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Album Review: The Other Side Of The Trax: Stax-Volt 45 rpm Rarities 1965-1968

Various Artists (KENT)

Rare Stax B-sides compiled and on CD for the first time.

With a previous nine-disc box set (The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1959-1968) already wrapping up all the A-sides and cherry picking B-sides from the period when Stax was distributed by Atlantic, you’d be forgiven for thinking further catalogue explorations would be barrel-scraping. You’d be wrong, though, as Stax’s quality control was incredibly consistent, and despite bighitters Otis Redding, Sam And Dave and Booker T & The MGs being absent, this new compilation is uniformly tremendous stuff.

Johnny Taylor’s pounding Changes became popular on the UK northern soul scene and sounds like it should have been a massive hit, while Dorothy Williams’ R&B stomper Watchdog, co-written with MGs guitarist Steve Cropper, is still a floor-filler at soul clubs today. Other highlights include Rufus Thomas’ blackly humorous 12-bar blues Sho’ Gonna Mess Him Up and Barbara & The Browns’ morality drama You Belong To Her.