Friday, September 16, 2005

Booker T. & The M.G.'s stood the test of time

Booker T. & The M.G.'s modern day line-up is Duck Dunn, Booker T. Jones and Steve Cropper. The band still tours annually and uses a variety of drummers depending upon their scheduling availability. Doesn't matter who plays drums though, they could use a drum machine and still sound great.

Rarely in the music world has there been a group that's connected musical bridges while sustaining decades of staying power like Booker T. & The M.G.'s. Founded in 1962 as a splintering of The Mar-Keys, the bands name came from then-Stax producer Chips Moman's love for the British sports car,"MG." Fearing possible copyright infringement from the auto maker, the band conveniently tweaked the MG name to stand for "Memphis Group." This salt and pepper quartet had a series of hit records that included, 'Green Onions', 'Hip Hug-Her', 'Mo' Onions', 'Chinese Checkers', 'Jellybread', 'Soul Dressing', 'Hang 'Em High' and 'Time Is Tight'. In the mid-60's, Booker T, & The M.G.'s became the bedrock in which the Stax label was built and became the studio house band. They appeared on many of the Stax label's notable releases such as Rufus Thomas 'Walking The Dog', Sam and Dave's 'Hold On I'm Comin' and Wilson Pickett's 'In The Midnight Hour'.

The remaining horn section from The Mar-Keys later spun-off to become known as The Memphis Horns. But get this. Both Booker T. & The M.G.'s combined and The Memphis Horns would rejoined forces again to back newcomer Otis Redding on a ground breaking European tour and then return to the U.S. to steal the show at The Monterey Pop Festival. Oh, did I mention they accomplished all this wearing their pointed-toe Beatle boots and suited in their gaudy lime-green matching band outfits?

Booker T. & The M.G.'s original line-up included Booker T. Jones on organ, Steve Cropper on guitar, Al Jackson Jr. on drums and Lewis Steinberg on bass. Donald "Duck" Dunn replaced Steinberg on bass early in the bands success.

Editors Note: To view a previous posting titled "Tribute to Al Jackson", click on Photolog Archives dated 2005-05-15 and scroll downward to end of page.


Blogger Chris Nystrom said...

I loved and still love "Green Onions". Classic.

5:38 AM  
Blogger Chris Nystrom said...

Unforgettable riff.

5:38 AM  

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