The Stax label, like Sam Phillips' Sun Records, came out of Memphis and showcased homegrown Southern music not given much notice by New York and LA. The rich store of Southern soul artists would later find outlets in small studios and labels like Muscle Shoals, American, Capricorn, and Hi but it was Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton's late-‘50s startup, with it's early hits by Carla Thomas and the Mar-Keys, that would first present Southern soul as a relatively rough-hewn alternative to Motown's slick soul-pop. Of course, later, Stax would also gain international exposure thanks to Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Isaac Hayes, the Staple Singers, Johnny Taylor, the Dramatics, and many others. All those performers, save for Redding, are represented on this 15-track sampler (one of several volumes) that spotlights the label's late-‘60s and early-‘70s output. The high-profile highlights also include Eddie Floyd's "Knock on Wood" and Rufus Thomas' career-reviving "Do the Funky Chicken," while more mid-level gems come from Rance Allen, Mavis Staples, and the Emotions. A solid collection for the new and curious soul music fan.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook