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Stax Founder Estelle Axton RIP

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  • Barry Mazor
    (No relation to Hoyt or his writer Mom, BTW.)
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 26, 2004
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      (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
      >neighborhood.
      >
      >"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
      >us all."
      >
      >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,
      >Jim Stewart.
      >
      >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."
      >
      >
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