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Stax 50th: 50th Anniversary Celebration Box set, Original recording remastered

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Audio CD, Box set, Original recording remastered, March 13, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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

Disc: 1
1. GEE WHIZ (LOOK AT HIS EYES) - Carla Thomas
2. LAST NIGHT - The Mar-Keys
4. GREEN ONIONS - Booker T. & The MGs
5. WALKING THE DOG - Rufus Thomas
7. CANDY - The Astors
8. RESPECT - Otis Redding
10. I WANT SOMEONE - The Mad Lads
See all 28 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. TIME IS TIGHT - Booker T. & The MGs
2. SO I CAN LOVE YOU - The Emotions
3. WALK ON BY - Isaac Hayes
4. DO THE FUNKY CHICKEN - Rufus Thomas
6. MR. BIG STUFF - Jean Knight
9. RESPECT YOURSELF - The Staple Singers
10. THEME FROM SHAFT - Isaac Hayes
See all 22 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 13, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: 2007
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Box set, Original recording remastered
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Stax
  • ASIN: B000KP62UM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,310 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Buy now, think later!
Alistair McHarg
This is an excellent introduction to the best of one of the great rock and soul labels ever.
Nicholas C. Carlson
I put this on, kicked back with the book and just enjoyed.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Alistair McHarg on May 2, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When I was coming up, getting my feet wet in R&B, soul, and blues, the word Stax was synonymous with quality and authenticity. If it came from Stax, you were almost certainly assured of getting the genuine article - not a copy of a copy of a copy. Stax certainly had its share of breakout stars, Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers - acts that got national approbation.

After the headliners came a group of equally talented performers who were minor deities in R&B circles - Booker T. & the MGs, Albert King, Carla Thomas, and Johnnie Taylor among them. Late arrivals to this material may be interested to learn what Walkin' the Dog - Rufus Thomas - sounded like before the Stones cashed in. There are multiple wonderful surprises on this 2-CD set - from Little Milton - That's What Love Will Make You Do - to - Jody's Got Your Girl And Gone - Johnnie Taylor - to the priceless - Your Good Thing Is About To End - Mable John.

If you want the material that broke out you'll be more than satisfied - Mr. Big Stuff - Jean Knight - and the irresistible - Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get - The Dramatics - not to mention classics by artists previously listed. But the real fun is digging way down into material you've most likely never heard - Candy - The Astors - just great! About the only disappointment this terrific set has to offer is discovering that Isaac Hayes just doesn't hold up very well. His voice is glorious, but the delivery is goopy and the over-arrangements intolerable.

Buy now, think later! 2-CDs - which cleverly add up to 50 tracks (50th Anniversary Edition), sturdy box, excellent booklet. I simply cannot imagine where you could find more for less - this wonderful collection could easily provide the foundation for a really solid, and delightful, collection. Switchin' labels on the tables, this assortment Stax up real nice.
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60 of 65 people found the following review helpful By hyperbolium on March 13, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Concord Records, which acquired the Stax catalog with their purchase of Fantasy Records in 2004, kicks off a 50th anniversary reissue celebration with this double-disc set of the label's pioneering hits. While Motown's Berry Gordy made his label a nationwide institution with a broad commercial identity, the artists and producers at Stax initially carved out a more regionally identifiable sound. The gospel roots of the Memphis-based Stax were unmistakable, and the house bands (The Mar-Kays and the MGs) added a distinct, bluesy bite. Where Motown's music could feel manicured for radio, Stax forged a sound for the roadhouse. But it's exactly that live vitality that eventually made Stax such an iconic stand out.

Historian Rob Bowman calls out several elements that molded the classic Stax sound, but none more notable than the musician's pay scale. Outside of the South musicians were paid by the hour (or three-hour session), but in Memphis they were paid by the song. Where Motown had tight arrangements on paper before sessions began, Stax tasked its players to create and refine arrangements on the fly. Only when the band found a song's unique groove were the vocalists invited in, and then to often sing live. The arrangements included horn charts in place of background singers, emphasizing the vocalist without mixing them out front. Finally, the live vibe of these performances was carried to tape via the reverberant acoustics of Stax's legendary studio-in-a-former-movie theater. It all added up to a sound that was unique and instantly recognizable on record and on the radio.

Stax's defining period, from 1961 to 1968, is best remembered for the tight grooves of Booker T. & The MG's, the duets of Sam & Dave, and the standard-defining sides of Otis Redding.
Read more ›
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By M. Alper on March 13, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Stax Records was to Memphis and rhythm and blues what Chess Records was to Chicago and blues. This recently issued two-disc box set contains 50 seminal blues and R&B recordings. There isn't "filler" in the bunch, so for those on tight budgets who don't have money to blow on the larger boxed sets or discs by the individual artists, this set is the way to go. Stax has been acquired by the Concord Music Group and they've done a great job with this sampler, which can be appreciated by both new and long-time fans. The booklet that comes with the box set is very nicely done.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By ImEzekiel65 on March 27, 2007
Format: Audio CD
....because this is a GREAT deal!

50, yes, 50 classic soul songs with accompanying informative booklet and nice box with lenticular 3D picture for 12 bucks? What is there to think about here? Go out and get this.

So many classics here, many forgotten, many I've never heard before, but still deserving of being included here. The perfect introduction to anyone not at all familiar with this kind of music. Soul done right. Why does hardly anyone do it like this anymore? Let's all hope that this will not be a bygone era.

Long live Southern Soul! And Happy 50th Anniversary to Stax Records! Here's to another 50 years of class.

Sorry for the run-on sentences. I'm just really enjoying this.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By MattMrdck on March 13, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Along with Hi Records (Al Green, Ann Peebles, Syl Johnson, et al), Stax (and it's subsidiary VOLT) introduced America and the world to Memphis Soul Music. This compilation gathers the greats and the not-so-familiar into the perfect introduction and overview to Stax Records. Highly recommended. The package of art/booklet/box, in addition to the great sounding remastering, only adds to the enjoyment.
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