Where there’s smoke there’s fire,” the saying goes. But where there’s smoke and fire, it just might be a live performance by a certain funkomatic group of Memphians who have been setting audiences ablaze for the past five decades. THE BAR-KAYS BIO Fire, smoke, vibrant costuming, and even a live, 12-foot python snake are all just part of what’s in store for audiences these days at a typical stage performance by the Bar-Kays. Spontaneity and excitement has been a trademark of the group ever since their inception in the late 60’s.
Today’s Bar-Kays have boosted their high-energy act into an even higher gear for the new millennium crowd. An energy that’s equally present on their upcoming new CD. While the musical tastes of the fans have evolved many times since the band’s origination, the Bar-Kays have proven no strangers to evolution. Beginning as a house band with Stax Records in Memphis in 1966, their potent, dynamic sound would carry them to a chart-topping perch the very next year with their first smash single, “SOUL FINGER.” It was that dynamism that landed them the spot as the backup group for the legendary soul singer, “Otis Redding,” on his final worldwide tour. That tour, however, was to have a disastrous finale, as Otis Redding and four members of the band would perish in a tragic plane accident. The young surviving members, James Alexander and Ben Cauley, then reformed the band, with the help of Allen Jones who later became their producer and manager. In the rebuilding process, there would be no diminishing of the standards of showmanship and professionalism. Among those recruited would be Larry Dodson, who would evolve into not only another pillar of the band (as well as lead singer), but the corner stone of their future. Soon the new Bar-Kays were the premier house band for Stax Records playing on millions of records behind such artists as Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Johnnie Taylor, Eddie Floyd, The Emotions, The Dramatics, Albert King, and Isaac Hayes which includes “Hot Buttered Soul” “Black Moses” and the Grammy Award winning album “Shaft.” Throughout the 70’s they would be backing some of the most distinguished names in R&B music.
However, “The Bar-Kays” ran a string of their own hits pioneering a trail in the “Funk” music genre including, “SHAKE YOUR RUMP TO THE FUNK,” “ATTITUDE,” “MOVE YOUR BOOGIE BODY,” “SEX-O-MATIC,” “ANTICIPATION,” “FREAKSHOW ON THE DANCE FLOOR,” “HIT AND RUN,” “SHE TALKS TO ME WITH HER BODY,” “TOO HOT TO STOP,” and many other hit singles. In the late 80’s, after over twenty years of grueling demands, James Alexander left the Bar-Kays to form his own promotion company. Shortly thereafter, producer/manager Allen Jones passed away. The Bar-Kays decided to take a hiatus from radio and just travel and perform abroad. It was in 1991, that Alexander and Dodson, would join forces once again to record again. They went to great lengths to insure that it retained the freshness
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