Album #32 – Green Onions

 

Album #32

This album was very unique. Booker T. & The MGs were the house band for Stax Records. They played on such hits as Soul Man and Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay. They are the best instrumental group in rock music. This album showcases their versatility. On this album, the group played mostly soul and r & b covers but also threw in some pop hits for good measure. The title track (their best known song) has been used in just about everything, from commercials to movies, and was sampled in Shaggy’s duet with Maxi Priest called “That Girl” which is actually where I first heard the song. Booker T. & The MGs can do know wrong. They are tight and keep the beat coming. The group was also a mix of black and white. The eventual line-up included Guitarist Steve Cropper and Bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn, who were both white, and Organist Booker T. Jones and drummer Al Jackson, Jr. (who passed away in 1975) who were both black. Cropper, Dunn and Jones all tour occassionally and the three also played on Neil Young’s album Are You Passionate and toured with him in the early 2000s. The title track captures the spirit of the early 60s sockhop. It makes you want to dance. I was great to hear this whole album and see what they could do as an instrumental group. They would continue to create great albums including a tribute album to The Beatles album Abbey Road called McLenmore Avenue in which they played almost every track off Abbey Road in an instrumental, soul fashion. You can even see their influence in Paul Shaffer, musical director of The CBS Orchestra which serves as the house band for Late Show With David Letterman. When Letterman was at NBC, Shaffer was only allowed a four piece by Carson. Shaffer melded that group after Booker T. & The MGs. When Paul & The World’s Most Dangerous Band played music during the commercials, it was almost as if Paul was taking cues from the early Booker T. & The MGs albums. Parts of this album reminded me of that. Highlights include: Green Onions (one of the best rock instrumentals ever!!!), Mo’ Onions and Stranger On The Shore. Overall, I give this album a 4 out of 5.

Next: Jazz Samba by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd

 

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