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Soul history

The Complete Stax/Volt Singles, Vol. 2
The Complete Stax/Volt Singles, Vol. 2
By various artists

Stax / Fantasy Records: 1993

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This review first appeared in the December 3, 1994 issue of the North County Blade-Citizen (now North County Times).

The Stax family of labels was second only to Motown on the 1960s soul scene. With a studio band like Booker T and the MGs and an artist roster that included The Staples Singers, Isaac Hayes, the Bar-Kays, Albert King, John Lee Hooker, Rufus and Carla Thomas and Little Milton, it would have taken an almost-conscious effort to go wrong.

This nine-CD collection follows 1991's Vol. 1 from Atlantic Records, while Fantasy will finish out the series with Vol. 3 in the spring. This boxed set covers the years 1968-71, and includes such soul classics as "Soul Limbo" from Booker T and the MGs, Rufus Thomas' "Do The Funky Chicken" and Isaac Hayes' "Theme From Shaft."

As good as the brain trust at Stax was, not every single they issued was a hit – but even those you aren't familiar with will sound as if they should have been hits. The musicianship is uniformly outstanding, the production top-notch.

This is one of the best box sets ever available in the history of soul; the production, the supporting information, and of course the music are all first-rate.