Stax Records is synonymous with Southern soul music. Originally known as Satellite when it was founded in 1957 by Jim Stewart, the fledgling company set down roots in Memphis two years later and in 1961 changed its name to Stax, from the first two initials of Stewart’s last name and that of his sister and co-owner, Estelle Axton. Among the many artists who scored hits on Stax and its Volt subsidiary during the Sixties were Rufus and Carla Thomas, Booker T. & the MGs (an interracial instrumental quartet that also served as the company’s rhythm section), Johnnie Taylor, Albert King, and Otis Redding. Redding’s death in 1967 signaled the end of the first Stax era (to which Atlantic retains distribution rights). Subsequently the company spawned a new crop of hitmakers, among them Isaac Hayes, the Staple Singers, and the Dramatics. In June 1977, a year and a half after Stax went bankrupt, the company’s masters were purchased by Fantasy, Inc., which periodically revived the Stax and Volt logos for new recordings, in addition to reissuing older material. Stax/Volt became part of the Concord Music Group in 2004.
Eddie Floyd – Stax Profiles (Selected by Dan Aykroyd)
Actor-comedian Dan Aykroyd has been an Eddie Floyd fan since the Sixties and years later had the pleasure of performing with the great Alabama-born soul singer in the Elwood Blues Revue and in the motion picture Blues Brothers 2000. As a salute to his friend, Aykroyd has selected 13 of his favorite Floyd recordings made for Stax Records between 1966 and ’74. They include several of the singer’s biggest hits -- "Knock on Wood," "I’ll Never Find a Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)," "California Girl" – along with a number of lesser-known gems. Among these are the haunting, hard-rocking "Big Bird," inspired by Floyd’s aborted flight to Otis Redding’s funeral due to an airplane engine malfunction, and "634-5789," originally written by Floyd (with Steve Cropper) for his old buddy from the Falcons, Wilson Pickett. The cast of players includes Booker T. & the MGs, the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Con Funk Shun, and the Memphis Horns.