FAME Review: Booker T. & the MGs - McLemore Avenue
Booker T. & the MGs - McLemore Avenue

McLemore Avenue

Booker T. & the MGs

Stax Remasters - STX 32874

Available from Amazon.com.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

This is a beautifully remastered release from the Stax vaults that takes Booker T & The MGs wonderful homage of respect for the Beatles' Abbey Road album. This version has six additional Beatles tunes, with the band's funky takes on them as bonus material. McLemore Avenue clocks in at 59-plus minutes and the original was in the 39 or 40-minute range. Their renditions took the Beatles pop music masterpiece and completely rearranged it and turned it funky. They thoroughly redid the order of the songs to suit their taste as a band, and it gives the disc a whole different flavor. Booker T & The MGs were the house band for Stax records specializing in that funky mixture of soul, gospel, and jazz, they often were often recording backing up the likes of Sam & Dave and Otis Redding. They were an extremely tight biracial amalgamation known for the soulful riffs of Booker T. Jones organ and keyboards, Steve Cropper's tight, greasy, and cutting guitar leads, Al Jackson's drum assaults that stayed on the leaner side of the spectrum and Donald "Duck" Dunn's rhythmic bass.

There is some thoughtful and careful rearranging of not only the order of these tunes to fit this band, but of the music itself; the songs are done in three different long medleys except for George Harrison's Something, which was set apart as a single. They even went so far as to make the cover mimic the Abbey Road cover by doing the same positioning on McLemore Avenue which is where the Stax studios were located. Yes homage to the Beatles however, definitely not in the playing which is characterized by the tight, economical and exceedingly funky soulful playing this group was known for. This disc is Booker T Jones' way of saying thanks to the Beatles for making such a remarkable album and in itself deserves to be recognized as one of the true classics of Southern Soul.

Track List:

  • Medley:
    • Golden Slumbers
    • Carry That Weight
    • The End
    • Here Comes The Sun
    • Come Together
  • Something
  • Medley:
    • Because
    • You Never Give Me Your Money
  • Medley:
    • Sun King
    • Mean Mr. Mustard
    • Polythene Pam
    • She Came In Through The Bathroom Window
    • I Wa
  • You Can't Do That
  • Day Tripper
  • Michelle
  • Eleanor Rigby
  • Lady Madonna
  • You Can't Do That

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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