Boy Meets Girl: Classic Duets Revisited

(conqueroo) Stax Records through Concord Music Group will reissue its 1969 compilation Boy Meets Girl, which paired Stax male and female artists for a set of classic duets.

Featured are many of the greatest names in soul music including Johnnie Taylor, Eddie Floyd, Pervis Staples, Carla Thomas, William Bell, Mavis Staples and Cleotha Staples.

The reissue adds two rare duets of Bell and Booker T. Jones' "Private Number," by Bell and Judy Clay, and by Dusty Springfield and Spencer Davis. The latter version was previously available only on a long out-of-print mid-'80s Takoma Records release.

The album is slated for a street date of August 18, 2009.

"Duets have always been an integral part of the history of soul music," writes Stax historian Rob Bowman in his liner notes, "Boy Meets Girl provides a vehicle for several interesting examples of the medium cut for the mighty Stax Records."

Most of Boy Meets Girl was recorded in 1969 at the suggestion of Stax president Al Bell, who felt Stax should progress from a singles label to an album-oriented label. A variety of producers oversaw the various tracks including Bell himself, Isaac Hayes, Booker T. Jones, Don Davis, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Randy Jackson, Homer Banks and Don Nix.

The 18-track set begins with the Bell-Clay "Private Number"; next, Bell and Mavis Staples reprise the Sam & Dave hit "I Thank You"; Eddie Floyd and Mavis Staples tackle Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart"; Johnnie Taylor and Carla Thomas perform "Just Keep On Loving Me"; and Eddie Floyd and Mavis Staples perform Floyd and Booker T. Jones' "Ain't That Good." The album's centerpiece is "Soul-A-Lujah," which is a summit of all the original album's participants.

A few of the artists are not commonly associated with Stax Records but utilize the Stax team. Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, for instance, perform "My Baby Specializes" and their own "Get Ourselves Together," both co-produced by Donald "Duck" Dunn and former Mar-Key Don Nix. The duo was backed by Booker T & the MGs with Isaac Hayes on keyboards. The Dusty Springfield and Spencer Davis version of "Private Number" was actually recorded in 1984 but captures the feel of a Stax session.

Stax Records, founded as Satellite Records in 1958 by Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton, grew to become the leading source of Southern soul music. The label has placed more than 175 hit songs on Billboard's Hot 100 pop charts as well as a staggering 250 hits on the R&B charts. Boy Meets Girl: Classic Soul Duets is a great example of the Stax sound as it moved into the album era.

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