Stax Records will celebrate its 60th anniversary with a string of releases designed to highlight the label’s history and legendary soul sound and reunite its long-divided catalog. The year-long campaign is a collaboration between Rhino Entertainment and Concord Music Group and launches May 19th with the Stax Classics series.
Rhino and Concord also plan to reissue numerous classic Stax records on vinyl, including a 50th anniversary pressing of Redding and Thomas’ 1967 collaborative effort King and Queen and Redding’s 1965 solo album, The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads. Other projects include reissues of Melvin Van Peebles’ soundtrack to the classic blaxploitation film Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song and John Gary Williams, the rare solo debut from the Mad Lads frontman.
A three-disc Stax 60th box set is also in the works, as is the fourth installment of the Complete Stax Singles series. The new edition will include selections from the Stax catalog as well as offerings from its sister label, Volt, and various subsidiaries Enterprise, Gospel Truth, Hip and Chalice.
Among the biggest projects of the 60th anniversary campaign will be a massive overhaul of Stax’s digital catalog. Rhino and Concord plan to make numerous Stax records available to stream online for the first time, while they’ll also properly remaster a slew of classic albums specifically for digital outlets.
While Stax’s 60th anniversary is itself cause for celebration, Rhino and Concord’s collaborative campaign notably marks the long-awaited reunification of the Stax catalog, which has effectively been split since 1968. That year, Stax severed its ties with Atlantic Records when Warner Bros. purchased the latter. Nevertheless, Atlantic managed to walk away with much of Stax’s pre-May 1968 catalog, which boasted a bevy of hits from Redding, Booker T. and more.