Devotees of soul, listen up: A staggeringly comprehensive box set dedicated to Stax Records’ 1968 output has been released.
Late last week, Craft Recordings unveiled the 50th anniversary box set, Stax ’68: A Memphis Story. The set comprises 134 songs by Stax and its sub-labels, including hits and rarities that collectively give insight into the tumult the historic soul/blues label experienced in the pivotal year of 1968.
In December 1967, the label’s biggest star, Otis Redding, died in a plane crash; the label’s parent company Atlantic Records ended its relationship with Stax, taking with them a star act, Sam & Dave, and the lion’s share of the label’s catalog; and the revolutionary Dr Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated in April, sending Stax—a label committed to racial equality and the civil rights movement—reeling.
“When I think back to 1968, there’s a sadness but it was also a time of us banding together at Stax to try and survive,” musician William Bell—who was involved with 14 of the songs featured on the box set—told the Boston Globe.
Immerse yourself in this chapter of soul history and stream all 134 songs below:
And order the box set, which comes with a limited edition poster and a 56-page booklet, here.