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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Showing posts with label Stax. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stax. Show all posts

Monday, November 7, 2016

Bluescentric Announces Launch Of New Product Lines Featuring Stax and Otis Redding


New Additions Join Iconic Artists Howlin’ Wolf, Bo Diddley And Others

Columbia, MO ---, the shop for Blues, Soul and Rock ‘n Roll, has announced new product lines following a recent agreement with the estate of Otis Redding, alongside deals with Stax, Concord, and Delmark Records.  These indelible, iconic brands join Howlin’ Wolf, Bo Diddley, Johnny Winter and others as part of the Bluescentric family.  The expanded retail website now carries over 500 unique, officially licensed music and band t-shirts, apparel, gifts and accessories for musicians, music lovers and vinyl enthusiasts.  Since 2009, every item the company has delivered to the consumer has emanated out of the corporate headquarters in Missouri. carries sizes small through 5XL in a variety of colors and vintage styles, big & tall, all weather, women’s and children’s options.  New arrivals include music-themed merch and gifts like vinyl record coasters, socks, neck ties, guitar spatulas, vinyl record totes, guitar pick punches, unique hats and more.  New product is continually being added for Christmas.  Every sale from officially licensed merch is paid directly to the artist estates.

CEO Magazine’s 2016 cover story on Bluescentric describes a music-filled company that “schedules business meetings at a local BBQ restaurant rather than a boardroom... going to festivals is part of market research, and considers a turntable and guitar picks as important as pen and paper.”  Chief Executive Officer Matt Marshall offers, “The company budget includes an expense account for vinyl records.  We’ve been excited to work with culture-changing artist estates and labels that represent hundreds of gold records, dozens of #1 hits, and some of the best music ever recorded.  The company’s mission statement is and always has been to connect music fans with authentic, quality merch in the digital age that actually benefits the estates in a meaningful way.”  

To keep the impact on the stage not the landfill, 100% of shipping packaging is recyclable. All orders are packed and signed off on by human hands, while customer service is second to none, available by phone and email.  Visit to discover the full line of merchandise which includes Otis Redding, Stax Records, Volt Records, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, Bo Diddley, SHAFT, Johnny Winter, Delmark Records, Junior Wells, and more here:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Stax Records and Concord Music Group thank you for supporting Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite

Get Up! - Ben Harper with Charlie Musselwhite -
A True Musical Event
   Get Up!, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite's acclaimed collaboration, released in early 2013, has become an instant classic.
   From the cover of Down Beat to the stages of Leno, Kimmel, Letterman and Fallon, this extraordinary collaboration has been widely recognized as one of the year's true musical events. 
   They've performed for NPR's World Café, and interviewed on Morning Edition and PBS' NewsHour. They even received an invitation from the President to play at the White House as part of the special celebration of Memphis soul.  
   The duo continues to stoke the fire with live shows and performances that have critics raving.
Check Out:
The trailer for Get Up!
Acoustic Tour Dates
- 11/14 San Francisco, CA @ Davies Symphony Hall
- 11/15 Santa Barbara, CA @ Granada Theater
- 11/16 San Diego, CA @ Copley Symphony
- 11/18 Los Angeles, CA @ Walt Disney Concert Hall
Don't Miss:
   Ben & Charlie's backstage interview on the White House: Memphis Soul
   Ben & Charlie's interview on NPR's Morning Edition
   Ben & Charlie's performance on PBS NewsHour
   Ben & Charlie on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic
   Ben & Charlie performance on The Late Show with David Letterman
   Ben & Charlie on NPR's World Café
Ben & Charlie's interview on Tavis Smiley

 "In Musselwhite, Harper has found a kindred spirit: an understated virtuoso able to push past tradition without losing himself.  They've made a set that feels timeless and right on schedule."  3.5 STARS - Rolling Stone
"Hot-blooded...a fortuitous jam session with moments of gospel elevation." - New York Times
"They really do draw out the best in each other: Harper has never sounded so powerful, Musselwhite so free to showcase his full range of emotion while sounding consistently raw." - San Francisco Chronicle
"Harper and the harmonicist make a righteously blues twosome, digging into roots originals that feel gritted up from decades of dirt and dust." - People
"[Musselwhite's] tender harmonica beautifully counterpoints Harper's bruised, emotionally charged vocals."  4 STARS - Mojo
"A beguiling mix of acoustic and electric blues, with harmonica legend Musselwhite weaving in and out like a roadhouse virtuoso."- Boston Globe
"A blues pairing this good hasn't occurred since Johnny Winter made Muddy Waters 'hard again' back in the '70s." - Elmore
"It's a marriage made in blues heaven." - Pop Matters
"That'll have to be one heck of a record that tops this. Grade: A.- Tampa Bay Times
"The first great album of 2013." - No Depression  
"A successful combination of two talented veterans feeding off each other's dusky, creative spirit." 4 STARS-  All Music Guide

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Same Thing All Over - Billy Young

Billy Young was discovered by Otis Redding, Like Otis, he was a Macon native. Along with Loretta Williams and Arthur Conley, he recorded one of the four Otis' and Joe Galkin own JOTIS singles, in 1965. The JOTIS singles were distributed by Atlantic like Stax and recorded some at Stax, some at Fame in Muscleshoals. He died 8/18/1999. On this particular track, recorded at Fame, the second voice is thought to be Otis Redding himself but I've been told it's Art (pee wee) Wilson .  

If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Concord / Stax Records Reissue: Albert King - Born Under A Bad Sign - New Release Review

I just received the newest reissue from Concord Music Group (April 2, 2013), Albert King's Born Under A Bad Sign. With addition of liner notes by Bill Dahl, this release has a full spectrum picture of Kings work. Featuring the Stax "House Band"; Steve Cropper (guitar), Booker T Jones (piano), Isaac Hayes (piano), Donald "Duck" Dunn, and Al Jackson Jr, (also known as Booker T and the MG's)and Wayne Jackson, Andrew love and Joe Arnold (also known as the Memphis Horns); King has the backing that can deliver anything he may want. The release opens with one of King's most well know tracks, Born Under A Bad Sign. Yes, Eric Clapton and Cream didn't hurt any by covering it, but it was Albert King that really breathed the life into it and it was his gateway to stardom. King has a very distinctive guitar playing style often attributed to his playing left handed (although the guitar was strung right handed) giving it a unique sound but I personally think Albert had his own feel later mimicked by SRV among others. It oozed blues. Next up is Crosscut Saw set to a Latin rhythm, a common maneuver for King. Albert had a great voice and his playing dominated most anything he touched. Did Eric borrow some of King's riffs... just listen! On Leiber and Stoller track Kansas City, King takes a standard pop track (hey, the Beatles even covered this track) and made it into a swing blues track. The horns really shine on this track and King riffs out but this really is a radio track. Another track showing a melding of styles is Pretty Woman. King again carries this largely based upon his vocal skills but never misses the opportunity to throw the hot riffs into the fire. King really is one of the fathers of the "modern" blues as we know it. On King original, Down Don't Bother Me, Albert gets a real solid Texas blues lope and his guitar phrasing is just perfect. On Ivory Joe Hunter's soul classic, I Almost Lost My Mind, King melds blues with jazz keeping his "V" under control with light riffs to accommodate a loose jam. Another original track, Personal Manager, shows King at a relaxed pace, taking the time to sing quietly before knocking the doors down with classic ripping blues smoke! On Laundromat Blues, King uses his call and response technique to the extreme answering his own vocal call with a guitar riff response. Listen to these riffs ...and think of how many of your favorites have played them like their own. Yes, Albert was the King! One of my personal favorites on the release, As The Years Go Passing By, shows a perfect balance between the horns, Kings rich voice and his incredible guitar phrasing. This is THE track to hear by Albert King! Also included on this release are alternate takes of Born Under A Bad Sign, Crosscut Saw, The Hunter and Personal Manager. These tracks are all really nice additions and give you different riffs and backing. Very cool. Lastly, there is an untitled instrumental of Albert jamming out with the horns. Dunn shows a bass slide and you can just sit back and listen to the King doing the Kings thing. Great release and one that you should definitely check out!

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE” Yes, you're right... this is a live track and the release is a studio cut. Enjoy Mr King in full color!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Stax/Volt Records artist: Otis Redding - Lonely & Blue - New Release Review

I just received the new release, Lonely & Blue: The Deepest Soul of Otis Redding which is due to be released tomorrow. This is a really cool album of tracks recorded by Redding but not assembled as a greatest hits nor a reissue. The packaging is authentic 60's style and even has the wear mark from years of vinyl sitting on the shelf (and an inner sleeve)!! This may be the best Otis Redding album ever! Yes...album. Concord is releasing this not only on CD but on blue vinyl!! The release opens with I Love You More Than Words Can Say, a really hot soul track. Redding really shows where it's at. Gone Again, a track which has just a pinch of country blended into the soul is great and trimmed with trumpets. Free Me, has cool guitar arpeggiation under the melody with keys and accent horns, but of course the focus is Redding's phrasing. Open The Door, another track with just a pinch of country (somebody's gonna ask where, but it's there) has the strength of the oldest James Brown cuts and that's a strong statement. A Waste Of Time, a great soul track with the warm sound of horns behind is a very strong track. These Arms of Mine is of course a big hit and a killer track. Get this. It's my least favorite track on this recording.'s that strong. I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now) is about as classic Otis as you get and of course Redding's sliding note is the highlight of the track. This is icing on the cake. This album isn't about greatest hits. this album is about great soul singing. Everybody Makes A Mistake has a strong gospel feel and is sung from deep inside. Possibly one of the best tracks on this great release. Little Ol' Me, another track with a more of the country flavor is a nice change, keeping you in the deep soul feel but lightening up a little allowing Redding to just work his voice. I've Got Dreams To Remember, another classic is very strong and rounds out the side but again, some of the lesser known tracks are the highlight of this recording. Send Me Some Lovin' has the classic R&B piano rhythm and intro of a bit more guitar on this track allowing Redding to lay back and paint his voice on the track rather than carrying it. This is an interesting alternate on his prime talent. My Lover's Prayer is a really hot soul track and a nice conclusion of this really deep soul recording. If you have every Redding release, you might look at this as the best of the best. If you don't have  Redding CD...this is the one to buy! Not the greatest hits... that it's not. But this may be the best set of Redding recordings every assembled on one disc. It's really a nice set.

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Albert King's 'Born Under a Bad Sign' album reissued on Stax Records

Release teems with King’s best-known songs:
“Born Under a Bad Sign,” “Crosscut Saw,”
“Oh, Pretty Woman” and “Laundromat Blues.”
Steve Cropper, Booker T. & the MGs, the Memphis Horns
and Stax’s songwriters help make it an all-time blues classic.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Any list of seminal 1960s electric blues albums is incomplete without Albert King’s Born Under a Bad Sign positioned near the top. The Indianola, Mississippi-born “King of the Blues Guitar,” who cut his professional teeth as a resident of the St. Louis suburb of Lovejoy, Ill., cemented his legacy with his Stax Records debut album. While he’d recorded for labels like Vee-Jay, Parrot and Bobbin, it was his chemistry with the Stax team — label executives Al Bell, Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton, songwriters Booker T. Jones and William Bell, and backing from Booker T. & the MGs and the Memphis Horns — that put King on the blues map.
The Stax Remasters deluxe edition of Born Under a Bad Sign will be released by Stax Records, a unit of Concord Music Group, on April 2, 2013. Music historian Bill Dahl wrote the new set of liner notes.
King was influenced by pre-World War II bluesmen Lonnie Johnson and Blind Lemon Jefferson, and post-war artists T-Bone Walker and Howlin’ Wolf. He came to Stax by way of Al Bell, a Little Rock native who’d met King when he played shows in the area. King’s first Stax recording was “Laundromat Blues,” included on this album, backed by Booker T. Jones on piano; Duck Dunn, bass; and Al Jackson, Jr., drums; plus the Memphis Horns (Wayne Jackson and Andrew Love) and Raymond Hill (sax player on Jackie Brenston’s “Rocket 88”). The song had come by way of an unsolicited songwriting demo that Stax co-founder Estelle Axton correctly believed could be a hit for King.
“Crosscut Saw” is one of King’s best-known recordings as yet dated back to 1941 when Delta bluesman Tommy McClennan recorded it for Bluebird, and Willie Sanders & the Binghamton Boys cut it in ’63. A.C. “Moohah” Williams, a veteran DJ at Memphis R&B station WDIA-AM, brought it to King’s attention. 
Booker T. Jones and Stax soul singer William Bell came up with the thundering bass riff that defined the title track “Born Under a Bad Sign.” The song notched #49 on the R&B chart in 1967, and was covered in short order by Cream on its 1968 Wheels of Fire album. Soon King himself was playing venues like the Fillmore Auditorium to young white rock audiences.
Another one of the signature tracks, “Oh, Pretty Woman,” written by WDIA DJ Williams, required the steady presence of Steve Cropper’s rhythm guitar to augment King’s lead licks. King received songwriting help from David Porter, on leave from his usual collaboration with Isaac Hayes, on “Personal Manager,” which was the B-side of the title track single.
Born Under a Bad Sign was also notable for its selection of covers. King gave the Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller R&B standard “Kansas City” an urban blues treatment. He’s right at home with Fenton Robinson’s “As the Years Go Passing By.” Ivory Joe Hunter’s “I Almost Lost My Mind” is a rare King ballad with countrypolitan overtones and jazz flute, an unlikely showcase for his rich baritone.
For this special reissue Stax Records has reached into its vaults to provide previously unissued bonus tracks in the form of alternate takes of “Born Under a Bad Sign,” “Crosscut Saw,” “The Hunter,” “Personal Manager” and an untitled, never-before-released instrumental.

According to annotator Dahl, “Thanks to Born Under a Bad Sign, Albert King became a full-fledged blues luminary, masterfully bridging the gap between the Chitlin’ Circuit and the rock arena. He would make more great Stax albums, but he’d never top this one.”

Albert King will be posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on April 18, 2013.
If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Stax artist remaster: I'll Play The Blues For You - Albert King - Review (release May 22, 2012)

Stax has done it now. They have unleashed the fury of Albert King and his classic I'll Play The Blues For You. This was initially an 8 song release but with remastering came 2 additional alternate tracks as well as 2 unreleased tracks. This recording really shows Albert at the top of his game matched with up with guitarist Michael Toles, bassist James Alexander and drummer Willie Hall from Bar-Kays/Movement. They are also joined by Memphis Horns featuring Wayne Jackson on trumpet and Andrew Love on tenor Sax. The title track is the opener and King's vocals are so smooth and his guitar is so stylistically Albert. No one has ever captured his spirit although many have copied his style. Albert had an uncanny ability to make the guitar bark without pulling it's leash. Breaking Up Somebody's Home is another absolutely terrific track and the blend of soul, funk and blues is just perfect. I'll Be Doggone is a real funky track that is outstanding in the blues world... not to really be approached until Johnny Guitar Watson, Walter Wolfman Watson and now Hamilton Loomis stepped into the arena. King lead this train and he is the King. Answer To The laundromat Blues is a great stinging blues a la King! You want to hear Albert do his guitar thing...this is it! The original recording concludes with Angel of Mercy, a classic King style blues. Brace yourself for a great guitar ride! The bonus tracks are an 8 plus minute alt take of I'll Play the Blues For You and an alt 5 plus minute take of Don't Burn Down the Bridge as well as unreleased tracks I Need Love, a great soul styled blues and Albert's Stomp, a driving guitar ripper. This is a must have for Albert King fans... all blues lovers!

If you like what I’m doing, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

Friday, September 2, 2011




Rufus Thomas’s Do the Funky Chicken, Shirley Brown’s Woman to Woman, and the Dramatics’ Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get

are fortified with bonus tracks
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — In 1968, on the heels of the label’s severance from Atlantic Records, Stax Records president Al Bell decided to initiate a massive 28-LP release program that would auger the label’s return to the top. The initiative fostered a new generation of Stax hitmakers including the Dramatics and Shirley Brown. And, it proved an artistically and commercially fertile time for Stax veteran Rufus Thomas.

On September 13, 2011, Concord Music Group, as part of its Stax Remasters series , will reissue Rufus Thomas’s Do the Funky Chicken, the Dramatics’ Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get and Shirley Brown’s Woman to Woman — each featuring a chart-topping title track. All three reissues feature 24-bit remastering, rare bonus tracks, and new liner notes to frame the recordings in historical context.

Rufus Thomas: Do the Funky Chicken:

Although Rufus and his daughter Carla Thomas had given Satellite Records (precursor to Stax) its first hit in 1960, followed in turn by Rufus’s solo hit “Walkin’ the Dog,” his star had faded by the late ’60s. The self-proclaimed “world’s oldest teenager” (age 51 in 1968) found inspiration in 1968 when he recorded Eddie Floyd’s “Funky Mississippi,” backed by Booker T. & the MGs and the Memphis Horns, for an album that never saw the light of day titled May I Have Your Ticket Please? A year later, Thomas entered the studio again — this time with his son Marvell Thomas on keyboards and members of the Bar-Kays — to record “Do the Funky Chicken.” The song was a smash, reaching #5 R&B and #28 Pop. Rufus was back on top, and the album Do the Funky Chicken was hailed as a career highlight. The follow-up, a two-sided hit of the menacing voodoo funk of “Sixty Minute Man” backed with the gospel-inflected “The Preacher and the Bear,” made it to #42 R&B. The reissue is rounded out by “Funky Mississippi,” “Funky Way” and “Itch and Scratch,” the last recorded not at Stax but rather at Jackson, Mississippi’s Malaco Studios. Stax historian Rob Bowman contributed liner notes.

The Dramatics: Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get:

In diversifying the A&R focus of Stax, Al Bell brought in Detroit producer Don Davis to work with core artists Carla Thomas and Johnnie Taylor. He brought with him a Motor City vocal group called the Dramatics. Davis turned to fellow Detroit producer and songwriter Tony Hestor to work with the group. Hestor wrote a great song with “Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get” and crafted an extraordinary arrangement as well. Annotator Bowman writes, “The slight Latin feel fit the first wave of disco like a glove while the use of claves and congas combined with a fuzzed lead guitar line and seraphonous strings and horns.” The chemistry of artist, song, and arrangement drove the record all the way to #3 R&B and #9 Pop in the summer of 1971 on the Volt label. The follow-up was “In the Rain,” of which then-lead vocalist Ron Banks recalls, “We looked at each other and said, ‘Whoa, that’s a smash.’ And for once we were right.” The song went to #5 Pop. The Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get reissue contains no fewer than nine bonus tracks including charting hits “Fell for You” and “Hey You! Get Off My Mountain,” both recorded in Detroit instead of Memphis. The closer “Hum a Song (From Your Heart)” was produced at Atlantic South Criterion Studios by the legendary production triumvirate of Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd, and Arif Mardin.

Shirley Brown: Woman to Woman:

“Phenomenon means having your first single, ‘Woman to Woman,’ sell a million in its first eight weeks,” wrote Stax employee Deanie Parker in her liner notes for Shirley Brown’s Woman to Woman album, released in 1974 on Stax’s Truth imprint. The East St. Louis native came to Stax by way of Albert King, who’d discovered her when she was all of 14. When matched with the powerful James Banks, Eddie Marion, and Henderson Thigpen composition “Woman to Woman,” Brown hit a nerve with female listeners. In a spoken intro, Brown said: “Hello, may I speak to Barbara? Barbara, this is Shirley. You might not know who I am, but the reason I am calling you is because I was going through my old man’s pockets this morning. And I just happened to find your name and number.” After presenting her case, Brown sang earnestly about not letting anyone else “break up my happy home” because “I love that man and he’s mine.” The song notched #1 R&B and #22 Pop. A follow-up, “It Ain’t No Fun” by Fredrick Knight, charted #94 Pop. Songs by Knight, Sir Mack Rice, and the late Jerry Ragovoy round out the original album release. The reissue contains five bonus tracks by writers Carolyn Franklin, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder. After Stax’s closure, Brown signed to Arista and with Stax’s co-founder Jim Stewart and Bettye Crutcher producing, reaching #15 with “Blessed is the Woman (With a Man Like Mine)” and has more recently recorded for Malaco.

About Stax Records:

Stax Records is synonymous with Southern soul music. Originally known as Satellite, the Memphis company was founded in 1959 by Jim Stewart and his sister, Estelle Axton, and took its new name in 1961 from the first two letters of their last names. Among the many artists who scored hits on Stax and its Volt subsidiary during the ’60s were Rufus and Carla Thomas, Booker T. & the MGs, Sam and Dave, 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, the Dramatics, and Shirley Brown. In June 1977, a year-and-a-half after Stax went bankrupt, the company’s masters were purchased by Fantasy, Inc. Concord Music Group purchased and reactivated Stax in 2004 to release both new soul recordings and catalog reissues