All musical genres can trace its roots to musical styles that came before it. Rock and Roll for example could trace its roots to Rhythm and Blues music. Soul music is the same thing. It is a development of Gospel music. In fact one way to define soul is that it is Gospel music where the lyrics used on the songs are secular. Its religious roots can even be seen from its name.
Like all other musical genres that have been around for some time now, soul has a rich and colourful history. There are many artists that have contributed towards making its history a very interesting one. To celebrate such a powerful past a museum was created. This is the Stax Museum, the museum for soul music.
The Museum of Soul Music
The Stax Museum of American Soul Music is located in Memphis, Tennessee. It is located in the same place where Stax Records used to operate. The original building deteriorated after Stax Records went bankrupt back in the 70s. A group of concerned citizens with the financial backing of some anonymous supporters started a drive for rehabilitating the area where the record company was originally located.
The museum was built along with a music academy. Construction started out in 2001 and the museum was officially opened in 2003.
The museum holds one of the biggest collections of memorabilia connected with soul music. That includes videos, photos and documents that have some connection with the development of the genre. There are also instruments used in recording the songs for Stax Records during its heyday. There is also a Mississippi Delta church there, which helps to illustrate the connection of soul music to religion. The dance floor for Soul Train is also part of the exhibit.
A non-musical part of the exhibit which is nonetheless very interesting is the gold-trimmed, peacock-blue Cadillac El Dorado belonging to Isaac Hayes which was restored. There is also a special gallery section which changes the featured exhibit several times each year.
The Stax Museum not only features artists that were under the original Stax label but artists from other record companies as well. It celebrates soul music so it would never be complete without featuring artists from Motown as well.
The adjoining Stax Academy is a facility dedicated to teaching young people music and in encouraging them to develop their musical talents to help them become better persons.