The Bar-Kays

A classic soul act of the 1960s that grew with the times and grooved to funk and disco sounds in the 1970s and '80s, The Bar-Kays were originally a house band for legendary blues label Stax Records before striking out in their own right. Formed when session musicians James Alexander and Ben Cauley were inspired by the instrumental R&B jams of Booker T. & The M.G.'s and started playing together in local Memphis clubs, the band were soon backing a host of Stax artists including soul icon Otis Redding. They scored their first major hit when debut single Soul Finger reached number 17 in the US charts in 1967, but shortly after were involved in a tragic aeroplane crash that killed Redding, guitarist Jimmie King organist Ronnie Caldwell, drummer Carl Cunningham and saxophonist Phalon Jones. Alexander and Cauley rebuilt the group with singer Larry Dodson and they played on Isaac Hayes' classic, Grammy Award-winning, number one album Shaft (1971), before creating their own funk and disco sounds on albums Too Hot To Stop (1975) and Flying High On Your Love (1977). They scored the R&B hit single Shake Your Rump To The Funk and toured with George Clinton's P-Funk before their style evolved to include synthesizers and drum machines and new interest was sparked in the group. Their albums Injoy (1979), Nightcruising (1981) and Propositions (1982) crossed over to dance and nu-wave, electro audiences and singles Move Your Boogie Body, Hit And Run and Do It were sighted as groundbreaking sounds that took soul into a new era. Now led by Dodson and Alexander, the group released their 30th studio album Grown Folks in 2012. In September 2015 Ben Cauley, the last surviving passenger from the 1967 crash, passed away and the following year in 2016, The Bar-Kays celebrated 50 years in the music industry.

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