The date: August 20th 1972. The location: the Los Angeles Coliseum. The event: Wattstax, black America’s answer to the Woodstock Festival. Those are the bare facts, but what they don’t tell is the cultural, political and social significance of a concert whose principal aim was to celebrate black unity and give financial aid to the impoverished Watts’ community after the riots of 1967. It was also employed by Memphis-based Stax Records to gain a West Coast foothold. Stax historian Rob Bowman’s absorbing liner notes tell the whole story with pertinent quotes from many of the key participants. The music, spread over three CDs, features many previously unissued tracks, and provides a vivid reminder of the day when 112,000 people crammed together to witness unforgettable performances by pivotal Stax artists like Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Carla and Rufus Thomas, The Emotions, The Bar-Kays and The Temprees. Also present is the rest of the then Stax roster: Mel & Tim, William Bell, The Rance Allen Group, Eddie Floyd, Albert King, Frederick Knight, Little Milton, David Porter, The Soul Children, Johnny Taylor and Kim Weston (Luther Ingram also performed but due to an ongoing legal issue, his performance is sadly omitted from this 35th Anniversary package). Other highlights include Jesse Jackson’s inspirational opening speech and a couple of comic interludes by comedian Richard Pryor before Hollywood stole his soul. This wonderful, culturally significant, musical artefact is available via Universal’s Import Music Services.