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Best Of Booker T.
To download this album via iTunes, click here: Booker T. & The MG's - The Best of Booker T & The MGs
To buy this CD from Amazon.com, click here: The Best of Booker T. & the MG's __________________________________________________

Atlantic 7 81281-2

1. Green Onions (2:45)
(Jones-Cropper-Jackson-Steinberg, Irving Music, Inc., BMI)

2. Mo’ Onions (2:50)
(Jones-Cropper-Jackson-Steinberg, Irving Music, Inc., BMI)

3. Jellybread (2:27)
(Jones-Cropper-Jackson-Steinberg, Irving Music, Inc., BMI)

4. Tic-Tac-Toe (2:30)
(Jones-Cropper-Jackson-Steinberg, Irving Music, Inc., BMI)

5. Soul Dressing (2:24)
(Jones-Cropper-Jackson-Steinberg, Irving Music, Inc., BMI)

6. Terrible Thing
(Jackson-Cropper-Jones, Irving Music, Inc., BMI)

7. Can’t Be Still (1:57)
(Jones-Cropper-Jackson-Steinberg, Irving Music, Inc., BMI)

8. Boot-Leg (2:03)
(Axton-Dunn-Hayes-Jackson, Irving Music, Inc., BMI)

9. Summertime (4:35)
(Gershwin-Heyward, Chappell Music, Inc., ASCAP)

10. Be My Lady (2:34)*
(Jackson-Dunn-Cropper-Jones; Irving Music, Inc., BMI)

11. Red Beans And Rice (1:55)
(Jones-Cropper-Jackson-Dunn; Irving Music, Inc., BMI)

12. My Sweet Potato (2:40)*
(Cropper-Jones-Jackson; Irving Music, Inc., BMI)

13. Booker-Loo (2:36)*
(Cropper-Jones-Jackson-Dunn; Irving Music, Inc.,/Cotillion Music Inc. BMI)

14. Hip Hug-Her
(Cropper-Dunn-Jackson-Jones; Irving Music, Inc./Cotillion Music Inc. BMI)

15. Slim Jenkins’ Place
(Cropper-Dunn-Jackson-Jones; Irving Music, Inc.,/Cotillion Music Inc., BMI)

16. Groovin’
(Cavaliere-Brigalti, Downtown Music, BMI)

*Bonus Track

Reissue produced by Bob Porter

Note: Lewis Steinberg played bass on tracks 1-7
Donald “Duck” Dunn plays bass on tracks 8-16
On track 8: Wayne Jackson, trumpet and
Charles Axton, tenor sax

Illustration: Ian Wright

Booker T. & The MG’s were the first major purveyors of what is now know as the “Memphis Sound.” In an interview with Jim Delehant of Hit Parader, Booker described the empathy that he has with The MG’s (Steve Cropper, guitar; Al Jackson, drums; and Donald “Duck” Dunn, bass) and what he feels are the reasons for their success on records.

“When there’s an accent on a bar or something, we just have to look at each other. We spend so much time together, that we have this great feel…We work very hard to create a mood. We concentrate on letting people know how we feel when we’re playing.”

Booker T. Jones began working as a Stax Records studio (or staff) musician in 1960, and as a member of the Triumphs and The Mar-Keys. Both “Duck” Dunn and Steve Cropper are also members of The Mar-Keys. Because of their heavy studio recording commitments, Booker T. & The MG’s spend most of their time in the studio, which allows them very little time to make any personal appearances. The strain of “the road” and touring is always a great sacrifice for any artist, and in concentrating mainly on recording, as Booker puts it, “you only need your music in order to reach people.”

The versatile and multi-talented Booker, at 28, plays organ, piano, baritone sax, vibes, bass, and guitar. He also writes string arrangements when necessary, although The MG’s basically use head arrangements. Booker studied music theory and music education, majoring in trombone at Indiana University. Booker says his first idol in music was Ray Charles during the period that Ray recorded for Atlantic.

Steve Cropper, now 27, began to play the guitar when he was 11 years old, picking things up mostly by ear. He graduated from Messick High School in Memphis and attended Memphis State University. Steve is currently A&R Director at Stax Records, and a well-known composer and producer. In his own modest way Steve feels that his greatest contribution to The MG’s is as a good rhythm guitarist. He prefers to praise Al and “Duck” Dunn, saying, “Duck” and Al have been with each other for so long they are always together.”

“Duck,” at 28, joined The MG’s after their hit Tic-Tac-Toe, and has been on all the records made by The MG’s since. He developed the bass lines on Otis Redding’s record of Respect, on Eddie Floyd’s Knock On Wood and on Sam and Dave’s Hold On, I’m Comin’. He credits Steve and Booker with giving him most of the bass lines to play.

Al Jackson, at 33, is considered one of the best rhythm drummers around. To quite Steve: “He has the best sense of timing I’ve ever heard.” Al doesn’t go in for lots of rolls, turns or gimmicks, but concentrates on very simple and straight rhythm. Al says, “I don’t like to break up rhythm, it’s syncopated rhythm with the bass drum, and less emphasis on the left hand. It keeps it solid. I play with the butt end of my left stick. I developed that from playing hard on gigs.”

Most of the hits by Booker T. & The MG’s have been their own compositions. All members of the group participated in the writing of he swinging Green Onions (The MG’s first hit, in 1962), Soul Dressing, Jellybread, Tic-Tac-Toe, Slim Jenkins’ Place on to Mo’ Onions and the fabulous Hip Hug-Her. That’s a recipe that’s hard to beat!

The universal appeal and great success of the “Memphis Sound” says Steve Cropper, “is strictly communications. It’s not done with good speech, correct English or the best finesse and talent or being an accomplished musician. It’s all communications.

Booker himself says, “It’s really a matter of ‘feel’ for the music. We get to understand it, and without anything being written down, we just ‘feel’ our way through it.”

After listening to The Best Of Booker T. & The MG’s, see if you don’t “feel” it, too!

Sue C. Clark   
Rolling Stone/Soul Sounds   

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