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Soul - Released February 8, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Soul - Released February 8, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Soul - Released January 1, 1970 | Craft Recordings

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Soul - Released January 1, 1983 | Stax

Melting Pot could be the most well-realized of all the albums by Booker T. & the M.G.'s, a smooth and soulful, yet expansive 35 minutes of all originals, the latter in sharp contrast to their exploration of the Beatles' Abbey Road album material on their preceding album. And the irony was that it was their swan song. Booker T. Jones, in particular, was increasingly unhappy working at Stax/Volt Records, owing his feelings to management and structural changes at the company, and also felt the need to change the group's formula somewhat. Steve Cropper was playing lots of session work that was keeping him from recording in Memphis as well, and the result was an album recorded mostly in New York City, far away from Stax/Volt and largely built on the group's (especially Jones') best impulses. That said, Melting Pot managed to be a sort of back-to-the-roots effort in the sense that they were back to doing originals, but was also a strikingly more expansive record, with Jones in particular playing with an almost demonic intensity and range, backed ably by Donald "Duck" Dunn's rocksteady bass in particular. There were a few other touches, such as the wordless chorus on "Kinda Easy Like" and extended running times, showing the group stretching out on much larger musical canvases. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Soul - Released February 8, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

The Stax Records catalog ended up partially in the hands of Atlantic Records and partially with Fantasy Records, and the dividing point is 1968. That's why there are two Booker T. & the MG's hits compilations. This one, The Best Of..., presents the material owned by Atlantic. There are 12 tracks, covering the group's popular instrumental hits from "Green Onions" in the summer of 1962 to "Groovin'" in the summer of 1967. Booker T. and the MG's scored some of their biggest hits, including "Hang 'em High" and "Time Is Tight," in 1968-1969, and for those you will have to look to the Stax/Fantasy Greatest Hits, originally released in October 1970. Just to be confusing, in 1991 Fantasy released an album called The Best Of that again contains only the later material. (Rhino's Very Best Of finally combined the two eras.) © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Soul - Released June 16, 1992 | Rhino - Elektra

Still riding high years after the success of "Green Onions," Hip Hug-Her is another 11-song solid session of Southern soul delivered by one of the best bands in the business. In an attempt to appeal to the up-and-coming mod movement, the cover features an alluring model flanked by fashionable faceless people. But not to judge the album by its cover, Hip Hug-Her finds the group diving deeper into soulful territories, no doubt aided by the addition of bassist Duck Dunn to the fold. The title track is clearly one of the stronger cuts on the album, but other tunes such as the midtempo Motown anthem "Get Ready" and the group's interpretation of "Groovin'" make this one of the strongest full-lengths in the Booker T. & the MG's catalog. © Rob Theakston /TiVo
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Soul - Released December 14, 2004 | Rhino - Elektra

Booker T. and the MG's find the groove to come up with funky instrumentals of Yule classics "Jingle Bells," "Silver Bells," and the percolatin' "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." Steve Cropper makes his guitar sing on the down 'n' bluesy "Merry Christmas Baby." © Dennis MacDonald /TiVo
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Soul - Released February 8, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Assembled mostly from (non-hit) 1963-65 singles, this is solid stuff, but a notch below their peak collections. The best tracks ("Soul Dressing," "Tic-Tac-Toe," "Can't Be Still") are usually included on their best-of anthologies, but "Plum Nellie," featuring some ferocious, cutting-edge solos by Cropper and Jones, is an overlooked highlight. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Soul - Released February 8, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

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Soul - Released January 1, 2007 | Stax

It's impossible to imagine Southern soul existing at all without the powerful input of Booker T. & the MG's, one of the grittiest and most precise rhythm sections in the history of pop music. The MGs were the house band for Stax Records and its imprints Volt and Chalice, and played on virtually everything the label released, backing Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett and any other Stax artist one can think of, and managed as well to release 23 singles and 11 albums under their own name between 1962 and 1971. The core lineup included keyboardist Booker T. Jones, guitarist Steve Cropper, drummer Al Jackson, Jr., and bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn (Lewis Steinberg was the bassist for the first two years, replaced by Dunn in 1964), and together they managed to sound both loose and offhand while still being tight as a piano wire, turning out seemingly effortless and bottomless soul grooves. This set has the obvious Stax highlights, including the classic "Green Onions," "Hip Hug-Her," "Time Is Tight" and several others, and it essentially duplicates Rhino's 1994 release that sports the same title. The liner notes to the package are brief but informative (one learns that Booker T. did not play on "Boot-Leg," for instance, since he was away working on a music degree at the University of Indiana when the tracking was done and was replaced for the session by the one and only Isaac Hayes), and while this set isn't that different from several other "best of the MGs" albums on the market, it hits all the right notes in all the right places, and that should be the tagline for this band: they hit all the right notes in all the right places. And they did it, time and time again, with soul. © Steve Leggett /TiVo
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Soul - Released May 12, 1992 | Rhino - Elektra

The coolest soul backup band in the world, led by organist Booker T. Jones, grooves its way through 12 instrumental cuts, including "Sweet Potato," "Working in the Coal Mine," and "In the Midnight Hour." © Roundup Newsletter /TiVo
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Soul - Released January 1, 1991 | Stax

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Soul - Released January 1, 2006 | Stax

The Stax Profiles titles are a series of artist compilations chosen by other recording artists. Sound familiar? The Booker T. & the MG's volume was selected, and comes with liner notes, by Elvis Costello. There are 15 cuts here, assembling a cream of the crop artist's choice. Costello was one of those cats who dug back into the Motown/Stax/Atlantic vaults for inspiration on Get Happy! and helped to kick off the soul boy '80s. His Booker T faves are a solid -- if motley -- pick of what grabbed him, beginning with 1968's (and these are not compiled chronologically, thankfully) "Time Is Tight," from the soundtrack to the film Up Tight. A minimal, near-pastoral organ intro introduces the classic Stax riff. It's a hell of a long song for the period, too, clocking in at just under five minutes. The surf and spy music choogle "Burnt Biscuits" (written by Chips Moman and Booker T. Jones) is next, with a poppin' little horn section from 1963 -- it was a B-side, folks. "Jellybread" is, for all intents and practical purposes, a redo version of "Green Onions" with a tougher guitar line. Of curse that's here, too, but it's a live version from the Funky Broadway: Stax Revue Live at the 5/4 Ballroom set. Other common cuts are Booker T versions of "Lady Madonna," "Something," and "Hang 'Em High," which rivals the original. But killer singles such as "Chinese Checkers" are in the mix, too. 1968's Soul Limbo album is well-represented here with no less than three cuts, including "Over Easy." The single "Hip Hug-Her," off the 1971 album of the same name, is here. In all, it's a groovefest with Costello picking out the leaner, meaner, screamers. All the evidence one needs is in the live "Green Onions," and the other track from that set, the burning "Boot-Leg." Maybe this isn't a definitive collection of hits, but it is a solid, salacious slab 'o grooves. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Soul - Released April 2, 2007 | Rhino Atlantic

This two-disc, 30-track release documents the key years of one of the most important instrumental groups in the history of pop, Booker T. & the MG's. Serving as the house band at Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee, they backed soul greats Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett, and Otis Redding, among others, and beginning in 1963, when the MG's scored a huge hit with the infectious and joyful "Green Onions," they became a front-end draw in their own right. "Green Onions" is here, along with other timeless instrumental gems like "Soul Dressing," "Time Is Tight," and the soul-jazz version of George Harrison's "Something" from the 1970 MG's LP McLemore Avenue, itself a fascinating tribute to the Beatles' Abbey Road. Here's the thing: you can't go wrong with the MG's. © Steve Leggett /TiVo
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Soul - Released October 1, 1968 | Stax

This 1968 album found the Memphis instrumental group running through the usual batch of then-current soul hit covers ("La La Means I Love You," "Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy"), pop tunes ("Eleanor Rigby," "Foxy Lady") and hits like "Hang 'Em High" and the title track in their own trademark style. Most interesting are the tracks where Booker T. switches over to piano and the band suddenly becomes a very jazzy outfit, like "Willow Weep for Me" and "Over Easy." One of the better albums in their discography. © Cub Koda /TiVo
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Soul - Released January 1, 2003 | Fantasy Records

Although all of these 25 cover versions were recorded in the '60s, none of them were released at the time. Unfortunately, info as to the exact dates of the individual tracks has been lost, though Stax scholar Rob Bowman's liner notes figure that most of them were cut between 1965-1968, with some possibly dating from 1962-1964. Putting all of them onto a single disc decades later might seem like a vault-cleaning exercise of secondary material. But this turns out to be a surprisingly good and vibrant collection of instrumental soul interpretations of rock, soul, and pop hits of the '60s, even if it's not up to the level of Booker T. & the MG's more famous hits and original numbers. Even though these were often laid down quickly before or after sessions on which the band was backing other artists, most of these don't sound like throwaways. They're characteristically disciplined and imaginative, and the scope is remarkably wide, taking in Beatles songs, blues ("Wang Dang Doodle" and "Baby Scratch My Back"), Motown, straight pop ("Downtown"), and even some songs on which Booker T. & the MG's actually played on the original recordings (Sam & Dave's "Soul Man" and "When Something Is Wrong with My Baby," and Eddie Floyd's "On a Saturday Night"). Not all of the reworkings are top-notch; the Beatles' "You Can't Do That" is taken at a jazzy shuffle that doesn't suit the tune. But most of them are very good, and not straight copies of the original arrangements, with the band effectively cooking up different tempos and simmering guitar/organ interplay. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Soul - Released October 12, 2009 | Rhino Atlantic

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Soul - Released January 1, 1992 | Rhino Atlantic

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Soul - Released February 8, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

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Soul - Released May 19, 2017 | Rhino Atlantic

Released as part of Rhino's celebration of Stax's 60th anniversary, Stax Classics is part of a long line of Booker T. & the M.G.'s compilations. It's not as extensive as either 2006's double-disc set The Definitive Soul Collection or 2007's 20-track single-disc The Very Best of Booker T. and the M.G.'s, but it's a tight 12 songs containing the group's biggest hits -- "Green Onions," "Hip Hug-Her," "Time Is Tight," "Groovin'," "Soul Limbo" -- along with such excellent singles as "Mo' Onions" and "Boot-Leg," so it's a good choice for listeners who don't want to take a deep dive into the soul combo's catalog. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo