Stax Getting In On Elvis Week Action With Newly Released Stax Sessions

Stax Getting In On Elvis Week Action With Newly Released Stax Sessions

Blue Suede Shoes, Graceland and Sun Studio. They're all synonymous with Elvis. But this year Stax recording studio is getting in on the Elvis week action with a newly released compilation of Elvis' Stax sessions.
MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com) - Blue Suede Shoes, Graceland and Sun Studio. They're all synonymous with Elvis.

But this year Stax recording studio is getting in on the Elvis week action with a newly released compilation of Elvis' Stax sessions.

In 1973, Elvis was tired of going to Nashville to record so he gathered a group of musicians at one of the most unique studios in the United States.

And it created something truly remarkable.

“That slanted floor gave the back beat a little more thump and what Rufus would call that "funky sound" you know??” curator of STAX Levon Williams said.

And that's exactly what Elvis Presley wanted when he set out to record in 1973.

Tired of lengthy trips to Nashville and looking for something unique, Elvis and Stax made history.

“Staying close to home. Staying close to Memphis. Those were important things to him,” Williams said.

Elvis wasn't a Stax artist, he didn't record Stax songs. He didn't even use Stax musicians. But when the King calls, you answer.

That's what record producer and bassist Norbert Putnam found when he was just 28-years-old.

“I said I’ve been summons by the King to come to Memphis. Do you think we can take a week off? He said if you're summons by the king he could behead you,” Putnam said.

Putnam and Elvis were instant friends. He said playing with him was like a high school reunion.

“The recording sessions were so loose and we were having so much fun that sometimes elvis would yell at us,” Putnam said. “He'd say we've got to make this record.”

Putnam smiles ear to ear when thinking about those days at Stax with The King.

Putnam has worked with a lot of artists. Hundreds over a lengthy career. He speaks frequently at schools and music workshops. And gets asked a lot of questions.

A few years ago he ran into Priscilla Presley at a Memphis restaurant.

“I said the question I always get is who is your favorite artist? Who was the best? I said its always the same answer. Up here is Elvis, down here is everyone else,” Putnam said.

The Stax sessions album is out now.

Putnam has a book coming out next year called “Music Lessons.” It features his favorite stories from the artists he's worked with including The Beatles and Jimmy Buffet. Four chapters of the book will focus on those days with Elvis.
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