PHILLIP RAULS MEMPHIS MUSIC PHOTOS OF THE 70's

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Photo 8 Page reveals a change in strategy. After a lengthly and rewarding stint with Atlantic Records, Phillip aspired to convert his marketing abilities into the production and development of recording artist from his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. In 1974, Phillip returned to Memphis from Miami, Florida to join former associate Jim Stewart's STAX Records in the expansion of the Soul Music label's official entry into the Pop Music.

"People frequently asked why I would leave a cushie job with Atlantic living in beautiful Miami to return to Memphis?" said Phillip. "My only response to that was...there weren't any good Bar-B-Q restaurants in Miami."

The STAX Records expansion into Pop Music was a long-time dream of company President Jim Stewart. He recruited Phillip from Atlantic Records in Miami to coordinate the Pop Music Expansion. (double-click to enlarge)

Larry Raspberry, former leader of The Gentrys and later a Atlantic recording artist, had become a big-ticket item at the local clubs when he signed an artist contract with STAX. Teamed with producer Don Nix, Larry Raspberry and The Highsteppers were poised for stardom.

Stax Records entry into the Pop Music scene during the mid-70's was launched with an impressive roster of seasoned bands. Many of those skilled musicians had previously experienced chart success with other groups such as The Box Tops, The Mar-Keys, The Gentrys and other notables.

Phillip Rauls, Larry Raspberry and Don Nix pose backstage at LaFayette's Music Room in Memphis for a STAX press shot announcing the LP release of "Highstepping and Fancy Dancing."

When you listen to all the music that came out of Memphis, Big Star's unique songwriting and guitar oriented music produced global appeal.

Ardent Records executive John King shares a laugh with Tower Records Manager (Sunset Blvd.) Charlie Shaw as he proudly displays a record bin dedicated for artist Big Star.

Big Star's second album titled "Radio City" was released through a distribution agreement between Ardent Records and STAX. The album was considered a sleeper upon it's initial release. Yet, several years later the LP reached it's peak notoriety. The album cover is by noted photographer Bill Eggleston.

Don Nix's album "Hobos, Heroes and Street Corner Clowns" featured a host of famous musicians. The album was released on Enterprise (STAX) Records and paved the road for many Southern Roots artist.

Larry Raspberry hits a sweet guitar lick while Don Nix looks over his shoulder and in appreciation.

Longtime friends and associates, Keith Sykes and Phillip pause before a sailing trip in Coconut Grove, Florida. Besides being a prolific artist himself, Keith Sykes wrote songs for Jimmy Buffett, John Prine, The Gentrys, Jerry Jeff Walker, George Thorogood and Rosanne Cash.

By the mid-70's Keith Sykes was a seasoned veteran with several albums. This Midland RCA release was one of many fine albums by this Memphis based singer-songwriter.

A sign of success for many artists was when they acquired a tour bus. Here STAX artist Albert King proudly displays his bus on album cover titled "Lovejoy" produced by Don Nix.

This underrated Memphis band "The Amazing Rhythm Aces" experienced universal appeal and national chart success in the 70's. With the proper marketing this band could have become the next Eagles. Their catalog still remains a consistent seller and stands up to todays modern Pop-Country Music.

As technology advanced at a rapid pace, so did the process of recording music. Ardent Recording Studio in Memphis became the state-of-the-art facility for many world class artists in search for the best producers and recording accommodations.

STAX Records blues artist Albert King was the inspiration for many legendary guitarists including Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton.

Memphis band Edgewood was TMI Records first signing and had worthy potential in the progressive rock arena. The new record label and recording studio were the brain child of co-owner Steve Cropper who departed Stax Records after years of successful operations. (Clockwise L-R) Steve Spear, David Beaver, Joel Williams, David Mayo, Jim Tarbutton and center Pat Taylor.

Portions of Led Zeppelin III were produced at Ardent Studios.

Recording artist David Beaver, formerly of Edgewood, released an artistically superb album that was lost in a congested rock market . TMI Records was marketed and distributed by RCA Records, a label that had become notoriously out-of-touch with the sophisticated trends of the ever-changing rock music market.

Steve Cropper's focus became centered on Pop and Rock production. Upon leaving STAX, he became part-owner of a new recording studio and a upstart record label, TMI Records.

One cannot do justice to the 70's Memphis Music scene without mentioning producer Willie Mitchell. Aside from credit awarded to Stax, Ardent and TMI, Mitchell's Hi Records and his Royal St. Studio was churning-out hits on Al Green, Syl Johnson and Ann Peebles.

"Quadraphonic" by Jeff Beck Group was recorded at TMI Recording Studio and produced by Steve Cropper. The album featured the classic song "Going Down" written by Don Nix.

The Orpheum Theater in Memphis hosted a Tom Petty party. (L-R) Ron Olsen, Pat Rainer, Jon Scott, Tom Petty, Steve Burge, Harriet LaPeides, Gina Lucchesi, Rose Slais, Lee McLemore, Van Spence and Benmont Tench..

Sam Phillips Recording Studio, also known as SUN Studios, remained busy with various projects both local and national.

In 1975, The Don Nix & Larry Raspberry and The Highsteppers Review made a sweeping West Coast tour that included The Great American Music Hall in San Fransico. Here the entourage poses for a STAX press shot celebrating the successful tour. (L-R) Rick Swig-Epic Records, Phillip Rauls-STAX Records, Larry Raspberry, Barbara Cotteril-guest, Dave Sholin-KFRC/The Gavin Report , Don Nix and Don DeGraf.

The Overton Park Shell was the host of many fine concerts including; The Allman Bros. Band, Johnny Winter, Trapeze, Don Nix, Larry Raspberry, Cargoe, Molach and many more.

Gary Taylor, managing editor of The Gavin Radio Report, greets Phillip upon his arrival at The Great American Music Hall in S.F. for the Don Nix-Larry Raspberry press party and performance.

Jim Stewart, President and co-founder of STAX Records, recognized that consumer buying habits had shifted from the purchasing of singles to the more lucrative album buy. Upon that recognigition, STAX commited to signing artists who appealed to the Pop Music marketplace.

Larry Raspberry, aka "The Razz," fit perfectly into STAX Records Pop Music Expansion Plan as he and his band The Highsteppers stormed the country with it's blue-eyed Rock N' Soul music.

Linda Alter, former classmate, longtime friend and associate, was instrumential in advancing the careers of many artists. Her career background included: Poplar Tunes Record Shop, Shelter Records, Arista Records, and also a well-respected independent promoter. Photographed by Phillip in her office in Los Angeles, here Linda is doing what she did best, promote recording artists. Sadly, in 2005 Linda passed-away due to a long illness.

It was truly the end of an era when STAX Records closed its doors due to a bankruptcy. This left many talented recording artists and loyal staff members without employement. In the wake of this closure, the prospering Memphis Music community was enormously effected by the impact and would struggle economically for years to come. As a result of these events, the city of Memphis would forever cease to be known as a major music industry hub. (Double-click on image to enlarge)

The STAX logo which represents two fingers snapping is a fixed reminder of the labels all-original music.

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