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8.9.08

Booker T. & The M.G.s






Booker T. & The M.G.s - Green Onions - 1962 - Stax

Green Onions by the legendary Booker T. & the M.G.'s is a masterpiece of instrumental soul/r&b. There is even a "jazzy" track thrown into the mix here with the brilliant "Comin' Home Baby." Just listen to this album and you'll understand why it's regarded as a classic, and buy their great "Hip Hug-Her" album.

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

"Green Onions" (Steve Cropper, Booker T. Jones, Lewie Steinberg, Al Jackson, Jr) – 2:45
"Rinky Dink" (David Clowney, Paul Winley) – 2:39
"I Got a Woman" (Ray Charles, Renald Richard) – 3:32
"Mo' Onions" (Cropper, Jackson, Jones, Steinberg) – 2:50
"Twist and Shout" (Phil Medley, Bert Berns) – 2:09
"Behave Yourself" (Cropper, Jackson, Jones, Steinberg) – 3:45
"Stranger on the Shore" (Acker Bilk, Robert Mellin) – 2:18
"Lonely Avenue" (Doc Pomus) – 3:25
"One Who Really Loves You" (Smokey Robinson) – 2:22
"I Can't Sit Down There Boy!" (Dee Clark, Kal Mann, Cornell Muldrow) – 2:46
"A Woman, a Lover, a Friend" (Sidney Wyche) – 3:15
"Comin' Home Baby" (Bob Dorough, Ben Tucker) – 3:09

BAND

Steve Cropper - guitar
Booker T. Jones - organ, bass guitar, guitar, keyboards
Lewie Steinberg - upright bass
Al Jackson, Jr. - drums

REVIEW

There's not a note or a nuance out of place anywhere on this record, which was 35 of the most exciting minutes of instrumental music in any category that one could purchase in 1962 (and it's no slouch four decades out, either). "I Got a Woman" is the single best indicator of how superb this record is and this band was — listening to this track, it's easy to forget that the song ever had lyrics or ever needed them, Booker T. Jones' organ and Steve Cropper's guitar serving as more-than-adequate substitutes for any singer. Their version of "Twist and Shout" is every bit as satisfying. Even "Mo' Onions," an effort to repeat the success of "Green Onions," doesn't repeat anything from the earlier track except the tempo, and Jones and Cropper both come up with fresh sounds within the same framework. "Behave Yourself" is a beautifully wrought piece of organ-based blues that gives Jones a chance to show off some surprisingly nimble-fingered playing, while "Stranger on the Shore" is transformed into a piece of prime soul music in the group's hands. "Lonely Avenue" is another showcase for Jones' keyboard dexterity, and then there's the group's cover of Smokey Robinson's "One Who Really Loves You," with a ravishing lead performance by Jones on organ and Cropper's guitar handling the choruses. Just when it seems like the album has turned in all of the surprises in repertory that it could reasonably deliver, it ends with "Comin' Home Baby," a killer jazz piece on which Steve Cropper gets to shine, his guitar suddenly animated around Jones' playing, his quietly trilled notes at the crescendo some of the most elegant guitar heard on an R&B record up to that time. © Bruce Eder, allmusic.com

BIO [ © http://www.history-of-rock.com/booker_t_and_the_mgs.htm]

Best remembered historically as the studio band for Stax-Volt Records during the 60s, Booker T. and the MGs created the "Memphis Sound behind the hit recordings by Carla and Rufus Thomas, Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, among others. Booker T. Jones began working at Stax Records in Memphis as a saxophonist in 1960. In 1962 Booker T. and the MGs were formed as the house band for Stax-Volt Records. Steve Cropper and Donald Dunn, who had been members of the Mar-Keys, played on the groups' 1961 instrumental hit "Last Night." Dunn remained with the Mar-Keys until 1964 when he replaced the group's original bassist Lee Steinberg. In the early '60s, Booker T. and the MGs provided the instrumental backing for Carla Thomas ("Gee Whiz") and her father Rufus Thomas ("Walkin' the Dog:). The reputation as a band in their own right was established in 1962 with their instrumental hit "Green Onions." Over the next seven years, the group recorded independently, backed various Stax acts while individuals pursued their own careers. Jones worked with artist-producer William Bell and co-wrote the blues classic "Born Under a Bad Sign." In 1966, Jones received a degree in music from Indiana University. Crooper supervised the recordings of Otis Redding and co-wrote hits by Wilson Pickett ("In the Midnight Hour:), Eddie Floyd ("Knock On Wood"), and Otis Redding ("Dock of the Bay"). Al Jackson produced blues guitarist Albert King. Booker T. and the MGs served as the backing band for Sam and Dave's "Hold On I'm Coming" and "I'm a Soul Man." On their own Booker T. and the MGs had rhythm and blues hits with "Hip Hug-Her," "Groovin'," "Soul Limbo," and "Time Is Tight." "Goovin'," "Time Is Tight," and "Soul Limbo" also became pop hits along with "Hang'em High." In 1967 the group toured Great Britain in support of Otis Redding, Sam and David, Eddie Floyd, Carla Thomas, and others. They backed Otis Redding at The Monterey International Pop Festival in June 1967. In 1969 Cropper recorded With A Little Help from My Friends and, with Albert King and gospel patriarch "Pop" Staples Jammed Together. In 1970 Booker T. and the MGs quit being the Stax house band, officially disbanding in 1972. Jones moved to California and joined A&M Records as a staff producer. There he supervised the recording sessions for Rita Coolidge, his wife Priscilla (Rita's sister), and Bill Withers. In there early '70s he recorded three albums with his wife, plus the solo album Evergreen. Cropper continued with session work and producing at Stax-Volt until 1975, when the label folded. Cropper then moved to Los Angeles. The group was planning a reunion when Al Jackson was shot to death in Memphis October 1, 1975. The band did reunite with Willie Hall on the drums for Universal Language, and Jones later recorded three solo albums for A&N. Jones, Cropper, and Dunn recorded with others as the RCO All-Stars. Cropper and Dunn recreated their distinct style behind The Blues Brothers on tours and albums as well as in the movie The Blues Brothers in 1980. Jones produced Willie Nelson's 1978 album Stardust. In 1988 Booker T. and the MGs reunited with drummer Anton Fig to play at Atlantic Records' fortieth anniversary show at Madison Square Garden and subsequently stayed together for several years to perform as Booker T. and the MGs. October 1992 Jones, Cropper, and Dunn joined session drummer Jim Keltner to serve as the house band for the four hour Bob Dylan tribute at Madison Square Garden. In 1994, Jones, Cropper, and Dunn recorded their first album in seventeen years, That's the Way It Should Be, with session drummers. Cropper and Dunn reunited in the Blues Brothers Band for 1998 movie Blues Brothers 2000. Booker T. and the MGs were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992

5 comments:

A.O.O.F.C said...

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oz said...

of course my most favorite album of theirs is "Melting Pot" which is just brilliant from start to end. my father introduced me to this ban when i must have been 7 or 8 years old - they are just wonderful.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Thanks, oz. Haven't heard "Melting Pot" but I'll make a point of listening to it. Thanks, oz. Talk to you soon

Anonymous said...

hi again A.O.O.F.C.1

It's really hard to choose which R&B/Soul band is my favorite: Booker T, The Meters or The Bar-Kays. I found these guys not by "Green Onions" funny enough, but through "McLemore Avenue", their remake of "Abby Road".

..And only these guys can pull it off. ^_^

-->D.Moose

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi -->D.Moose. Thanks for all your comments. I never listened much to the Bar-Kays, but I'll be checking them out. Have you heard BT& TMGs "Melting Pot?" That's agood one. "McLemore Avenue" is a good one too. Thanks for reminding me about The Meters - there are some great albums from then