The Mar-Keys – “Last Night” (1961)

December 19, 2008 at 4:13 pm (Stax)

Instrumental hit from Stax house band, this song hit nationally in 1961. They soon morphed into Booker T. & the MGs.

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Carla Thomas – “B-A-B-Y” (1966)

October 20, 2008 at 7:32 am (Stax)

Daughter of Rufus Thomas, Carla, the Queen of Memphis Soul, had a #3 R&B hit with this Isaac Hayes-penned slow burner in 1966. Years earlier, she had the first big Memphis soul hit to ever become big with the song “Gee Whiz.”

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Eddie Floyd – “Knock on Wood” (1966)

October 18, 2008 at 1:57 pm (Stax)

Another classic from the Stax label, from 1966, this song has been covered many times over the years (Amii Stewart having a big hit with it in 1979, in a discofied version). Eddie Floyd wrote the song with MGs guitarist Steve Cropper and it became a smash R&B #1 hit. The song was originally written with Otis Redding as the intended singer. Floyd kept it to himself and even though the Stax brass were not enamoured with the song, it became big anyhow. It still sounds great 42 years later.

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The Staple Singers – “Respect Yourself” (1971)

October 18, 2008 at 3:21 am (Stax)

The soul/gospel group The Staple Singers (featuring Mavis Staples) had this big hit on Stax in 1971. Somehow, Actor Bruce Willis had a big hit with this song in 1987 on Motown Records, surprisingly enough. This is clearly the better version though.

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Booker T & the MGs – “Green Onions” (1962)

October 18, 2008 at 2:01 am (Stax)

The huge instrumental hit by the Stax/Volt house band, led by organist Booker T. Jones and featuring Donald “Duck” Dunn on bass, Steve Cropper on guitar and Al Jackson, Jr. drums. This is one of the most famous instrumentals of the last 50 years.

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Johnny Taylor – “Ain’t That Loving You (For More Reasons Than One)” (1966)

October 18, 2008 at 2:00 am (Stax)

“The Philosopher of Soul” Johnny Taylor, from his album Wanted: One Soul Singer, comes this slow gem of a song. He sounds alot like Sam Cooke on this one. In 1968 he went on to have a huge hit with “Who’s Making Love.”

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William Bell – “You Don’t Miss Your Water” (1961)

October 18, 2008 at 1:53 am (Stax)

Stax singer William Bell’s signature song from 1961. It wasn’t a big hit but has since been recognized as a southern soul classic.

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Otis Redding – “These Arms of Mine” (1962)

October 18, 2008 at 1:41 am (Stax)

The great Otis Redding’s first big R&B hit from 1962. One of the great early Stax singles.

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