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In August, members of VMP Classics will receive Money Talks, a lost LP from the Bar-Kays, assembled and released after the band had left Stax Records and became superstars, and after Stax Records had been purchased and relaunched by Fantasy. It allowed the Bar-Kays to be on the R&B charts for two labels at the same time, and it stands alongside the band’s other albums of the era as a towering funk record. It’s been remastered from its original master tapes AAA, and comes on 180-gram vinyl with brand new liner notes. Below, you can hear from our Classics A&R why he picked this record this month.
Andrew Winistorfer, VMP Classics A&R: When I was in Memphis in fall of last year, making the podcast for our Anthology box set, I interviewed James Alexander from the Bar-Kays, and he was like, “Yeah, Soul Finger [which we had in the box] is a really good record, but have you ever listened to Money Talks? It’s this really good Stax record that came out in the late ’70s, and I play really good bass on it.” I hadn’t really listened to it because it came out in this really weird period of Stax in 1977-1978 where the label had gotten bought by Fantasy Records after it closed in 1975, and David Porter was assembling albums from the loose studio scraps that were left over and signing new acts. I added it to my queue on Apple Music and kept doing interviews.
The next day, I interviewed David Porter, who of course wrote tons of Stax hits and was an incredible artist in his own right. And toward the end, he was like, “Yeah, man, I ran Stax in the late ’70s, and we put out a lotta really good albums that nobody ever talks about or reissues. You guys should look at Money Talks, that record from the Bar-Kays was a hit and was fantastic. It’s got really good bass playing on it.”
So I have two literal legends telling me to check out this record that nobody talks about… then I listened to it, and the shit really does slap, and the bass playing’s incredible on it! At a point, you have to listen to what the legends are telling you, and I listened and loved it.
We talked with Concord — this is (obviously) our third Stax record this year in Classics, and it’ll be our last one this year — and they were immediately ready to do it. I wrote the liner notes with the story of how Stax got relaunched in the late ’70s, with parts of the interviews with James Alexander and David Porter about this record. It was an opportunity to do a reissue where the people who made the record happen were like, “You should do this.”
Part of my job, as I see it, is finding these records that have been neglected, and breathing this new life into them, and this is a special case: The artists behind it asked us to do it, and this record was definitely never on 180 gram vinyl, and it’s never sounded this massive.
It’s 180-gram vinyl, black, all triple-A, pressed at QRP, remastered by Ryan Smith. We’re also doing Cold Blooded — this album’s predecessor on Stax — and it’s in our store right now on snake venom vinyl.