When we get together this evening for “Great Soul Performances” I’ll be saluting the city of Memphis, Tennessee, with many of the artists from Stax and Hi Records. In addition, you’ll hear recollections and the sounds of my former Memphis Radio Station; the Big 1070 Soul, WDIA. On the playlist will be: Booker T. & the MGs, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Sam & Dave, Ann Peebles, the Soul Children, Otis Redding, Al Green, Ollie & the Nightingales, Isaac Hayes, the Temprees, the Staple Singers, Johnnie Taylor and more. It begins at 7PM ET, then immediately following on “Great Soul Performances 2: The 80s” we’ll be presenting music from: Earth, Wind & Fire, Barry White, Madonna, Tone Loc, Jocko Henderson, the Main Ingredient, Yarbrough & Peoples, Ben E. King, New Edition, the Four Tops, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Mathis and several others. I thinks it’s going to be a good evening for music and memories as we spotlight the music of Memphis and the 50,000 watt Soul Giant, WDIA and fabulous 80s sounds on “Great Soul Performances” and “Great Soul Performances 2:The 80s,” on the “Home Of The Hits,” RadioMaxMusic.Com.
Thomas was born in the Foote Homes Housing Project in Memphis. Along with her siblings, Marvell and Vaneese, she was one of three musical children of Rufus and Lorene Thomas. Despite growing up in the projects, the Thomas family lived near the Palace Theater on Beale Street, as Rufus was the theater’s emcee for their amateur shows. This access not only gave Thomas her first taste of the music world but it also provided a springboard for her transformation into the Queen of the Memphis Sound.
After her last Stax recording in 1971, Love Means, Thomas slipped into relative obscurity when compared to her 1960s musical heyday. However, she was featured in a number of modern-day projects, notably including a 1994 compilation of her greatest hits, a 2002 live recording of a Memphis performance and the 2007 release Live at the Bohemian Caverns in Washington, D.C., a long lost live recording of Thomas in 1967. She would also occasionally tour during the 1980s and became heavily involved in the “Artists in the Schools” program that provided Memphis schoolchildren with access to successful artists. These workshops were organized to talk to teenagers about music, performing arts and drug abuse. In 1993, Thomas was awarded the prestigious Pioneer Award, along with such musical heavyweights as James Brown and Solomon Burke, from the Rhythm & Blues Foundation in honor of her career achievements. She was also featured in the 2003 documentary, Only the Strong Will Survive that was shown at the Cannes Film Festival and showcased important Stax recording artists. (Source: Wikipedia)