WASHINGTON (AP) — A White House celebration Tuesday night of Memphis soul music is an affirmation of the decades of hard work that went into making it a classic American music sound, said some of the artists tapped to perform.
“I’m proud to do this,” said Sam Moore, half of the Sam & Dave soul duo, known for the hit “Hold On, I’m Comin.’”
Moore said he was kicking off the concert in the East Room after an introduction by President Barack Obama. The 77-year-old said it’s his first time meeting Obama and he joked about possibly wearing a diaper — just in case.
“You just hope you don’t slosh in your shoe,” he said in between rehearsals. Moore did not give away any details about his performance.
Artist William Bell said the concert reaffirms years of hard work that began in the early 1960s when Stax Records was created in Memphis, Tenn., and the label cranked out one soul and R&B hit after another for more than a decade.
Among its artists were Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Bell and Sam & Dave.
“As kids coming up, we didn’t think it would last this long,” the 73-year-old Bell said of the music genre during a rehearsal break. He said he would perform one of his hits, “You Don’t Miss Your Water.”
Tuesday’s concert is the 10th in the “In Performance at the White House” series. Scheduled performers include Alabama Shakes, Steve Cropper, Al Green, Ben Harper, Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper, Joshua Ledet, Charlie Musselwhite, Mavis Staples, Justin Timberlake, Bell and Moore, with Booker T. Jones as music director and band leader.
The program is scheduled to air next Tuesday on PBS stations nationwide. It will also be broadcast at a later date over the American Forces Network for service members and civilians at Defense Department locations worldwide.
Hours before the show, the first lady kicked off a workshop featuring Moore, Staples, Timberlake, Musselwhite and Harper for students from 16 schools and organizations in Virginia, California, Memphis, Tenn., New York City, Maryland, Florida and Washington, D.C.,