“I Swept The Floors”

Date: November 12, 2013

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You know Steve Cropper from his legendary work with Otis Redding, Rufus Thomas, William Bell, Johnnie Taylor — and, of course, with Booker T. and the MGs. His beginnings with the Stax Record label, however, were decidedly less glamorous.

In fact, he performed scores of menial tasks, beginning with a stint at the record store attached to Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton’s label offices at the former Capitol Theatre in South Memphis.

“I did a lot of things,” Cropper says in this clip. “I swept the floors, I logged the tapes. Originally, the way I got in there was, I offered myself as a salesman in the record shop — which I did. When I’d take a break, I’d go back and just tidy things up, before I really got into the recording part of it. This kept going on. Then, they needed someone to audition local talent, and we started having auditions on Saturday.”