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.
Johnnie Taylor – Stax Profiles (Selected by Huey Lewis)
"Johnnie Taylor was simply one of the best soul/R&B singers who ever lived," Huey Lewis writes in his booklet notes to this Stax Profiles collection. The truth of this contention is evident in the 14 songs Lewis picked to showcase the late vocalist’s amazing versatility. They include gospel quartet classics from the 1950s when Taylor was featured with the Highway Q.C.’s and the Soul Stirrers and the 1962 pop tune "Rome (Wasn’t Built in a Day)," penned and produced by Taylor’s friend and mentor, Sam Cooke. Eleven were recorded for Stax Records between 1966 and 1973, chronicling Taylor’s evolution from blues wailer to soul superstar. In addition to his two massive crossover hits—"Who’s Making Love" and "Disco Lady"—the set finds Taylor placing his soulful signature on the Little Johnny Taylor blues "Part Time Love" and on the Frank Sinatra favorite "Time After Time."