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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Premier Soul label, 9 Jun. 2007
By 
Andy Edwards "staxasoul" (Essex UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Stax 50: A 50th Anniversary Celebration (Audio CD)
Stax was responsible for the sound we have come to call Soul. Curiously for a Black Music institution, it's success was a result of a multi racial mix (Booker T and the MGs were 2 Black, 2 White for example), and there's plenty of evidence of the link between R & B and Country music in Stax output - those being the dominant musical genres in the South and especially Memphis.

If you are a Soul music fan, then you may have many of these tracks in your collection and be familiar with most, but put together like this, these 50 tracks leave no-one in any doubt that here was a musical phenemenon.

This is music from an era where the radio was king and getting a song played was the key to getting a hit record. In the early days, Stax perfected the art of producing songs that not only matched the 3 minute song format, but also had something to say - that was usually about love and loss, although you'll also find instrumentals and dance tunes.

The death of Otis Redding is often cited as a watershed for Stax. There were however, other factors which also forced the label to change. The licensing deal that had existed with Atlantic was discovered to have given the rights to all the Stax songs to Atlantic, which meant effectively, the label had no back catalogue. Add to that the increase in racial tension following the death of Martin Luther King and you had a set of circumstances which pushed Stax into a different direction, albeit one that would take a couple of years to become fully apparent.

So, this compilation journeys from "Gee Whiz" and it's innocence, through the emotion of Otis and his peers and on to the orchestral Soul of Isaac Hayes and the Civil Rights anthems of The Staple Singers, before something of a return to the roots with The Soul Children and Shirley Brown. It is journey you will find worth taking
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stax of timeless brilliance., 28 April 2007
By 
russell clarke "stipesdoppleganger" (halifax, west yorks) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Stax 50: A 50th Anniversary Celebration (Audio CD)
Would you believe that Stax started as a country label but through gospel almost inadvertently gained an interest in soul music. Not bad for a label that along with the more commercially popular Motown is the most influential in black music( Though you could throw in reggae labels like Trojan if you were feeling picky )It's initial success rooted from the deep South with it's heavy gospel influence ushered in one revolution in black music but after the death of Otis Redding in 1967 and the disbanding of Sam & Dave, the label marshalled a new brand of soul all over again led by Isaac Hayes. It ,s this ability to adapt and innovate that makes this such an important label , as well as the brilliant music of course.

Jim Stewart along with Estelle Axton founded the label in Memphis as "Satellite " records but it wasn't till 1961 that the label achieved it's first top ten hit with the gospel harmonies of "Gee Whiz( Look At His Eyes)" by Carla Thomas. It was the formation of it's in house rhythm section Booker T & the MG,s that really nailed the Stax sound . The horn section , which later became The Memphis horns , provided brassy backing, funked up and slinky, and their three tracks-"Green Onions " , Soul Limbo" (Or the cricket music as it was known in my formative years) and "Time Is Tight"- on this fifty track compilation are instantly recognisable classics .

The emergence of Otis Redding , a singer of truly outstanding emotive talent , gave the label further credence , not to mention some of the songs he wrote -"Respect" and the ever superb "(Sittin On) The Dock Of The Bay"- a song that still gives me goose bumps bigger than maltesers. Add to that the emollient tones of Sam & Dave , the bluesy Albert King , and the graceful ballads of William Bell and the label had a formidable array of talent .

Even after Booker T & the MG,s influence waned, at least on the playing side( the band did more administrative work than session playing as the sixties merged into the seventies) the label under the guidance of Al Bell continued to prosper and not just that either. Former songwriter, producer and session player Isaac Hayes became an artist in his own right mixing up funk , jazz , soul and mellifluous easy listening to startling and groundbreaking effect . The albums "Shaft" ( Which kick started the blaxploitation movement and meant Stax became central to black America's disenchantment with society and those in power ) and "Hot Buttered Soul" ( A work of genius which should be in any albums to hear before you die list) sold millions of copies . Then there were The Staples Singers commercial gospel sound , the close knit harmonies of Mel & Tim, the more classic Stax Soul Children and oddities like the swinging irreducible "Mr Big Stuff".

Something went badly wrong somewhere however , as the label was declared bankrupt in 1975 amid allegations of financial corruption and mis-management. In 1977 all Stax,s assets , including all contracts and masters were purchased by a group who then licensed "Fantasy" records to handle all Stax product (as they put it) It may be product to some but to most , it's timeless evocative brilliance and it's good to know that their artists and legacy is still being appreciated today and that's why this release is the least this defining label deserves.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If You Like Music, Soul Music, 25 July 2008
By 
This review is from: Stax 50: A 50th Anniversary Celebration (Audio CD)
If you are a serious Soul fan you will have most of these tracks already.
If you are a Music fan you will be familiar with most of the twenty or so Stax artist featured on this fifty track CD.
This is no Greatest Hits Collection (plenty of them here on Amazon)but a wonderful insight into one of the greatest Record Labels of the sixties and early seventies.
If you like Music, Soul Music, then this is a worthy addition to any CD Collection
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real deal!, 30 May 2014
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This review is from: Stax 50: A 50th Anniversary Celebration (Audio CD)
I won't elaborate too much. Basically if you like REAL soul music or you're not sure what it actually is then get this. Otis, Booker T and the MG's, William Bell, Carla Thomas, Isaac Hayes, you get the picture, plus some stuff I wasn't too familiar with. I know I probably sound old but soul is one thing sadly lacking in most singers today. Maybe they should all buy a copy of this!
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5.0 out of 5 stars In a music store near you, 15 April 2008
This review is from: Stax 50: A 50th Anniversary Celebration (Audio CD)
Not fot the first time we get a Stax retrospective but here it comes with the half century marker.
Like the other famous Memphis label-Sun-the label concentrated on black music after its beginnings as a country music label called Satellite.
The first hit single was by Carla Thomas daugter of Rufus who'd once been on Sun and who made the first Stax single as a duet with Carla.
Gee Whiz strraddled the boundaries between high school pop and R & B and has been much covered.
Sun was actually ready to set as Stax set the pace for what was to follow in the 60s which was even blacker music and the label would eventually be sold out to the corporates in the 70s
The reissue programs would come shortly and it never ends
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great listening, 6 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: Stax 50: A 50th Anniversary Celebration (Audio CD)
A good mix of songs. Very easy to listen to. Played it whilst decorating, helped make the time fly by.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great old soul tracks, 29 Jan. 2012
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Bought the Stax Gold album as a cassette many many years ago (pre CD's) played it on a loop in the car. Then bought Stax Gold as a CD so I could still play in new car. This album is a bigger and better selection of tracks - there are a couple I don't like but that's normal for a 50 track album. Well worth buying if you are into early soul.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Super Stax, 13 Oct. 2014
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A great sampling from the golden age of a classic soul/r&b label. I am no expert on this music but this is a fantastic introduction.
More than worth the price.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stax Best Records, 19 Aug. 2013
By 
Dappa Don (East Midlands) - See all my reviews
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A great compilation of the finest tracks off the legendary Stax record label... don't hesitate just buy people, you wont regret it!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 50th Anniversary Stax album, 20 Jun. 2011
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This review is from: Stax 50: A 50th Anniversary Celebration (Audio CD)
This a great album if you were unable to afford the original singles (like me) Booker T backs most, if not all of the tracks and the music hits range from Aretha to Otis etc. A Great BUY !!!
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Stax 50: A 50th Anniversary Celebration
Stax 50: A 50th Anniversary Celebration by William Bell (Audio CD - 2007)
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