 1)

One  of  the Key Creative Pillars of  the  Southern Soul Music


While at Stax Records Steve Cropper performed many different roles as Record Producer, Engineer, Studio Musician, Songwriter and Recording Executive. He acquired his engineering skills from Chip Moman, the primary Recording Engineer at Stax during the early years of operation.

Cropper played guitar on Stax’s first major hit, a duet with Rufus Thomas and daughter Carla Thomas entitled “’Cause I Love You”. Stax’s open-door policy and harmonious working methods enabled Cropper to develop a deep passion for the music created there transcending racial lines.

As a result a profound bond developed between himself, Al Jackson Jr., Booker T Washington and Donald “Duck” Dunn. Washington and Jackson were black, born in the Deep South, whilst Dunn, like Cropper, were both white. Together they became the nucleus of the Stax Studio Band and became also the Touring (support) Band for artists such as Otis Redding and the duo Sam and Dave.

And as for several other signed artists/acts at Stax, they complemented the Memphis Horn section and they then emerged of course as Booker T & The MG’s.  The men and women who came together at Stax developed a raw and refined Southern Soul sound to rival other hit-making city centers such as Chicago and Detroit of course with its’ Motown Sound.

 Album was produced by Isaac Hayes
 and Dave Porter. 
The album features Cropper 
on guitar with Booker T & The MGs
and The Memphis Horn section.

Cropper was one of the key people to help the Stax organization develop as a multi-racial corporation during a period in American history then steeped deeply in racial discord. Cropper’s signature guitar sound is found on many of the major R&B and Soul hits to come out of Memphis during the 1960s and early 1970s. The classic hit song "Soul Man" with the powerful guitar intro and the response from The Memphis Horn Section is one of the best of these. 

Steve’s approach to playing set him apart from many of his contemporaries and became a significant element in the development and delivery of Stax’s raw and refined sound. For his great impact on contemporary music, he was also named the second greatest guitar player of all time, behind Jimi Hendrix, according to Britain’s Mojo magazine in 1996.

Many educational institutions are actually conducting courses on Steve Cropper’s guitar techniques, with many publications available to the public. He was elected to The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 by his peers for his historical influence on the development of music through several decades.

 Researched and compiled by 
Mr K Tomlin Music Historian 

  ©RCM Music/Signaturesoundsonline 2013



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About Me

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Old Harlow, Essex, United Kingdom
Kevin Tomlin has over 34 years of teaching experience in Jamaica, England and America, including 15 years teaching music history of black origin and visual art in South Florida, U.S.A., through Arts in Education. Tomlin created special training programmes and workshops for music teachers in South Florida schools, using music history as the foundation, to build exciting programmes of study and support materials for education professionals. Since 2000, he’s taught music history, geography, religious education, history, visual arts and performing arts at schools in Hertfordshire and Essex, at both primary and secondary levels. He conducts research and provides consultancy services for multi-media organisations, schools, recording artists, cultural and faith-based groups and entertainment professionals.

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