In 1991, Atlantic Records released the landmark box set The Complete Stax/Volt Singles 1959-1968. The care that was taken with the release marked a new level of respect for the music of the legendary Stax Records label and soul music in general. The collection was reissued by Rhino Records two years ago. In 1993, a resuscitated Stax Records released two more volumes of Stax recordings covering the years 1968-1975. The two volumes were reissued by Concord Music in 2015 and it was reasonable to think the maybe all of the greatness had been drained from the Stax vaults but that was not the case.

Craft Recordings, a division of Concord, has released Stax Singles, Vol. 4: Rarities and the Best of the Rest. Stax was, of course, best known for classic soul music but the new six-CD collection finds Stax branching out into other genres with music that was originally released by Stax subsidiary rock labels like Ardent and Hip, gospel labels like Chalice and Gospel Truth, and a country label, Enterprise. There are also early instrumental and blues tracks that appeared on Satellite Records, a precursor to Stax.

The collection digs deeper into the Stax archives than any of the previous compilations and comes up with long-forgotten B-sides and other rarities. Classic Stax soul is well represented on the first three discs but the set uses the other three discs to profile Stax’ attempts to diversify its sound over the years 1960-1975. Make no mistake, well-known Stax artists like the Staple Singers, the Bar-Kays, and Johnnie Taylor are represented here but there are also tracks from rock legends Big Star and Don Nix and gospel from the Dixie Nightingales and the Jubilee Hummingbirds.

An 80-page booklet accompanies the collection and includes essays by noted writers like Rob Bowman who covers the soul music discs.

“Stax’s B-sides are, by and large, better than most companies’ A-sides,” Bowman said.

Stax Singles, Vol. 4 was co-produced by Bill Belmont who spoke about the impetus behind the project.

“Over the years, within the collector-fan circuit, and in reissues and collections of vintage Stax material worldwide, some ‘B’ sides have attained a status comparable to the promoted work. Stax’s ‘other side’ has never been presented on its own — thus here, the “other” imprints are all gathered under the Stax umbrella; part of the all-encompassing rubric ‘where everything is everything.’”

Stax Singles, Vol. 4 marks the conclusion of a massive 60th anniversary of Stax Records reissue campaign by Craft Recordings and Rhino Entertainment who jointly control the Stax catalog. Over a two-year period, there have been 15 vinyl reissues by artists like Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, and Isaac Hayes, whose reissues were covered in last week’s column. There have also been CD releases including the Stax Classics series that highlighted some of the labels biggest stars and a three-disc compilation called Soulsville U.S.A. 

Track List:
 
Disc 1:
1. Carla & Rufus: Deep Down Inside
2. Rufus And Friend: Yeah, Yea-Ah
3. Prince Conley: All The Way
4. The Canes: I’ll Never Give Her Up
5. The Astors: Just Enough To Hurt Me
6. Eddie Kirk: I Found A Brand New Love
7. Rufus Thomas: Fine And Mellow
8. Booker T. & The Mg’s: Fannie Mae
9. Floyd Newman: Sassy
10. Rufus Thomas: I Want To Get Married
11. Bobby Marchan: That’s The Way That It Goes
12. The Cobras: Shake Up
13. Barbara And The Browns: You Belong To Her
14. Dorothy Williams: Watchdog
15. Baracudas: Free For All
16. Barbara And The Browns: I Don’t Want Trouble
17. Gorgeous George: Sweet Thing
18. The Astors: I Found Out
19. Rufus & Carla Thomas: We’re Tight
20. Rufus Thomas: Chicken Scratch
21. Ruby Johnson: Weak Spot
22. Rufus Thomas: Talkin’ Bout True Love
23. Mable John: If You Give Up What You Got (You’ll See What You Lost)
24. Sam And Dave: A Small Portion Of Your Love
25. Ruby Johnson: Keep On Keeping On
26. Rufus Thomas: Greasy Spoon
27. Mable John: Left Over Love
28. Ollie & The Nightingales: Girl, You Have My Heart Singing
29. Mable John: Don’t Get Caught
 
Disc 2:
1. Shirley Walton: I’m So Glad You’re Back
2. Delaney & Bonnie: We’ve Just Been Feeling Bad
3. Linda Lyndell:  I Don’t Know
4. Judy Clay & William Bell: Love-Eye-Tis
5. Judy Clay: Remove These Clouds
6. The Staple Singers: Stay With Us
7. Rufus Thomas: So Hard To Get Along With
8. Jeanne & The Darlings: I Like What You’re Doing To Me
9. Booker T. & The Mg’s: Over Easy
10. Mable John: Shouldn’t I Love Him
11. William Bell & Judy Clay: Left Over Love
12. Jimmy Hughes: Sweet Things You Do
13. Art Jerry Miller: Grab A Handful
14. Eddie Floyd: Consider Me
15. Booker T. & The Mg’s: Soul Clap ’69
16. Jeanne & The Darlings: Standing In The Need Of Your Love
17. The Bar-Kays: I Thank You
18. The Soul Children: Make It Good
19. Ollie & The Nightingales: I’ll Be Your Everything
20. William Bell: Let Me Ride
21. Booker T. & The Mg’s: Sunday Sermon
22. Carla Thomas: Hi De Ho (That Old Sweet Roll)
23. Shack: A Love Affair That Bears No Pain
24. The Nightingales: Just A Little Overcome
25. The Newcomers: Mannish Boy
 
Disc 3:
1. Ilana: Let Love Fill Your Heart
2. The Soul Children: Ridin’ On Love’s Merry-Go-Round
3. Hot Sauce: I Can’t Win For Losing
4. Lee Sain: Ain’t Nobody Like My Baby
5. Hot Sauce: Echoes From The Past
6. The Mad Lads: Did My Baby Call
7. Isaac Hayes & David Porter: Baby I’m-A Want You
8. Jean Knight: Pick Up The Pieces
9. Johnnie Taylor: Stop Teasing Me
10. Isaac Hayes: Type Thang
11. John Gary Williams: In Love With You
12. Major Lance: Since I Lost My Baby’s Love
13. Hot Sauce: Mama’s Baby (Daddy’s Maybe)
14. The Soul Children: Poem On The School House Door
15. Rufus Thomas: That Makes Christmas Day
16. The Staple Singers: What’s Your Thing
17. Shirley Brown: Yes Sir Brother
18. Hot Sauce: Funny
19. Frederick Knight: Let’s Make A Deal
20. The Green Brothers: Can’t Give You Up (I Love You Too Much)
21. John Gary Williams: Just Ain’t No Love (Without You Here)
 
Disc 4:
1. Sid Selvidge: The Ballad Of Otis B. Watson
2. The Caboose: Black Hands White Cotton
3. Dallas County: Love’s Not Hard To Find
4. Casper Peters: April
5. Clark Sullivan: Reaching For A Rainbow
6. Billy Eckstine: I Wanna Be Your Baby
7. Chuck Boris: Why Did It Take So Long
8. Barbara Lewis: Why Did It Take So Long
9. Finley Brown: Gypsy
10. O.B. Mcclinton: Slip Away
11. Billy Eckstine: When Something Is Wrong
12. Ben Atkins: Good Times Are Coming
13. River City Street Band: Some Other Man
14. O.B. Mcclinton: Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You
15. Big Ben: Would I Be Better Gone?
16. Don Nix: Black Cat Moan
17. Don Nix: She’s A Friend Of Mine
18. Larry Raspberry And The Highsteppers: Rock ’N Roll Warning
19. Chico Hamilton: Conquistadores ’74
20. Cliff Cochran: The Way I’m Needing You
21. Connie Eaton: Let’s Get Together
22. Karen Casey: The Way I’m Needing You
 
Disc 5:
1. Poor Little Rich Kids: Stop – Quit It
2. Lonnie Duvall: Cigarettes
3. Poor Little Rich Kids: It’s Mighty Clear
4. The Honey Jug: Warm City Baby
5. The Goodees:  For A Little While
6. The Honey Jug: For Your Love
7. Kangaroo’s: Groovy Day
8. Bobby Whitlock: And I Love You
9. Southwest F.O.B.: Smell Of Incense
10. The Goodees: Condition Red
11. Billy Lee Riley: Family Portrait
12. This Generation: The Children Have Your Tongue
13. Billy Lee Riley: Show Me Your Soul
14. The Waters: Day In And Out
15. The Village Sound: Hey Jack (Don’t Hijack My Plane)
16. The Cheques: Cool My Desire
17. The Goodees: Goodies
18. Paris Pilot: Miss Rita Famous
19. The Knowbody Else: Someone Something
20. Cargoe: Feel Alright
21. Big Star: In The Street
22. Cargoe: I Love You Anyway
23. The Hot Dogs: Say What You Mean
24. Big Star: O My Soul
25. The Hot Dogs: I Walk The Line
26. Big Star: September Gurls
 
Disc 6:
1. The Dixie Nightingales: The Assassination
2. The Dixie Nightingales: Hush Hush
3. The Dixie Nightingales: I Don’t Know
4. The Stars Of Virginia: Wade In The Water
5. The Dixie Nightingales: Forgive These Fools
6. The Jubilee Hummingbirds: Our Freedom Song (Free At Last)
7. The Jubilee Hummingbirds: Press My Dying Pillow
8. The Pattersonaires: God’s Promise
9. Rev. Maceo Woods And The Christian Tabernacle Baptist Church Choir: Hello Sunshine
10. Roebuck “Pop” Staples: Tryin’ Time
11. Terry Lynn Community Choir: His Love Will Always Be
12. Reverend W. Bernard Avant Jr. & The St. James Gospel Choir: Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You (Don’t Let The Devil Fool You)
13. The Rance Allen Group: There’s Gonna Be A Showdown
14. The Rance Allen Group: That Will Be Good Enough For Me
15. Reverend Maceo Woods & The Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir: The Magnificent Sanctuary Band (Marching For The Man)
16. Louise Mccord: Better Get A Move On
17. Charles May & Annette May Thomas: Satisfied
18. The Rance Allen Group: I Got To Be Myself
19. The People’s Choir Of Operation Push Under The Direction Of Reverend Marvin Yancy: He Included Me
20. The Rance Allen Group: We’re The Salt Of The Earth
21. Louise Mccord: Reflections
22. The Rance Allen Group: Ain’t No Need Of Crying