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Mempho Presents

WYXR’s 2024 Stereo Sessions

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WYXR 91.7 FM’s “Stereo Sessions” , presented by MEMPHO, offers hi-fi album listening parties at the Memphis Listening Lab.

These sessions explore hidden musical treasures across genres like garage rock and hip-hop. Expect full albums, artist interviews, and a celebration of Memphis’s rich musical legacy. Whether you’re a seasoned listener or a casual music lover, join us for an unforgettable journey into the heart of Memphis’s sonic tapestry.

Sponsors:

  • Memphis Listening Lab
  • Crosstown Brewing Co.
  • iBank
  • VIA Productions
July 10

Robert Clayborne
Power To Overcome

  • Guests: Robert Clayborne
  • Label: Three Angels Records
  • Year: 1987

"Power To Overcome" by Robert Clayborne stands as a rare and cherished gem in the landscape of gospel funk and boogie music. A seasoned musician deeply rooted in the Memphis music scene, Clayborne's expertise as a keyboardist and vocalist is evident in this distinctive blend of genres. A longstanding member of The Memphis All-Stars, Clayborne has left an indelible mark on the city's musical fabric, and his collaborations with R&B legend Al Green, particularly in albums like "I Can't Stop" and "Everything's OK," further showcase his versatility.

Released in 1987, "Power To Overcome" is a testament to Clayborne's ability to infuse sacred gospel themes with the vibrant and synthesized sounds of boogie, creating a unique musical fusion that sets the album apart. Labeled as "boogie funk," the album reflects a rhythmic and electronic dance music style with strong ties to post-disco, adding complexity to its sonic identity. Beyond its musical innovations, the album has become a highly sought-after collector's item, commanding notable prices in the market. As part of Clayborne's musical journey and Memphis's rich musical tapestry, "Power To Overcome" emerges as a unique expression of creativity and innovation within the niche realms of gospel funk and boogie music.

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August 14

Blackout
“Dreamworld”

  • Guests: Blackout
  • Label: Self-released
  • Year: 1995

"Dreamworld" by Blackout has left a lasting impact on the rap landscape, particularly within the Memphis rap scene and beyond. Blackout's production style, characterized by deep bass, broken hi-hats, and eerie synths, has influenced subsequent generations of artists who appreciate the album's distinctive and haunting soundscape. The lo-fi production, capturing a nightmarish ambiance, has become a signature element that many artists seek to emulate.

In terms of influence, Blackout's approach to creating atmospheric and chilling instrumentals has resonated with producers and rappers exploring similar sonic territories. The album's intense, fever-pitch deliveries, exemplified in tracks like "Mission of a Murda," have set a precedent for artists aiming to evoke genuine unease and intensity in their music.

While "Dreamworld" may not be as widely recognized in mainstream circles, its influence extends into underground and niche rap communities, where artists value the raw, authentic, and unsettling qualities embedded in the album's production. The album's impact is not only confined to its era but continues to reverberate among those who appreciate the unique and influential contributions of Memphis rap in the '90s.

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September 11

Sid Selvidge
Portrait

  • Guests: Pat Sansone (Wilco), Steve Selvidge (Big Ass Truck, The Hold Steady)
  • Label: Enterprise (Stax)
  • Year: 1969

Sid Selvidge's debut album, "Portrait," released in 1969 on Enterprise Records (a subsidiary of Stax), stands as a timeless masterpiece within the realm of country blues and folk. A native of the Mississippi Delta and a figure deeply rooted in the Memphis music scene, Selvidge approached his music with a genial yet uncompromising attitude. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Selvidge did not aspire to the grandeur of coliseum crowds or commercial success. Instead, he found solace in intimate venues and a sound that beautifully straddled the folk-blues line, embracing the influences of 1960s coffeehouse anthems, plaintive Anglo folk balladry, and raw African-American musical traditions.

"Portrait" showcases Selvidge's lilting falsetto, conveying both humility and authority, and his approach to music was characterized by a genuine custodianship for the rich musical heritage of the Southern United States. The album includes the anti-war tune "The Ballad Of Otis B. Watson," which, despite initial success, faced adversity with commercial radio due to advertiser pressure. The hauntingly beautiful nature of the album, underscored by tracks like "Hush-A-Bye," has garnered admiration from fans who consider it a hidden gem. Sid Selvidge's commitment to his artistry over commercial pursuits, as well as his unique blend of folk and blues, leaves an indelible mark on the musical landscape, making "Portrait" a cherished and haunting piece of musical history.

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April 10

Hellcats
Hoodoo Train

  • Guests: Greg Cartwright (Reigning Sound, Oblivians), Su Hartline, etc.
  • Label: New Rose
  • Year: 1990

"Hoodoo Train," the 1990 release by Memphis-based all-female band The Hellcats, serves as a compelling snapshot of the city's vibrant roots-punk scene. The album, distributed by New Rose Records in France, embodies a fusion of alternative rock, garage rock, indie rock, and country rock, showcasing the band's versatility and distinctive sound within the broader roots music landscape.

Led by a lineup featuring Diane Green, Giovanna Pizzorno, Lisa McGaughran, Lorette Velvette, Misty White, and Su Ondine, The Hellcats deliver a memorable collection of tracks on "Hoodoo Train." The album's eclectic mix includes noteworthy songs like "Where The Hell Is Memphis," "Hoodoo Train," and "Crazy About You Baby." The Hellcats' spirited and rocking approach, coupled with their skillful musicianship, contributes to the album's appeal. Despite the band's relatively short-lived existence, "Hoodoo Train" stands as a testament to The Hellcats' significant presence in the Memphis music scene and their ability to infuse energy and originality into the roots-punk genre.

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May 8

D. Beaver
Combinations

  • Guests: Nancy Agee, David Beaver
  • Label: TMI
  • Year: 1973

"D. Beaver, the musical endeavor of keyboardist David Beaver, left an indelible mark with the 1973 album "Combinations." Transitioning from his earlier days with The Gentrys and Edgewood, Beaver's solo project showcased a progressive blend of pop, blues rock, and psychedelic elements. Recorded under TMI Records, linked to the iconic Steve Cropper of Booker T. & The MG's, "Combinations" is a testament to Beaver's musical versatility. The album's highlights, such as the Hammond Organ-driven "I Wanna Show You" and the experimental "The Wizard Of Menlo Park," underscore Beaver's knack for intricate arrangements and contribute to the vibrant tapestry of Memphis' musical heritage."

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June 12

The Bar-Kays
Do You See What I See?

  • Guests: James Alexander
  • Label: Volt Records (Stax)
  • Year: 1972

Released in 1972, "Do You See What I See?" by The Bar-Kays is a testament to the band's resilience and musical evolution. Originating from Memphis, the group began in the mid-'60s and found early success with "Soul Finger." The tragic 1967 plane crash, claiming lives including Otis Redding, prompted survivors Ben Cauley and James Alexander to rebuild the band with new members.

Fusing rock, funk, and soul, the album has left an enduring impact, with tracks sampled in hip-hop, such as "U Mean I'm Not" by Black Sheep and "Radio Suckers" by Ice-T. Standout tracks like the title song and "You're the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me" showcase The Bar-Kays' musical versatility and timeless quality. Beyond shaping their legacy, the band served as a backing force for icons like Otis Redding and Isaac Hayes, contributing to Hayes' acclaimed albums like "Hot Buttered Soul" and "Shaft." "Do You See What I See?" not only represents a chapter in the band's history but also stands as a cornerstone in the evolution of funk and soul music, leaving an enduring impact across genres and generations.

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