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Archive for the ‘Charles “Packy” Axton’ Category

Review: Charles “Packy” Axton, “Late Late Party: 1965-67”

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Were there a Stax family portrait, label founders Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton would undoubtedly be surrounded by any number of the famed artists they shepherded to fame: Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Steve Cropper, Booker T. Jones, Donald “Duck” Dunn, Eddie Floyd and the Wicked Wilson Pickett, to name a few.  And lurking somewhere near the corner of the frame, in the shadows, would be Charles “Packy” Axton, his saxophone in tow, looking for the nearest party.  Though Axton is far from a household name, those musical excavation specialists at Light in the Attic have made a substantial case that Charles “Packy” Axton is far more than a footnote to the Stax story.  Late Late Party: 1965-67 (LITA CD 067, 2011) brings together seventeen slices of greasy, delicious, deep Southern soul by largely unknown artists like The Martinis, Stacy Lane, L.H. and the Memphis Sounds and The Pac-Keys.  What do they all have in common?  It’s the sound of Packy Axton, wailing on his saxophone to wake the neighbors!

It’s appropriate that the vintage cover photo of Axton, Don Nix and Steve Cropper is in front of the Satellite Records address (later Stax), for Axton existed in the orbit of Stax, though none of this collection’s tracks were on that storied label.  Packy Axton was the son of Estelle Axton and nephew of her brother Jim Stewart, Stax co-founders.  He was musically at the ground floor of the label empire, too, playing on the Mar-Keys’ “Last Night.”  While he didn’t initially impress bandleader Steve Cropper, it was soon discovered that his mother owned a recording studio, and Packy was in the band!  Despite Stewart’s initial reluctance to release the track, “Last Night” went No. 2 R&B and No. 3 pop.  It positioned Stax on the road to success.  But Axton was ostracized from that inner circle, despite his mother having a role in calling the shots.  Stewart disapproved of his casual approach, eccentric manner and wild ways, and Packy found himself on the periphery of greatness.

What wild sounds will you find on Late Late Party?  Just hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 31, 2011 at 13:51

Out Of Control: Light in the Attic Invites You To Axton’s “Late Late Party”

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Light in the Attic is having a party, and you’re invited!  Fresh from the success of Our Lives Are Shaped by What We Love: Motown’s MoWest Story (review here), the label has announced another exciting anthology.  You might not know Charles “Packy” Axton now, but chances are, you’ll want to get to know him.  Born in Memphis, Tennessee into the Stax Records family (his mother Estelle Axton and her brother Jim Stewart founded the Stax label!), “Packy” picked up the saxophone at a young age and continued to make sweet music until his untimely passing in 1974 after an unsuccessful battle with alcohol and his own demons.  The life of “Packy” Axton is celebrated by Light in the Attic with the August 23 release on both CD and vinyl of Late Late Party 1965-1967.  Axton supports such acts as The Martinis, The Pac-Keys, Stacy Lane, The Packers and L.H. and the Memphis Sounds on these seventeen slices of classic Southern soul.

After the jump, we’ll flash back to the formative days of Stax Records circa 1961.  We’ve also got a complete track listing with discographical information waiting for you! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 11, 2011 at 14:10