The singer who was called the 'Philosopher of Soul' by Stax Records was Johnnie Taylor. He was a guy who initially recorded blues and soul music with limited commercial success for Sam Cooke's SAR and Derby Records company from 1961 to '64. Taylor signed with Stax Records in 1966 and over the next 9 years scored a dozen Top Ten R&B hits.

Born May 5, 1938 in Crawfordville, Arkansas, Johnnie Taylor took his singing talent North to Chicago when he was a young man in his twenties. There he joined the gospel group 'The Highway QCs'. He was such a sensation that he soon was invited to take Sam Cooke's place in 'The Soul Stirrers'. Cooke went solo. Making a name for himself and scoring regional successes, Taylor recorded songs for Cooke's SAR label. In the early '60s with the tragic death of his mentor, Johnnie's years as Cooke's protegé came to an end.

Literally flipping a coin to decide what to do next, Taylor landed himself in Memphis, TN signing with Stax Records. There, he was soon dubbed the 'Philosopher of Soul', fast becoming one of the label's most popular artists. Now, the songs that he did for Stax Records are legendary and a must for soul buffs to possess.

Taylor's career was very successful and was one that made him a glorious canon of 'Southern Soul'. His professional singing career exploded with Stax and went on to include headlining for the 'Chicago Blues Festival' in 2012 until he suffered a heart attack. He died on February 20, 2014, at the age of 66.

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