Bar-Kays’ trumpet player Ben Cauley celebrated his 65th birthday this year, and he has much to celebrate. Cauley was the sole survivor of the plane crash that claimed the lives of Otis Redding and four band members of the Bar-Kays outside of Madison, Wisconsin, on December 10, 1967. With resilience and an undeniable exuberance for music, Cauley continued his career, in spite of a number of hurdles, including a massive stroke.
Flush with the success of their first top-ten single, “Gee Whiz” by Carla Thomas, the focus of Jim Stewart and the folks at Satellite Records was on cashing in with a follow-up album. Carla was off attending Tennessee State, so there was much back-and-forth between Memphis and Nashville as Carla learned to juggle Freshman English 1010 with a non-credit hands-on lab in applied pop star studies. In the background of this flurry of activity lurked the single which would not only set the direction of the emerging label’s sound, but also force it to change its name.