Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story

Shown as a companion piece to Wattstax at NWFF this week, this well packaged documentary is surely bound for a DVD box set, which will allow you to eject the disc right around 50 minutes, when Otis Redding dies. Respect works quite nicely until then as a profile of the pioneering Memphis R&B label, with performance clips, new and period interviews, and generous samplings from its archive. Whoever owns the label now--it went bankrupt in 1975--will make a few more bucks off our nostalgia. Even then, your money would be better spend adding Redding, Booker T & the MGs, Sam & Dave, Isaac Hayes, and other Stax artists to your iTunes library. The doc's send half is a tedious gloss of the record biz, and it pointedly avoids assigning blame for Stax's mismanagement (and there was surely plenty of that). After providing a soundtrack for integration in the South, the label arguably reached its zenith in 1967; four decades later, I wonder how many black faces there will be on Capitol Hill to see it documented today. (NR) BRIAN MILLER.

June 8-12, 7 & 9:30 p.m., 2008

 
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