The Spring of 1967 saw the arrival in Manchester of the STAX/ VOLT European tour. Held at the Palace Theatre Oxford Road Manchester, the line up was:-
Booker T & The MG's
The Memphis Horns (Mar-Keys)
Sam & Dave
The show was begun by Booker T and The MG’s, then joined by The Mar-Keys (‘Last Night’,’ Grab This Thing’, ‘Philly Dog’) Then Steve Cropper introduced Sharon Tandy (replacing Carla Thomas who was originally booked on the tour but was ill) Sharon did a good version of Johnnie Taylor’s ‘Toe Hold’
Steve Cropper got a standing ovation, and looked genuinely amazed that we knew of him!
Over thirty years later I went to the tenth anniversary Blues Festival at Colne in Lancashire, here Steve Cropper (of Booker T and The MG's) announced how he remembered playing on that occasion in the North of England. He went on to say how he remembered the rapturous applause for him when he was announced by the compare Johnny Walker (who I think had replaced Al Bell?). ‘Colonel Cropper’ said the audiences in England were the best: amazingly he then went on to sing! “On The Dock Of The Bay” which he was writing in 67 with Otis Reading when touring in Europe…..it was a moving moment.
And it never did happen again!
The first poster above (kindly donated by Mel Owen of Manchester) are from the 67’ period when Otis and the Stax Show came to Manchester. What a night! The Palace Theatre on the corner of Whitworth Street and Oxford Road had the foyer filled with Manchester Soul Mods and black Stax faces. Otis towered above them all, literally; he was a big bloke!
He was the last act that night Thursday 23 rd of March 1967 following Sam and Dave, how could he follow that, we thought? After such a magnificent show from the Dynamic duo, swinging their arms around like a double mad dose of Pete Townsend. But Otis did surpass them. Dressed in a bright red suit, he made us cry, as he dropped to his knees telling us how he had been loving too long to stop now…he made us sing…. when he gave us respect….. he made us clap……. when he told us how weary she was in that same old dress……. he made us dance when he told us he was Mr Pitiful…… he made everyone join in when he did that sad song Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa. He showed us his soul and soon he was gone….
Arthur Conley -