Length: 115 minutes
Year Produced: 2007
In Celebration of the 50th Anniversary, this documentary details the story behind the legendary label that launched a who’s-who of soul music greats: Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, the Staple Singers, Isaac Hayes, Eddie Floyd, Carla and Rufus Thomas, Albert King, and Booker T. and the MGs, to name a just a few.
Respect Yourself reunites producer-directors Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville, whose AMERICAN MASTERS documentary Muddy Waters: Can’t Be Satisfied was a Grammy nominee. Neville is a leading music documentary filmmaker whose works include the Emmy-winning AMERICAN MASTERS Hank Williams: Honky-Tonk Blues as well as the authoritative films about Sam Phillips, The Brill Building, and Lieber & Stoller.
Working closely with the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis, the filmmakers gained access to an unprecedented wealth of source materials, including never-before-seen home movies by Stax artists; live performances, forgotten TV appearances, news footage outtakes, footage from the legendary 1972 WattStax concert; and lost performances by Otis Redding, Booker T. and the MGs, Isaac Hayes, and others. All the key players are interviewed in the film: Isaac Hayes, Mavis Staples, Carla Thomas, Sam Moore, Booker T. Jones, members of the MGs, Eddie Floyd, and Jesse Jackson, – who, along with Richard Pryor, recorded spoken-word albums for Stax.
The film is also the story of the civil rights movement and how the music created at Stax mirrored the glories and pains of that struggle. The film offers fresh insights from the survivors together with heartfelt testimony from Stax devotees ranging from Bono and Elvis Costello to Chuck D. In addition, Respect Yourself features the first interview given by Stax founder and co-owner Jim Stewart in 15 years. Other Stax movers-and-shakers also weigh in, from co-owner Al Bell and songwriter David Porter.
Directed by: Robert Gordon & Morgan Neville