Carla Thomas

Stax Classics

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Released as part of Rhino's celebration of Stax's 60th anniversary, Stax Classics is the first American Carla Thomas singles compilation since 2006's Stax Profiles. Where that 2006 set included her biggest hit, "Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes)," this 2017 collection doesn't because the compilers take its title seriously: it only contains songs she recorded at Stax. This means it has "B-A-B-Y" and the Otis Redding duet "Tramp" -- her other two big hits, neither of which were on Stax Profiles -- along with ten other cuts, some of which were singles, some of which were not. What's interesting about Stax Classics is that it contains a lot of songs that don't usually appear on compilations, including "What Is Love?" and "I Play for Keeps," neither of which show up on 1994's gold standard Gee Whiz: The Best of Carla Thomas. Gee Whiz remains the better overall overview because it does contain the title track, but Stax Classics is an excellent listen and the best Thomas comp to be released since that collection.

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