STAX SINGLES, VOL. 4: RARITIES & THE BEST OF THE REST
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.