Memphis soul is inextricably tied to the storied reign of Stax Records, but a new compilation from the celebrated archival label Light in the Attic will trace the ways soul music continued to flourish and evolve in west Tennessee well after the heydays of Isaac Hayes and Otis Redding.
Stone Crush: Memphis Modern Soul 1977 – 1987 arrives April 3rd and as a teaser Light in the Attic is sharing a never-before-seen music video for Mark Anthony and Lyte Speed’s 1982 roller rink anthem, “I’m Just a Boogie Roller.” Although the song won’t appear on Stone Crush proper, it will be included as a special seven-inch single for the vinyl release of the compilation.
“I’m Just a Boogie Roller” captures the way classic soul styles blended with disco, pop and rock during the late Seventies and Eighties, with sweet vocals and soft harmonies drifting over a thick bass groove, slick guitar work and some virtuosic drumming. The previously unreleased video for the track is a delightful document of how this music provided the perfect soundtrack for roller skating culture and features some impressive choreographed routines, plus one mind-boggling set of expertly executed backflips.
Compiled by Daniel Mathis and Chad Weekley, Stone Crush covers a broad array of styles, “from roller skate boogie to private press soul to bedroom funk.” Although none of the artists on the compilation scored any major hits, Stone Crush highlights the way Memphis’ vast studio system continued to support artists from an array of backgrounds even after Stax shuttered in 1975.
Among the artists on the collection are O.T. Sykes, a dentist who exchanged dental work for time in the studio; Benjamin Jimerson-Philips, an advertising agent who spent his nights fronting Captain Fantastic and Starr Fleet; and Cato Walker, who worked as B.B. King’s artistic director, after his father and mother served as the blues legend’s tour bus driver and booking agent, respectively. There are of course plenty of ties to the Stax legacy as well, including a song from an artist named Libra, who’d previously worked as the Bar-Kays’ costume maker.
Stone Crush is available to preorder and will be released digitally and as two-CD and two-LP vinyl set, with the latter boasting the “I’m Just a Boogie Roller” seven-inch. The physical copies will come with booklets featuring archival photos and other ephemera, plus liner notes from Memphis writers Andria Lisle and Robert Gordon.
Stone Crush: Memphis Modern Soul 1977 – 1987
1. O.T. Sykes – “Stone Crush on You”
2. L.A. – “The Doctor”
3. Tom Sanders – “I’ll Get to That”
4. Frankie Alexander – “No Seat Dancin'”
5. Captain Fantastic & Starr Fleet – “Keep It to Yourself”
6. Captain Fantastic & Starr Fleet – “Under Cover Lover”
7. Magic Morris – “(I’m) Choosing You”
8. Sir Henry Ivy – “He Left You Standing There”
9. Sweet Pearl – “You Mean Everything To Me”
10. Morris – “Can We Melt the Ice”
11. J- Phakta – “Is It Love”
12. Cato – “Slice Of Heaven”
13. Frankie Alexander – “Take Time Out for Love”
14. Greg Mason – “What Does It Take to Know (A Woman Like You)”
15. Silk Satin & Lace – “Always”
16. Kick – “Lollie Pop”
17. Kick – “Right Thing”
18. Libra – “Convict Me”