Released as part of Stax Records’ 60th anniversary celebration, the Stax Classics series highlights some the label’s biggest stars from the 1960s and 70s, budget-priced albums offering a dozen songs that “transcend the obvious hits”, as the PR says. This week, we’ve got two to review.
Booker T and the MGs were the house band of Stax Records, and played on hundreds of songs by likes of Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Bill Withers, Sam and Dave, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Johnnie Taylor and Albert King. Most people will know a couple of songs on here, more people will know a later version of the band (Steve “The Colonel” Cropper on guitar, Donald “Duck” Dunn on bass and Willie “Too Big” Hall on drums) as the band Jake And Elwood get back together in their mission from God to save a Catholic orphanage from foreclosure. As for this CD: classy but you’ve probably got to be a fan, unless you want Green Onions and Time Is Tight.
Carla Thomas is often referred to as the Queen of Memphis Soul. Her most successful single Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes) came out on Atlantic Records so is missing but her only other solo top 40 hit on the pop chart B-A-B-Y is included, as well as her duet with Otis Redding, Tramp. She’s not up with the greats (Otis Redding should be reviewed next week), but it’s good music.