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January 09, 2009

Only The Strong Survive

Only the Strong Survive The husband and wife documentary team of D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus encapsulate the Memphis Stax soul sound with performances by The Chi Lites, Mary Wilson, Isaac Hayes, Wilson Pickett, and Jerry Butler, who’s song “I Stand Accused” was later given unlikely renditions by Elvis Costello and Stiv Bators. But, unlike its closely related cousin “Standing In The Shadows Of Motown,” “Only The Strong Survive” fails to give audiences as much frame of reference for the unifying economic, political and atmospheric elements that made the Stax brand of R&B soul music so powerful. With recent performances by the various artists, “Only The Strong Survive” captures the subtle ways the passing years have taken their toll on musicians still in love with a bygone musical era. 
Rated PG-13. 101 mins. (C) (Two Stars)

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