Various Artists – Stax anniversary


This two-disc set has 50 songs, many of which are classics of the soul genre that burst out of Memphis and the Stax label throughout the 1960s and ’70s.

The guitar was an important part of the Stax sound; Steve Cropper not only supplied amazing parts, but wrote or co-wrote many of the label’s hits. And the set serves as a reminder of how great the rhythm guitar is on cuts like Eddie Floyd’s “Knock on Wood.” Or the funk of the six-string on “What A Man” by Linda Lyndell. Or the distorted, steely tone on Isaac Hayes’ version of “Walk On By.” And speaking of Isaac, it’s tough to beat the wah on “Theme From Shaft.”

You know the hits – great songs from William Bell, Sam and Dave, Albert King, Rufus Thomas, Mel and Time, Johnnie Taylor, Little Milton, the Bar-Kays, and plenty more. There are some gems, too, that have been forgotten but really make this set a must-have. Mable John’s “Your Good Thing Is About To End” is a masterpiece. Eddie Floyd’s “I’ve Never Found a Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)” is a classic. And at least three William Bell cuts help bring a somewhat forgotten soul legend back to mind.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s May ’07 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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