Stax 50th Anniversary Celebration

StaxStax 50th Anniversary Celebration:   Last year, Concord Music purchased Fantasy Records, and as a bonus, they landed the "bulging Stax

For those of you not fans of 1960s/70s Soul music, Stax was one of the richest sources of R&B, Soul and Blues. They were home to such artists as Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, William Bell, and Booker T. 

For some reason, they were overshadowed somewhat by Gordy Berry and Motown. This double CD features 50 hit singles from Stax (and Stax-Atlantic) from the labels’ 1960s and ’70s heyday, and attempts to make up some of that ground.

The WSJ had a glowing review of the set:

"Stax, the music label responsible for superior soul,
R&B and an occasional slice of the blues in the ’60s and early
’70s, is observing its 1957 founding in everything but name by
releasing "Stax 50th Anniversary Celebration," featuring 50 of the best
tracks from its vaults. It could have released twice as many, or more,
without a dip in quality. In fact, it did release twice as many in 2000
under the title "Stax Story" and almost 2¬Ĺ times as many in 1991 in the
superb boxed set "The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1959-1968." Two
subsequent collections from the archives of Stax and its Volt
subsidiary raised the number of tracks issued in the past 15 years to
652, more than 13 times what’s in the 50th anniversary box.


A joy from the first cut to the last, "Stax 50th
Anniversary Celebration" is a reminder of the glory days of R&B,
when singer, song and band came together with fervor to spark body and
soul. The music all but sweats with the musicians’ passion: There are
no drum machines and no vocal bent to pitch by software. The punchy
horns are real brass and reeds, not lines played on synthesizers. Now
and then, a musician flubs a note or misses a cue, but an absolute
reliance on musicians’ creativity can deliver brilliant pop music
that’s timeless. Especially if the vocalists are the likes of Eddie
Floyd, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave and the Staple Singers."

The Journal eds were kind enough to move the full article over to the free site for the linkfest, so you guys get an early viewing pre-weekend.

And, while the Double CD is on sale at Amazon for $11.99 (a deal), the real bargain is here: You can stream the entire CD over at CNET for free:

click for CNET media player


Several videos are after the jump:


Golden Oldies: Stax Releases A 50th-Anniversary Boxed Set
WSJ, April 4, 2007; Page D9

I’ll Take You There/The Staple Singers/1972

The Staple Singers — Respect Yourself

What a Man — Linda Lyndell (Starsky & Hutch video)

Funky Chicken — Rufus Thomas

And finally, this Stax showcase, featuring Isaac Hayes, Eddie Floyd and
William Bell with Booker T and the MGs, live at SXSW 2007

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. wcw commented on Apr 5

    Jeepers, be a man. Pony up the dough for the full, two-volume, 9-CDs-per box sets.

    9 CDs here, and over there.. another 9 CDs.

    I love Motown, but for soul I probably rank the big ’60s labels Atlantic, Stax and Motown, in that order. Take the bus for a while and buy these instead of your next ten tanks of gasoline. You’ll all thank me later.

  2. pd130 commented on Apr 5

    Barry, thanks for grabbing some Rufus Thomas. For those who don’t know of him, not only was he a great entertainer (The World’s Oldest Teen-ager), but he had some historical importance in the music business in the 1950s and 1960s. There’s a pretty good sketch of his bio at Wikipedia.

  3. howard commented on Apr 6

    anyone interested in learning more about the wonderful stax/volt heritage should read peter guralnick’s sweet soul music.

    the remarkable thing about stax/volt was the integrated house band (steve cropper, come on down!). sadly, post the assassination of martin luther king, the basis for that kind of integrated music-making in memphis fell away, but that’s another story.

  4. orozco commented on May 1

    i discovered stax rummaging through dusty, mildewed flea market bins when i was about 16…..and certain labels stood out before even knowing anything about the histories.
    i quickly learned that the fingersnap, stack of 45s and lightning Volt labels offered something different than anything else in the history of the earth.
    i loved motown, and atlantic had pickett and aretha just to name two –
    but for the pure FEEL of southern soul,
    stax was home for me.
    god bless jim stewart and estelle (lady A) axton.

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