Stax Records/Craft Recordings
One of my favorite holiday gifts was the nine cd box set, produced by Steve Greenberg, “The Complete Stax/Volt Singles, 1959 -1968” issued in 1991. This new box set rivals that as it features 134 songs on five cds. In fact, the set includes every Stax Record single released in their landmark year of 1968. Included are the A and B sides from Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Rufus and Carla Thomas and other soul music icons and lesser known label-mates.
Included is a 56-page book with liner notes. An Eighteen-page Introduction titled “Dreams To Remember”, with pictures, written by Andria Lisle and Robert Gordon, ends with the April 5th, 1968 front page of the Memphis newspaper, “The Commercial Appeal”, and the headline “Dr. King Is Slain By Sniper”. Twenty-three more pages and pictures written by Greenberg titled “Stax 1968: The Three Shocks And Their Aftermath” just won a 2020 Grammy.
Beautiful pictures are abundant including photos of Booker T. and The MG’s, Eddie Floyd, Isaac Hayes, Carla Thomas, and William Bell, but more important are the photos of the struggle for racial equality. Album covers on quality cardboard stock include Otis Redding “The Dock of The Bay”, Booker T. And The M.G.’s “Soul Limbo”, Eddie Floyd’s “I’ve Never Found A Girl”, The Staple Singers “Soul Folk In Action”, Johnnie Taylor’s “Who’s Making Love”, and Albert King “Live Wire Blues Power”. These are suitable for framing so I would encourage you to purchase two copies.
“The whole world was changing …Stax’s powerful portion of that evolution/revolution is captured step by soulful step”. Disc One opens with the A & B sides of Otis Redding and Sam & Dave; but also sides from lesser known artists The Memphis Nomads, and Shirley Walton. Of interest are the sides from The Bar-Kays, Johnnie Taylor, William Bell and Mable John. Disc Two includes Isaac Hayes, Albert King, The Mad Lads, and the Eddie Henderson Quintet. Disc Three features Delaney & Bonnie, Bobby Whitlock, The Delrays, and The Aardvarks. Disc Four is more from The Staple Singers, Johnnie Taylor, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, The Bar-Kays, Booker T. & The MG’s, and Ollie & The Nightingales. Disc Five features Albert King, and the duo of William Bell and Judy Clay. There is so much music to enjoy.
I received my copy as a Christmas present. If you weren’t sure of what to give this Christmas, I suggest this book/box set; even if it arrives a little late.