A surprising side of the legendary Stax Record
s – especially if you only know the Memphis powerhouse as an outlet for funk and soul! There was always a bit of crossover between country and soul – even in the early days, a label like King Record
s could easily handle both – or a company like Atlantic could find a way to make its soul singers handle country tunes with ease. Yet the approach here is pure country – tracks record
ed during the final few years of Stax – at a time when the company was both growing strongly, thanks to the fame of Isaac Hayes and others – and also trying out new ideas to round out the strength of their operation. Given their proximity to Nashville, and the fact that Memphis studios like Sun or Ardent had handled country-styled sounds – the move seemed to be a good one, and definitely comes across here in the quality of the tracks! The music has a nice left-of-Nashville vibe – almost like some of the growing wave from Austin soon to come, but also a bit like the cooler indie 45 country market of the 70s – which is finally getting its due these days. Either way, the sounds here are way past the hits, and way past the more standard modes of the time – and show that Stax Record
s could bring as much of a magic touch to country as they could to other sounds they record
ed. Titles include "Hippie From The Hills" by Roland Eaton, "The River's Too Wide" by Karen Casey, "That Glass" by Eddie Bond, "Sweet Country Music" by Becki Bluefield, "My Girl" by Danny Bryan, "Satisfied Woman" by Paige O'Brian, "All The Love You'll Ever Need" by Cliff Cochran, "A Mom & A Dad For Christmas" by Lee Denson, and "Truck Driver's Heaven" by Roger Hallmark.