Wattstax: The Living Word is a two-CD document of the all-day festival of Stax acts in Los Angeles in 1972 contains decent performances by the Staple Singers, Eddie Floyd, the Bar-Kays, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Albert King, the Soul Children and Isaac Hayes. It's not remarkably different from what you'll find on those artists' records, however, and Isaac Hayes does none of his more popular singles, his contribution being limited to a 17-minute cover of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine." Check out the Bar-Kays' outrageous eight-minute soul-rock workout on "Son of Shaft," though, which goes into some Santana-like grooves in the middle; Rufus Thomas launches into three dance novelties in a row ("The Breakdown," "Do the Funky Chicken," and "Do the Funky Penguin"). Note: a couple of these cuts (the Staple Singers' "Oh La De Da" and "Lay Your Loving on Me"), although programmed as if they were recorded live at the event, are actually versions that were re-recorded in the studio.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2