Bar-Kays

20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of the Bar-Kays

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True success was a long time coming for the Bar-Kays, who started out as a sort of second-line studio band behind Booker T. & the MG's at Stax Records in Memphis. After releasing an instrumental hit, "Soul Finger," and becoming the backing band for Otis Redding, it appeared the group was on its way to the kind of success that the MG's had enjoyed. Then disaster struck. The plane crash that killed Redding and his road manager in 1967 also took the lives of four of the Bar-Kays. The group was rebuilt around surviving members Ben Cauley and James Alexander, but momentum (and so much more) had been lost. It wasn't until signing to Mercury Records in 1976 and moving in a more vocal-oriented funk direction that the hits really started coming for the Bar-Kays. Several of those Mercury tracks are collected here, and although the end result is one hell of a great party record, it is a bit one-dimensional, and disguises the group's fine history as a stellar soul band.

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