Various Artists
" Classic Soul Duets: Boy Meets Girl "
Stax/Concord Records

Blueswax 5
Rating 5

Tracks from a latter day replica of Stax, (11/18/09)

Stax Records via Concord Music Group has reissued its 1969 compilation Boy Meets Girl which coupled classic male and female stars from the Stax stable. Featured are: Johnnie Taylor, Eddie Floyd, Carla Thomas, William Bell, Mavis Staples, Cleotha Staples, and others. 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 vast bulk of this somewhat dated and mostly pop sounding disc was recorded in '69, and what I'm hinting at is that I barely recall any of these recordings. The tunes are for the most part well known; but not these versions, which make obtaining a copy of this box plausible, but not essential. Eighteen tunes are included, produced by the likes of William Bell, Isaac Hayes, Booker T., Duck Dunn, Don Nix and others.. Artists who make the most appearances are Mavis Staples who's coupled with Eddie Floyd and William Bell. Eddie Floyd is also all over this disc and is paired with Mavis and Cleotha Staples, and Carla Thomas. William Bell appears with Judy Clay, Mavis, and Carla Thomas. "Soul-A-Lujah" features all of the aforementioned artists all together plus the great Johnnie Taylor, as well as Pervis Staples, and for all of its star power is kind of odd, and the production value is not very focused.

Delaney and Bonnie make two appearances on "My Baby Specializes," and "Get Ourselves Together," and while these are somewhat interesting, they are nowhere near what they became shortly afterwards when they hooked up with Clapton, Dave Mason, Duane Allman, and most of the Derek & the Dominos rhythm section. The closing "Private Number" (also opens this CD, from '69, featuring William Bell and Judy Clay) is an odd inclusion, not only that it was recorded some fifteen years after all of the other tracks, but it's an odd combination of Dusty Springfield and Spencer Davis and was recorded in 1984, offers not relation to the Stax sound, and is actually pretty lame.

High marks for Stax for getting former Stax exec Rob Bowman to provide brand new insightful and historical liner notes. And for the mostly thorough detail for each and every track which is always educational for me.

This is a generational recording, so if you dig later day/after the hoopla heydays of the true grit of Stax; this should work for you. As for me, I need a lot more raw heat and grease, which always separated Stax from their more watered down and commercial competitor at Motown.

Bob Putignano: