Pop Culture Roundup Dec. 21, 2006

The legendary Stax record label has been reactivated, with Isaac Hayes once again on the roster.

The first two signings are Hayes and R&B singer Angie Stone, while the first new release will be "Interpretations," a tribute to the songs of Earth Wind & Fire mastermind Maurice White.

"Stax always has been and always will be soul music, I was a part of that," Hayes said in a statement. "I am coming back to Stax because there is still so much to do. It's like coming home."


Meanwhile, onetime Stax signee Mavis Staples has a new, politically minded album coming out.

Due April 24, "We'll Never Turn Back" was produced by Ry Cooder, who contributed two original songs and new arrangements of the traditional "This Little Light" and "99 and a Half."

The album will be released by Anti- Records, an offshoot of punk label Epitaph Records.

..."The feeling is that freedom songs and the civil rights movement have particular relevance today in light of what's going on with the war and the conservatism in the U.S.," Epitaph/Anti- founder Brett Gurewitz told Billboard.com. "Hopefully we can subtly point out through this record that liberalism has a foundation in spirituality itself. It's a political record, but one with a lot of soul."


The FBI is making public a final batch of documents the agency kept while spying on former Beatle John Lennon back in the early 1970s.

Despite the fierce battle the government waged to keep the documents secret, the files contain information that is hardly shocking, just new details about Lennon's ties to New Left leaders and antiwar groups in London in the early 1970s, said the historian, Jon Wiener.

For example, in one memo, then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover wrote to H.R. Haldeman, President Nixon's chief of staff, that "Lennon had taken an interest in 'extreme left-wing activities in Britain' and is known to be a sympathizer of Trotskyist communists in England."

You can check out the documents here.


Former Procol Harum organist Matthew Fisher has won a co-writing credit for "Whiter Shade of Pale" after a long court battle.

Gary Brooker, 61, who still fronts the band, will now have to share all future revenues from the song, and must also pay a large part of a legal bill estimated at £500,000.

At a hearing last month Mr Fisher, 60, claimed he not only wrote the Hammond organ solo which forms the introduction to the song and is repeated throughout, but that he also made important chord changes to the original Brooker sequence.


Games and Beyond has some super-cool Captain Action toy scans out of Sears, Montgomery-Ward, Alden, Spiegel and JC Penny's Christmas "wish books" from the mid- to late 1960s.