How Much Talent can you cram into a square mile?

Posted by Holly Whitfield | November 19th 2009 2821 0

In the 1960s, there were two places to get that sweet soul sound. You could go to Hitsville (aka Detroit, Mich.) for the pop girl-meets-boy sounds of Motown, or you could go to Soulsville (in Memphis) for emotional, girl-breaks-boy’s-heart tracks.

When I visited the Stax Museum of American Soul Music a few months ago, I was struck by how much amazing talent was born within a mile of the legendary studio. Booker T. Jones, Memphis Slim, Memphis Minnie and Aretha Franklin were all born in the neighborhood now known as Soulsville.

Aretha Franklins birthplace, Memphis, Tenn.

Aretha Franklin’s birthplace, Memphis, Tenn.

This small brown house at 406 Lucy was the birthplace of legendary soul diva Aretha Franklin. It’s empty now and needs some love and attention. I’m not sure who owns the house now, but I really hope they do something with it soon.

Other residents of the neighborhood included Rev. Herbert Brewster, Maurice White and the Hi Records studio. That’s a serious amount of musical talent packed into a very small part of town.

Sample some of that talent:

Aretha Franklin – I Say a Little Prayer

Memphis Minnie – I’m a Bad Luck Woman

Memphis Slim – When I’ve Been Drinking

Booker T. and the MGs – Green Onions

(These mp3s are for sampling purposes only. If you like them, please buy them.)

Show Comments


  1. Wintermute says:

    Your links don’t work, possibly because you don’t allow anonymous login to your ftp server. But no worry, take the radio sweetheart domain out, change the ftp to http, and just use links like this:


  2. Jan says:

    Thank you so much for this picture! I hope they put up at least a sign.

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