Sibling and parent/child duets create a family voice that complements the individual singers. But duets between men and women elevate the relationship itself. The truth of country music has lent itself to many power duos, including Conway and Loretta, George and Tammy, and Johnny and June, but the raw emotion of soul music gives its duets another dimension of expressiveness. As the Memphis based Stax label expanded upon the success of its 1960s hard soul singles, the arrangements added strings, the horn charts softened and room was created for male-female duets. As part of the label's push into album releases, a double-LP's worth of duets were recorded with roster artists for 1969's Boy Meets Girl and released as part of Stax's massive post-Atlantic Records rebirth.
Mavis Staples sings two album highlights, a conga-heavy deep funk cover of Sam & Dave's earlier Stax hit "I Thank You" with William Bell, and a powerful Southern soul cover of Erma Franklin's "Piece of My Heart" with Eddie Floyd. The album mixes up-tempo grooves such as William Bell and Carla Thomas' "I Can't Stop" with emotionally crooned ballads that include Eddie Floyd and Cleotha Staples' "It's Too Late" and Johnnie Taylor and Carla Thomas' "My Life." This reissue drops eight of the original LP's titles and adds four, including the iconic pre-LP "Private Number," a terribly misguided mid-80s remake by Dusty Springfield and Spencer Davis, and a pair of tracks from Delaney and Bonnie's 1968 sessions for Home. Those seeking the original track lineup (and cover art) can find it on a pricier UK reissue. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]