Welcome To AlbumLinerNotes.com
"The #1 Archive of Liner Notes in the World!"

Celebrating Our Shared Musical Heritage

Stax/Volt - Volume 4



Volume Four

1. Jump Back – Rufus Thomas
East Music*
Stax 157
Released September, 1964
Highest Chart Position: Pop #49*

2. Chained And Bound – Otis Redding (2:25)
East-Time Music*
Volt 121
Released September 15, 1964
Highest Chart Position: Pop #70*

3. In My Heart – Barbara & the Browns (2:45)
East Music*
Stax 158
Released September 15, 1964

4. Spunky – Johnny Jenkins (2:15)
East-Time Music*
Volt 122
Released October, 1964
Released under license from Fantasy, Inc.

5. Bar-B-Q – Wendy Rene (2:25)
East Music*
Stax 159
Released November 4, 1964

6. The Sidewalk Surf – Mad Lads (2:18)
East Music*
Stax 160
Released November 19, 1964
Released under license from Fantasy, Inc.

7. Can’t Be Still – Booker T. & the MGs (1:57)
East Music*
Stax 161
Released November 10, 1964

8. A Woman’s Love – Carla Thomas
East Music*
Atlantic 2258
Released November, 1964
Highest Chart Position: Pop #71*

9. Yank Me (Doodle) – Baracudas (2:20)
East Music*
Volt 123
Released December, 1964

10. That’s How Strong My Love Is – Otis Redding (2:24)
Rise Music**
Volt 124
Released December 30, 1964
Highest Chart Position: R&B #18 / Pop #74*

11. Mr. Pitiful – Otis Redding (2:26)
East-Time Music*
Volt 124-B
Released December 30, 1964
Highest Chart Position: R&B #10 / Pop #41

12. Don’t Let Her Be Your Baby – Del-Rays (2:30)
(Berry Gordy, Jr.)
Jobete Music***
Stax 162
Released January, 1965
Released under license from Fantasy, Inc.

13. Can’t See You When I Want To – David Porter
East Music*
Stax 163
Released January, 1965
Released under license from Fantasy, Inc.

14. My Lover – Barbara & the Browns (2:20)
Beckie Music****
Stax 164
Released January 18, 1965

15. Got You On My Mind – The Admirals (2:35)
East Music*
Volt 125
Released February, 1965
Released under license from Fantasy, Inc.

16. How Do You Quit (Someone You Love) – Carla Thomas (2:43)
East Music*
Atlantic 2272
Released February, 1965
Highest Chart Position: R&B #39

17. Biggest Fool In Town – Gorgeous George (2:43)
East Music*
Stax 166
Released February 17, 1965

18. Banana Juice – Mar-Keys
East Music*
Stax 166
Released February 17, 1965

19. Little Sally Walker – Rufus Thomas (2:12)
East Music*
Stax 167
Released February 24, 1965

20. A Place Nobody Can Find – Sam & Dave (2:45)
East-Cotillion Music*
Stax 168
Released March 19, 1965

21. Goodnight Baby – Sam & Dave (2:35)
East Music*
Stax 168-B
Released March 19, 1965

22. Boot-Leg – Booker T. & the MGs (2:03)
East Music*
Stax 169
Released April 13, 1965
Highest Chart Position: R&B #10 / Pop #58

23. Outrage – Booker T. & the MGs (2:31)
East Music*
Stax 169-B
Released April 13, 1965

24. I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now) – Otis Redding (2:49)
East-Time Music*
Volt 126
Released April 22, 1965
Highest Chart Position: R&B #2/ Pop #21

25. I’m Depending On You – Otis Redding
East-Time Music*
Volt 126-B
Released April 22, 1965

26. Candy – Astors (2:55)
East Music*****
Stax 170
Released May 26, 1965
Highest Chart Position: R&B #12 / Pop #63

27. Give You What I Got – Wendy Rene
(Cropper-M. Frierson)
East Music*
Stax 170
Released May, 1965
Released under license from Fantasy, Inc.


The fall of 1964 to the spring of 1965 was a relatively quiet period at Stax. Otis Redding issued his sixth, seventh and eighth Volt singles and Sam And Dave recorded their Stax debut. Other than that there was the usual series of one-off releases as well as regular releases from Stax family members Rufus and Carla Thomas, Booker T. And The MG's, the Mar-Keys and The Astors.

Redding's sixth release, "Chained And Bound," continued the pattern of receiving strong airplay on black radio in the south as well as marginal spins up North and on pop radio. The net result was #70 on the Hot 100. "Mr. Pitiful,” his seventh Volt forty-five, was another story altogether. In many ways it was a turning point for Otis, featuring for the first time on record one of his distinctive horn patterns, a series of eighths with the offbeats accented. It was also Redding's first full collaboration as a writer with Steve Cropper and his first Top 10 R&B and Top 50 Pop chart success.

"We wrote that song in ten minutes," mused Cropper. "There was a disc jockey here named Moohah [A.C. Williams]. He was on WDIA. He started calling Otis 'Mr. Pitiful' 'cause he sounded so pitiful singing his ballads. So I said, 'Great idea for a song.' I got the idea for writing about it in the shower. I was on my way down to pick up Otis. I got down there and I was humming it in the car. I said, 'Hey, what do you think about this?' We just wrote the song on the way to the studio, just slapping our hands on our legs. We wrote it in about ten minutes, went in, showed it to the guys, he hummed a horn line, boom we had it. When Jim Stewart walked in we had it all worked up. Two or three cuts later there it was."

The flip side of "Mr. Pitiful," Roosevelt Jamison and Steve Cropper's "That's How Strong My Love Is," was one of the supreme R&B ballads of all time. Jamison had originally taken it to a Stax Saturday morning audition where Steve Cropper had helped to refashion part of the lyrics. Not sure that Stax was going to actually use the song, Jamison took it across town to Goldwax Records where he cut it with O.V. Wright. In the meantime, Cropper recorded it with Redding. The two versions were released within days of each other and the Rolling Stones recorded it shortly thereafter.
In April 1965 Volt issued what would be Redding's greatest commercial success until "Dock Of The Bay." "I've Been Loving You Too Long" (co-written with Jerry Butler in a Buffalo hotel room) surged all the way to #2 and 21 respectively on the R&B and Pop charts. Ike and Tina Turner would chart with it four years later. Redding recut the song in stereo for the Otis Blue sessions. The original forty-five version is included here. The B-side, "I'm Depending On You,” was not issued on an LP at the time and. aside from a long deleted Charly Records anthology, has been unavailable since its initial release.

The autumn of 1964 saw Redding's original guitar playing partner Johnny Jenkins's one and only Volt single issued hot on the heels of "Chained And Bound." "Spunky" was a Jenkins-penned original that created few waves. It was the last he was to be heard of until an early seventies LP on Phil Walden's Capricorn label.

The Baracudas' "Yank Me (Doodle)" was another Stax/Volt instrumental record in the grand tradition of "Last Night." Engineer James Cross remembers cutting the record: "That was one of those nighttime sessions [i,e., when nobody cared]. Packy Axton wanted to do something. He wanted to get his own hit out there with his own group. The Barracudas were actually his group. These guys had been playing around the mid-South area as the Packers."

As with many of the Stax-related instrumentals. the story is somewhat more convoluted. A group called the Packers led by Packy Axton would cut a #5 R&B hit entitled "Hole In The Wall" in November 1965 for L.A. disc jockey Magnificent Montague on the Pure Soul label out on the West Coast. The group that recorded the Packers record, according to Steve Cropper, included Booker T. And The MG's. The lineup on the Barracudas' record included Johnny Keyes on percussion, Samuel Evans on bass, Verne Harrell and Packy Axton on saxophone and Isaac Hayes on keyboards.

Packy, long feeling persona non grata at Stax, in tandem with Johnny Keyes. recorded a couple of similar instrumental records for the U.S.A. and Bar Records labels under the moniker the Martinis, and one for Hollywood Records under the name the Packeys. All of them were fine Southern soul grooves but none of them ever hit.

The Mar-Keys name started being used again in late summer 1964. Andrew Love and Wayne Jackson, who had become the mainstays of the Stax horn session, resurrected the name for gigging purposes in and around Memphis. As long as they were playing live, it couldn't hurt to get a record out that could possibly help promote the live dates (and vice versa). The records, as before, were cut by any combination of the Stax house band. Stax 156, "Bush Bash" (found on volume three), was written by Booker T. Jones, Floyd Newman and Gilbert Caples while Stax 166, "Banana Juice," was written by Isaac Hayes under the pseudonym Ed Lee.

Booker T. And The MG's released a couple of forty-fives in this period. "Can't Be Still" stiffed from the word go but "Boot-leg" stormed up the charts in the spring of 1965, nestling at # 10 R&B and #58 Pop. Interestingly, it was the first MG single to feature a bridge, the first to feature Duck Dunn instead of Lewis Steinberg, horns were atypically prominent, and Booker T. Jones doesn't even play on it. With Booker in college, Isaac Hayes played the keyboard part. The writing credit is shared by Hayes, Dunn, Packy Axton, and Al Jackson. Cropper explains, "It was a Mar-Keys record that we decided to put out as Booker T. And The MG's 'cause we thought we'd get a better shot." The flip side, "Outrage," didn't chart but it has long been an MG favorite.

In the fall of 1964 Rufus Thomas hit the charts again, reaching #49 on the Hot 100 with one of his patented nonsensically fun dance records, "Jump Back." The background vocals are courtesy of The Drapels. He was not so lucky with the similarly inspired "little Sally Walker," released in February of 1965. Carla Thomas closed out 1964 with a song she wrote in tandem with Steve Cropper entitled "A Woman's Love." The song was later rewritten and cut as the answer record "It's A Man's Way" by Wilson Pickett when Atlantic brought Pickett down to Stax in 1965. The writing credit was changed to Cropper/Pickett and Carla came close to suing the company. Carla's version reached #71 on the Hot 100. One has to keep in mind that there were no R&B charts being published at the time. One assumes if there had been, many Stax/Volt releases in 1964 would have much more impressive chart statistics.

After a fourteen-month hiatus, the R&B charts were reinstated by Billboard at the end of January 1965, just in time for Carla Thomas's February release "How Do You Quit (Someone You Love)." Reaching #39 nationally, it did even better in Washington, D.C., where Carla was working on her master's degree at Howard University. Carla became so popular in D.C. that a Carla Thomas day was proclaimed in the late sixties in the nation's capital.

Shortly before the Thomas release, in late 1964, Stax signed a vocal group called The Mad Lads. The Mad Lads, atypically for Memphis, leaned towards the North East doo wop style. John Gary Williams, William Brown, Julius Green and Harold Thomas (no relation to Rufus or Carla) had all met in the tenth grade at Booker T. Washington High School. Originally called The Emeralds, they had been together seven or eight months before they were seen by Estelle Axton at an annual high school concert held at Ellis Auditorium. Other performers in what were called the Annual Ballets had included Carla Thomas, Deanie Parker and future Soul Children star J. Blackfoot. When it was discovered that someone else already had the rights to the name The Emeralds, Deanie Parker suggested the name change, partially as a tip of the hat to local DJ Rueben "Mad Lad" Washington (the man who first played "Green Onions" on the radio) and partially due to the crazed behavior of the group.

John Gary Williams remembers, "We were pranksters. We brought that high school thing, that young thing into the company. It was like a family. We were sort of like the kids in the family."

"Sidewalk Surf" was recorded a month after Estelle saw them at Ellis Auditorium. It was written by Carl Cunningham, Ed Lee and Marvell Thomas. Cunningham was a young kid who was shining shoes next door to the studio at King's Barbershop (Mad Lad William Brown had previously shined shoes there). Cunningham eventually became, as Al Jackson's protege, the drummer in the first edition of The Bar-Kays. Ed Lee was none other than Isaac Hayes writing under a pseudonym while he waited out an unfavorable publishing contract that he had signed earlier as Isaac Hayes. Marvell Thomas was Rufus Thomas's son who had just gotten out of the army.

The song was unlike anything The Mad Lads or Stax would ever record again. It was Estelle's idea to do the song, which had been modelled on Jan and Dean's records. Julius Green today sighs, "It was nothing like us," while John Gary Williams states, "I couldn't get into it. There was no feeling there." William Brown is more emphatic: "I hate that record. Miss Axton believed in nostalgia." (Everyone at Stax to this day refers to Estelle as "Miss Axton.") The idea was the song would be a skateboard tune. A dance was even made to go along with it but the disc received local airplay only.

The same month that The Mad Lads debuted, Wendy Rene's second Stax forty-five, "Bar-B-Q," was issued. It was the only uptempo record she ever made. Written by Steve Cropper and bass player Larry Brown, the song is a good times party ditty celebrating the joy of Southern food. It swings wonderfully, pushed by Floyd Newman's baritone sax in tandem with Al Jackson's drums and Larry Brown on bass. Frierson remembers that a session had not been scheduled but as usual people were hanging out in the studio just fooling around. Someone was cooking barbeque and Cropper wrote the words. When the singer was first learning the song, she had assumed it was a commercial for Leonard's Pit Barbeque as she had done a few radio jingles a little before. "I thought it was a commercial. Then when I found out it was not, it was funny." Stax recordings were more often about the joy and pain of love than gastronomic pleasure, but on this outing Rene/Frierson nearly makes the latter sound more exciting.

Wendy Rene's final Stax recording was released in May 1965. As was the case with the first two solo outings, her brother and Marianne Brittenum provide the evocative background harmony. Simply put "Give You What I Got," co-written with Cropper, is enough to make anyone swoon. Rene thought that it might have been originally designated for Carla Thomas. If there were any justice in the world, Wendy Rene would have been a big star. Her records never reached the national charts but each one is a precious gem. She had a big voice and she knew how to phrase and emote with the best of them.

Barbara And The Browns' second and third Stax recordings, September 1964's "In My Heart" and January 1965's "My Lover," in contrast to their debut "Big Party," were both recorded at Stax proper with The MG's and Mar-Key horns providing backup. The former was co-written by Deanie Parker and Steve Cropper while the latter was a group original. Both are moody and evocative. Barbara And The Browns went on to record for XL and MGM-Sounds of Memphis Records.

David Porter released a solo single in this period. Way back on the first volume of this anthology his name had appeared as a songwriter on Barbara Stephens's 1961 "The Life I live." A year later he had recorded a forty-five for rival Hi Records under the pseudonym Kenny Cain. "Can't See You When I Want To" was co-written by Porter with Isaac Hayes (still writing under the name Ed Lee). The record was not a hit but it is important as the first song released on record by the Hayes-Porter songwriting team. The two of them would dominate the next four years at the company, defining and extending the possibilities of soul music in the process. Isaac, of course, would go on to immense solo success starting in 1969 with "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" and "Walk On By" from the landmark Hot Buttered Soul LP. Eventually he would blaze the trail for black movie soundtracks with Shaft. Porter would also record a series of solo albums and forty-fives in the seventies, ironically hitting the charts with a remake of "Can't See You When I Want To" in the spring of 1970 on the Stax subsidiary Enterprise.

In 1965 the Atlantic distribution agreement was formalized. For years it had existed on a handshake basis. Now legal contracts were drawn up. The fine print would lead to much acrimony and repercussions that are still being felt by all involved.

It was also in 1965 that Atlantic signed the Miami-based dynamic duo Sam And Dave and, in a very unique arrangement, loaned them to Stewart and Axton as full-fledged Stax artists for as long as Stax was distributed by Atlantic. Sam Moore and Dave Prater became the pet songwriting project for Isaac Hayes and David Porter. With Hayes concentrating on the musical side of things and Porter, for the most part, taking care of the lyrics, they made a formidable pair. Borrowing largely from the church (in the case of "You Don't Know Like I Know" and "Said I Wasn't Gonna Tell Nobody" directly adapting preexisting gospel songs), over the next four years Hayes and Porter, with Sam And Dave's mind-boggling pipes as their vehicle, hit the R&B and Pop charts ten consecutive times with such soul anthems as "Hold On! I'm Comin'," "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby," "Soul Man" and "I ThankYou."

Sam And Dave's first Stax effort was "A Place Nobody Can Find" b/w"Goodnight Baby," released in March 1965. The duo had already recorded seven forty-fives for Alston, Marlin and Roulette to little avail between 1961 and 1963, When they came to Stax the reaction was largely one of indifference.

"There was no one interested in Sam And Dave," exclaimed David Porter. "It was like a throwaway kind of situation [to] see if anything could happen with them. I was very much interested in Sam And Dave."

David Porter wrote "A Place Nobody Can Find" by himself while Steve Cropper helped Porter with the flip side, "Goodnight Baby." In marked contrast to the duo's later records, Dave Prater sang lead instead of Sam Moore on both songs. "A Place Nobody Can Find" was patterned after Sam And Dave's Roulette recording "I Got A Thing Going On." Sporting a typically fine Booker T. And The MG's groove fueled by Duck Dunn's loping bass line, Al Jackson's crackling snare sound and syncopated horn punctuations starting with the second verse, the song was a fine initial effort. Sam And Dave's rather unique conception of harmony is present on the words "Nobody can find" and worth noting is Sam's gorgeous falsetto near the finale on the line "I'm gonna please you.” As fine as "A Place Nobody Can Find" is, "Goodnight Baby" is even better. Al Jackson continually lags behind the beat playing catch-up with himself and the rest of the ensemble, while the outrageous organ sound is beautifully set in contrast with a vibraphone.

The use of vibes is the result of the influence of the Motown songwriting team Holland-Dozier-Holland on David Porter. "Part of what eventually evolved into the magic of Hayes and Porter's writing was my study of the Motown catalogue," emphasized Porter. "That was an ongoing process. I was a novice. To be quite honest, I was learning. So [the vibes] was a thought and we tried it."

On top of such a great instrumental track Sam And Dave are singing in mouthwatering harmony, drawing everything there is out of Porter's lyrics. One can readily hear the sense the two of them had developed in their three-plus years together. They answer, echo and finish each other's lines, join in and drop out of the arrangement. Individually and together, with a grace and ease that is astonishing. To conclude the song the two of them ad-lib their way to emotional catharsis against the horns and rhythm section. draining the listener in the process.

Three mystery records were issued on Stax and Volt in January and February 1965. The Del-Rays sound like a white Southern frat rock and roll band of the time. Jim Stewart vaguely remembers them as being local and disbanding shortly after the record was cut. (They are definitely not, as has often been assumed, the same Del-Rays that were led by Muscle Shoals guitarist Jimmy Johnson. The Johnson group recorded singles for R&H and Atco.) "Don't Let Her Be Your Baby" was written by Motown president Berry Gordy Jr., for the Contours a few years earlier. It's a great sounding raveup, one of the few decent white records to be issued on Stax.

Jim Stewart thinks that the Admirals were also a local group that ceased to exist shortly after the Steve Cropper-written "Got You On My Mind" was issued in February 1965. Aural evidence says that they were a black vocal group but they didn't make much of an impression on the radio or at Stax. No one, not even Cropper, remembers anything specific about them.

Also issued in February was the one and only Stax release by Gorgeous George, real name Theodopholos Odell George. Gorgeous George was a character extraordinaire. Everyone remembers him as one of the finest and funniest MCs on the R&B circuit. Rufus Thomas described him as, "Good looking, dressed immaculately all the time, beautiful black, wavy hair. He was gorgeous, a very handsome man." Apparently he sewed his own clothes and had been a valet for Hank Ballard in the fifties. He also was a talented singer, emoting in the extreme in a husky but moving voice on his own composition, "Biggest Fool In Town.” It's hard to understand why he didn't get to record more.

Steve Cropper co-wrote with Isaac Hayes The Astors' biggest hit, "Candy." The Astors felt that Jim Stewart had lost faith in them. He had other ideas of what he wanted to record them on. In this instance Stewart had gone out of town, so "Candy" was cut with Packy Axton producing. According to lead singer Curtis Johnson, when they first cut it they sounded "practically identical to the Impressions." It would be their only chart hit, peaking at # 12 and #63 respectively on the R&B and Pop charts. It was especially big in Philadelphia where DJ Jimmy Bishop on WDAS plugged it incessantly in return for similar considerations in Memphis for Barbara Mason's "Yes, I'm Ready" which Bishop had produced on his own Arctic label.


*Irving Music, BMI Administered outside the US by Rondor Music
**Poets Publishing, BMI
***Jobete Music, ASCAP
****Beckie Publishing, BMI
*****Irving Music, BMI Administered outside the US by Warner Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

For authenticity, producer and publisher credits are listed as they appeared on the original singles. Current Publishing information accompanies each individual volume. Prior to 1967, producer credits were not generally listed on single labels.
U.S. chart positions courtesy of Billboard


This compilation (P) & © 1001 Atlantic Recording Company for the United States and WEA International Inc., for the world outside of the United States.
Stax ® and Volt ® are registered trademarks of Fantasy, Inc.

Return to the Complete Stax/Volt Main Page
or Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 of this set

Website Builder