King Curtis: Memphis Soul Stew


Memphis Soul Stew


King Curtis (tenor saxophone)


Memphis Soul Stew (Collectables 9978)

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King Curtis (tenor saxophone), Jerry Jemmott (bass), Bernard Purdie (drums), Cornell Dupree (guitar), Truman Thomas (organ).

Composed by Curtis Ousley


Recorded: New York City, late 1966


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

"Memphis Soul Stew" sounds just like the Aretha Franklin recordings "King" Curtis Ousley helped standardize, with Curtis' hot tenor saxophone blaring amidst a full brass ensemble and a funky backdrop laid down by the usual group of hired guns. He serves up the menu in a slight Southern drawl, as "Fatback drums" and "four tablespoons of boiling Memphis guitars" merge with "a pinch of organ" and "half-a-pint of horn." All ingredients cook with fire, and, as for the recording itself, you can hear Curtis pressing his saxophone's pads up and down while he improvises and sets the world ablaze. The recording lays down the foundation for other R&B singles that achieved crossover commercial success such as Archie Bell and the Drells' "Tighten Up" and "What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)" by Jr. Walker, and it will get your head boppin' and your body movin'. As a hitmaking force, King Curtis had the juice.

Reviewer: Marcus Singletary

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