This was probably the first or second box set I ever bought & it was a real wake up.
When box sets first came out (1990?), I bought this simply because it LOOKED like something I should know something about and the price was right. I wasn't even sure at the time if I was interested in R&B, being a freak for almost any kind of hard rock. However, I knew that some of my favorite bands like the Pretenders, Buzzcocks, Deep Purple, Zappa, Aerosmith, Talking Heads, and others cited old Stax/Volt R&B as influences. There were songs on here that ZZ Top & the Blues Brothers had covered.
Besides, I was learning guitar at the time, and many of my shred heroes from Kirk Hammett to Stevie Ray Vaughn touted the ever mystical "groove" factor & I wanted to know what that was.
And MY GOD what a huge education this thing was, & it makes you want to dance your ... off like you've got voodoo fever! Rufus Thomas, Sam & Dave, Booker T. & The M.G.s, and of course the majestic Otis Redding with everything you could want out of his dictionary of soul. These people had been blips on my musical radar until I bought this. It seems hard to believe now.
The biggest musical lesson this collection taught me was that happy or emotional romantic music that makes you dance doesn't have to be vapid, pop cotton candy. Simultaneously, it teaches you the history of a very important record label that probably did just as much for the civil rights movement as the marches did. After all, when you get a zillion white kids groovin' to black music, what do you think is going to happen?
This thing is a politial party AND a dance party!