Thursday, June 24, 2021

Booker T and the MG's - Original Album Series


After reading Booker T's fine book, I realized that I had a very limited amount of his music in my collection and this discount, 5-CD set was an easy'n'affordable way to remedy that situation! This no-frills set compiles the group's first five albums with miniature replicas of the original cover artwork and no extra information whatsoever. But if it's simply the music that you're looking for, this is a fine way to get it!

Known for his classic Hammond B-3 sound, Booker was backed by Stax's finest integrated group - Steve Cropper and Duck Dunn on guitar and bass and Al Jackson on drums. Soulful white dudes giving the guitar'n'bass an edge and Booker'n'Al providing the funky rhythms'n'melodies. Al was a seasoned pro by the time the group got together in the Stax studio, backing other artists and, literally in their spare time, coming up with hits on their own. Per his book, Jones would normally come up with the initial riff/melody line and the rest of the guys would chime in and fill out the sounds. Of course, they also did plenty of cover tunes of all styles - soundtrack numbers like "Exodus", rock'n'roll tunes like "Twist'n'Shout", plenty of Ray Charles songs, easy listening like "Never My Love", the surfy "No Matter What Shape", lots of soul tunes, a couple heavies like the Vanilla Fudge-ish take on "You Keep Me Hanging On" and pop cuts such as "The Beat Goes On", all with their own funky interpretation.

Of course, the originals really shine here, with "Green Onions" being the massive hit, but other greats like "Soul Dressing", "Tic-Tac-Toe", "Chinese Checkers", "Hip Hug-Her", "Slim Jenkins' Joint" and a bunch more suave coolness.

I think that these sets are superb packages - lots of music for your money! Great as either a starter pack if you don't have the MG's in your collection already (and you should!) or just to have everything in one place. Dig it!