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VOL. 132 | NO. 120 | Friday, June 16, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Bar-Kays & ConFunkShun, Suburban Politics and Tom Bowen's 5 Years

By Bill Dries

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The Bar-Kays and ConFunkShun -- there’s a double shot of the deepest funk from the 1970s and 1980s. And they are together again Friday at the Cannon Center for the Juneteenth Urban Music Festival. It is also Larry Dodson’s last hometown show fronting The Bar-Kays.

Dodson has been at the front of the funkiest band in the land for 47 years. That is a span that includes Wattstax, the concert and the movie, backing Isaac Hayes on his landmark “Hot Buttered Soul,” a shout-out in “Rapper’s Delight” – considered the first rap record, outrageous stage costumes that are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but not the snake, two White House performances – and songs that are to be found to this day in any nightclub with a dance floor.

The band will continue to tour with Dodson through 2017 and has been conducting a world wide search for a new lead singer since May. The audition requirements include being able to sing three tracks from the Bar-Kays catalog: “Holy Ghost”, “Anticipation” and “Move Your Boogie Body.”

An outbreak of politics Thursday in the suburbs:

Republican Kevin Vaughan won Thursday’s special election for state House District 95 and goes to Nashville in January.

The ballot is almost set for the September municipal elections in Arlington – set enough that there were two winners at Thursday’s noon filing deadline because two of the contenders had no opposition.

Sounds of life Thursday coming from what used to be Tower Records at Peabody Place. ServiceMaster formally opened its new innovation center in the space Thursday as the leading edge of the corporation moving its headquarters into most of the rest of what used to be a mall. ServiceMaster CEO Rob Gillette talking specifically about IT innovation as he did the honors.

And that afternoon the center got put to use with its first panel discussion at the startup accelerator being called “Ground Floor”

After a two-day search, the Coast Guard on Thursday suspended its search for a trio of boaters who maydayed Tuesday night that they were taking on water on the river north of Shelby Forest.

In our Friday Sports Section:

Tigers Athletic Director Tom Bowen on five years at the helm at the University of Memphis. In the first part of a two-part Q&A, Bowen tells us the Tigers will be practicing in their new basketball facility no later than Nov. 1 and Tigers football season ticket sales are “north of 8,400” with season football parking sold out and a Tigers master plan for Fairgrounds traffic to handle it.

Don Wade on where the Grizz stand with next week’s NBA draft and its four free agents and speculation about just how hard the ceiling is for what the Grizz front office is willing to spend.

David Climer on Vanderbilt baseball coming up just short of the College World Series.

And John Glennon with some perspective on the Predators Stanley Cup run.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has some advice for the Republican contenders for Governor but he won’t have any endorsement for any of them, according to this piece by Erik Schelzig of Associated Press.

U.S. Senator Bob Corker’s bill to expand U.S. sanctions on Iran and Russia passed in the Senate Thursday 98-2. Corker’s statement after the vote:

“Today marks a significant shift of power back to the American people’s representatives, something that has been a top priority of mine since becoming the lead Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee more than four years ago. With passage of this legislation, the Senate reasserts congressional authority – while providing the Trump administration appropriate national security flexibility – and sends a clear signal to both Iran and Russia that our country will stand firm in the face of destabilizing behavior and that Congress will play a leading role in protecting our national interests.”

The bill now goes to the House.

Chalkbeat on the shortage of black men teaching with some insights from Memphis classrooms.

A group of 10 Memphis charter schools are getting $5 million in state grants that is part of a larger pool of federal pass-through money the state got recently. This is for new charter schools.

State Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris and veteran state Representative Joe Towns Jr. are our guests on Behind The Headlines where we will talk mostly about their efforts to pass criminal justice system reform legislation in the 2017 session in Nashville. The show airs at 7 p.m. Friday on WKNO TV.

The cover story of our weekly, The Memphis News, is about the centennial of the Memphis Branch NAACP and questions about its relevance going forward along with some more insights into the July 2016 bridge protest and the upswing in protest we’ve seen locally in the last year.

The PDF of the new issue is up now on this website. The hard copies hit the streets Friday morning and the online version of the cover story goes up on this site Friday afternoon.

An 8 percent budget cut for Jackson State University.

Nike to cut 1,400 jobs in a restructuring across the sports apparel brand as it takes some lines off the shelves. But it’s hard to tell how this shakes out for Memphis which has the second largest base of Nike employees outside of the company’s HQ in Beaverton, Oregon. The restructuring is to put more emphasis on direct sales to consumers, which the recent $300 million expansion of the Frayser distribution center took into account.

Food is relatively cheap these days – so cheap that its affecting nationally how many times we eat out and its affecting grocers including Kroger which appears to have joined a price war with its competitors on milk and eggs. If it was milk and bread we would be ready for the next storm because French toast can get you through anything.

MORTGAGES 0 49 10,665
BANKRUPTCIES 0 256 6,219