Results for Carl Cunningham

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James Alexander

1967's Soul Finger by The Bar-Kays is one of the most instantly recognizable instrumentals of its era, and on the bass is James Alexander. The Bar-Kays played a pivotal part in Stax Records' studio system, eventually replacing Booker T & the MGs as the primary session band behind labelmates like Albert King, The Emotions and Isaac Hayes. They were also consistent hitmakers in their own right that charted throughout the '70s and '80s with jams like "Holy Ghost" and "Son of Shaft." Additionally, the Bar-Kays were the backing band on Isaac Hayes's award-winning Shaft soundtrack. This year, the original soundtrack was re-released in a new box set with almost two dozen previously unreleased tracks that feature The Bar-Kays. Jim and Greg talk with James Alexander about the making of the historic Shaft soundtrack, as well as a turning point in Alexander's career when tragedy struck the Stax Records family.

In early December of 1967, the music world was rocked by news of a plane crash near Madison, Wisconsin. Otis Redding and Bar-Kays members Ronnie Caldwell, Phalon Jones, Jimmy King, and Carl Cunningham were killed in the crash, only trumpeter Ben Cauley survived (miraculously, James didn't take that flight.) In their conversation, James discusses with Jim and Greg what it was like to overcome catastrophe so early in his career.

Go to episode 719