Craft Recordings has announced the next phase of its campaign to honor one of the great labels of soul - Stax Records. Entitled "Soul Explosion," the campaign began with their Record Store Day releases of Boy Meets Girl: Classic Stax Duets, Stax Does The Beatles and the first-ever mono reissue of Albert King's Born Under A Bad Sign. The next phase begins on May 31 and will see new vinyl and digital reissues of classics from 1969, which proved to be a watershed year for the label, and beyond.
Fifty years ago, the iconic imprint was in a rebuilding period after ending their relationship with Atlantic Records. Effectively left as an independent with no back catalogue, the label had to be rebuilt. Stax's execs were tirelessly focused on creating new and vital music to reassert their position as a formidable home for soul music. In just a few months during 1969, Stax and its artists released a staggering 27 albums and 30 singles during what's been called the "Soul Explosion," which is also the name of a 1969 compilation that Craft will reissue as part of a wide-reaching campaign. During this period, Stax not only signed new faces (such as The Emotions and The Soul Children), but also released a number of fine tracks by established acts. During the year, Johnnie Taylor had a smash hit with "Who's Making Love," songwriter-producer Isaac Hayes struck gold with his solo debut Hot Buttered Soul, and Stax regained its momentum.
On May 31, Craft Recordings will reissue Soul Explosion, which arrives on vinyl for the first time since its original release 50 years ago. Originally boasting 16 tracks, the collection has been expanded as a 28-song, 2-LP sampler, which brings together hits from the likes of The Staple Singers, Albert King, Eddie Floyd, and The Mad Lads. These are paired with rarer songs, some of which are exclusive to this collection. Among them are The Bar-Kays' "Hot Hips," Ollie & The Nightingales' "Heartache Mountain," and Eddie Floyd's "It's Wrong To Be Loving You." The lacquers for the 2-LP edition were cut by Jeff Powell at the Memphis-based Take Out Vinyl and pressed locally at Memphis Record Pressing. The discs are housed in a deluxe gatefold sleeve. The collection will also be released digitally for the first time, including in high-resolution at 24-bit/96kHz or 24-bit/192kHz formats.
To commemorate Black Music Month in June, Craft Recordings will also roll out 30 titles to digital download and streaming providers. A new album will arrive every day of the month, with each title making its digital/streaming debut! David Porter's 1971 concept album Victim Of The Joke? An Opera; The Sweet Inspirations' Estelle, Myrna & Sylvia; and The Dramatics' A Dramatic Experience make up just a handful of the hard-to-find titles from the Stax vaults that will reach new audiences thanks to this initiative. You can find a full list of the planned titles below. If that weren't enough, Craft Recordings promises additional releases later in the year, along with contests, curated digital content, and more!
So mark your calendars for May 31, as Craft Recordings launches Soul Explosion into shops everywhere. You can find your copy at your local brick-and-mortar shop, or secure a pre-order with the Amazon links below! And check out Craft Recordings' new music video for Johnnie Taylor's "Who's Making Love," which is available as an instant grat single with every pre-order.
LP 1 - Side 1:
- Johnnie Taylor "Who's Making Love"
- Jimmy Hughes "Like Everything About You"
- Booker T. & The MG's "Hang 'Em High"
- Carla Thomas "Where Do I Go"
- Eddie Floyd "I've Never Found A Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)"
- Southwest F.O.B. "Smell Of Incense"
- Albert King "Cold Feet"
LP 1 - Side 2:
- Booker T. & The MG's "Soul Limbo"
- The Mad Lads "So Nice"
- Eddie Floyd "Bring It On Home To Me"
- William Bell & Judy Clay "Private Number"
- The Staple Singers "Long Walk To D.C."
- Ollie & The Nightingales "I've Got A Sure Thing"
- The Bar-Kays "Copy Kat"
LP 2 - Side 1:
- Booker T. & The MG's "Soul Clap '69"
- The Staple Singers "Hear My Call"
- Johnnie Taylor "Save Your Love For Me"
- Jimmy Hughes "Peeped Around Yonder's Bend"
- Carla Thomas "Book Of Love"
- The Mad Lads "These Old Memories"
- Southwest F.O.B. "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy"
LP 2 - Side 2:
- The Bar-Kays "Hot Hips"
- Ollie & The Nightingales "Heartache Mountain"
- Johnnie Taylor "Twenty Years From Today"
- Eddie Floyd "It's Wrong To Be Loving You"
- Judy Clay "It's Me"
- Booker T. & The MG's "Booker's Theme"
- Albert King "Left Hand Woman (Get Right With Me)"
Full List of Black History Month Digital Releases:
June 1: Booker T. & The MGs, Soul Limbo (1968)
June 2: Various Artists, Boy Meets Girl: Classic Stax Duets (1969)
June 3: Johnnie Taylor, Rare Stamps (1969)
June 4: Soul Children, Soul Children (1969)
June 5: Carla Thomas, Memphis Queen (1969)
June 6: Ollie and the Nightingales, Ollie and the Nightingales (1969)
June 7: Johnnie Taylor,The Johnnie Taylor Philosophy Continues (1969)
June 8: The Mar-Keys, Damifiknow (1969)
June 9: J.J. Barnes & Steve Mancha, Rare Stamps (1969)
June 10: The Mad Lads, The Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Lads (1969)
June 11: The Goodees, Candy Coated Goodees (1969)
June 12: The Knowbody Else, The Knowbody Else (1969)
June 13: Eddie Floyd, California Girl (1970)
June 14: Rufus Thomas, Crown Prince of Dance (1973)
June 15: Mel & Tim, Starting All Over Again (1972)
June 16: William Bell, Phases of Reality (1972)
June 17: The Sweet Inspirations, Estelle, Myrna & Sylvia (1973)
June 18: The Dramatics, A Dramatic Experience (1973)
June 19: John KaSandra, Color Me Human (1970)
June 20: The Bar-Kays, Do You See What I See? (1972)
June 21: David Porter, Victim of the Joke? An Opera (1970)
June 22: The Rance Allen Group, A Soulful Experience (1975)
June 23: The Temprees, Love Maze (1973)
June 24: Frederick Knight, I've Been Lonely for So Long (1973)
June 25: Barbara Lewis, The Many Grooves of Barbara Lewis (1970)
June 26: Little Milton, Waiting for Little Milton (1973)
June 27: Inez Foxx, At Memphis (1973)
June 28: Melvin Van Peebles, Don't Play Us Cheap (1972)
June 29: Kim Weston, Kim Kim Kim (1970)
June 30: Various, Wattstax: The Living Word (1972)