Released as part of Stax Records’ 60th anniversary celebration, the Stax Classics series highlights some of 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. (Also see the Bookers and Carla Thomas)
According to one review, Otis Redding arrived in Memphis as a chauffeur for another artist, though Wikipedia says he toured with the Pinetoppers as singer and driver and had worked since he was 15, so perhaps the chauffeur story underplays his hard work. He’s best known for (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay, which he co-wrote with Steve Cropper of Booker T fame. That opens this collection, followed by classics such as These Arms Of Mine, Try A Little Tenderness, and Mr Pitiful.
Sam and Dave were known as Double Dynamite and The Dynamic Duo for their gospel-infused performances, as well as The Sultans of Sweat, which we hope is a tribute to the state they got the crowd into.
Their early songs were written with that man Steve Cropper, who wrote or co-wrote four of their first eight recordings, before the duo moved to Isaac Hayes and David Porter.
The hits on this CD even outdo Otis Redding’s collection for recognisability: Hold On, I’m Comin’, Soul Man, I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down and I Take What I Want.
Isaac Hayes has his own Stax Classics CD.