stax Archive

Vinyl Roundup Part Two

Today I take a look at four simply superb reissue/compilations, all on vinyl. Don’t Look Now Original Soundtrack (Waxworks) Don’t Look Now was a 1973 thriller starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, two of the era’s hottest actors. The film, directed by Nicolas Roeg (The Man Who Fell to Earth) is based on Daphne du

‘Stax 60’ Album Release Campaign Features 10 Albums by 10 Legendary Artists

The venerable and legendary Stax Records was started 60 years ago in Memphis, Tennessee. Originally doing business as Satellite Records, the label founded by Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton (and later hemled by Al Bell) would go on to release a catalog of staggering quality before falling victim to a host of problems that would

Album Review: John Gary Williams

Memphis-based Stax Records had a long, impressive and tumultuous history. The label that was home to legendary artists like Booker T & the MGs, Otis Redding and Isaac Hayes produced a staggering amount of “southern soul” in its heyday. But bad luck and a host of other problems (best chronicled in Rob Bowman’s exhaustive history

Album Review: The Complete Stax Soul Singles Vol 3: 1972-1975

Nearly a quarter century ago (April 30, 1991 to be exact), a lavish, 9CD set called The Complete Stax/Volt Singles: 1959-1968 was released. Housed in a large box and featuring liner notes in book form, the set provided a handy (and nearly exhaustive) chronicle of the Memphis label’s output from its beginnings up through the

Album Review: Albert King – Born Under a Bad Sign

Here’s one often reliable method for discerning whether an album is an important one: when you first hear it, do you recognize several of the songs via popular cover versions? I didn’t grow up with the blues; I’m the product of a white, middle-class suburban family; any “ethnic” music I heard growing up in south

Album Review: Otis Redding – Lonely & Blue

Released in 1966, Lonely & Blue was perhaps Otis Redding‘s finest collection of songs centering on the heartfelt, pained end of the soul balladeering spectrum. With its trademark packaging design – as distinctive in its own way as the aesthetic of jazz giant Blue Note – the Volt Records release captured everything that made Redding

CD Review: Rufus Thomas – Do the Funky Chicken

It’s easy to dismiss the work of Rufus Thomas (the world’s oldest teenager™) as the work of a novelty artist. Too easy, in fact. And it does a disservice to some great music. But Rufus didn’t exactly help matters by recording and releasing songs that all but forbade you to take him seriously. Anybody who

Album Review: Otis Redding – Live on the Sunset Strip

Are you ready for Star Time? You’d better be. Three live sets of Otis Redding are — or should be — coming your way. Live on the Sunset Strip presents the incendiary onstage performance of Redding — clearly at the top of his game — live at the Whisky A Go Go. A fair amount

Album Review: Otis Redding – The Best: See & Hear

Shout! Factory’s newest retrospective is a CD+DVD package of Otis Redding material called The Best: See & Hear. The “hear” postion of the package is rather short, even by the standards of the good old LP format. Twelve tracks over about 30 minutes is a bit brief, but arguably if your goal is to just

Album Review: Wattstax: The Living Word

With apologies to Sir Walter Scott, “oh, what a tangled web we weave, when again we practice to re-release.” The 1972 Wattstax festival was black R&B’s excellent (if belated) answer to Woodstock and other festivals of the era. Concerts in and around the Watts district of Los Angeles put the spotlight on Stax Records’ best