R&B, Blues, Soul & Stax

Top Of The Stax

02 APR 10 DAVID NATHAN

From the mid-'60s to the mid-'70s, two labels essentially ruled the R&B/soul charts: Stax and Motown. The companies were in friendly competition, but musically, Stax and Motown were hardly competitors. Stax went for a more gritty sound, while Motown produced mostly slick pop tracks. That gritty Stax sound is evident on Stax Number Ones, a great new collection of records that hit the Number One spot on the charts.

They're all here -- from Booker T & The MGs' "Green Onions" to dynamic duo Sam & Dave's "Soul Man" and Eddie Floyd's classic "Knock On Wood." Some of the label's chart toppers were more mellow like Otis Redding's posthumous No. 1, "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay" and The Dramatics' "In The Rain." But, Stax continued to be synonymous with the kind of earthy R&B sound that made the gospel-fused "I'll Take You There" by The Staple Singers, the funky "Mr. Big Stuff" by Jean Knight, Johnnie Taylor's "Who's Making Love" and Shirley Brown's timeless "Woman To Woman" such massively popular records.

And while Motown may have had its share of chart toppers, Stax had the distinction of having an Oscar-winning No. 1 with Isaac Hayes' unforgettable "Theme From Shaft." Not bad for a little ole label from Memphis. Click here to find out how to get the latest news on Stax releases.

in this playlist.