Stax Founder Estelle Axton RIP
- (No relation to Hoyt or his writer Mom, BTW.)
>Stax Records Co-Founder Estelle Axton Dies
>By Associated Press
>February 25, 2004, 1:31 PM EST
>MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Estelle Axton, co-founder of the famed Stax Records Co.,
>which generated hits from acts including Sam and Dave, Otis Redding Jr. and
>The Staple Singers, has died. She was 85.
>Axton died of natural causes Tuesday at the hospice at Saint Francis
>Hospital, said her son-in-law, Fred Fredrick.
>The musicians on the soul record label called Axton "Lady A," and others who
>knew her described her as a calming, nurturing presence in the Memphis
>"Were it not for her, there's no way Stax could have become what it became,"
>said David Porter. Porter and Isaac Hayes co-wrote numerous Stax hits,
>including Sam and Dave's "Soul Man" and "Hold On, I'm Coming."
>Hayes said Axton was responsible for the racial harmony at Stax.
>"You didn't feel any backoff from her, no differentiation that you were
>black and she was white," Hayes said. "Being in a town where that attitude
>was plentiful, she just made you feel secure. ... She was like a mother to
>Between 1960 and 1975, Stax's roster also included Booker T. and the MGs,
>Rufus Thomas, Albert King, Johnnie Taylor, The Mar-Keys and the Bar-Kays.
>Axton and other family members went on to establish the Fretone label which
>produced Rick Dees' 1977 hit "Disco Duck."
>Porter said Axton encouraged him and others in the Stax neighborhood after
>she mortgaged her home to help start the record company with her brother,
>Stax began as Satellite Records in 1957 but was forced to change the name
>because a California company already was using it.
>The siblings combined their last names -- the "St" from Stewart and the "Ax"
>from Axton -- to come up with Stax, which became a rival to Detroit's giant
>Motown sound in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
>Axton's daughter Doris Fredrick worked in the Stax record shop said her
>mother's experience as a teacher gave her a special nurturing ability.
>"She worked 12 hours a day. She had time for anybody that came through the
>door," Doris Fredrick said. "I'd say, 'I'm sorry she's booked today.' And
>she'd come out and say, 'Oh no, I have time for them. I'm never too busy' if
>it was the neighborhood kids or someone who wanted to play a song for her."