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Sunday, December 6, 2009

THE COMPLETE STAX-VOLT SOUL SINGLES (III)


THE COMPLETE STAX-VOLT SOUL SINGLES
VOLUME 3, 1972-1975 (1995)
320 KBPS

By 1972, Stax had proved that it could carry on and be just as strong as it was during its first golden era when Otis Redding was its principal star. The label from '68-'71, as chronicled in the second box, enjoyed a greater multitude of success, new acts, and experimented with new sounds to keep up with the changing times, both socially and musically, but it still stuck to its gritty and raw roots that made Stax what it was; it was that Southern flavor with the exposure of blues and gospel coming through strong. It was the antithesis of Motown's polish and refinement. Here, the Stax sound was laced with bass guitar, simple yet funky drum licks, oozing organ, and a tight horn section. At this point, where this third set documents, it was all that but with many different ensembles(whether they were in Detroit, Muscle Shoals, or at their own McLemore studios there in Memphis) giving their own take on that trademark Southern sound.

At 10 CDs and 213 tracks, this set covers the latter-most era as Stax moves from just before its biggest triumph at its own sponsered music festival, Wattstax, to its unfortunate downfall in bankruptcy. As Stax was reaping the rewards of success in the summer of '72, Stax was placed in the distributional hands of CBS, a major player in popular music, to which hopefully Stax could acheive the once-and-for-all monumental household-name status of that of Motown. With Stax over-spending, certain people not being careful enough with money, and with CBS supposedly over-ordering, warehousing and holding back funds on Stax product, the deal went sour and Stax became racked with debts that would ultimately force them into a shutdown in late fall 1975.

Despite that kind of story that went behind the scenes of these fantastic recordings, none of that seems to cloud the atmosphere of the music. The silky smooth and raw funky '70s sounds of R&B are brought forth quite well. It is, as always with Stax, the stuff to get your groove on with!

Longtime Stax veterans Eddie Floyd, William Bell, Rufus Thomas, and Johnnie Taylor still enjoy some success, particularly the latter-most mentioned with his hits like "I Believe In You" (disc 4), "Cheaper To Keep Her" (disc 5), and "I've Been Born Again" (disc 7), and "Doin' My Own Thing" (disc 1) which is a return to his roots in blues. Rufus continues his string of dance singles like "Itch and Scratch" (disc 3), "Funky Robot" (disc 4) and "Boogie Ain't Nothin' But Gettin' Down" (disc 8), William Bell providing soul-soaked ballads like "Lovin' On Borrowed Time" (disc 4), and "Getting What You Want" (disc 7), and Eddie Floyd, who in my opinion, had the most fun-sounding repertoire such as "Yum Yum Yum (I Want Some)" (disc 1, the opener), "Soul Street" (disc 8), "Baby Lay Your Head Down" (reggae-sounding, disc 5), and "I Got A Reason To Smile" (disc 9). There are too many great songs to mention, as is the case with all the artists, and it's even a shame when looking at the list of singles that failed to hit the charts, because some have loads of potential. Take the Bessie Banks cut on disc 9, "Try To Leave Me If You Can"; that is such a sumptuous performance.

Other artists that slowly watched their careers at Stax dwindle down during this time is Carla Thomas (everything from her is great), the Bar-Kays (same), and Isaac Hayes (same again, check out his only vocal duet with David Porter on disc 2). Yet amidst some of the older acts seeing less and less activity in the output, many of the other artists continued to thrive along with new acts trying to get their names across. The Staple Singers are among Stax's most successful vocal groups as well as the Dramatics, the Emotions and the Soul Children along side Stax newbies Frederick Knight, Mel & Tim, Sandra Wright, Veda Brown, and Shirley Brown. Blues men Albert King and Little Milton continue to contrubute to the bluesy side of Stax while soul men and women you don't normally associate with Stax cut a few sides like Brook Benton, Inez Foxx, the Sweet Inspirations, and even fromer Motown star Kim Weston.

If none of the other sets really consumed you musically and emotionally through its feeling and lyrics, this one will. The lyrics reveal the honesty and sometimes intensity of what every human being experiences. Read near the beginning of the booklet where it says "Guts"; that about sums it all up.

Though this was Stax's closing years, it was more diversified than ever with its roster and with its genres of music that it branched out on. Not every single that Stax issued is here, hence the name "Stax/Volt Soul" singles. The rock group the Gentrys ("Keep On Dancing"), cut some sides with Stax, but they are not here. If that were the case, goodness knows how many more discs this one could have spawned if it covered rock, country, jazz and gospel; Rance Allen does not appear either. Not very many B-sides are included, but these are perhaps minor quibbles. This third box, like its predecessors, suits very well in telling the story of what Stax was all about. Rob Bowman's notes are very fun to read and very enlightening. Yet, every time it's still confusing as to what the root cause of what made Stax's mightiness cave in. The simple answer is that Stax became the victim of a hostile takeover, but that did not diminish the quality of the music and its soul. Enjoy the closing chapter of the story of a landmark record company that taught America that soul was in everyone.

Disc 1
1. Yum Yum Yum (I Want Some) - Eddie Floyd
2. Carry On - Jean Knight
3. Do Your Thing - Isaac Hayes
4. I've Been Lonely for So Long - Frederick Knight
5. Nothing Is Everlasting - Annette May Thomas,
6. Hearsay - The Soul Children
7. Angel of Mercy - Albert King
8. In the Rain [Edited Version] - The Dramatics
9. She's My Old Lady Too - Lee Sain
10. Explain It to Her Mama - The Temprees
11. Right On - Sons Of Slum
12. Doing My Own Thing, Pt. 1 - Johnnie Taylor
13. My Honey and Me - The Emotions
14. Let's Stay Together [Instrumental] - Isaac Hayes
15. Bring It Home - Hot Sauce
16. Look Around You - Black Society
17. Don't Do It/I'm With You - The Nightingales
18. I'll Take You There - The Staple Singers
19. Which Way - The Leaders, The Leaders
20. Living a Life Without Love - Veda Brown
21. What's Good for You (Don't Have to Be Good to You) - Harvey Scales
22. Let Me Repair Your Heart - The Mad Lads
23. What's Usual Seems Natur'l - Eric Mercury
24. I Wanna Make up (Before We Break Up) - Major Lance

Disc 2
1. Ain't That Loving You (For More Reasons Than One) - Isaac Hayes, David Porter
2. Walking the Back Streets and Crying - Little Milton
3. Save Us - William Bell
4. 6-3-8 - Rufus Thomas
5. Starting All over Again - Mel & Tim
6. Keep on Loving Me - Stefan
7. (I'm Afraid) The Masquerade Is Over - David Porter
8. Goin' Down Slow, Pts. 1 & 2 - Little Sonny
9. I Could Never Be Happy - The Emotions
10. Don't Take My Kindness for Weakness - The Soul Children
11. I'll Play the Blues for You, Pt. 1 - Albert King
12. I Dedicate My Life to You - Roger Hatcher
13. Do the Sweetback - March Wind
14. Gettin' Funky 'Round Here - Black Nasty
15. When the Chips Are Down - David Porter
16. Sugar - Carla Thomas
17. You're Good Enough to Be My Baby - Eddie Floyd
18. This World - The Staple Singers
19. Helping Man - Jean Knight
20. Ain't I Good - John Ka Sandra

Disc 3
1. Dance, Dance, Dance, Pt. 1 - The Bar-Kays
2. Dedicated to the One I Love - The Temprees,
3. Toast to the Fool - The Dramatics
4. Stop Doggin' Me - Johnnie Taylor
5. Trouble - Frederick Knight
6. I'm Gonna Cry a River - Little Milton
7. Itch and Scratch (Pt. 1) - Rufus Thomas
8. What Would I Do - Ernie Hines
9. I Know It's Not Right (To Be in Love With a Married Man) - Veda Brown
10. Holy Cow - Stefan
11. What Goes Around (Must Come Around) - Sons Of Slum
12. Theme from The Men [Instrumental] - Isaac Hayes
13. Endlessly - Mavis Staples
14. You Hurt Me for the Last Time - Inez Foxx
15. My Sweet Lord - George Harrison
16. Breaking up Somebody's Home - Albert King
17. How Can You Mistreat the One You Love - Katie Love & the Four Shades of Black
18. From Toys to Boys - The Emotions
19. Dryer (Pt. 1) - Roy Lee Johnson, Villagers
20. I May Not Be All You Want (But I'm All You Got) - Carla Thomas
21. Ain't No Sweat - Major Lance
22. Do Me - Jean Knight
23. Rainy Day - Little Milton

Disc 4
1. It Ain't Always What You Do (It's Who You Let See You Do It) - The Soul Children
2. I May Not Be What You Want - Mel & Tim
3. Funky Robot, Pt. 1 - Rufus Thomas
4. Don't You Fool With My Soul, Pt. 1 - Johnnie Taylor
5. Oh la de Da - The Staple Singers
6. What Do You See in Her? - Hot Sauce
7. Thousand Miles Away - The Temprees,
8. Hey You! Get off My Mountain - Isaac Hayes
9. Rolling Down a Mountainside - Isaac Hayes
10. You're Still My Brother - The Bar-Kays
11. Stop Half Loving These Women - Jimmy Lewis
12. Lovin' in Borrowed Time - William Bell
13. Lay Your Loving on Me - Eddie Floyd
14. Time - Inez Foxx
15. Heaven Knows - Mel & Tim
16. I Believe in You (You Believe in Me) - Johnnie Taylor
17. Short Stopping - Veda Brown
18. Be What You Are - The Staple Singers
19. I've Got to Love Somebody's Baby - Stefan
20. Playing on Me - Albert King
21. Long as You're the One Somebody in the World - David Porter

Disc 5
1. This Is My Song of Love to You - Frederick Knight
2. Sugarcane - The MG's
3. Love Is a Hurtin' Thing - The Soul Children
4. Baby, Lay Your Head Down (Gently on My Bed) - Eddie Floyd
5. Check Me Out - Eddie Floyd
6. Runnin' Back (And Forth) - The Emotions
7. Crossing over the Bridge - Inez Foxx
8. Love's Maze - The Temprees,
9. It Ain't Easy - The Bar-Kays
10. Love Among People - Carla Thomas
11. What It Is - Little Milton
12. I've Got to Go on Without You - William Bell
13. Love Is Taking Over - Eddie Mercury
14. Ruby Dean - Joe Hicks
15. I'm So Glad I Fell in Love With You - The Mad Lads
16. Fell for You - The Dramatics
17. Cheaper to Keep Her - Johnnie Taylor
18. I Know (You Don't Want Me No More) - Rufus Thomas
19. If You're Ready (Come Go With Me) - The Staple Singers
20. Slipped and Tripped - The Sweet Inspirations
21. Peace Be Still - The Emotions
22. I'll Be the Other Woman - The Soul Children

Disc 6
1. Martian Hop - The Newcomers
2. I Had a Talk With My Man - Inez Foxx
3. At Last - The Temprees,
4. Joy, Pt. 1 - Isaac Hayes
5. Good Woman Turning Bad - Hot Sauce
6. Mose (Pt. 3) - John Ka Sandra
7. I'll Be Your Santa Baby - Rufus Thomas
8. I Wanna Do Things for You - Eddie Floyd
9. That's What the Blues Is All About - Albert King
10. One Way Love Affair - Carolyn Hurley
11. Tin Pan Alley - Little Milton
12. Funky Bird - Rufus Thomas
13. We're Getting Careless With Our Love - Johnnie Taylor
14. What Do the Lonely Do at Christmas? - The Emotions
15. Seoson's Greetings - Cix Bits
16. Don't Lose Faith in Me Lord - Eric Mercury
17. Don't Start Loving Me (If You're Gonna Stop) - Veda Brown
18. Touch a Hand (Make a Friend) - The Staple Singers
19. And I Panicked - The Dramatics
20. Change It All - Joy Fleming

Disc 7
1. Gettin' What You Want (Losin' What You Got) - William Bell
2. He's Mine - Jackie Verdell
3. My Woman Is Good to Me - Little Sonny
4. I Got You and I'm Glad - David Porter
5. Put a Little Love Away - The Emotions
6. Suzy - Frederick Knight
7. Same Folk - Mel & Tim
8. You Make the Sun Shine - The Temprees,
9. Whole Damn World Is Going Crazy - John Gary Williams
10. Circuit's Overloaded - Inez Foxx
11. Wonderful - Isaac Hayes
12. Behind Closed Doors - Little Milton
13. Guess Who? - Eddie Floyd
14. Dirty Tricks - The Sweet Inspirations
15. Whicha Way Did It Go - Roebuck "Pops" Staples
16. Talking to the People - Black Nasty
17. I've Been Born Again - Johnnie Taylor
18. Neckbone
19. Wounded Woman - Sandra Wright
20. Stop Doggin' Me - Hot Sauce
21. Goodness Gracious - Kim Weston

Disc 8
1. City in the Sky - The Staple Singers
2. Title Theme - Isaac Hayes
3. Soul Street - Eddie Floyd
4. Flat Tire - Albert King
5. Love Makes It Right - The Soul Children
6. Mr. Cool That Ain't Cool - The Temprees
7. Boogie Ain't Nuttin' (But Gettin' Down) (Pt. 1) - Rufus Thomas
8. Highway to Heaven - Ron Banks, The Dramatics
9. Get It While It's Hot - William Bell
10. Passing Thru - Frederick Knight
11. Keep an Eye on Your Close Friends - The Newcomers
12. My Main Man/There Is a God - The Staple Singers
13. That's the Way I Want to Live My Life - Mel & Tim
14. Forever in a Day - Mel & Tim
15. Baby, I'm Through - The Emotions
16. It's September - Johnnie Taylor
17. Woman to Woman - Shirley Brown
18. Did You Hear Yourself (Pt. 1) - Randy Brown,
19. You Need a Friend Like Mine - Annette May Thomas,
20. I Love You, I Love You - The Temprees,
21. Let Me Back In - Little Milton

Disc 9
1. Crosscut Saw - Albert King
2. Coldblooded - The Bar-Kays
3. Bump Meat - Sir Mack Rice
4. (Too Little in Common to Be Lovers) Too Much Going to Say Goodbye - The Newcomers
5. Bump and Boogie (Pt. 1) - Wrecking Crew
6. What's Happening Baby (Pt. 1) - The Soul Children
7. Who Made the Man - The Staple Singers
8. I Keep Thinking to Myself - Brook Benton
9. I Got a Reason to Smile (Cause I Got You) - Eddie Floyd
10. Try to Leave Me (If You Can) - Bessie Banks
11. Burning on Both Ends - Willie Singleton, Willie
12. There Are Questions Than Answers - The Emotions
13. Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin' - Albert King
14. I Can't Let You Go - Hot Sauce
15. I Betcha Didn't Know That - Frederick Knight
16. Lovin' You, Lovin' Me - Sandra Wright
17. Do the Double Bump - Rufus Thomas
18. Come and Get Your Love - The Temprees,
19. Dark Skin Woman (Pt. 1) - Sir Mack Rice
20. It Ain't No Fun - Shirley Brown
21. If You Talk in Your Sleep - Little Milton
22. Talk to the Man - Eddie Floyd

Disc 10
1. You're Astounding - Barbara & Joe
2. Dy-No-Mite (Did You Say My Love) - The Green Brothers
3. Boom-A-Rang - Dynamic Soul Machine
4. Come What May - John Gary Williams
5. Try Me Tonight - Johnnie Taylor
6. Groovin' on My Baby's Love - Freddie Waters
7. I Can't Shake Your Love (Can't Shake You Loose) - The Fiestas
8. I Wanna Play With You - Frederick Knight
9. I'm Doing Fine - Albert King
10. No Way (I Can Live Without You) - Teresa Davis
11. Back Road into Town - The Staple Singers
12. I'm So Glad I Met You - Eddie Floyd
13. Packed up and Took My Mind - Little Milton
14. Just Keep on Loving Me - Johnnie Taylor
15. How Can I Be a Witness - R.B. Hudmon
16. Jump Back '75, Pt. 1 - Rufus Thomas
17. I Got to Be Myself - The Staple Singers
18. It's Worth a Whippin' - Shirley Brown
19. Holy Ghost, Pt. 1 - The Bar-Kays

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I bought volume one on release, at the time it was the only way to get Sam & Dave's " I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down" Its great to have now have Vols 2 & 3. I couldnt really justify another large outlay. STAX is one of the greatest labels of all time.

Love This site :)

TT

Anonymous said...

Great post, but is it the "normal" Password for the textfile?
It does not work!

Mr Moodswings said...

I've just tried it and it worked. Dunno what you did but you did something wrong.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU for posting these sets!
Cheers,
snoid

Rolf said...

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Wow - thanks a THIRD time. I didn't even know there was a third volume. Some great stuff here.

Brian said...

Thanks for these sets! Quite awesome.