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5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Introduction to Stax..., 18 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Stax/Volt: The Complete Singles Vol. 2: 1962-1963 (Audio CD)
This is vol.2 of a 9 CD series that you can buy as a complete box set from Amazon, but it might make sense financially to buy them individually as I did. The series aims to provide exactly what it says on the tin, that is every single (excluding B-sides) released on the Stax/ Volt label, between 1958-1968.

This CD includes all the singles released between 1962-63 and starts off with the evergreen (no pun intended) `Green Onions' by Booker T & the MG's. This raucous dance groove was Stax's first big cross-over hit reaching no.3 on the Pop chart and no.1 on the R&B chart. Recorded by Steve Cropper, Al Jackson jr, Booker T and Lewis Steinberg, who were effectively the Stax house band, this was destined to be the flip to `Behave Yourself' (also included here). This was the first of what was to be a decade of great instrumentals and 14 chart hits (another three of which appear on this volume, including `Chinese Checkers').

The criminally underrated William Bell also has a number of tracks here, including `Any Other Way', `I Told You So', `Somebody Mentioned Your Name' & `I'll Show You'. A great singer who struggled at Stax at first (none of these tracks was a hit), these tracks give you a good idea of the range of talent that the label had early on. The Tonettes , Deanie Parker & The Valadors (who would go on to become one of Stax's great songwriters), and `The Astors' (originally `The Chips' [see Stax/Volt: The Complete Singles Vol. 1: 1959-1961]) all making an appearance.

Also included here is Otis Redding's first single `These Arms of Mine' as well as singles by members of his band. `The Hawg' by Eddie Kirk, a musician who played with John Lee Hooker in the 50's and a superlative blues sounding track with harmonica. Oscar Mack's `Don't Be Afraid of Love' who sounds much like his mentor, Otis Redding, and is good, but not much more. And `What Can I Do' by Bobby Marchen a laid back groove with a great trumpet accompaniment.

As well as all that you also have the first of Rufus Thomas' dog themed songs `The Dog' followed by the more well known `Walkin' The Dog'. The only release by Carla Thomas from that year `What A Fool I've Been' and the last gasp of horn section the Mar-Keys, `Sack-O-Woe' and `Bo-Time', great instrumentals that were ignored and led to the (temporary) dissolution of the band as a recording entity.

The liner notes are detailed and informative, providing a potted history of the label as well as explaining how the songs developed. Well written they have the odd spelling mistake or grammatical error (e.g. 'Mr Pitiful' by Otis Redding is spelt 'Mr Pitful') which could have been picked up with more judicious editing. They also tend to overlap with other CD's in this series so sometimes they mention songs which appear on other vols. or don't mention songs at all, which unless you have the whole set can be a little annoying. They also provide a detailed discography with serial numbers, release dates and chart position at the back of the notes.

This is a superb collection with barely a bum note among them and is a perfect introduction to the legend of Stax/Volt Records. That this was only the beginning with greater heights in the future is enough to make any soul fan start salivating like Pavlov's dog. Bring on vol.3!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 11 Mar. 2013
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This was downloaded via the mp3 downloadable app,would not have Payed full price for the album as some of the tracks are not that commercial,it was easier to download and to put on my mp3 player well worth the downloadable price.
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5.0 out of 5 stars stax vol 2, 19 July 2012
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This review is from: Stax/Volt: The Complete Singles Vol. 2: 1962-1963 (Audio CD)
when i bought the set originally they didn't have vol 2 so imagine how happy i was when i found it on here, btilliant
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