BORN: At Memphis, Tennessee based Stax Records in 1966 – they were the label’s house band, backing folks like Sam and Dave, Carla Thomas, Booker T. and The M.G.’s and Otis Redding.
BIG BREAK: Their first solo hit, “Soul Finger” which was released in 1966.
BACK STORY: The original Bar-Kays were tragically forced to regroup after four of them perished in the 1967 plane crash that also killed Redding. James Alexander and Ben Cauley, who survived the actual crash, (Alexander was on another plane) added Larry Dodson and other members and returned to their outstanding musicianship as the Stax house band, playing on the records of classic artists. They are known for their work with Isaac Hayes on his hit albums, including the “Shaft” soundtrack.
RESUME: The Bar-Kays may be Stax’ best kept secret. The historic R&B label depended on their musicianship as the backbone for their success. One of their biggest groups was Booker T. and the M.G.’s, an interracial group who were one of the first to be successful. The Bar-Kays recorded their own hits as a group including “Freakshow On The Dance Floor,” “Attitude,” “Move Your Boogie Body,” “Sex-O-Matic,” “Anticipation,” “Hit And Run,” “She Talks To Me With Her Body,” and “Too Hot To Stop.”
FUN FACTS: The Bar-Kays are one of the most sampled groups in hip-hop due to their tight funk grooves. The have been sampled on records by Cameo, Will Smith, Coolio and Teddy Riley. Producer Jazze Pha, born Phalon Anton Alexander, who has worked with groups like LSG, Ciara, Left Eye, Trick Daddy, Big Boi, Li’l Wayne, Nelly and more, is James Alexander’s son. He was named after Phalon Jones, one of the BarKays members who was killed in the plane crash.
LATEST WORK: “Grown Folks”, the group’s 30th career release, is out now.
ON FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/barkaysmusic
BEST OF BAR-KAYS (Video):
“Freakshow on the Dance Floor”
“Grown Folks” (audio only)
“Shine” (Soul Train performance)