First Time Ever. 50 Greatest Stax Hits in a special 2CD set. Every major Stax and Stax-Atlantic hit from the label's 1960s and 70s heyday on one specially priced package. Release coincides with the 50th anniversary of Stax. All tracks are digitally remastered. Features a multi-page booklet with notes from Soulsville USA: 'The Story of Stax' by noted soul music historian Rob Bowman. Combined, these artists have sold more than 10 million CD's in the SoundScan era alone! Some of the artists included are: Carla Thomas, Isaac Hayes, Booker T. & the Mg's, William Bell, The Staples Singers and Rufus Thomas.
When Concord Music purchased Fantasy Records in 2006, the bulging Stax catalog came along for the ride. Not a bad deal, especially since Stax remains one of the richest and most vital sources of '60s and '70s soul, blues, and R&B. The newly reactivated label's debut release is a lavishly boxed double-disc set of 50 highlights--as opposed to hits--from the Memphis label's voluminous vaults to celebrate its 50th anniversary. All the usual suspects appear, including Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Isaac Hayes, Johnnie Taylor, Eddie Floyd, Albert King, and the Staple Singers. But the compilers deliver a well-rounded, even eclectic collection by including tracks from such relatively obscure acts as the Astors, Ollie & the Nightingales, the Mad Lads, Linda Lyndell, and Mable John, whose "Your Good Thing (Is About to End)" is one of the great lost soul treasures. Propelled in large part by house band Booker T. & the MGs, the majority of these songs have become integral threads in the fabric of American soul. Even at two and a half hours, there's not a dull moment here. That is a testament not just to the Stax musicians, but to a label whose artists defined a classic sound that remains as timeless, relevant, influential, and electrifying as when it was recorded. --Hal Horowitz