FAME Review: Booker T & The MGs - Green Onions
Booker T & The MGs - Green Onions

Green Onions

Booker T & The MGs

Stax Remasters - STX-33960-02

Available from Amazon.com.

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

The title track, Green Onions, on this disc accomplished what very few other instrumental tracks ever have done; it went to number one on the Billboard R & B chart, and #3 on the Hot 100. This was in 1962, and the track is still as relevant today 50 years later. Booker T Jones one of the writers of this song was just honored by the Americana Music Association with a Lifetime Achievement Award for an instrumentalist. He is still playing, and his organ work is still as full-throated, funky and muscular as it ever was.

On this disc the original 12 tracks are by the group as it was initially comprised; Booker T Jones; organ, Steve Cropper, guitar; Lewis Steinberg bass; and Al Jackson Jr., drums. On cuts 13 and 14, the live cuts you have Donald "Duck" Dunn handling the bass, and on #14 you have Packy Axton on saxophone. Booker T & The MGs became the house band on the Stax/Volt Recordings label backing the lean and mean Memphis Soul/R & B of the 60's. Playing behind Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett, Carla Thomas and many others of the genre. The members of this band also became producers and arrangers of the first order, and in fact Steve Cropper's latest disc, Dedicated, is probably one of those that won't get the most airplay but is an absolute gem of a disc for those that love that Memphis Sound.

If, just for fun, we pretend the tune Green Onions isn't on the disc and listen to the other eleven tracks we have funk, and soul personified. Just as raucous and down and dirty as the title tune, any number of songs on the disc rise up to its level. Give a listen to Rinky-Dink and attempt to keep your butt down in the chair; or maybe bump up to the controlled slink of Behave Yourself, and if that isn't dirty dancing personified what is? This group no matter what music you put in front of them can hit it on the groove like no one else. Be it the slyly elegant organ work, or the controlled guitar leads of Mr. Cropper, the beat of Al Jackson Jr., or either of the bassists hitting it right on the beat, you don't need a GPS to find your way to funky Memphis. For those of you too young to remember them in their hey-day this group is backbone of the soulful funky Memphis sound that showed generations just where soulful funk originated.

Track List:

  • 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
  • Can't Sit Down
  • A Woman, A Lover, A Friend
  • Comin' Home Baby
  • Green Onions (Live From 5/4 Ballroom, Los Angeles/1965)
  • Can't Sit Down (Live From 5/4 Ballroom, Los Angeles/1965)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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