Wattstax: Music from the Wattstax Festival and Film

Gift Guide

Reissues

Wattstax: Music from the Wattstax Festival and Film

(Stax)

The 1972 Wattstax Music Festival brought a bumper crop of Stax Records acts to Los Angeles' Memorial Coliseum for a $1 concert benefiting the riot-torn Watts neighborhood. Additional performances were filmed and recorded at L.A.'s Summit Club and the Friendly Will Church for the Wattstax film. This 3-CD set eschews the studio tracks Stax padded its two original Wattstax double-LP sets with in favor of unreleased live material. Highlights include the Staple Singers' passionate reading of "Are You Sure" and a fully orchestrated version of Fredrick Knight's "I've Been Lonely (For So Long)" that bears little resemblance to the sparse original. Louise McCord's "Better Get a Move On" lays down a soul-affirming gospel groove that transitions nicely into the fleshly funk of Lee Sain's "Them Hot Pants." The superlative Wattstax performances by the Bar-Kays and Rufus Thomas are here in all their excited glory, though one must view the film to see Thomas calmly and masterfully clear the football field after thousands jump the barricades to do the funky chicken. This set's one major misstep was omitting soul philosopher Johnnie Taylor's marathon version of "Jody's Got Your Girl and Gone." Otherwise, this is the single most comprehensive Wattstax document to date.

***.5

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
The Infinites
The Infinites
The Infinites (Record Review)

Rachel Rascoe, May 10, 2019

Texas Platters
Bayonne
Drastic Measures (Record Review)

Elise Barbin, May 3, 2019

More by Greg Beets
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
80 local picks from Molly Burch to Brownout

Dec. 28, 2018

Best Live Music Performances of 2018
Best Live Music Performances of 2018
The bands and venues that kept our critics on their feet

Dec. 28, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Wattstax

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle