Does soul music still exist? When you listen to Whitney Houston, you’re tempted to assume the spirit died years ago. But the real thing is still out there, as the audience discovered last night at the closing instalment of the Barbican’s Memphis festival. Quite a show. The essence of Stax: Booker T & The MGs, Eddie Floyd, William Bell. Real musicians playing real songs.

In the closing pages of "Sweet Soul Music", his evocative history of Sixties R&B, David Guralnick couldn’t help striking a valedictory note. That’s not surprising when you consider his description of Booker T’s white sidemen, Steve Cropper and “Duck” Dunn, being escorted through a mob outside the Stax studios on the day of Martin Luther King’s death. Guralnick knew that an era had finally ended.

He was right, of course. But last night it was possible to believe nothing had ever changed.

|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2005/04/echoes-of-r-mgs-eddie-floyd-william.html|||4/26/2005 06:27:00 pm|||||||||