John Gary Williams and The Mad Lads with @TheBoKeys at @StaxMuseum @StaxRecords


The Mad Lads were yet another Memphis vocal group with South Memphis ties, and they recorded a number of singles and a handful of albums for Stax Records before lead singer John Gary Williams (who was a member of the Memphis Black Power group known as The Invaders) was arrested and charged with being involved in a sniping incident against the Memphis police in late 1968. Later, Williams launched a solo career, and recorded one very elusive self-titled album just as Stax was falling apart in late 1974. Over the years, Williams has put together a number of reconstituted Mad Lads groups, and is now the subject of a forthcoming documentary called I See Hope: The John Gary Williams Story , which is currently in production. The annual appearance of the Mad Lads at the Stax to the Max festival is a big deal to the largely South Memphis crowd that attends.

Stax to the Max Soulsville Street Festival in South Memphis @StaxMuseum @StaxRecords


The last Saturday of April in Memphis is always one of the biggest days of the year for festivals and events, including the On Location: Memphis International Film and Music Festival, the Southern Hot Wing Festival, the Vollentine Evergreen Art Walk, and the Stax to the Max Soulsville Street Festival. The latter, which is free, is an annual outdoor party and concert, featuring many of the best living veterans of Stax, usually including William Bell, John Gary Williams and the Mad Lads, the Temprees and the Memphis revivalist band the Bo-Keys. Held on the back parking lot of the Stax Museum and the Stax Academy, crowds can run into the thousands.

Madder Than Ever with the Mad Lads at @StaxMuseum During the Stax to the Max Festival


Memphis vocal group The Mad Lads were another group of South Memphians, led by John Gary Williams, who recorded a number of singles and albums for the Stax subsidiary Volt Records. Their recording career came to a brief hiatus after John Gary Williams was sentenced to prison for his alleged role in the ambush of a Memphis police officer by the Black militant organization The Invaders. They have occasionally recorded again since the 1970’s, but on Sunday April 28, 2013, they appeared in South Memphis on stage behind the Stax Museum at the Stax to the Max event, performing their biggest hit single.

All Stax Everything at the Soulsville Street Festival @StaxMuseum

One of the better-kept secrets in Memphis is the Soulsville Street Festival, also known as Stax to the Max, a celebration of the South Memphis neighborhood around Stax and the legacy of great music that came from it.
The stage set up on the back parking lot behind the museum and Stax Music Academy featured a series of performances from local and out-of-town school groups, as well as former Stax artists The Astors, The Temprees, The Mad Lads and William Bell. In addition there were children’s crafts and recreational activities and food vendors, and a crowd of several hundred turned out on Sunday, after the event was postponed from Saturday due to rain.