stax Archive

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

Album Review: Stax: The Soul of Hip-Hop

This compilation would have been an inspired, brilliant idea, had it not been done already (see review of the 2008 Blue Note compilation Droppin’ Science). So instead it’s merely a very, very good idea. Hip-hop is a genre that is largely built on synthesizing earlier works. And one of its virtues is its sense of

Album Review: Various Artists — Stax Does the Beatles

Before succumbing to the vicissitudes of the record biz, Stax Records was one of the coolest labels in the 60s and 70s. Rawer and earthier than Motown, the black-oriented label out of Memphis turned out classic albums from Isaac Hayes, Booker T. & the MGs and many others. Many of these artists wrote their own

DVD Review: Otis Redding — Respect Live 1967

This brief DVD is an effort to collect all extant performance footage of Otis Redding in the months before his untimely death. On that level, it succeeds, more or less. But in doing so, it — by necessity — re-re-recycles material that’s been around for years. Half of the running time consists of Redding’s stellar