Stax Records Lives!
Legendary soul label Stax Records, which gave the world such stars as Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, and the Staple Singers, has been reactivated after a 30-year hiatus by its current owner, Concord Music Group.
The first two signings are Hayes and R&B singer Angie Stone, while the first new release will be “Interpretations,” a tribute to the songs of Earth Wind & Fire mastermind Maurice White. “Stax always has been and always will be soul music, I was a part of that,” Hayes said in a statement. “I am coming back to Stax because there is still so much to do. It’s like coming home.”
Along with David Porter, Hayes wrote many of the big hits for Stax duo Sam and Dave, including “Soul Man” and “Hold On, I’m Coming.” He found fame in his own right as a soul singer and musician, and won the Academy Award for his “Theme from ‘Shaft.”‘
Los Angeles-based Concord, famed for its jazz roster, added Stax to its holdings as part of its acquisition of Fantasy Records in 2004. Stax, which takes its name from the surnames of founders Jim Stewart and his sister Estelle Axton, traces its roots back to 1957. Throughout the ’60s and early ’70s, the Memphis label lived up to its “Soulsville” name, offering a grittier alternative to the Motown Records assembly line. But it eventually went bust in 1975 amid shady business practices.
Film mogul Saul Zaentz’s Fantasy bought the Stax master tapes for just $1.3 million at a bankruptcy auction in 1977.