Stax: Soulsville USA 2024 / An electrifying account of how one music label pioneered Southern soul music


Stax’s existence may have been short-lived, but its impact continues to be felt in every R&B record produced to this day. That’s one of the points this four-part documentary from HBO successfully makes so that by the end, you’re convinced Stax should be just as recognizable and appreciated as Motown, Atlantic, and other influential record labels. For the most part, the series resembles the typical documentary in that it’s propelled by animated talking heads and complementary archival footage, but the performances of Stax stars, including and most especially Otis Redding and Isaac Hayes, inject the documentary with an energy and electricity that pushes you to move and groove. The old-school editing feels thoughtful, too, while the additional animation adds a delightfully nostalgic touch. The documentary itself may not be as revolutionary as the events it captures, but it is just as enlightening, electrifying, and enjoyable.

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