Soul - Released October 19, 2018 | Craft Recordings

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
1968 was a pivotal year in Stax Records' history and a fascinating story in itself. Otis Redding (their biggest star) and four members of the Bar-Kays were killed in a plane crash in December 1967. Their distribution agreement with Atlantic Records was dissolved, resulting in the loss of several more artists from Atlantic, and in the loss of their entire back catalog to Atlantic, which meant Stax earned no revenue from its previous recordings. Then, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis exacerbated racial tensions not just nationwide, but acutely in Stax's hometown of Memphis (King was in Memphis to support striking sanitation workers). Rising from the ashes, Stax had an ambitious plan to create an entirely new catalog in just over a year. Otis Redding's posthumous classic "Dock of the Bay" was a tremendous help in getting the label off the ground again. But the model of a house band and single producer that had given Stax their legendary sound was not going to work for the amount of material that had to be created in order to give them a solid catalog. To that end, they had to bring in outside producers, which began to upset what had essentially been a cooperative up to that point. At the same time, the music business was shifting from singles sales to album sales, and Stax was keen to make that transition as well. All this is extensively chronicled in the accompanying book. As far as the music, it's all top-notch, but you can hear the change in sound taking place. Of course, there are songs you recognize, but there are at least as many that you probably don't. Despite the pervasive unrest, the songs never get overtly political. Even "Tribute to a King" isn't about Dr. King, but about the King of Soul Music, their friend Otis Redding. The music stands on its own, of course, but the story behind it all is remarkable and largely untold. Stax '68 is a great collection of music, and this excellent set places it in a proper historical context, telling the story of the rebirth of one of America's great soul labels. ~ Sean Westergaard

Soul - Released March 30, 2018 | Verve Records

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama
A great, revived soul voice. Politically-conscious songs from the Great American Songbook. This project harks back to the 1960s (and beyond), but it finds a strong echo in today's America, divided and rocked by President Trump... By dedicating the whole record to covers of songs by Bob Dylan, Bettye LaVette makes her voice heard, literally and figuratively. Produced by Steve Jordan, Things Have Changed which features, amongst others, Keith Richards and Trombone Shorty, alternates between warm, vintage soul, and funkier bursts of real rock'n'roll. Above all, the 72-year old soul artist from Michigan continues to prove that she has a lot of singing in her yet. LaVette made her definitive comeback as long ago as 2005, with the album I’ve Got My Own Hell To Raise, itself also made up of covers, this time of songs from artists like Sinéad O'Connor, Lucinda Williams, Joan Armatrading, Rosanne Cash, Dolly Parton, Aimee Mann and Fiona Apple. Two years later she confirmed her vocal powers with The Scene Of The Crime which revisited Eddie Hinton, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Ray Charles, John Hiatt and Elton John. Coming, like all good things in spurts of threes, Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook, from 2010, saw her taking on compositions by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Traffic, the Animals, Led Zep, George Harrison, Pink Floyd, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, the Moody Blues, Derek & The Dominos and the Who… This latest 2018 offering, though, stands head and shoulders above the others, thanks to the hair-raising sincerity that the singer brings to Dylan's repertoire. Great art. © Max Dembo/Qobuz

Soul - Released November 17, 2017 | Anti - Epitaph

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Indispensable JAZZ NEWS
Ten years after signing with the ANTI label, Mavis Staples pursues her impressive resurrection. Still joined by Jeff Tweedy, the great soul gospel priestess even hands him the wheel in this If All I Was Black, for which the band leader of Wilco has penned all the songs. After We'll Never Turn Back produced in 2007 by Ry Cooder, You Are Not Alone in 2010, One True Vine in 2013 and Livin' On A High Note in 2016 (on which she asked Nick Cave, Ben Harper, Justin Vernon a.k.a. Bon Iver, The Head & The Heart, tUnE-yArds, Neko Case, Aloe Blacc, Son Little, Valerie June and M Ward to participate), Pops Staples’ daughter inhabits each composition and her voice tames the lyrics of songs that couldn’t be more politically motivated. A major figure of the Civil Right Movement, a regular of great causes and militancy in songs, this lady masters these anti-Trump pieces with her usual class, with strong yet subtle criticisms—that are never Manichean nor childish—of an American in full regression. Above all, the blend of gospel inwardness, soul power and rhythm ‘n’ blues groove that she offers perfectly combines with Tweedy’s rustic and 'no added sugars' production. A great soul disc! © MZ/Qobuz

Soul - Released September 15, 2017 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions 4F de Télérama

Soul - Released October 30, 2015 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
Soul Manifesto is a fancy but accurate title for what is essentially another installment in Rhino's Original Album Series, where all the individual albums are presented as mini-LPs in paper sleeves, slid into a small box, and marketed at a low price. In this case, this rounds up the 12 albums that form the core of the Otis Redding discography: the five studio albums he released between 1964 and 1967 (Pain in My Heart, The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads, Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul, The Soul Album, Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul, the Carla Thomas duet album King & Queen), the live albums Live in Europe and In Person at the Whisky a Go Go, and the four posthumous studio LPs released between 1968 and 1970 (The Dock of the Bay, The Immortal Otis Redding, Love Man, Tell the Truth). While other rarities were dug up years later -- two noteworthy sets are 1992's Remember Me and the following year's box set Otis! The Definitive Otis Redding -- this has all the important music Otis made, all delivered in a handy and affordable little box. If you didn't own this seminal music already, this is a great way to get it. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Soul - Released December 15, 2014 | RCA Records Label

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Sélection JAZZ NEWS - Grammy Awards

Soul - Released January 19, 2009 | Naive

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
Download not available


Soul in the magazine