Friday, December 12, 2008


Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Benjamin Krain

NEVER one to rest on his laurels, former Stax Records owner Al Bell is at it again. And he's at it to change the music industry once again, just as he has done so many times before.

Mr. Bell's new company, "Al Bell Presents," just launched its new website,, a 24/7 cornucopia of classic soul music, new soul music, and everything in between in an attempt to “entertain, engage, excite, inform, and educate," fans of all ages regarding all sub-genres of soul music, from Stax and Motown to hip-hop and neosoul. He is carefully hand-picking the programming and has included a great mix of music, bios, personal observations, and much, much more. And in the process of this progress in the works, he will be doing some great things to help promote the Stax Museum, Stax Music Academy, and The Soulsville Charter School. Al has always been a great "giver-backer" and that's one of the many things we appreciate about him. That and he is just plain cool!

Look for the industry to pay attention to this, as "Billboard" has already bitten and wants more. And click here to read a recent, indepth profile in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

If you like some of the 2,000 tracks of music on the site, there's plenty more at the newly revamped Stax Museum Online Web Store.

Here is the official press release from Al Bell Presents.

Stax Records Legend Al Bell Launches
“Al Bell Presents,” And Announces New
Internet Radio Station and Website

LITTLE ROCK, AR and CHARLESTON, SC (December 11, 2008):
Former Stax Records owner and Motown president Al Bell, a legend in the evolution of American music, today announced the launch of a new company, Al Bell Presents, LLC. The centerpiece of this new venture is a full-service website and the first of several Internet music channels, “Al Bell Presents American Soul Music,” both of which were built by
Charleston, SC-based American Media Services-Interactive.

Mr. Bell notes that both the website and online radio station were launched as works in progress so that the consumer, the recorded music industry, entertainment industry, and businesses in general would know what he is doing. Bell insists that, during these changing times, he wishes to create an entity that can be ‘of service’ to many.

The Al Bell Presents website is designed to function as an interactive Internet portal that offers users a variety of elements designed to “entertain, engage, excite, inform and educate.” Within these parameters it serves as a fully integrated online experience that will be scalable and constantly updated in order to provide its audience the most up-to-date content possible.

Similarly, Al Bell Presents American Soul Music features musical selections hand-picked and programmed by Mr. Bell, including over two thousand classic tracks from Stax, Motown, Philadelphia International, and other record labels’ catalogs. Mr. Bell has committed his expert ear and sense of radio formatics to develop this channel into the quintessential online listening experience for all fans of Soul, R&B, Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Neo-Hip-Hop, Neo-Rap, and Neo-Soul. In addition to the music, the channel will feature Al Bell’s personal observations about the artists, the emotions, the history, and the heritage.

Both the online channel and the website can be experienced at

“It is my desire to provide a music experience that has not been enjoyed before,” commented Al Bell, chairman and chief executive officer of Al Bell Presents. “It is my desire through this diverse mixture of music to provide a connection to the past and a life line into the future. I ask all who will listen to help me. Please give me your comments and recommend the music we should be playing. Make this your – our – radio station. Email me at”

“Mr. Bell came to our offices in Charleston to sit down with me and learn what our capabilities were,” recalls Edward F. Seeger, chairman of American Media Services. “I showed him what we had done thus far with TheRadio.Com and our ‘Stax Trax’ channel, which featured the artists he worked with and the label he ran in Memphis. He then shared with me his vision of the future for music, programming, and sales, and it was a perfect fit with mine, so we came to the conclusion to make it work together. AMSI is proud to work with Mr. Al Bell, an icon of the music industry, and to take this concept into the digital realm. The site is outstanding with its streaming 24 hour music format and the plans for more and more features will make this a must-visit site for anyone who appreciates Soul music. There is a profound change coming – no, it's already here and quickly growing from analog to digital. The venture between American Media Services-Interactive and Mr. Al Bell will be a front-runner in this new music era.”

More About The Website
The Al Bell Presents website is being designed with a “contemporary-retro” look and state-of-the-art functionality that provides users a number of audio and visual features, including:
· On Air: Online radio.
· Artists: Up-to-date bios, photo galleries, classic videos, and other information about dozens Soul, R&B, Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Neo-Hip-Hop, Neo-Rap, and Neo-Soul artists.
· Backstage Access: Exclusive artist interviews, behind the scenes stories, in-studio videos, etc.
· Screening Room: Artist videos, classic performances, movie trailers, and other visual representations of classic and contemporary music.
· People’s Music: New music from unique, up-and-coming artists and musicians.
· Merchandise: Lots of great stuff available for free (and some for sale).

Each individual element of the website has an intrinsic value crafted to attract corporate co-branding and sponsorship opportunities. Because the website was designed so that features are changing constantly, it is believed that users will keep coming back on a regular basis – allowing for advertiser to achieve significant “reach and frequency.”

More About Al Bell Presents American Soul Music
Al Bell Presents American Soul Music provides a unique experience to a global audience that wants to listen to quality Soul, R&B, Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Neo-Hip-Hop, Neo-Rap, and Neo-Soul programming, something that currently does not exist on terrestrial radio or on the Internet. Mr. Bell used his 50 years’ experience in the radio and recording industries to develop a sound unlike that heard on any terrestrial or Internet radio station, and it shows. Listeners have already found the station and the “time spent listening” statistics demonstrate their unanimous love for the channel.

About American Media Services-Interactive
American Media Services Interactive is a digital media enterprise whose services include “leading edge” solutions for emerging media, engagement strategies for audio/video streaming, customized and branded music channels, HD radio formats, content management systems, custom application development, website programming and design and corporate/retail “storecasting” at point-of-purchase. AMSI is an affiliate company of American Media Services, an engineering and broadcast development firm that has worked with virtually every public radio group in the U.S., including Clear Channel, CBS Radio, Citadel Broadcasting, ABC Radio, Cumulus Media, Radio One, and Saga Communications. More information about AMSI may be found at

For more information contact:
Reed Bunzel, 843-388-5024


Tuesday, December 9, 2008


If you can’t get it at the mall, can’t find it at a major record store, can’t watch it on television, and can’t find it on any other web site, you must be looking for Stax Records music and other hard-to-find soul music CDs and DVDs, as well as soul music-themed apparel, books, giftware, mouse pads, keychains, magnets, and other merchandise that is now available to anyone in the world via the new online web store of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.
Launched in early December in time for holiday shopping, the new “We’re Selling Our Soul” web store has many items that can’t be found for sale at any other location in the world other than in the museum’s physical Satellite Record & Gift Shop. The site uses the most recent technology to make shopping easy and fun, with You Tube video samples of some of the music offered and other new features. New Stax-related items, new music and DVD releases, and other merchandise will be added regularly. Shoppers will also be treated to Soulsville Picks of the Week, New Arrivals, Best Sellers, and more.
From rare compilations to new releases and repackaged classics, the selection of music available in the web store has been carefully chosen by the Stax Museum staff to appeal not only to fans of the Stax family of artists, but to fans of other classic soul music as well.

To make shopping in the store even more fulfilling, the Stax Museum donates a portion of all proceeds to the Stax Music Academy, the Soulsville Foundation’s learning center where primarily at-risk, inner-city young people are mentored through music education and unique performance opportunities.
For more information on the Stax Museum, please visit and to go directly to the new store, please visit

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Who would have thought back in 1957 when Jim Stewart founded Satellite Records and a couple of years later changed its name to Stax Records, that the little label would grow so big that its artists and influence are still garnering Grammy nominations today? Yesterday, when the nominations were announced, Stax was in the house in four different categories, and we at the Soulsville Foundation couldn't be happier for those involved.

Drumroll, please......

  • Best Long Form Music Video (For video album packages consisting of more than one song or track. Award to the Artist and to the Video Director/Producer of at least 51% of the total playing time.)
    Respect Yourself — The Stax Records Story(Various Artists)Robert Gordon & Morgan Neville, video directors; Mark Crosby, Robert Gordon & Morgan Neville, video producers[Stax/Tremolo Productions/Concord Music Group]

  • Best Pop Instrumental Performance (For solo, duo, group or collaborative performances, without vocals. Singles or Tracks only.)
    Love Appetite - Steve Cropper & Felix CavaliereTrack from: Nudge It Up A Notch[Stax]

  • Best Pop Instrumental Album (For albums containing 51% or more playing time of INSTRUMENTAL tracks.)
    Sax For Stax Gerald Albright[Peak Records]

  • Best Gospel Performance (For solo, duo, group as collaborative performances. Singles or tracks with vocal containing Gospel lyrics. All genres of Gospel music are eligible.)
    I Understand - Kim Burrell, Rance Allen, Bebe Winans, Mariah Carey & Hezekiah Walker's Love Fellowship Tabernacle Church ChoirTrack from: Randy Jackson's Music Club, Volume One[Concord Records/Dream Merchant 21 Ent.]

Congratulations to all in the Stax Family for these nominations, and for all of the nominations and Grammys you've received since the early days of Stax. Robert Gordon, director of the nominated Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story, summed it up this way today after learning of the film's nomination:

"The success of the Stax documentary is a reflection of the power of Stax, not just the music but also the circumstances that created the story. The soul of Stax is deep, and it resonates across generations, because of the bridge built between the races at 960 E. McLemore. At a time when racial cooperation was illegal, disparaged, and resented, the people at Stax were open-minded, honest, and fair, and you can hear that in the music. We were honored to be able to share that story in the documentary. The nomination is a nod to everyone who made Stax what it was then, and what it is today."


Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Photo by Andrea Zucker


This year's Stax Music Academy SNAP! After School concert will be held Thursday, December 18th at 7 p.m. at the Germantown Performing Arts Center (GPAC). The concert, titled "Go Down Moses: A Tribute to Isaac Hayes," will honor the late Stax legend and international entertainment and philanthropy icon with performances of songs that trace his unparalleled career.

Featuring all ensembles of the Stax Music Academy along with The Soulsville Charter School's Soulsville Symphony Orchestra, the concert will also feature former Stax artists including Ben Cauley, Lester Snell, and others. Tickets are just $10 and are available at the Stax Museum gift shop and at the door night of concert.

What: Stax Music Academy SNAP! After School Winter Concert
When: Thursday, December 18th, 7 p.m.
Where: Germantown Performing Arts Center (GPAC)
Tickets: $10. Available in advance at the Stax Museum Gift Shop and at the door night of concert if not sold out.