MUSIC MONDAY: “The Legend of Stax Records” Playlist (LISTEN)

by Marlon West (FB: marlon.west1 Threads: @stlmarlonwest IG: stlmarlonwest Spotify: marlonwest)

Happy Music Monday, y’all. If you haven’t already, please dig Jamila Wignot’s new documentary “Stax: Soulsville U.S.A.”, currently streaming on Max.

The four-part film tells the story of Stax Records, the iconic R&B label, from its late-1950s beginnings to its 1975 demise.

In its prime the label featured stars like Rufus Thomas and Carla Thomas, Sam and Dave, and Otis Redding, as well as the ace house band of Booker T. and the MGs.

Stax was a colorblind oasis of racial harmony in an otherwise fiercely segregated South. Stax has been eclipsed by Motown, with many of their hits mistakenly thought to be output from that Detroit Mecca, even though the comparative grittier Memphis studio had a sound all its own.

Look no further than Carla Thomas and Otis Redding’s “Tramp” to hear just how much their most popular artist was unapologetically “straight from the Georgia woods.”

Stax Records is critical to American music history as one of the most popular music record labels of all time.

In 15 years, Stax put more than 160 songs in the Top 100 on the pop charts and a staggering 243 hits in the Top 100 R&B charts. Please enjoy this 4 hours of essential Stax music featuring Redding, Isaac Hayes, The Bar-Kays, Johnnie Taylor, Shirley Brown, The Staple Singers and so many more.

As always, stay, safe, sane, and kind.

Marlon West