Stax ’68: A MEMPHIS STORY DUE OUT OCTOBER 19th
Milestone Anniversary Box Set will include all
Over 120 Songs From Artists That Defined An Era, Including:
Features Previously Unseen Photos from the Stax Archives
Los Angeles, CA – When it comes to soul, Stax Records owned the ’60s. Classic records from Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Rufus & Carla Thomas, and a legion of others helped transform what was once known as rhythm ‘n’ blues into rugged, emotionally bare “soul” music. This made Stax one of the decade’s most influential labels of any genre. It all crescendoed in 1968, a tempest-tossed year when the label redefined its own sound and, in the process, channeled a larger historical zeitgeist.
Stax ’68: A Memphis Story, out on October 19th via Craft Recordings, captures this crossroads in stunning, beautiful detail. The five-disc box set contains the A- and B-sides of every single released under the Stax banner in 1968, including the company’s sub-labels. With a 56-page book including revelatory, in-depth liner notes by Andria Lisle, Robert Gordon, and Steve Greenberg, as well as rare and previously unseen photos, the set presents more than 120 songs from this unprecedented creative period in American music. Some tracks are by soul legends (Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, William Bell, Booker T. & The M.G.’s, Johnnie Taylor) and some come from the deeper Stax catalog, and are equally incredible artists (Linda Lyndell, The Soul Children, The Mad Lads).
The collection will also be released digitally, and in the four weeks leading up to the release, one instant grat single download will be offered per week, with all digital pre-orders. The first instant grat single, “Long Walk to D.C.” by The Staple Singers, will be available on September 21st. The second instant grat, “Used to Be Love” by Lindell Hill (available digitally for the first time), will be available on September 28th. “Send Peace and Harmony Home” by Shirley Walton becomes available as an instant grat on October 5th. The final instant grat track, “Going Back to Memphis” by Billy Lee Riley (available digitally for the first time), will be available on October 12th.
Deluxe bundles featuring a limited edition Stax ’68: A Memphis Story poster, letter-pressed using authentic vintage materials from the Globe Collection and Press at MICA, are available at the Stax Records online store.
Click here to pre-order the exclusive deluxe bundle at Stax store.
Click here to pre-order the Stax ’68: A Memphis Story 5-CD set or digital album.
The Stax ’68: A Memphis Story box set release coincides with two extraordinary exhibits presented by the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis, Tennessee; The Sound of ’68 and Give A Damn! Music+ Activism at Stax Records. More details on each of these below.
The Year’s Defining Moments in Relation to Stax:
Redding‘s iconic “(Sittin’ on the) Dock of the Bay” and Sam & Dave‘s “I Thank You” were the label’s first singles of ’68. The former showed how much Redding was evolving and how much Stax (along with the rest of the world) had lost with his passing. The latter, like “Dock of the Bay,” was a huge hit on both the Pop and R&B charts, underlining Sam & Dave’s crossover potential. Both were essentially the artists’ Stax swan songs.
Shirley Walton‘s shimmering, gospel-tinged “Send Peace and Harmony Home” had been written by Al Bell, Eddie Floyd, and Booker T. Jones, as a dedication to Dr. King, and as a reaction to the escalating tension in the city. In the middle of the recording session, word arrived of his murder, and a teary-eyed Walton delivered what became an ode to the man’s message in the aftermath of his assassination. “Long Walk to D.C.” was conceived as a tribute to King’s March on Washington, but by the time The Staple Singers cut it for Stax in ’68, it was equal parts Civil Rights anthem and eulogy.
The Soul Children‘s “Give ‘Em Love,“ with a propulsive vibe more pop-friendly than funky, was emblematic of Stax’s new openness to Motown influences. The paisley-patterned psychedelia of Dallas rockers Southwest F. O. B.‘s “Smell of Incense” (featuring future pop titans England Dan & John Ford Coley) on Stax subsidiary Hip showed the R&B hub’s willingness to rock a bit.
Plenty of Stax’s biggest names appear on Stax ’68, with cuts both unexpected and classic. Staff writer/producer/musician Isaac Hayes’ first record under his own name included “Precious Precious,” a surprising, swinging dash of soul jazz. William Bell‘s often-covered crossover hit “I Forgot to Be Your Lover” and Johnnie Taylor‘s Pop and R&B smash “Who’s Making Love” showed that Stax still had more than enough musical muscle to ascend, despite all its tribulations.
The whole world was changing in 1968, but Stax’s powerful portion of that evolution/revolution is captured step by soulful step in Stax ’68: A Memphis Story.
The Stax Museum of American Soul Music Exhibits:
The Give A Damn! Music+ Activism at Stax Records is hosted by, and located at, Crosstown Arts in Memphis. The exhibition is the culmination of a year-long examination of Stax Records and its commitment to political activism, community engagement, and social justice in the years following Dr. King’s death. It features never-before-seen artifacts, including Isaac Hayes’ 14-foot long, custom-made office desk, stage clothing worn by Johnnie Taylor and Isaac Hayes, rare photos and documents, short films, music, and original artwork contributed by Shelby County students. The exhibit opens September 28th and closes November 25th.
Click here for details on both exhibitions.
Track listing for Stax ’68: A Memphis Story:
About Craft Recordings:
For press enquiries, please contact Reckoning PR: firstname.lastname@example.org
STAX SINGLES, VOL. 4: RARITIES & THE BEST OF THE REST
6-CD BOX SET COMPLETES POPULAR SERIES, OFFERING A DEEPER DIVE
TITLE ROUNDS OUT COLLECTION OF ICONIC REISSUES CELEBRATING
Los Angeles, CA – Craft Recordings, the Catalog Division of Concord Music, is pleased to announce the release of Stax Singles, Vol. 4: Rarities & The Best Of The Rest, a 6-CD box set that delves deep into the Stax Records archives, and explores the label’s efforts to diversify their output. This new addition to the critically acclaimed series of Stax singles boxes offers a more profound study of the Memphis label’s catalog, including long-forgotten B-sides and rarities, and focusing not just on soul tunes – for which the label was most famous – but also offering a cross-section of rock, pop, blues, gospel and country recordings from 1960-1975. Available February 9th, the collection will also include an 80-page booklet, offering four new in-depth essays by music journalist Lee Hildebrand, writer and producer Alec Palao, box set co-producer Bill Belmont and Rob Bowman, author of Soulsville U.S.A.: The Story Of Stax Records, and producer of Vol. 4’s discs 1-3.
Featuring recordings from the catalogs of both Craft and Rhino Entertainment – the Catalog Division of Warner Music – who jointly control Stax’s iconic masters, this comprehensive box set is the perfect companion piece to Vols. 1-3; the first of which, The Complete Stax/Volt Singles 1959-1968, was released by Atlantic Records in 1991 and reissued by Rhino in 2016. Volumes 2 and 3, originally released by Stax in 1993 and 1994 respectively, and reissued by Concord in 2015, offered soul singles spanning 1968-1975, collectively. In his introduction, co-producer Bill Belmont discusses the concept behind Vol. 4: “Over the years, within the collector-fan circuit, and in reissues and collections of vintage Stax material worldwide, some ‘B’ sides have attained a status comparable to the promoted work.” Adds Rob Bowman, in his essay regarding the soul portion of the box, “[Stax’s B-sides] are, by and large, better than most companies’ A-sides.” Continues Belmont, “Stax’s ‘other side’…has never been presented on its own – thus here, the ‘other’ [imprints] are all gathered under the Stax umbrella; part of the all-encompassing rubric ‘where everything is everything.’”
While Stax is primarily known for its soul music – Vols. 1-3 focused exclusively on that genre – the label also managed a variety of imprints throughout the ’60s and ’70s, many of which explored new sonic avenues, including rock (from Ardent, Enterprise and Hip), gospel (Chalice, Gospel Truth) and country (Enterprise). Also compiled are several instrumental and blues tracks from the earliest days of the label, when it was known as Satellite Records. The collection includes over 60 wide-ranging artists, including the Staple Singers, Big Star, the Bar-Kays, Jean Knight, Don Nix, the Rance Allen Group and Johnnie Taylor.
Stax Singles, Vol. 4: Rarities & The Best Of The Rest comes at the conclusion of a wide-ranging celebration of Stax Records’ 60th Anniversary by both Craft and Rhino. The unique partnership of the labels commemorated the first marketing collaboration of the Stax recordings, which had been divided since Atlantic Records split with Stax Records in early 1968. Throughout 2017, the two labels have collectively released over 15 vinyl reissues, including Rufus Thomas’ debut Walking The Dog, Sam & Dave’s Soul Men and Carla Thomas’ Carla LP (Rhino), as well as titles like Melvin Van Peebles’ Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, the Sons of Truth’s Message From The Ghetto and John Gary Williams’ self-titled debut (Craft). Special attention was also focused on two Stax giants this year: Isaac Hayes and Otis Redding. Craft released a series of remastered, high-resolution digital reissues for Hayes (vinyl reissues will follow in 2018) as well as the critically acclaimed box set, Spirit Of Memphis (1962-1976). Rhino paid tribute to Redding with mono editions of Soul Ballads and The Soul Album, as well as a forthcoming seven-LP vinyl box, The Definitive Studio Albums Collection, while Concord released the double LP Live From The Whisky A Go Go earlier in the year. Looking ahead, Rhino will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Redding’s best-selling “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” single. For Record Store Day’s Black Friday event, Rhino commemorated the 50th anniversary of Redding’s Live In Europe Album with a limited-edition red vinyl pressing, while Concord saluted ’70s rockers Big Star with a live tribute to their Third album, Stroke It, Noel: Big Star’s THIRD In Concert, as well as Hayes, with a vinyl edition of Spirit of Memphis, offering highlights from the box set. Additionally, during the Stax 60th celebration, both labels collaborated on the Stax Classics series of CDs, highlighting Stax’s biggest stars, while the 3-CD collection Soulsville U.S.A. culled material from both Concord’s and Rhino’s masters, much like Stax Singles, Vol. 4.
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THE STAX 7S BOX
LIMITED-EDITION VINYL BOX SET FEATURING RARE TRACKS ON SEVEN 7” RECORDS HAND-SELECTED BY BBC DJ RICHARD SEARLING
OUT TODAY (9/8) ON STAX/CRAFT RECORDINGS
As part of the year-long campaign celebrating the 60th anniversary of iconic soul label, Stax Records (as well as the 50th anniversary of the Stax/Volt Revue’s first tour of the UK), Craft Recordings is proud to announce the release of The Stax 7s Box (out today (9/8)).
The Stax 7s Box is a special, limited-edition vinyl box set offering 14 rare tracks from the Stax vaults. Artists featured range from some of the bigger names on the label, like Carla Thomas, and Johnnie Taylor, to one-hit-wonders, like Roz Ryan and Joni Wilson. The collection unearths rare gems from Stax’s archives – many of which never became popular in the U.S., but had a much bigger following amongst the UK’s Northern Soul scene of the 60s and 70s.
Each track was hand-selected by BBC DJ Richard Searling, and presented on seven 7” records. Searling, who was a driving force in the UK’s Northern Soul scene in the 1970s, explains his curation process in the box set’s detailed liner notes: “I’ve selected the content based on my experience of featuring these songs in clubs, on the radio or from just being amazed by how hard to locate many of them are. Although several have been previously made available on sevens, it’s great to see them finally legally released on the authentic Stax imprint. ‘Rare Stamps’ indeed, on seven 45s and in a limited-edition box set – I hope you will enjoy the selections.”
Purchase The Stax 7s Box on Amazon.
Track list for The Stax 7s Box:
About Stax 60:
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CONCORD MUSIC GROUP AND RHINO ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCE CAMPAIGN TO CELEBRATE STAX RECORDS’ 60th ANNIVERSARY
YEAR-LONG JOINT SALUTE FEATURES MULTIPLE ALBUMS, BOXED SETS AND LIVE PERFORMANCE RELEASES
Los Angeles, CA – Concord Music Group and Rhino Entertainment, Warner Music Group’s catalog division, are proud to announce a joint campaign celebrating the 60thanniversary of iconic soul label, Stax Records. This unique partnership marks the first marketing collaboration of the Stax recordings which have been divided since Atlantic Records split with Stax Records in 1967.
Honoring historic Soulsville, USA in Memphis, TN, curated collections of some of the greatest Stax music will be released on new hits compilations, vinyl LPs, digital hi-resolution remasters and deluxe boxed sets. These releases will showcase timelessStax hits, plus rare tracks from many of the label’s legendary artists including Otis Redding, Booker T & the MGs, Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Johnnie Taylor, Eddie Floyd, William Bell, Sam & Dave, Albert King, Mable John, The Mad Lads and many more.
The collaboration between Rhino and Concord will kick off with the May 19th launch of the Stax Classics series — announced exclusively on Rolling Stone(4/26) — which consists of ten wallet-friendly collections, each highlighting one of the label’s biggest stars with 12 choice tracks and insightful new liner notes. Available on CD and at all digital retailers and streaming services, these albums will celebrate the prolific Stax careers of Otis Redding, William Bell, Johnnie Taylor, Carla Thomas, Booker T & The MGs, The Dramatics, Albert King, Sam & Dave, Isaac Hayes and The Staple Singers.
Throughout the year, both Concord and Rhino will reissue a variety of iconic Stax albums on vinyl, including a 50th anniversary pressing of Otis Redding and Carla Thomas’ King & Queen (Rhino), Melvin Van Peebles’ soundtrack to the groundbreaking Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (Concord), rarity John Gary Williams from The Mad Lads front man (Concord) and Otis Redding’s 1965 classic The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads (Rhino). Also, the forthcoming 4-CD anthology Isaac Hayes: The Spirit of Memphis (1962-1976) will be released in August, 2017 to coincide with the multitalented artist’s 75th birth anniversary. In addition, both labels will collaborate on a three-CD Stax 60th set, plus a new installment in the critically acclaimed Complete Stax Singles boxed set series. Volume Four will focus on the diverse nature of the label’s catalog, featuring singles released not only on Stax and Volt, but also Enterprise, Hip, Chalice, Gospel Truth and more. Both Rhino and Concord will also continue an overhaul of digital releases, re-delivering a handful of popular titles in high-resolution and Mastered for iTunes formats, as well as making many albums available to streaming and digital services for the first time.
This soulful partnership marks a special moment in history for the label, and both Rhino and Concord are proud to have the opportunity to collaborate after nearly 50 years. “The Stax catalog features some of the greatest and most culturally significant albums and singles of all time and continues to resonate with music fans 60 years later,” says Mark Pinkus, President of Rhino Entertainment. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Concord’s team on a wide array of new releases fitting of such an important moment in the Stax legacy.”
Sig Sigworth, Chief Catalog Officer of Concord Bicycle Music, Concord Music Group‘s mother company, also notes that “Stax has a great history of bringing people together-songwriters, musicians, singers and fans from around the world. It’s in this same tradition that we are very pleased to work with Mark and his team to bring together both sides of this incredible catalog while celebrating 60 years of Soulsville, USA.”
Founded in 1957 by Memphis banker and fiddle player Jim Stewart, the Memphis label was a labor of love for Stewart, who oversaw operations initially with his sister Estelle Axton and then associate Al Bell. “On the anniversary of Stax Records’ 60th, this Concord/Rhino collaboration signals the beginning of the end of a bitter-sweet relationship between Stax and Atlantic,” says Stewart. “It’s long-overdue and a good omen for the unending popularity of the very best of Memphis Soul music.” “Stax Records,” Mr. Stewart continues, “was my baby. Stax music was and always will be inspirational. I am so pleased that the music we created and recorded at Stax is still being discovered, and it continues to reside in the hearts of devotees everywhere that know the joy and power of ‘real’ music.”
Stewart and Axton, who changed the name of the label from Satellite Records to Stax in 1960, soon had a self-contained soul music powerhouse, complete with its own recording studio, a growing staff of A&R personnel, songwriters, producers, an inimitable house band, as well as Stax Publicist, Deanie Parker, who continues to fortify the legacy of Stax in Soulsville, USA. “Through the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the label’s rich musical and cultural history can be studied, felt and enjoyed,”Parker offers. “Stax’s iconic hits and artists come to life through students at the Stax Music Academy and live on thanks to The Soulsville Charter School. And now, partners Concord and Rhino are unleashing some of the first R&B songs from the womb of Stax Records-music that we’ve grown up loving for more than half a century. It’s free at last,”Parker adds.
During its 15-year run, Stax released more than 800 singles and nearly 300 LPs,winning eight GRAMMY® Awards, plus an Academy Award along the way. The label placed more than 167 hit songs in the Top 100 pop charts, and a staggering 243 hits in the Top 100 R&B charts. Today, the original site of Stax Records is home to The Soulsville Foundation, which operates the multi-million dollar campus that houses the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, as well as the Stax Music Academy and The Soulsville Charter School, both of which serve primarily at-risk, inner-city youth. The Soulsville Foundation aims to impart the spirit and soul upon which Stax Records was founded: using the power of music and opportunity to shape a young person’s life, rebuild a community and keep valuable history alive forever.
Stax Classics promotional poster / click here to download
Click here for online media kit for Stax Classics
Click here to download assets (poster, cover art, artist images, etc.)
Click here to purchase Booker T & The MG’s