Everybody Makes A Mistake: Stax Southern Soul Volume 2.

Label: Kent Soul.

Format: CD.

Satellite Records was founded in 1957 by Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton  and four years later in 1961 the label changed its name to Stax Records. The newly named label was joined by Volt Records which was its sister label. This was the start of a new era. 

Little did anyone realise when Satellite Records became Stax Records in 1961 that over the next ten years it would become one of the most important, influential and successful Southern soul labels. 

That’s no wonder given the artists that were signed to Stax Records. It was home to everyone from Otis Redding and Isaac Hayes to Sam and Dave, The Soul Children, Eddie Floyd and William Bell to Booker T and The MGs. They played their part in the rise and rise of Stax Records which became one of the greatest ever soul labels. 

Sixty years after Satellite Records became Stax Records, Kent Soul recently released a new twenty track compilation Everybody Makes A Mistake: Stax Southern Soul Volume 2. It’s the much-anticipated followup to Nobody Wins: Stax Southern Soul which was released in 2012 and features a mixture of singles, B-Sides, album tracks and previously unreleased tracks.

Opening Everybody Makes A Mistake: Stax Southern Soul Volume 2 is the single edit of William Bell’s I’ll Do Anything For Your Love. This paean features a soul-baring vocal delivered against an arrangement where lush strings have been added and join rasping horns that are part of an arrangement that’s “made in Memphis.”

Stax Records entered bankruptcy in 1975, which was the same year that Isaac Hayes released his album Use Me in the UK. The highlight of the album is a breathtakingly beautiful cover of the ballad I’m Gonna Have To Tell Her which was written by Homer Banks, Carl Hampton and Raymond Jackson. This track is without doubt the finest on the compilation.

Fredrick Knight was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and had signed to Stax in the early seventies. By 1975, he had moved to Stax Records’ sister label Truth Records sister label. He  had joined forces with William  Bell to pen Let’s Make A Deal which was released as a single. It features a heartfelt, impassioned and emotive vocal that’s delivered against a timeless string drenched arrangement. Sadly, the single failed to trouble the charts and nowadays this hidden gem is the one that got away for Fredrick Knight.

The Soul Children recorded Standing In The Safety Zone when they were recording their Genesis album. However when the album was released in 1972, the track had been left off their third album for Stax Records. Given the quality of the track this seemed a strange decision. It features the group at their soulful best and is as good if not better than many of the tracks on the album.

By 1968, Bettye Crutcher was still dreaming of making a living out of music. She was an aspiring singer and songwriter who was working a 9-5 job before joining forces with Homer Banks and Raymond Jackson at Stax Records and later that year the trio penned Who’s Making Love which gave Johnnie Taylor a million selling single. Six years later, Bettye Crutcher got the chance to record her debut album. As Long As You Love Me was released in 1974 but with Stax Records teetering on the brink of insolvency it sunk without trace. One of the tracks recorded during the session was the beautiful soulful ballad We’ve Got Love On Our Side which was recorded in Muscle Shoals and benefits from the addition of  the lushest of strings.

Mavis Staples played a staring role in the sound and success of The Staple Singers and also enjoyed a solo career. However, she released jus two albums for Stax Records. This includes her eponymous debut album and One For The Lonely. Sadly, neither album which was particularly successful. A track that lay unreleased until 1988 was I’m Tired which made its debut on the Don’t Change Me Now compilation. There’s an air of resignation and sadness in the vocal and the way it’s delivered it’s as if Mavis Staples really is saying I’m Tired. 

When Jimmy Hughes left Fame in 1968 little did he know that he had enjoyed the most successful period of his career.  His finest hour was Steal Away, which was a Southern Soul classic, and set the bar high for future singles. However, in 1968 his manager Alan Walden took him to Volt Records which was an imprint of Southern Soul’s premier label. Sadly, commercial success eluded Jimmy Hughes and he retired from music in 1971, and embarked upon a career in politics. During his time at Volt he recorded a number of tracks that lay unreleased. This includes  I’m Too Old To Play which features an impassioned, lived-in vocal. It was belatedly released in 2010 when it featured on his Complete Volt Recordings.

Eddie Giles recorded Losin’ Boy for Lelan Rogers’ Silver Fox imprint and when it was released it gave the soul man a regional hit in Chicago and Dallas. Bobby Paterson produced a new version for Stewart Madison’s Sound City Recordings which they took to Stax Records. They liked what they heard and the single was released in September 1971 but sunk without trace. Those that flipped over to the B-Side realised the ballad It Takes Me All Night  was a much stronger track and had the potential to transform Eddie Giles’ career.

Shirley Brown is remembered as the woman who almost saved Stax Records when her single on Woman To Woman and topped the US Billboard R&B charts in 1974 and sold over a million copies. The album Woman To Woman then reached ninety-eight in the US Billboard 200 and eleven in the US R&B charts when it was also released by Truth Records. Sadly, that wasn’t enough to save the company from insolvency in 1975. However, when Shirley Brown was recording the one of the tracks that didn’t make the cut was the stunning and breathtakingly beautiful ballad Ain’t No Way. It made its debut on a 20111 reissue of the album and returns for an encore on Everybody Makes A Mistake: Stax Southern Soul Volume 2.

David Porter released four albums on Stax Records’ Enterprise imprint between 1970 and 1973. One track that didn’t feature on any of the albums was Come Get From Me Parts 1 & 2. Over twenty-five years later it made its debut on the 5000 Volts Of Stax compilation which was released in 1998. It’s a reminder of a talented singer, songwriter and musician who played an important part in the Stax Records’ story. This is a fitting way to close Everybody Makes A Mistake: Stax Southern Soul Volume 2.

The twenty-tracks on Everybody Makes A Mistake: Stax Southern Soul Volume 2 are a mixture singles, B-Sides, album cuts and unreleased tracks. This includes many a hidden gem which is a welcome addition to this lovingly compiled compilation which is a fitting followup to Nobody Wins: Stax Southern Soul which was released in 2012. It’s worth the nine year wait and is a reminder of Southern Soul’s premier label before its untimely demise in 1975.

Many Stax Records’ box sets and compilations have been released over the past twenty years. Everybody Makes A Mistake: Stax Southern Soul Volume 2 is the latest and is a welcome addition to their number. It features some of the artists who played a starring role in the rise and rise of Stax Records. They’re joined by others who only played a walk-on part. However, each and every artist and group on Everybody Makes A Mistake: Stax Southern Soul Volume 2 can say that were signed to and recorded for the legendary Stax Records. 

Everybody Makes A Mistake: Stax Southern Soul Volume 2. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: