R&B, Blues, Soul & Stax

VOICES Notes and news on R&B, Blues, Soul & Stax releases

Celebration Of Soul Men

23 OCT 08 DAVID NATHAN

The release of the movie Soul Men and the accompanying Stax soundtrack is bittersweet. The passing of two of the film's stars, comedian Bernie Mac and music icon Isaac Hayes within one day of each other in August 2008, means that audiences will get one of their last opportunities to see these two entertainment giants at their best.

The soundtrack CD naturally focuses on music of the era, the late-'60s through the mid-'70s, often considered the "golden age" for Stax Records and its many hit-makers. Aside from an infectious re-interpretation of the James & Bobby Purify '66 smash "I'm Your Puppet" with John Legend, Mac and Samuel L. Jackson, most of the songs on the album are Stax chestnuts.

Actress Sharon Leal who is featured in the film as Mac's singing daughter offers an emotive version of Carla Thomas' 1966 cut "Comfort Me"; Stax stalwart Eddie Floyd is represented with his original 1968 charted single, "I've Never Found A Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)"; while Hayes can be heard with his soulful 1971 cover of the Jackson 5's "Never Can Say Goodbye."

Other Stax tracks include covers like the Judy Clay and William Bell classic "Private Number," Rufus Thomas' 1967 cut "Memphis Train" and a hilarious version of Ike's "Do Your Thing" with Mac, Jackson and Leal. Listen to the music for sure, but definitely see the movie for bawdy fun, thanks to Mac, Hayes and company.