Stax became an institution, the name synonymous with Southern Soul, differentiated by it's more earthy sound - but then you probably knew that. You may also know that for a Black music institution, Stax was a surprisingly multi-racial set up, typified by Booker t and the MGs, where the colour of your skin was unimportant. Unusual as that was for the American South in the early 60's, throughout the period covered by this set, Stax was a beacon of racial harmony.
Gee Whiz, by Carla Thomas was the first major hit for the label, and while the initial output was heavily Blues influenced, the familiar Stax sound can soon be heard as releases by Booker T, Otis Redding and William Bell sold in large quantities and crossed over into the pop charts. That was just the beginning and hits just kept coming - Sam and Dave ripping up the place, Rufus Thomas' funky gems, as well as the cooler sounds of Eddie Floyd.There's so much good music here, and some real undiscovered gems, as well as some that would be best forgotten.
This set covers what might be regarded as "The Atlantic Years" as the labels output was licensed to Atlantic until 1968 - the deal gave Atlantic the rights to everything. Stax would never be the same after that - and 1968 was a watershed in more ways than one, as the death of Otis deprived them of their major artist and the murder of Martin Luther King saw racial tensions drive a wedge into that racial harmony.
As a testament o the creativity that existed in Memphis in the early 60's, as a record of one of the most influential studios in music history, as proof of what can be achieved in the face of prejudice - whatever, this is essential listening