Album Reviews

Various Artists – The Complete Stax/Volt Soul Singles, Volume 3: 1972-1975

Artist:     Various Artists

Album:     The Complete Stax/Volt SoulSingles, Volume 3: 1972-1975

Label:     Concord/Stax

Release Date:     02/03/2015

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It’s no deep secret that the glory days of Stax/Volt are in the rearview mirror, as the music compiled on this excessive, ten disc set sadly attests. As the smoother R&B sounds of the early Seventies and the birthing sounds of disco took to the airwaves, the veteran voices of Stax/Volt (Isaac Hayes, Johnnie Taylor, Albert King, Rufus & Carla) sporadically found their groove, while newer acts sounded derivative both in performance and less than stellar songwriting.

Unable to successfully navigate the funkier grooves of Volumes 1 & 2, this collection could have easily been whittled down to a solid two disc set. But this one is for the completists out there. For those of you with little time on your hands for anything but for the hits, try this: “I’ll Take You” and “This World” by the Staple Singers and Albert King’s bluesy and blistering “Angel of Mercy,” “I’ll Play the Blues for You (Pt.1)” and “Breaking Up Somebody’s Home.” Isaac Hayes checks in with the gritty soul of “Be Your Thing” and a duo of Shaft-like instrumentals. Rufus Thomas’s “6-3-8” brings back early Stax, as does Johnnie Taylor’s “Cheaper To Keep Her,” “Doin’ My Own Thing” and “Doggin’ Me.” There are also last gasps from Carla Thomas, The Bar-Kays, and even the MGs.

But like I said previously, this collection is for completists.

– Mike Jurkovic

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