From the Vault...


Booker T. & The M.G.'s
"Green Onions"

© Atlantic Records


track listing
  • Green Onions
  • Rinky-Dink
  • I Got A Woman
  • Mo' Onions
  • Twist And Shout
  • Behave Yourself
  • Stranger On The Shore
  • Lonely Avenue
  • One Who Really
    Loves You
  • You Can't Sit Down
  • A Woman A Lover
    A Friend
  • Comin' Home Baby

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    Booker T. & The M.G.'s related sites:
    Booker T. & The M.G.'s Website
    Previous Review: #848
    Melissa Gibson--Welcome To Stay
    Next Review: #850
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    Booker T. & The M.G.'s
    "Green Onions"

    Booker T Jones formed a great band of Memphis recording musicians, including the likes of guitarist Steve "The Colonel" Cropper and Donald "Duck" Dunn, who would later become more well-known as musicians for The Blues Brothers. Jones' band would also be the backup band for many artists on the Stax/Volt record label, such as Otis Redding, Albert King, Wilson Pickett, and Sam and Dave. Booker T. & The MG's (Memphis Group) first album was released in 1962, and it features their most memorable hit, "Green Onions," a song that was also performed by The Blues Brothers in later years.

    The opening track needs no introduction, it's the most famous Booker T. & The MG's tune, "Green Onions." "Rinky Dink" has a more 1950s instrumental feel, most especially the guitar lick identically heard on Mickey & Sylvia's "Love Is Strange." Ray Charles' "I Got A Woman" may have more soul than this version, as it has the 1950s feel, yet it's a little bit faster than Charles' version, and not as entertaining as the original.

    "Mo' Onions" has a similar sound to "Green Onions," where most acts from the late 1950s had a popular song, there were "copycat" tunes, where it may not exactly sound like the original hit that made it big, but another similarity. "Twist and Shout," has the instrumental organ as it's key instrument, and it reminds me of other organists at the time, such as Dave "Baby" Cortez and a song by Earl Grant, "Swingin' Gently." (Remember folks, "Twist and Shout" was NOT originally covered by the Beatles -- as this album was released in 1962; The Beatles would surface 2 years later. Actually, it was the Isley Brothers who had the original version of "Twist and Shout."

    "Behave Yourself" sounds a lot better, and would distinguish Booker T. & The MG's sound in later releases. It's true soul R&B, and as soulful as the title track. "Stranger On The Shore" would be a popular instrumental for Mr. Acker Bilk (#1), where Bilk displayed his clarinet as the main instrument. Here, Booker T. gives this song a very soulful and sexy sound, where this version may just have outvoted Bilk's version if given the chance.

    "Lovely Avenue" is another soulful classic. It's slowness in R&B will have the standard blues and jazz lover enjoying this tune. "One Who Really Loves You" is more upbeat, almost as upbeat and snappy as Chuck Berry's "Havana Moon." "You Can't Sit Down" is another upbeat R&B song, and could pass as a Surf tune, as Surf music was just getting popular in 1962.

    Bluesy best describes "A Woman, A Lover, A Friend." It's slow blues feel showcases Booker T. & The MG's music to turn heads, as music fans would realize that music without vocals can be just as entertaining. "Comin' Home Baby" has a jazzy style, and the leslie-sounding organ is truly a standout, as Booker T. Jones' organ often does.

    Putting its own sound of jazz and blues to late 1950s and very early 1960s tunes is how Booker T. & The MG's started out on their debut album. Members of the MG's would pen 3 songs of their own for this release, as they would write more material of their own later. They would also improve with each release, defining their own sound and style. Empahsizing on two key instruments, Booker T. Jones' organ, and Steve Cropper's guitar style, with Donald "Duck" Dunn's smooth controlled bass, truly makes the band remarkable, and gives instrumental music a lot more class than the standard vocals with music.

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    Previous Review: #848
    Melissa Gibson--Welcome To Stay
    Next Review: #850
    Bruce Springsteen--Greatest Hits