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Friday, 29 November, 2002, 18:35 GMT
Soul museum to mark Stax label
The original Soulsville USA, home of Stax Records
Soulsville USA was the home of Stax records until 1975
The influence of legendary US soul music label Stax is to be recognised with the opening of a $20m (12m) museum in April next year.

The Stax Museum of American Soul Music is part of a urban and cultural renewal programme for a rundown area in Memphis, Tennessee, known as Soulsville USA .

The Stax studio was based in a converted cinema at the famed address of 926 East McLemore Avenue until it folded in 1975, forcing the local neighbourhood into recession.

In the 1960s and 1970s Stax was home to such hit-making artists as Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Carla Thomas and Isaac Hayes.

Otis Redding in 1967
Otis Redding was one of Stax's biggest hitmakers
At its height it was second in its field only to Motown in sales and influence.

The renovation project, financed by federal, state and city funds as well as private donations, will also feature a music academy.

It will include recording studios and rehearsal rooms, equipment and computers for composing music.

Students can learn guitar, bass, drums and singing.

New talent

The museum's founders say it will amount to more than just a display of memorabilia.

Deanie Parker, president and executive director of the Soulsville project, said: "The academy will not only be for kids to discover their musical talent.

Carla Thomas
Carla Thomas was the label's biggest female artist
"It will serve as an essential after-hours programme in a still-deprived area where the majority of kids are raised by single women."

Half of the area's local population live below the poverty line with an average annual income per household of $12,600 (7,900).

The museum will provide a new tourism boost in a city that attracts thousands annually to see Elvis Presley's Graceland home and the blues bars and clubs of Beale Street.

Stax is widely regarded as one of the most influential labels in the history of black American music.

Between 1959 and 1975, it released 800 singles and 300 albums.

Stax artists collected eight Grammy awards, produced 12 top 10 hits and three number ones.

It also won an Oscar for Isaac Hayes' Shaft soundtrack.

See also:

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