The Bar-Keys – Traffic Jammer

The Bar-Kays are an American soul, R&B, and funk group formed in 1966. The group had dozens of charting singles from the 1960s to the 1980s, including „Soul Finger“ (US Billboard Hot 100 number 17, R&B number 3) in 1967, „Son of Shaft“ (R&B number 10) in 1972, and „Boogie Body Land“ (R&B number 7) in 1980.


James Alexander (born 1948) is an American soul and R&B musician. He is a longtime member of the band The Bar-Kays, for which he plays bass guitar. He also is the father of noted hip-hop and R&B producer Phalon „Jazze Pha“ Alexander, whom he named after his best friend and late Bar-Kays bandmate Phalon Jones. Contrary to widespread belief, James Alexander’s relationship, which produced his son Phalon, was not with R&B and gospel singer Deniece „Niecy“ Williams, but rather with another woman (herself an experienced singer) named Denise Williams.[1]

James Alexander was the bassist for The Bar-Kays when four of the six band members, including Jones, were killed in the same plane crash that claimed the life of soul singer Otis Redding. Alexander was the only Bar-Kays member not aboard that flight as the plane, a Beechcraft owned by Redding, only held eight occupants (Redding, five of the Bar-Kays, the pilot and Redding’s road manager); it was Alexander’s turn in the rotation to board a commercial flight to the next destination. Alexander had the task of identifying the bodies of his bandmates, as well as that of Redding.

After the crash, Ben Cauley, the sole survivor among those who were aboard the plane, worked with Alexander to reform the band. Subsequent work included the soundtrack recording of the Academy Award-winning theme song from the 1971 feature film Shaft, on which Alexander played bass guitar. As of 2010, Alexander continues on as the only original member in still-active Bar-Kays.

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