Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Stax-Volt Complete 2: 68-71
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Country, Blues, Special Interest, Pop, R&B, Rock
The story of the great Memphis soul label, Stax/Volt. This 9-disc box concerns itself with the period between 1968 and 1971 and contains all 216 soul singles issued by Stax/Volt during that time- featured are some of the... more »
The story of the great Memphis soul label, Stax/Volt. This 9-disc box concerns itself with the period between 1968 and 1971 and contains all 216 soul singles issued by Stax/Volt during that time- featured are some of the biggest and best-loved hits of the day, as well as a number of little-known gems by both major and less familiar artists. Artists include Shirley Walton, Booket T. & The MGs, The Soul Children, Sonny Stitt, Darrell Banks, Ollie & The Nightingales, Eddie Floyd, Isaac Hayes , The Staple Singers and many more. The discs are housed in a deluxe oversized box (12 x 12 x 1 1/2). 1993.
The story of Stax continues...
Josh P. | 12/27/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In May of 1968, Stax was in a dilemma. The distribution deal with Atlantic Records ceased to be since Stax opted out of the Atlantic/Warner
merger. Thus, they lost the lion's share of their back catalogue to Atlantic plus Sam & Dave, who were merely loaned to Stax and were initially Atlantic artists, not to mention Otis Redding from the December '67 plane crash that took his life. A prominent figure in the Civil Rights movement had also been brought down: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and it was in the Memphis area. With so much on their plate, it could have been the end of the line for Stax.
However, with the mighty audacity and go-power of Al Bell, Stax was going to start from scratch and rebuild their catalogue under their new distributors, Gulf+Western. Their first record on the new label with the finger-snap logo (replacing the stack-of-records) was provided by none other than Booker T. and the MG's; it was a Caribbean-influenced number called "Soul Limbo." It was a hit right off the bat. With more hit singles following, Stax was off to a promising rebirth.
Much of the earlier part of this 9-disc set that chronicles 1968-1971 sounds like a direct continuation of the first set. Though, it isn't long when the Stax sound begins to change gradually with the influences of Stax's new order of business and mass production including more outside production from the North and in places like Muscle Shoals. The changing times also affect the tone of the music as it becomes more funkier but somehow loses its down-home grit that was omnipresent in the first set. With new producers at hand and the aim for assembly-line production, the sound on this set begins to become permeated with polish and gloss. The new artists that came during this period like the Emotions and the Dramatics were saddled with this ordeal and lyrics to many songs were gravitating more towards social and domestic awareness.
Nonetheless, the Stax veterans, namely Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Eddie Floyd, Albert King, William Bell, Johnnie Taylor and Booker T. & the MG's still managed to keep Stax's primal grittiness intact. The Bar-Kays were reformed by the two surviving members and as a result they increased their level of funkiness. Isaac Hayes goes from Stax session musician and principal song writer and rises to stardom as one of Stax's most successful artists ("I Stand Accused" is his best work, period. The sound clip provided here on this page is awesome). The Staple Singers provide moments of inspiration and renewed hope. With the absence of Otis Redding and Sam & Dave, that initial high-power energy is sorely missing and it wasn't long when Booker T. & the MG's were drifting away from Stax. That's the gap that these swarms of new artists like the Soul Children, Margie Joseph and Ernie Hines were aiming to fill, and do great jobs in their own respect, but you'll know something is still noticably missing.
At 216 tracks among 9 CD's, each containing more than 70 minutes of music and showcased in crisp, meaty stereo sound, Vol. 2 is definitely worth the listen. Though, I found that on the first box I could categorize all the songs into those that I loved/really liked and those that I could at least appreciate. On the second box, it's about the same, however there were about six tracks that I just didn't care for such as The Nightingales "I Don't Want to Be Like My Daddy", and Jeanne & the Darlings' "It's Time to Pay for the Fun", and Calvin Scott's "Shame on the Family Name." So, 6 out of 216 isn't bad, now is it?
Still, being an avid Stax fan, there was much to enjoy on this second set.
It's R&B; it isn't afraid to express itself and the lyrics are still down-to-earth and didn't have to be created from hard, exasperating efforts.
Everything from Booker T. & the MG's, the Staple Singers, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Eddie Floyd, Albert King, the Bar-Kays, Isaac Hayes and Johnnie Taylor and many of the Soul Children's material were my favorite tracks and obviously there are too many to mention. I also enjoyed songs from renowned artists who had brief stints with Stax like John Lee Hooker, Barbara Lewis, The TSU Toronadoes, Darrell Banke, Jimmy Hughes and even Delaney & Bonnie of "Never Ending Song of Love" fame. On disc three, you'll hear MG guitarist Steve Cropper sing(!) on "Water" as he plays guitar alongside Pops Staples and Albert King. The first three discs and the last one on their own were the strongest in the set; everything spread out in between those mentioned still contained a lot of great songs and rare gems but in the midst were some weaker and uninspired numbers.
Granted, Stax was in the swing of things during this time and the sound became funkier and yet still glossy making the first set (particularly the earlier parts of it) sound primitive. The new beginning was an opportunity to use the new recording equipment acquired and here that is quite relevant. Chart success, in comparison, was about the same with less than half the singles presented being able to make the charts with everything else failing to even make a dent despite the arrival of subsidiary labels like Enterprise (mainly a jazz division), Respect and We Produce.
The next chapter in Stax's golden history awaits you; R&B music was in its last golden years before disco took over. The end of those magic times came with the close of Stax records. Meanwhile, all involved in R&B and particularly southern soul was riding high at this point. So, if the first Stax set left you starving for more, this second set should satisfy you plenty if not overwhelm you."
Full of Great Stuff
Josh P. | 08/24/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Different from the material on the first Stax box - soul music was getting more of a standard rock/dance beat underneath of it, and the music was layed down through multi-tracking rather than through live arrangements. But it's still the voice of soul. There is a wealth of fine music on here. If you choose to buy this, I don't think you'll be sorry. There's a lot of pickings on here. Basically, this is a wonderful archival package."
Seminal box set for soul & R&B fans
Hambone Samuelson | Washington DC | 10/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's amazing how many hidden gems are mixed in amongst the more well-known songs in this fantastic 9 disc box set. From Darrell Banks' "Just Because Your Love is Gone" to the Newcomers' "Open Up Your Heart (and Let Me In), this is simply a treasure-trove of soul / r&b delights. If you like Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, the Dramatics, etc, you will love this set....good for dancin', good for romancin'!"