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(September 2, 2004)



Hammer And Nails / Nobody's Fault But Mine / Too Close / Uncloudy Day / Won't You Sit Down (Sit Down Servant) / I Wish I Had Answered / A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall / Swing Low / This May Be The Last Time / For What It's Worth / Be Careful Of Stones That You Throw / Why (Am I Treated So Bad) / It's Been A Change / Will The Circle Be Unbroken / The Ghetto / Long Walk To Dc / God Bless The Children / (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay / The Gardener / When Will We Be Paid For The Work We Did / Who Took The Merry Out Of Christmas / John Henry - Pops Staples / You're Gonna Make Me Cry / Solon Bushi.



This World / I Have Learned To Do Without You / The Only Time You Ever Say You Love Me / Trippin' On Your Love - Mavis Staples / Respect Yourself / Tryin' Time - Pops Staples / Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha Na Boom Boom) / I'll Take You There / You've Got To Earn It / Oh La De Da / If You're Ready (Come Go With Me) / City In The Sky / I Got To Be Myself / Touch A Hand, Make A Friend / Let's Do It Again / New Orleans / Love Me, Love Me, Love Me / I Honestly Love You / Slippery People / H-A-T-E (Don't Live Here Any More).

As the set's compiler, Tony Rounce has tried to present as rounded a portrait of this exceptional family band as can possibly be presented in the course of two CDs. In doing so, he omitted the odd hit in favour of a hitherto hidden gem of an album track, but left out nothing that can truly be called 'essential' in that respect . Are also featured a couple of solo tracks apiece by Pops and Mavis Staples - some of which are previously unissued - that illustrate just some of the outside projects that the various members took in their stride in between releasing the group's albums. Between them, Pops and Mavis do take the majority of the lead vocals here, of course, but also included are a couple of tracks that feature a rare lead vocal from Pervis Staples, who left the group in 1970 to concentrate on running a successful management and publishing company.

Those who bemoan the lack of previously unissued group cuts here should be aware that, apart from some unreleasable - and unfixable, due to the fact that Mavis' mic-to-mixer feed is off on all of them - live cuts, there really is nothing left in the Stax can on the Staples (most of what there was, was featured on the 1980s album "This Time Around"). However, you will find a all-new 2004 mix of the 1972 chart hit Oh La De Da, now minus the irritating 'fake audience' applause that was added to the single by Stax, in an attempt to pass the track off as a live recording from "Wattstax". This set also premiere an unissued 1971 cut apiece from Mavis and Pops, both of which, it's fair to say, ought to have been issued at the time and both of which earn their place here on merit.

Everyone knows, of course, that Mavis Staples still has one of the greatest female voices in the world today, and her position as the Staples' lead singer was unchallenged all the way through the group's career. However, one should never undervalue the vocal contributions of Pops - whose performances here are often the highlights of the songs that feature him - or his Mississippi-style, vibrato-laden guitar that, in the early days, at least, had as much prominence in the group as the vocals. Exactly how sublime a guitarist Pops was is demonstrated admirably by his near-rockabilly style solo on It's Been A Change, and the understated passion of his version of the late Donny Hathaway's Tryin' Times shows just what a shame it was that he recorded so infrequently as a lead singer.

As for Mavis, she's heard to spectacular advantage throughout. If you don't yet realise that this woman is perennially up there with the greats, check her here on God Bless The Children, the previously unissued Phillip Mitchell song The Only Time You Ever Say You Love Me, the modern soul 'unfinished masterpiece' that is Trippin' On Your Love and - above all - what must be the definitive rendition of (Sittin' On) The Dock Of the Bay, a song that our heroine was just born to sing.

As well as first-tier repertoire from beginning to end, "A Family Affair" boasts a dazzling array of rare label shots, photographs, posters and sheet music, a lot of which will be unfamiliar at best to even the biggest Staples aficionado. The notes are by acknowledged Stax expert Rob Bowman, who interviewed Mavis earlier this year, especially for this project. Rob has also drawn on the library of interviews he conducted in the course of writing his book "Soulsville U.S.A", and he has been able to thus include commentary from Pops Staples, Al Bell and others who played a vital part in establishing the long career of this amazing group. "A Family Affair" has been a couple of years in the making, and the end product more than justifies the long wait.

(from Tony Rounce, Ace Records)


(August 26, 2004)

Soul To  Soul  (DVD with CD)
Rhino (2Discs)

A great double disc package celebrating the legendary concert from 1971 -- featuring Wilson Pickett, Ike & Tina Turner, the Staple Singers, Less McCann & Eddie Harris, the Voices Of East Harlem and others joining forces for an epic concert held in Ghana, West Africa! The package includes a DVD featuring the original 95 minute concert film -- plus an outtake performance of "I've Been Loving You Too Long" by Ike & Tina, photo gallery, a 24-page booklet, commentary tracks by many of the artists, improved sound and more! The set also comes with a CD of the original soundtrack, remastered and expanded with tracks left off of the original release! Tracks include "In The Midnight Hour" and "Funky Broadway" by Wilson Pickett, "Soul To Soul" and "Ooh Poo Pah Doo" by Ike & Tina, ""Are You Sure" by the Staples, ""Hey Jorler" by Les & Eddie, "Choose Your Seat & Set Down" and lots more.


(August 10, 2004)

Highlights from the Soundtrack
Stax SCD-8614-2 ~ $11.98   AVAILABLE 08/31

Dubbed "Wattstock" when still in its planning stages, Wattstax was conceived as an African-American answer to Woodstock, the greatest of all rock music festivals. Soul, blues, and gospel were in full effect on August 20, 1972, when over 100,000 people gathered at the Los Angeles Coliseum to witness performances by many of the brightest lights of African-American vernacular music, all of whom were signed to Stax Records of Memphis, Tennessee. Like Woodstock, the Wattstax festival yielded a monumental motion pictureWattstaxas well as two successful double-disc LPs. Issued to coincide with the DVD debut of the motion picture, this new CD contains full performances of virtually every song included in the original soundtrack, along with Isaac Hayes’s climactic live rendition of "Theme from Shaft," which for complex contractual reasons had been excluded from earlier film, video, and vinyl editions.

THE DRAMATICS Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get / THE STAPLE SINGERS Oh La De Da / KIM WESTON Lift Every Voice and Sing / THE RANCE ALLEN GROUP Lying on the Truth / THE EMOTIONS Peace Be Still / THE STAPLE SINGERS Respect Yourself / THE BAR-KAYS Son of Shaft/Feel It / ALBERT KING I’ll Play the Blues for You / LITTLE MILTON Walking the Back Streets and Crying / JOHNNIE TAYLOR Jody’s Got Your Girl and Gone / CARLA THOMAS Pick Up the Pieces / RUFUS THOMAS The Breakdown,  Do The Funky Chicken / LUTHER INGRAM (If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right / ISAAC HAYES Theme from Shaft  

From the motion picture
Wattstax, available on DVD 09/06 from Warner Home Video (see at the back of this page).  


(August 4, 2004)

Shouting Out Love / Gee Whiz (Look At His Eyes) / I Really Miss You / (If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want To Be Right / What You See Is What You Get / The Touch Of Your Lips / There Are More Questions Than Answers / I Wanna Come Back / What Do You Do / I Call This Loving You / Swearing Out A Warrant / I've Fallen In Love / Baby I'm Through / Any Way You Look At It / Put A Little Love Away / Runnin' Back (And Forth) / You've Got Me Going Through A Thing / As Long As I've Got You / Innocent / Ain't No Sunshine / Somebody Will If You Won't / What Do The Lonely Do At Christmas? / Black Christmas.

Ace (UK) CDSXD 138

The Hutchinson sisters and their cousin Teresa Davis twice had a "Songs Of Innocence And Experience" album scheduled for release on the Volt subsidiary during Stax' 'fingerclickin' heyday. First time around, the title was changed at the last minute and the album became "Untouched". Second time out, the release was cancelled, even though a number was allocated (and subsequently never reassigned). But finally, a mere 33 years on, The Emotions at last have a "Songs Of Innocence And Experience" collection that, likely as not, contains many of the tracks that were destined for that cancelled album, as well as a number of selections that have never previously made it to any Emotions CD, PLUS a beguiling assortment of hitherto unissued demos and finished tracks that all make their debut here.

Many of these tracks were originally issued on the 1978 vinyl album "Sunshine", that Fantasy culled from their stockpile of Emotions Stax masters, shortly after they bought the catalogue and resurrected the imprint, and released at a time when the girls were hot with Best Of My Love and Don't Ask My Neighbours. Even though the Emotions did not originally endorse the release of "Sunshine", there was nothing on it for them to be embarrassed about - and that is still the case, 26 years later. Far from being a bunch of rejects, the original "Sunshine" set actually included some of their finest recordings ever, and if the opening trio of I Really Miss You, the single Shouting Out Love and the gorgeous version of Carla Thomas' Gee Whiz aren't themselves enough to convince you that "Sunshine" was and still is a 'must-have' item then nothing will!

As well as bringing you the "Sunshine" album in its entirety, this new project includes some wonderful unissued sides, among them a demo of the Charmels' Hayes-Porter masterpiece As Long As I've Got You that comes from the Emotions' very first Stax session. Also featured is a marvellous version of (If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want To Be Right that presents the song from a woman's viewpoint and that would have been recorded at about the same time as (and possibly even before) Luther Ingram's seminal take on the song. Among the other unissued delights is a superb essay on Tony Hester's You've Got Me Going Through A Thing (also cut around the same time by Kim Weston, whose version lay similarly unreleased until it popped up on an earlier Stax comp). When you hear it, your only question as to its 'previously unissued' status will be, "why"?...

This CD also includes the girls' two holiday offerings. Black Christmas and What Do The Lonely Do At Christmas.

(after Tony Rounce, Ace Records).

(July 27, 2004)

Label: Collectables Records
Release Date: August 31, 2004
Item Number: COL 7632

Sweet Soul Music:
  1. Take Me (Just As I Am)
  2. Who's Foolin' Who
  3. There's A Place For Us
  4. I Can't Stop (No No No)
  5. Wholesale Love
  6. I'm A Lonely Stranger
  7. I'm Gonna Forget About You
  8. Let Nothing Separate Us
  9. Where You Lead Me
  Shake, Rattle and Roll:
  1. Shake, Rattle & Roll
  2. I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)
  3. Love Got Me
  4. A Change Is Gonna Come
  5. Hand And Glove
  6. Ha! Ha! Ha!
  7. You Don't Have To See Me
  8. Baby What You Want Me To Do
  9. I'll Take The Blame
  10. Keep On Talking

(July 17, 2004)


Warner have let slip details of their Setpember 7th release of the Wattstax Special Edition DVD set. This live music documentary will boast digitally remastered audio and anamorphic 1.85:1 video.

Extra features will include the original 1973 ending performed by Isaac Hayes / an audio commentary with Chuck D and music historian Rob Bowman / cast and crew commentaries including Isaac Hayes / the original 1973 theatrical trailer as well as the new 2004 Special Edition trailer.

The set will retail at $24.98.


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