Monday, 4 June 2018

The Complete Stax Singles Volume One (1959-1968)



This excellent box set is, for some reason, extortionately priced in comparison to volumes two and three which can be obtained for around £30 each. The individual nine CDs can be collected relatively cheaply and the whole collection can be downloaded for £50. Also, one can "cherry pick" the best tracks to download.

With regard to the sound, these are the original 1991 CD box set remasters, some of them are a bit "crackly" (the earlier release date ones) but on the while, it is a good remastering, many of the tracks in my beloved stereo.

The attraction of this box set is to get hold of tracks not included on box sets such as "Atlantic R&B 1947 - 1974 8 Volumes Box Set" (which by the way has the best remastered sound of all). Tracks by artists who recorded on Atlantic, such as Eddie Floyd, Sam & Dave and Rufus Thomas but who also recorded on Stax and/or Volt are included here, many of them; Then there is the great soul voice of Mable John, who can also be found on The Complete Motown Singles Volumes One and Three box sets; The blues of Albert King; The great instrumentals of Booker T & The MGs, The Bar-Kays and The Mar-Keys; The wonderful soul voice of the underrated Johnnie Taylor; the "Northern Soul" of Linda Lyndell (Bring Your Love Back To Me); Oh, and did I forget to mention Otis Redding....

For me, I feel I need to own all these sets to cover the best of these artists and of the Stax/Volt/Atlantic/Memphis sound. On many of the tracks, that trademark Steve Cropper guitar sound is as integral to the "Southern Soul" sound as The Funk Brothers were to Motown. So many diverse artists were influenced by this material - The Rolling Stones, Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt, Eric Clapton, David Bowie, The Animals, Chris Farlowe, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Vintage Trouble, Dr. Feelgood....too many to mention. This is seminal soul/blues music.As opposed to listing all the tracks, my own personal highlights of this remarkable collection of some of the best kick posterior, horn-driven soul you will hear are:-

Wrap It Up - Sam & Dave
I Take What I Want - Sam & Dave
Don't Rock The Boat - Eddie Floyd
A Dime A Dozen - Carla Thomas 

Willy Nilly - Rufus Thomas
Same Time, Same Place - Mable John
Each Step I Take - Deanie Parker
Try A Little Tenderness - Otis Redding
Chained And Bound - Otis Redding
Who Will It Be Tomorrow - William Bell
Don't Have To Shop Around - Mad Lads
These Arms Of Mine - Otis Redding
Raise Your Hand - Eddie Floyd
When Something Is Wrong With My Baby - Sam & Dave
On A Saturday Night - Eddie Floyd
Cold Feet - Albert King
Bo-Time - The Mar-Keys
Crosscut Saw - Albert King
Sophisticated Sissy - Rufus Thomas
Bring Your Love Back To Me - Lynda Lyndell
Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay - Otis Redding
Hold On I'm Comin' - Sam & Dave
Things Get Better - Eddie Floyd
Can't See You When I Want To - David Porter
I Got To Love Somebody's Baby - Johnnie Taylor
Soul Finger - The Bar-Kays
I Can't Turn You Loose - Otis Redding
I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down - Sam & Dave
Candy - The Astors
You Can't Get Away From It - Johnnie Taylor
Frog Stomp - Floyd Newman
Boot-Leg - Booker T. & The MGs
You Got Me Hummin' - Sam & Dave

Those are a few to be getting on with, but they only scratch the surface of this wonderful collection. Yes, it will cost you a bit, but it is money well spent.


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