Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Morning After Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Times Were A Changing

Towards the end of the decade, there were rapid social and technological advancements. Yet the nation was still lingering from the effects of The Vietnam War, political assassinations and a decade of endless Motown ballads. No longer did you have the eight-track tape plus the 45 RPM single was on the decline. To no ones surprise, anarchy filled the air combined with the sweet fragrance of incense and flower power. It was a time when people searched for their own identities and clung to the words of protest songs in lieu of answers. Music literally provided an escape for millions of young people still hung-over from judgments made by previous generations. During that period of uncertainty, it didn't seem that anyone had financial resources whereas I was saving a ton of money by avoiding haircuts. Not surprisingly, my parents didn't approve of my appearance yet my best friends passionately embraced the trend. Somehow people made ends meet by pooling their resources and treating others like brothers. Spending time hanging around the bachelor pad with your hip friends was definitely in vogue. There you had stylish surroundings such as bean bags, lava lamps, record players and concert posters. All were a absolute must for the modern crib. By the way, did I mention water pipes?
But I stayed focused on my career as I dearly enjoyed the music business and the industry within. After dropping out of college and previously serving as THE GENTRYS road manager, I was now a seasoned veteran of two years in the record business. Being a STAX promotion man wasn't bad, I got free records, concert tickets and T-shirts. Plus, tons of great bands were scheduled to appear locally. But little did I know what was on the horizon in the coming months.

Stax Records Benard Roberson congratulates Jim Crudgington and Phillip Rauls upon recieving the gold record award of Isaac Hayes "Hot Buttered Soul".  Posted by Hello

Concert posters draped the wall in the bachleor pad. Posted by Hello

A Legend Lost: It took Stax Records several years to recover from Otis Redding's death.  Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Eagle Beagle and Larry Raspberry howling together while playfully rehearsing their parts on their own version of the hit song "Wherewolves In London" Posted by Hello

STAX Records Press Shot: Rauls, Raspberry & Nix Posted by Hello

The MAR-KEYS later splintered into two seperate groups: Booker T. & The M.G.s and The Memphis Horns Posted by Hello

Friday, April 15, 2005

Snaggle-toothed Posted by Hello

Bare footed and soiled clothing Posted by Hello

Squalor Posted by Hello

Innocence Posted by Hello

Backroads of Mississippi

On a hot summer afternoon when few residences had the luxury of air conditioning, a motorcycle ride in the country was my source of cooling down. Escaping the steamy asphalt of city streets often took me outside Memphis city limits and into neighboring Mississippi. The year was 1968 and gravel and dirt roads were abundant in Desoto County. But that's alright with me momma because a large canopy of trees cooled the dusty trails. On this ride I encountered children running along side of my bike while curiously scanning a white stranger. I came to a stop and attempted to strike up a conversation only to find them big-eyed and bashful. They were inspecting my characteristics as much as I was inquisitive to theirs. It was as if suddenly I had landed on another planet. Snaggle-toothed, bare footed and soiled clothing fit their profile. Several minutes passed when I began photographing their innocence. I was joyed by their presence but saddended by their squaloring lifestyles. It was hard to believe that I was viewing people living like this in America.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Introduction to Photography

In the mid-sixties, my education into cameras began with the life-changing experience of being a local guide for Life Magazine photographer Stephen Shapiro and LA Times journalist Pete Johnson. Both were in Memphis covering the untimely death of The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This was an eye-opening encounter that had me operating behind the scenes for several days. Being their driver and escorting them to the site of the tragic shooting of Dr. King at the Loraine Hotel and also to the flop-house where James Earl Ray was staying was exceptionally haunting. Although I was their driver, I quietly stayed in the background as to avert attention to an already very tense atmosphere. Both Shapiro and Johnson were supported with all-access press passes that allowed us to move freely during the city wide curfew. National Guard tanks roamed the streets at night as to enforce the lock-down. It was not a good time to leave your home. The next day a parade was held on main street to honor Dr. King and the striking sanitation workers, the three of us were front and center of the parade to capture the best photo of the news event. On the final day, I drove the two of them back to the airport where they photographed Senator Bobby Kennedy's private plane sent there to escort Dr. Kings body back for burial. Upon completion of my task we shook hands at the car rental counter and settled-up. For compensation of my guide services I earned enough money to purchased my very first camera, a $250 35MM Yashika SLR.