YOU'RE LEAVING ME * OLLIE AND THE NIGHTINGALES * STAX 109 * UK
Sometime around 1967 there was a subtle shift in the soul music we had become used to and all the old [un]certainties of the independent's had quietly disappeared. Tamla Motown, once a leader in the evolving Soul sound, was now, in the main, producing a brash and formulaic pop sound, Chess records of Chicago had lost it's way, even the mighty Atlantic seemed to have little to offer at this time by way of innovation, preferring to concentrate on the 'crossover' sound of singers like Aretha Franklin. Stax, a hip name in England once synonymous with a hard, raw, and brassy sound perfect for dancing to, had, despite still issuing the music the fans wanted, gone bankrupt, and was reactivated as being part owned by the Gulf & Western corporation, and although Jim Stewart one of the founders of the label was still part of the management things had definitely changed.
The change in the music was hard to define, certainly at the time it was happening, Stax seemed to hit the ground running with the new outfit, their first record Soul Limbo was a hit, although there was some unease with Soul fans, it did have a very polished, professional feel to it, that put it more in a different category as some of their better more earthy and darker tracks released earlier. It was with Private Number the fifth issue on the newly reactivated label that things were noticeably different, a massive world wide hit and a great record, it was taken straight to the hearts of many Soul fans in Great Britain, but, again, it was a sweeter soul than we had been used to, certainly from Stax. Then they issued a veteran Gospel group, the Staple Singers, with a Civil Rights song that was, while being a new sound, neither Gospel nor Soul, Two records later Stax had another massive seller with Johnny Taylor's Who's Making Love, a fantastic record to dance to, but surly this was another shift, this was Disco (although we didn't know it then).
The fourteenth issue on the newly reactivated label was the above Your Leaving Me by Ollie And The Nightingales and this really hit the mark, indefinably a new Soul sound, but one that was a true descendent of its DooWop and Soul paternity; that timeless sound that if anything grows with time rather than belonging to its time.
RETURN TO THE GROUPS WITH SOUL PAGE