Oct 11, 2014

RhoDeo 1440 Grooves

Hello, Russia sees it's first F1 racing today and we get to see Sotchi from it's sunny resort side, instead of the Olympic snow and ice earlier this year, in practice Hamilton again really put his foot down. Meanwhile on a more serious note IS seems unimpressed by American bombs, i suppose airplanes have been used thusfar but these are easily evaded as you hear them coming, another reason for doing away with fighter jets and go for drones. Yet airforces of the world don't want to let go of their expensive and nowadays useless toys (that come with nice kickbacks).

Today another batch from an instrumental R&B/funk band that was influential in shaping the sound of Southern soul and Memphis soul. Original members of the group were Booker T. Jones (organ, piano), Steve Cropper (guitar), Lewie Steinberg (bass), and Al Jackson, Jr. (drums). In the 1960s, as members of the house band of Stax Records, they played on hundreds of recordings by artists such as Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Bill Withers, Sam & Dave, Carla and Rufus Thomas and Johnnie Taylor.  ......N'joy

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As the house band at Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee, Booker T. & the MG's may have been the single greatest factor in the lasting value of that label's soul music, not to mention Southern soul as a whole. Their tight, impeccable grooves could be heard on classic hits by Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Carla Thomas, Albert King, and Sam & Dave, and for that reason alone, they would deserve their subsequent induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. But in addition to their formidable skills as a house band, on their own they were one of the top instrumental outfits of the rock era, cutting classics like "Green Onions," "Time Is Tight," and "Hang 'em High."

The anchors of the Booker T. sound were Steve Cropper, whose slicing, economic riffs influenced many other guitar players, and Booker T. Jones himself, who provided much of the groove with his floating organ lines. In 1960, Jones started working as a session man for Stax, where he met Cropper. Cropper had been in the Mar-Keys, famous for the 1961 instrumental hit "Last Night," which laid out the prototype for much of the MG's (and indeed Memphis soul's) sound with its organ-sax-guitar combo. With the addition of drummer Al Jackson and bassist Lewis Steinberg, they became Booker T. & the MG's. Within a couple years, Steinberg was replaced permanently by Donald "Duck" Dunn, who, like Cropper, had also played with the Mar-Keys.

The band's first and biggest hit, "Green Onions" (a number three single in 1962), came about by accident. Jamming in the studio while fruitlessly waiting for Billy Lee Riley to show up for a session, they came up with a classic minor-key, bluesy soul instrumental, distinguished by its nervous organ bounce and ferocious bursts of guitar. For the next five years, they'd have trouble recapturing its commercial success, though the standard of their records remained fairly high, and Stax's dependence upon them as the house band ensured a decent living.

In the late '60s, the MG's really hit their stride with "Hip Hug-Her," "Groovin'," "Soul-Limbo," "Hang 'em High," and "Time Is Tight," all of which were Top 40 charters between 1967 and 1969. Since the presence of black and white musicians made them a biracial band, the MG's set a somewhat under-appreciated example of both how integrated, self-contained bands could succeed, and how both black and white musicians could play funky soul music. As is the case with most instrumental rock bands, their singles contained their best material, and the band's music is now best appreciated via anthologies. But their albums were far from inconsequential, and occasionally veered into ambitious territory (they did an entire instrumental version of the Beatles' Abbey Road, which they titled McLemore Avenue in honor of the location of Stax's studios).

Though they'd become established stars by the end of the decade, the group began finding it difficult to work together, not so much because of personnel problems, but because of logistical difficulties. Cropper was often playing sessions in Los Angeles, and Jones was often absent from Memphis while he finished his music studies at Indiana University. The band decided to break up in 1971, but were working on a reunion album in 1975 when Al Jackson was tragically shot and killed in his Memphis home by a burglar. The remaining members were active as recording artists and session musicians in the following years, with Cropper and Dunn joining the Blues Brothers for a stint in the late '70s.

The MG's got back into the spotlight in early 1992, when they were the house band for an extravagant Bob Dylan tribute at Madison Square Garden. More significantly, in 1993 they served as the backup band for a Neil Young tour, one which brought both them (and Young) high critical marks. The following year, they released a comeback album, arranged in much the style of their vintage '60s sides, which proved that their instrumental skills were still intact. Like most such efforts, though, it ultimately failed to re-create the spark and spontaneity it so obviously wanted to achieve. Jones continued with his own musical output through the following decades, often lending his instrumental skills to other artists and occasionally issuing his own albums, such as the 2009 solo effort Potato Hole. Bassist Dunn, intermittently active with festival and tour appearances after the turn of the millennium, had been touring with Cropper and Eddie Floyd in Japan during May 2012 when he died in his sleep in a Tokyo hotel.

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This 1968 album found the Memphis instrumental group running through the usual batch of then-current soul hit covers ("La La Means I Love You," "Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy"), pop tunes ("Eleanor Rigby," "Foxy Lady") and hits like "Hang 'Em High" and the title track in their own trademark style. Most interesting are the tracks where Booker T. switches over to piano and the band suddenly becomes a very jazzy outfit, like "Willow Weep for Me" and "Over Easy." One of the better albums in their discography.

Booker T. & The MG's - Soul Limbo (flac 212mb)

01 Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy 2:59
02 La La Means I Love You 2:37
03 Hang 'Em High 3:53
04 Willow Weep For Me 3:42
05 Over Easy 4:05
06 Soul Limbo 2:23
07 Eleanor Rigby 3:34
08 Heads Or Tails 2:30
09 (Sweet, Sweet, Baby) Since You've Been Gone 2:50
10 Born Under A Bad Sign 3:05
11 Foxy Lady 3:11

Booker T. & The MG's - Soul Limbo (ogg 88mb)

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Through the score of Booker T. Jones, the soundtrack to the 1968 Jules Dassin movie Uptight reflects the story of a young black man living in the ghetto during the turbulent time after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Containing the hit single "Time Is Tight," the soundtrack moves from soft and contemplative ("Children, Don't Get Weary") to driving and urgent ("Run Tank Run"). Though not one of Booker T. & the MG's' better albums, Uptight does contain the always exemplary musicianship that the MG's brought to their records, and it predates both the Superfly and Shaft soundtracks by three years.

Booker T. & The MG's - Uptight (flac 191mb)

01 Johnny, I Love You 3:00
02 Cleveland Now 3:08
03 Children, Don't Get Weary 3:35
04 Tank's Lament 2:49
05 Blues In The Gutter 3:24
06 We've Got Johnny Wells 3:46
07 Down At Ralph's Joint 3:51
08 Deadwood Dick 4:29
09 Run Tank Run 2:37
10 Time Is Tight 4:55

Booker T. & The MG's - Uptight  (ogg 86mb)

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Booker T. Jones was so taken with the Beatles' Abbey Road, he claims he had to respond, just to say "thanks." He convened the MG's -- drummer Al Jackson Jr., bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn, and guitarist Steve Cropper, and recorded McLemore Avenue, a cover version of the entire Abbey Road album in three long medleys (that approximated the structure of the Beatles' album -- particularly its second side) with a cover of George Harrison's "Something" set aside as a single. the MG's even aped the Beatles' cover photo, with one of them strolling down McLemore Avenue, the home of Stax Records. Booker T. & the MG's turned an already hip record into one that was funky as hell, and one that kept listeners guessing by rearranging the order of the tunes to suit the MG's as a band. The set begins with a medley of "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End/Here Comes the Sun/Come Together." The juxtaposition of the first two cuts is jarring but seamless. The quartet nails "The End," with fine soloing from Cropper and heated work from Jones on organ and electric piano, before a crescendo and a Moog intros "Here Comes the Sun," done as a summery Jimmy Smith-styled jazz number before turning all sinister on "Come Together." "Something" may have seemed a curious choice for a single, but with Cropper's greasy, bluesy guitar break and Jones playing his organ rhythmically more than melodically, it works beautifully. "Because," wedded to "You Never Give Me Your Money," is a spacious blend of melody and psychedelic groove, setting up the final medley. It is the set's tour de force, commencing with a shimmering "Sun King," before Jackson's drums announce a sprightly, funky "Mean Mr. Mustard" that careens into the guitar overdrive of "Polythene Pam" and the breezy "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," which morphs into a dramatic, blues-drenched, "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" to close it out. Not only is McLemore Avenue a stellar interpretation of Abbey Road, it's one of the finest Booker T. & the MG's albums to boot.

Booker T. & The MG's - McLemore Avenue (flac 325mb)

01 Medley 15:51
a Golden Slumbers
b Carry That Weight
c The End
d Here Comes The Sun
e Come Together
02 Something 4:12
03 Medley II 7:28
a Because
b You Never Give Me Your Money
04 Medley III 10:44
a Sun King
b Mean Mr. Mustard
c Polythene Pam
d She Came In Through The Bathroom Window
e I Want You (She's So Heavy)
Bonus Tracks
05 You Can't Do That 2:47
06 Day Tripper 2:52
07 Michelle 2:52
08 Eleanor Rigby 3:41
09 Lady Madonna 3:35
10 You Can't Do That (Alternate Take) 3:08

Booker T. & The MG's - McLemore Avenue  (ogg 134mb)

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