“KNOWLEDGE SPEAKS, BUT WISDOM LISTENS” | THE WISE WORDS OF JIMI

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“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.”

― Jimi Hendrix

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Too often in life we seek only to be heard instead of truly listening to, and understanding those who matter to us most– the ones that we love in this world. Jimi knew, and it would serve us well (me especially) to heed his wise words. At the end of the day, it’s the love that we give and receive– in other words, relationships, that make this life beautiful and worth living. Sometimes we must decrease so that the relationship can increase. After all, what’s more important–  being happy, or proving how smart we are and being right all the time?

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Jimi Hendrix, 1967  Image by © Gered Mankowitz

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“YOU KNOW I’VE GOT SOUL” | THE LEGENDARY 1967 STAX EUROPEAN TOUR

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From the desk of Contributing Editor, Eli M. Getson–

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Stax Records began as a small regional record label in Memphis in 1957 by brother and sister team, Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton, with the simple intent of selling records by taking advantage of the immense talent of the African American singers the South had to offer.  By the time the label went defunct in the mid ’70s it had provided the soundtrack for the Civil Rights movement and had rocked the music world. Artists Black and White alike would be profoundly influenced by the sometimes smooth, sometimes rough, but always hardworking soul singers like Al Green, Sam and Dave, Joe Tex, Carla Thomas, Arthur Conley, Eddie Floyd, Wilson Pickett, and the big man– Otis Redding.   There is nothing better than a funky, greasy, soul song and nothing was more soulful then the legendary Stax Records tour of Europe in 1967.  In my humble opinion this is when Soul music took over the world.

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Stax Records headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee — Image by Bill Carrier © API photographers inc

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The European Tour was to open these markets to the Stax sound and take advantage of the growing interest in Black American music, especially in the UK. By the time the tour was finished music would not be the same.  Stax management knew they had to tear it up every night if they were going to realize the commercial gains they wanted for themselves and their artists.  So they stacked the tour with an all star team– Sam and Dave, Eddie Floyd, and Arthur Conley were backed by the legendary Stax house band Booker T. and the MG’s and there equally epic horn section The Mar-keys.  This epic line up along with a good spirited competition to top each other made the show a raging success.

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Pictured — Estelle Axton and Jim Stewart, siblings and co–founders of the legendary Stax Records (“ST” ewart + “AX” ton = Stax) — Image by Bill Carrier, © API photographers inc

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Yet no one launched their star into orbit more the legendary big man from Macon, Georgia– Otis Redding. With vocals that combined the delicate phrasing of a balladeer with the shouts of a deacon in church, Redding destroyed it in the UK.  People still talk about Otis and his legendary performance in London–taking the Stones’ “Satisfaction” and giving it the Stax treatment along with his classics like “Try a Little Tenderness” and “These Arms of Mine”.  This along with his now legendary performance at The Monterrey Pop Festival that same year made him an enormous international star.

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Otis Redding (at the Olympia Theatre, Paris), one of the legendary soul singers featured in Sweet Soul: Stax/Volt Revue — Live in Norway, 1967 — Image by © Jean Pierre Leloir, courtesy of Stax Records
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The musicians, initially, viewed “Hit the Road Stax” with some trepidation, viewing themselves as a small, regional record label done good versus a global brand.  Some were even concerned that the European audiences wouldn’t like the music of a small, racially integrated label from the South.   That was until they got to England-everyone and I mean everyone of any import from the London music scene was scrambling to get tickets to see these shows.  Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Eric Burdon, John Mayall, Roger Daltrey, Pete Townsend, and The Beatles were all angling to see the London shows and hang out with the Stax artists.  In a now classic footnote of music history, The Beatles sent limos to pick up the Stax crew each night after the shows and, in a story no-one can verify, Paul McCartney supposedly kissed the great Booker T. and the MG’s guitarist Steve Cropper’s ring because he viewed him as the greatest guitar player he had ever heard.

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CARROLL SHELBY & THE FORD GT40 | FOUR YRS OF DOMINATION AT LE MANS

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When Henry Ford II’s quest to buy Ferrari back in 1963 was spitefully squelched by Enzo, the mandate was given to, “Kick Ferrari’s ass.” And not just anywhere– at Le Mans, the world stage of auto racing.  The ass-kicking would finally come in the beautiful & brutish form of the iconic Ford GT40–America’s most incredible racecar ever.

Originally developed in England by Ford Advanced Vehicles Ltd under the direction of Aston Martin’s former team manager, John Wyer, the GT40 failed at Le Mans in ’64 & ’65, as Ferrari finished 1-2-3 both years. With failure no longer an option for anyone who wished to remain employed by Ford, Carroll Shelby was tapped to give the GT40 the necessary bite to beat the Italians.  Shelby’s success at Le Mans in his own Cobras, and again with the GT40, was not about technology, but by being crafty.  He replaced the 289 c.i. GT40 engine with the same powerful, big block 427 c.i. V-8 that powered his Cobras.  The lower revving, larger displacement V-8′s were more able to take the stress of long endurance races than the higher-revving, small displacement engines used by Ferrari.

Shelby not only ended Ferrari’s racing dominance, he exacted sweet revenge for Enzo’s snub– and garnered Ford a remarkable four-year winning streak from 1966 – 1969.

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Two massive American automotive legends — Carroll Shelby and the iconic Ford GT40. Originally labeled GT, ’40′ was added due to its incredibly low 40-inch stance.

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West Sussez, England — A Carroll Shelby masterpiece, 1960s JW Automotive/American Gulf Oil-sponsored Ford GT40  racecar at the Goodwood race track — Image by © Martyn Goddard/Corbis

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1969 Carroll Shelby / Ford GT40 MK 1 racecar (JW Automotive/American Gulf Oil-sponsored) with body panels removed.  This Ford GT P/1075 is one of the few racecars to ever win the 24 Hours of Le Mans back to back– here pictured as #6. — Image by © Martyn Goddard/Corbis

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YEAH, WELL — SOMETIMES NOTHIN’ CAN BE A REAL COOL HAND

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Cool Hand Luke

Paul Newman as Cool Hand Luke

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Cool Hand Luke, brother. Enough quotable anti-establishment mantras to ink an entire tattoo sleeve. Enough chambray & denim workwear to choke the toughest clothes horse.  It’s Sunday night, men.  You have a few hours still left to rebel before you punch your ticket and report to the man on Monday morning.

Can’t find your spine?  What? you left it at Starbucks, bro?  Pick up your shovel and let Lucas Jackson show you how to find it at the bottom of Boss Keans’ ditch.  Sometimes a man enters a fight with nothin’ but his will, and where he came from — and that can be a real cool hand. Watch and learn.

Any man who passes up– spends a night in the box.

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Paul Newman in 1967's Cool Hand Luke

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THE ULTIMATE CARROLL SHELBY MUSTANG | THE GT500E SUPER SNAKE

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Carroll Shelby after winning the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans (in his signature striped coveralls, no less).

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OK, so surely you could smell a Shelby sequel coming.  There is no one more iconic in the world of high performance American sports cars in terms of both racing and design than the charismatic, plain-talking Texas farm boy, Carroll Shelby.  Shucks– back in the day, Shelby would even rush from the farm to the racetrack for practice– wearing his old work overalls.  His ‘original’ racing attire got him more than a few chuckles and publicity, so he stuck with it.   Seen sporting the striped overalls above, (after winning the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans) they became his trademark look.  But more memorable than those overalls, as cool as they were– is his legacy of Shelby original sport cars.   Each one better than last, and perhaps  the one most talked about these days in nostalgic circles is the mythical Shelby Mustang GT500E (oft referred to as Eleanor) Super Snake.

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1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake

1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake --photo via SuperSnake.org

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THE FORD MUSTANG GT350 | CARROLL SHELBY & THE AMERICAN PONY WAR

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Carroll Shelby, whose Ford powered cars have been a constant contender in International racing, plays a toy flute to charm a toy Cobra out of its basket on the hood of his latest offering to the automotive world, the Mustang GT 350, at the first showing of the car- January 27th, 1965 in Riverside, CA.  The Shelby is a modified Ford Mustang Fastback, with a 289 Ford Cobra engine, front disc brakes, and improved suspension for road racing or high speed driving. -- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Carroll Shelby, whose Ford powered cars have been a constant contender in International racing, plays a toy flute to charm a toy Cobra out of its basket on the hood of his latest offering to the automotive world, the Mustang GT 350, at the first showing of the car- January 27th, 1965 in Riverside, CA. The Shelby is a modified Ford Mustang Fastback, with a 289 Ford Cobra engine, front disc brakes, and improved suspension for road racing or high speed driving. -- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

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Carroll Shelby was undoubtedly the greatest single force behind American auto racing over the last 60+ years.  From his legendary racing career, to reinventing the image of American road-racers in European competitive racing and beyond.  In 1962, and with no official engineering background, Carroll Shelby created the legendary, stallion-slaying Cobra, which soon ended Ferrari’s all-out domination of the World’s Manufacturing Championship.  For him, the recipe was simple and oft repeated– put a massive engine in a lightweight, nimble car.

In 1965, the Shelby Mustang GT350 made its production debut setting off  a legendary battle for power and prestige between rival Detroit automakers– which would from that day on be known as  the “Pony War”.

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The legendary Shelby Mustang GT350

The legendary Shelby Mustang GT350

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THE LIZARD KING & THE LEGEND OF HIS LOST SHELBY GT500

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I have always wanted to know more about Morrison’s ’67 Shelby Mustang GT500 and why we never hear so much as a peep about it.  Shouldn’t it be the prize of someone’s car collection?  I went in search of the story behind the legend’s mysterious car and found Bret Matteson had done some digging–

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Rumor had it that Electra Records bought Jim Morrison a night mist blue ’67 Shelby Mustang GT500 as a present for the release of the album “The Doors.”  Morrison had a reputation for trashing everything he touched, and true to form the GT500 sat on Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles just waiting for something bad to happen– and unfortunaely, it did.
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