Reissues to celebrate 50 years of Stax and Black Music Month

Isaac Hayes
Isaac Hayes

Isaac Hayes: the legendary artist was an in-house songwriter at Stax. Photo: Flickr/Cyberex

Craft Recordings’ campaign to honour Memphis soul music will include three Record Store Day exclusives, vinyl releases and digital reissues.

Soul Explosion 2 celebrates the year that made Stax Records one of the most famous soul labels to date. In 1969, Stax broke away from major label Atlantic Records, leaving them as an independent outfit without a back catalogue, which once included Otis Redding, Carla Thomas and Sam & Dave. Under the supervision of co-owner Al Bell, the label began to rebuild its operation by releasing 27 albums and 30 singles by the middle of 1969 – a period known as ‘the soul explosion’. This production line approach placed Stax in contention with rivals Motown in Detroit. Stax continued to grow until several issues surrounding distribution and fraud forced the label to close in 1975.

Artists that gained momentum from the rebirth of Stax were Isaac Hayes, who worked as an in-house songwriter and a performing artist, Stax’s house band Booker T. & The M.G.’s, The Staple Singers and Johnnie Taylor.

To coincide with Black Music Month in June, Craft will also reissue 30 digital titles. These include Estelle, Myrna & Sylvia by Sweet Inspirations (backing singers to Elvis Presley, Dusty Springfield and Aretha Franklin), David Porter’s concept album Victim Of The Joke? An Opera and A Dream Experience by R&B Music Hall Of Fame inductees The Dramatics. Eleven of the 30 releases come directly from that famous 1969 soul explosion.

Three Record Store Day releases are also available, they are: Albert King’s Born Under A Bad Sign, the duets collection Boy Meets Girl: Classic Stax Duets and the compilation Stax Does The Beatles.

Soul Explosion 2 (physical and digital) is available to pre-order ahead of its 31 May release date.

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