Stax, without a doubt, has to be my favourite record label. And Sam & Dave are my favourite Stax artists – although depending on what mood I’m in, it could be Otis or Booker T & The MGs.
This album, a collection of their singles, is a German release – and from what I can see on the internet, it has the tracklisting as 1969’s The Best Of Sam & Dave, although the songs are presented in order.
I think that that album – the 1969 collection – is what Jake and Elwood are listening to in the Bluesmobile, on an 8-track cartridge, when they first get pulled over by the police in The Blues Brothers (1982). It’s a shame Sam & Dave didn’t feature in that film – it would have been fitting for them to have been backed by Cropper and Dunn, from the Stax backing band – but they had just given up touring the previous year on New Year’s Eve, 1981 and never spoke to each other again.
The vast majority of the songs here are written by Isaac Hayes, and his Stax writing partner David Porter – just a few years before Hayes became a household name in his own right. I have the DVD of them performing on the Stax / Volt tour of Europe back in 1967, and it’s clear that they were the hardest-working act on the label, leaving a puddle of sweat on the stage, only for Otis to add to it during his headlining slot.
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Hidden Gem: You Don’t Know Like I Know