Liner Note Author: Tony Rounce.
The premise of Kent/Ace's compilation The Other Side of the Trax: Stax-Volt 45rpm Rarities 1964-1968 is so simple, it's startling that it's taken until 2016 to do: anthologize the flip sides of singles whose A-sides previously saw release on compact disc. Remarkably, none of the 24 singles on The Other Side of the Trax have seen release on CD and these are no obscure acts, either. Johnnie Taylor, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, William Bell, the Mar-Keys, Eddie Floyd, Sir Mack Rice -- these are the artists that built Stax-Volt into a Southern soul powerhouse between 1964 and 1968, the years when Stax released their 45s on a blue, not yellow, label. Each of these B-sides fell through the digital cracks but The Other Side of the Trax does a wonderful service of collecting these dynamite sides, presenting almost all of them in their original mono mixes (Taylor's "Changes" is the only one with a new stereo mix). Sometimes, the flip is nothing more than a fun throwaway -- the Mar-Keys' grooving "Beach Bash" pops to mind -- but usually these ingles are inspired: sharply written tunes that hum along to a tight groove. To those who aren't hardcore collectors -- i.e., the kind who would already own the original 45s -- this is something akin to a revelation: it's like finding a jukebox full of classic Stax you've never heard. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine