Where there’s smoke there’s fire,” the saying goes. But where there’s smoke and fire, it just may be a live performance by The Bar-Kays. The funk-o-matic Memphis group has been setting audiences ablaze for the past four decades.
Originating as the Stax Records’ house band in 1966, The Bar-Kays were born from soul music and turbulent times. At the end of Jim Crow’s reign, these young Memphians were finding their musical voice and offering listeners a safe haven from the racial unrest surrounding them. In a city known for singing the blues and birthing rock n roll, the sound of soul offered a raw, and real-deal, relevance to a young African American community seeking a sound of its own. The Bar-Kays were the epicentre of this fertile creativity.
The Bar-Kays have a career total of 29 albums, including 1 platinum album, 5 gold albums, and 20 top ten singles. The Bar-Kays music has been sampled by everyone, from Coolio to Will Smith, to old schoolers like Cameo. Their career has been documented in music institutions such as The Stax Museum of American Soul Music and the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame. The Bar-Kays recently were asked to donate iconic stage garb and musical equipment to the esteemed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.