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Steve Cropper, Pop Staples, & Albert King

Steve Cropper, Pop Staples, & Albert King - Jammed Together - 1969 - Stax

Not a very well known album from these great Blues and R&B singer/guitarists Pop Staples, Albert King, and Steve Cropper, but it's a good one. Great guitar, piano and horns, and a genuine soulful blues sound throughout. Not a groundbreaking album, but a very enjoyable one from these three very talented artists. Without he late Albert King, there might never have been phenomenal blues guitarists in the style of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, or Rory Gallagher, who were all influenced by Albert King. That is probably a very general statement, but Albert King's legacy can never be measured. It is worthwhile listening to the marvellous Albert King 1967 Stax album, "Born Under a Bad Sign," or the classic 1999 album, "Albert King In Session, with Stevie Ray Vaughan." The latter album is a testament to the everlasting sound of the blues. Steve Cropper, and the late Pop Staples may not be familiar names to the general music listener, but their influences are huge in both the blues, and the R&B world. Read their bios, and you may be surprised at their list of achievements. Pop Staples was the leader of The Staple Singers, and Steve Cropper, among many other achievements, played guitar with the great R&B band, Booker T. & the MGs. Give "Jammed Together" a listen. You will enjoy it.


What'd I Say - Ray Charles
Tupelo - John Lee Hooker
Opus de Soul - Carl Thomas, Alvertis Isbell
Baby, What You Want Me to Do - Jimmy Reed
Big Bird - Eddie Floyd, Booker T. Jones
Homer's Theme - Homer Banks, Raymond Jackson
Trashy Dog - Terry Manning
Don't Turn Your Heater Down - Steve Cropper
Water - Steve Cropper, Eddie Floyd
Knock on Wood - Steve Cropper, Eddie Floyd


Steve Cropper (Guitar), Steve Cropper (Vocals), Steve Cropper (Producer), Steve Cropper (Performer), Terry Manning (Producer), Terry Manning (Engineer), Roebuck "Pops" Staples (Guitar), Roebuck "Pops" Staples (Vocals), Roebuck "Pops" Staples (Performer), Homer Banks (Producer), Al Bell (Producer), Mickey Buckins (Engineer), Ron Capone (Remixing), Phil DeLancie (Digital Remastering), Isaac Hayes (Producer), Booker T. Jones (Producer), Albert King (Guitar), Albert King (Vocals), Albert King (Producer), Albert King (Main Performer), Albert King (Performer), Bobby Manuel (Engineer), David Porter (Producer), M. Thomas (Producer), Al Jackson (Producer), Al Jackson, Jr. (Producer), Raymond Jackson (Producer), Honeya Thompson (Remixing), Raymond Jackson (Producer)

SHORT BIO (Steve Cropper)

There are not enough words to describe the multi-talents of modest and serious Steve Cropper. He was there quite at the beginning of Satellite/Stax and was the protégé of Jim Stewart. He was one of the first to get the keys of the studio and to be allowed to sit at the control board instead of Jim Stewart. Born in Dora, Missouri, in 1941 he came to Memphis at 10. Grown up in Memphis with school fellow Donald Dunn, he was already playing with the Mar-Keys when Last Night was recorded. He did quite everything at Stax from selling records at the Satellite Record Shop, developping his skills about recording techniques, playing the guitar and sometimes piano on most Stax records and composing the music for innumerable hits such as In The Midnight Hour, Knock On Wood, The Dock Of The Bay, Soul Man and so on. After his departure from Stax in the early 70s, he created various independant studios and production companies. Today, he manages Insomnia Studios in Nashville, is also well known as a part of the Blues Brothers Band and can be seen in the cult film Blues Brothers and its recent sequel. Curiously enough, Steve did only one album under his own name and another along with Albert King and Pop Staples. Of course, he had a great part in all Booker T. & The MG's records. © http://staxrecords.free.fr/cropper.htm

PRESS EXCERPTS (Steve Cropper)

Born in Dora, Missouri, in 1941, Steve Cropper had a rural white upbringing. He moved to Memphis in 1951 where, exposed to black R&B music, he soon adopted the music of the Memphis area. After years of associating his guitar style with the core black culture of the Stax sound, many are amazed to find that he is caucasian. Of his work in the sixties, Steve says: "If there was anything about the Stax sound it was really music with licks in it. We liked to call them money licks. " Making something simple sound identifiable on record was one of Cropper's specialities. And it wasn't only the guitar licks. He wrote the Memphis Horns introduction on Wilson Pickett's "In The Midnight Hour" on guitar using his characteristic parallel chord approach. As he himself says, referring to the fretboard markers on the fingerboard of his Telecaster: "Just follow the dots and you can't get into trouble. " When arranged for horns the part is instantly identifiable. When he was sitting with Eddie Floyd, writing "Knock On Wood," Cropper came up with the idea of simply playing the introduction he had written for "In The Midnight Hour" in reverse. He did, it worked, and another million-seller was born. Steve Cropper executed simple ideas with consummate good taste, originality, and feel. Jimi Hendrix, Syd Barrett and countless other important players have quoted Cropper as a major influence. He can be heard on any good Otis Redding compilation playing classics - co-written with Redding - like " (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay" or "Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa (Sad Song)." If the term "getting your chops together" was not coined in reference to Steve Cropper then it should have been. For over four decades now, Steve Cropper has literally defined the art of R&B guitar. Booker T. and the MGs, the Memphis-based band consisting of Cropper, Booker T. Jones on organ, Al Jackson on drums and Donald "Duck" Dunn on bass was the rhythm section for almost every hit to come out of the Memphis Stax/Volt Records era. Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding and many others had hits that were driven by the heavy groove of this band. Cropper also had his hand in producing and writing many of these great hits such as "Dock of the Bay" which he penned with Otis Redding. I had the pleasure of working with him in 1975 when I was playing lead guitar with John Prine, and he was producing Prine's "Common Sense" album. He was also an important part of Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi's "Blues Brothers" takeoff, and continues to be a driving force in the music scene today, producing and playing with almost every kind of major act conceivable. Cropper's tone has a metallic ferocity, yet his playing is always sparse and pervaded with a feeling of suspense. Steve Cropper's studio work may be the highest embodiment of play-for-the-song minimalism. This least virtuosic of guitar heroes is almost universally admired for devising the archetypal riffs and pithy fills that helped define soul music. As house guitarist for Memphis's Stax Records, he backed Otis Redding, Sam & Dave and many other soul greats, contributing immortal grooves and hooks to some of the era's best music. As one quarter of Booker T & The MGs, he helped devise some of the finest R&B instrumentals ever (including "Green Onions," the 1962 smash that slammed his career into overdrive). He also produced many important soul sessions and co-wrote such gems as "Knock on Wood," "In the Midnight Hour" and "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay." You tend to incorporate single-note lines into double-stop and tritone riffs? It was bestowed upon me. When I started out doing sessions in the early '60s, they couldnt afford another guitar player. So almost every session we did was one guitar, if that. I hear some of the Stax stuff today that doesn't have guitars, and I love it, but I was right there wishing I could play guitar on those cuts rather than producing and doing everything else. Even my own record with the Mar-Keys, "Last Night," didn't have a guitar on it. In those days we only had one keyboard player, so we switched off on piano and organ. I played guitar on those songs onstage, and nobody ever knew the difference-I just doubled the bass line. I developed that style of throwing in a little single-note fill every now and then to weave in and out of the vocal to make it feel more lyrical with the vocal line. But I always jumped right back into the rhythm. I never liked to get away from the rhythm too much. The whole bottom falls out. © http://staxrecords.free.fr/cropper.htm

Albert King (Bio)

Albert King (born Albert Nelson). April 25th, 1923 - December 21st, 1992. Birthplace: Indianola, Mississippi. Bluesman Albert King was one of the premier electric guitar stylists of the post-World War II period. By playing left-handed and holding his guitar upside-down (with the strings set for a right-handed player), and by concentrating on tone and intensity more than flash, King fashioned over his long career, a sound that was both distinctive and highly influential. He was a master of the single-string solo and could bend strings to produce a particularly tormented blues sound that set his style apart from his contemporaries. A number of prominent artists,from Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix to Mike Bloomfield and Stevie Ray Vaughan, borrowed heavily from King's guitar style. King was also the first major blues guitarist to cross over into modem soul;his mid- and late 1960s recordings for the Stax label, cut with the same great session musicians who played on the recordings of Otis Redding, Sam & Dave,Eddie Floyd, and others, appealed to his established black audience while broadening his appeal with rock fans. Along with B.B. King (no relation, though at times Albert suggested otherwise) and Muddy Waters, King helped nurture a white interest in blues when the music needed it most to survive. King was born in Mississippi and taught himself how to play on a homemade guitar. Inspired by Blind Lemon Jefferson, King quit singing in a family gospel group and took up the blues. He worked around Osceola, Arkansas, with a group called the In the Groove Boys before migrating north and ending up in Gary,Indiana, in the early 1950s. For a while, King played drums behind bluesman Jimmy Reed. In 1953, King convinced Parrot label owner Al Benson to record him as a blues singer and guitarist. That year King cut "Bad Luck Blues" and "Be On Your Merry Way" for Parrot. Because King received little in the way of financial remuneration for the record, he left Parrot and eventually moved to St. Louis, where he recorded for the Bobbin and the King labels. In 1959 he had a minor hit on Bobbin with "I'm a Lonely Man." King's biggest release, "Don't Throw Your Love on Me So Strong," made it to number 14 on the R&B charts in 1961. King didn't become a major blues figure until after he signed with Stax Records in 1966. Working with producer-drummer Al Jackson, Jr., guitarist Steve Cropper, keyboards ace Booker T. Jones, and bass player Donald "Duck"Dunn-aka Booker T. and the MG's, King created a blues sound that was laced with Memphis soul strains. Although the blues were dominant on songs such as"Laundromat Blues" and the classic "Born Under A Bad Sign", the tunes had Memphis soul underpinnings that gave King his crossover appeal. Not only was he the first blues artist to play the legendary San Francisco rock venue the Fillmore West, but he was also on the debut bill, sharing the stage opening night in1968 with Jimi Hendrix and John Mayall. King went on to become a regular at the Fillmore; his album Live Wire/Blues Power was recorded there in 1968.King was also one of the first bluesman to record with a symphony orchestra: in1969 he performed with the St. Louis Symphony, triumphantly bringing together the blues and classical music, if only for a fleeting moment. During the 1970s King toured extensively, often playing to rock and soul crowds. He left Stax in 1974 to record for independent labels like Tomato and Fantasy. King was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame in 1983.He continued touring throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, playing festivals and concerts, often with B.B. King. He died of a heart attack in 1992, just prior to starting a major European tour. © http://staxrecords.free.fr/king.htm

BIO (Pop Staples )

The patriarch of one of music's most successful families, Pop Staples worked with everyone from Robert Johnson to Curtis Mayfield. Roebuck Staples was born December 2, 1915, in Winona, MS; a close friend of Charley Patton, he also played not only with Johnson but also such legends as Son House and Robert Jr. Lockwood, becoming a top-notch blues guitarist in the process. Increasingly drawn to the church, he joined the gospel group the Golden Trumpets in 1937, and upon relocating to Chicago in 1941, he signed on with the Windy City's Trumpet Jubilees; by the following decade, Staples was regularly performing at services in the company of his daughters Mavis and Cleotha and son Pervis, and soon they began appearing professionally as the Staple Singers. While originally a gospel group, the family achieved their first commercial success with a more contemporary soul sound honed during the late '60s while signed to the Stax label; by the early '70s, the Staples even moved into funk, scoring a major pop hit with "I'll Take You There." After signing with Mayfield's Curtom label, they also found success with "Let's Do It Again." Pop Staples did not pursue a solo career prior to releasing 1992's Peace to the Neighborhood, which returned him to his blues and gospel roots. Its follow-up, 1994's Father Father, earned a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album. Staples also appeared in several films, including 1998's Wag the Dog. Late in 2000, Staples suffered a concussion after a fall in his home; shortly thereafter, on December 19, he passed away at the age of 85. © Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide