Less than two years after the first volume was issued, Real Gone Music is returning to the classic Stax singles of Booker T. and the MG’s for The Complete Stax Singles Vol. 2 (1968-1974). The 20-song collection is due on September 3 in 1CD and 2LP formats, completing the anthology of all 49 sides released by the band at Stax.
The Complete Stax Singles Vol. 2 (1968-1974) picks up the story of Booker T. Jones (organ), Steve Cropper (guitar), Donald “Duck” Dunn (bass), and Al Jackson, Jr. (drums) as they ushered in a new era for Stax Records after the label ended its affiliation with Atlantic Records (and lost its back catalogue in the process). The compilation opens with “Soul Limbo” b/w “Heads or Tails” with both sides of the 45 culled from the first post-Atlantic Stax LP, also entitled Soul Limbo. It continues with funky originals (including the smash “Time Is Tight” which reached No. 6 Pop and No. 7 AC and R&B) and covers alike; the latter category sees the quartet tearing into The Beatles’ “Something,” Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson,” and Dominic Frontiere’s soundtrack theme “Hang ‘Em High.” Vol. 2 also traces the evolution of the group itself; the final two singles on the set (“Sugarcane” b/w “Blackside” and “Neckbone” b/w non-LP side “Breezy”) were recorded by the group known simply as The MG’s. Booker T. and Steve Cropper had both departed Stax, leaving Dunn and Jackson to recruit organist Carson Whitsett and guitarist Bobby Manuel in their place.
Real Gone’s release has been produced by label co-founder Gordon Anderson, annotated by Ed Osborne, designed by John Sellards, and remastered by Aaron Kannowski who has vetted each track to make sure the correct single version was utilized. The first fifteen tracks are in mono, and the final five in stereo. The Complete Stax Singles Vol. 2 (1968-1974) will be available on CD as well as red vinyl housed in a gatefold jacket. To coincide with this release, Real Gone will also re-press the first volume as a 2-LP red vinyl set now up for pre-order at Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada. Vol. 1 is still available on CD, as well.
Booker T.’s singles compilation will be joined on September 3 by frequently-sampled soul-blues singer O.V. Wright’s 1972 album A Nickel and a Nail and Ace of Spades. The LP was produced by Willie Mitchell – best known for his string of collaborations with Al Green – and features The Hi Records Rhythm Section and The Memphis Horns as well as background vocal trio Rhodes-Chalmers-Rhodes. The release on the independent Back Beat label (later to be swallowed up by ABC Records) was packaged much like a bootleg (complete with typos) but now fetches high coin on the secondary market and has been out-of-print on vinyl since the 1980s; the last CD edition was released in 2010 and also commands top dollar. This southern soul landmark featuring the R&B chart hits “Eight Men, Four Women,” “Ace of Spades,” “A Nickel and a Nail,” and “When You Took Your Love from Me” will be pressed by Real Gone on heavyweight 180-gram black vinyl.
Look for Booker T. and The MG’s Complete Stax Singles Vol. 2 (1968-1974) and O.V. Wright’s A Nickel and a Nail and Ace of Spades on September 3 from Real Gone Music.
Booker T. and The MG’s, The Complete Stax Singles Vol. 2 (1968-1974) (Real Gone Music RGM-1279, 2021)
- Soul-Limbo (STA-0001, 1968)
- Heads or Tails (STA-0001, 1968)
- Hang ‘Em High (STA-0013, 1968)
- Over Easy (STA-0013, 1968)
- Time Is Tight (STA-0028, 1969)
- Johnny, I Love You (STA-0028, 1969)
- Robinson (STA-0037, 1969)
- Soul Clap ’69 (STA-0037, 1969)
- Slum Baby (STA-0049, 1969)
- Meditation (STA-0049, 1969)
- Something (STA-0073, 1970)
- Sunday Sermon (STA-0073, 1970)
- Melting Pot (STA-0082, 1971)
- Kinda Easy Like (STA-0082, 1971)
- Jamaica This Morning – The M.G.’s (STA-0108, 1971)
- Fuquawi (STA-0108, 1971)
- Sugarcane – The M.G.’s (STA-0169, 1973)
- Blackside – The M.G.’s (STA-0169, 1973)
- Neckbone – The M.G.’s (STA-0200, 1974)
- Breezy – The M.G.’s (STA-0200, 1974)
- Don’t Let My Baby Ride
- Born All Over
- Ace of Spades
- Eight Men, Four Women
- He Made Woman for Man
- I Can’t Take It
- When You Took Your Love from Me
- A Nickel and a Nail
- Don’t Take It Away