Music producer Cheryl Pawelski on the ‘musical treasure hunt’ of new Stax demo compilation

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Cheryl Pawelski. Photo credit: Greg Allen

Grammy-winning producer Cheryl Pawelski’s latest project is nothing short of epic. She spent 17 years sifting through nearly 2000 hours of tape to curate the songs for an 7-CD box set, Written in Their Soul: The Stax Songwriter Demos. Stax Records, based in Memphis, was responsible for some of the greatest soul hits of the 1960s and ‘70s, including “Soul Man” and “l’ll Take You There,” and the box set is a compilation of demo recordings performed by the songwriters. 

Pawelski says that going through the hours of recordings was like a treasure hunt. She talks about how so many of the demo recordings could be hits in their own right. And she describes the beautiful imperfections in the recordings. 



Rebecca Mooney