Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Album of the Week: 'Soul'd Out': The Complete Wattstax Collection

Black outlines of faces over a dark orange background. Writing beneath the faces reads "Wattstax '72 Soul'd Out The Complete Wattstax Collection"
Soul'd Out: The Complete Wattstax Collection Album Cover

Soul'd Out: The Complete Wattstax Collection is KAXE's Album of the Week for March 24-30, 2023.

On August 20, 1972, 112,000 concertgoers packed the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for a day of Memphis music.

At the time, it was the second largest gathering of African-Americans behind the March on Washington. Hosted by legendary Memphis soul label, Stax Records, the benefit concert commemorated the seventh anniversary of the Watts Riots. Many prominent Stax artists performed short sets, making the recordings of the show a fantastic snapshot of popular Black music in the early '70s.

Logo for the Stax record label. A black and white drawing of a hand with its fingers snapping. Above the hand is "STAX" in red.
Stax Records
Stax Records Logo

Some of those performances, plus some studio recordings dressed up to sound live and a few from different live shows, were released in 1973. Now, 50 years later, the entire concert was released for the first time on Soul'd Out: The Complete Wattstax Collection. The energy and joy of the performers shines through on nearly every performance, whether it's soul, funk, R&B, gospel, blues or jazz.

Rufus Thomas and band were in top form on "The Breakdown," and you can imagine the dancing taking place all over the stadium. Carla Thomas gave her big hit "B-A-B-Y" some extra muscle with added drums and a faster tempo.

Stax's most well known bluesman, Albert King, delivered a low down funk version of "I'll Play The Blues For You." During the songs intro, King states, "And to all of those that's not hip to the blues, we're gonna learn them to you," referencing the changing tastes of the masses.

A 23-year-old Mavis Staples shines with the rest of her family on The Staple Singers' "I'll Take You There," and the list goes on and on.

This album shows the right way to do a reissue, telling the story of a specific time, place and culture that has been largely ignored. In the same way Summer of Soul shown a light on the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, now the spotlight is on Watts, Los Angeles and Stax Records.

Listen to New Music and the Morning Show to hear songs from the album.

Stay Connected
Malachy started his radio career at a college radio station, where he played weird music in the middle of the night to possibly no one. On a good night maybe his parents were listening. Nonetheless, he was hooked on public radio and is still doing it today. He joined Northern Community Radio in 2022, where he gets to share his passion for local music as Producer of Centerstage Minnesota, an all Minnesota music show airing Fridays at 2pm.