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The Best of Booker T & the MG's

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Album Review

Somewhat confusingly, this disc is titled identically to a CD on Atlantic that concentrates on their earlier material. This 17-cut disc draws from 1967-1971, and includes three of their four Top 20 pop hits: "Soul Limbo," "Hang 'em High," and "Time Is Tight." This perhaps lacks a bit of the edge of their mid-'60s recordings, concentrating on loping, relaxed grooves more than biting, incisive chops. The standard remains pretty high, though, with the interplay between Steve Cropper's guitar, Booker T. Jones' organ, and the rhythm section never less than telepathic. Most of the material is original, but even on the covers of period pop hits — including unlikely versions of "Something," "Eleanor Rigby," and "Mrs. Robinson" — the group is soulful and tight. This is perhaps better music for background and party listening than anything else, but within those confines it's quite good.


Formed: 1962 in Memphis, TN

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '90s, '10s

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...
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