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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 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 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 January 1, 1986 | Stax

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. © Richie Unterberger /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 January 1, 1991 | Stax

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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 January 1, 1991 | 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 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, 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 January 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, 1998 | Stax

A three-CD, 65-song box set that includes all their hits from 1962 through 1971, in addition to numerous LP tracks and failed singles; the third disc is devoted entirely to previously unreleased live material (most from 1992-1994) and rarities. Greatest-hits compilations will serve the needs of all but intense Booker T. and Stax fans. However, if you really dig their instrumental sound, this is a fine package. It might skip an odd, worthy track from their catalog, but basically has just about everything deserving of attention, concentrating more on their original compositions than their covers. Some of the more obscure selections, like their jazzy 1967 LP cut "Pigmy" and their inventive 1969 cover of "Lady Madonna," are overlooked standouts. A number of sides here, like "Burnt Biscuits," "Fannie Mae," "Sunday Sermon," "MG Party," and the moody, dignified "Meditation," were never on album before. Other oddities fans will want to know about is a live medley of James Brown material from 1968, Albert King doing "Born Under a Bad Sign" with them live (also from 1968), a hit 1965 single ("Hole in the Wall") released under the name "the Packers," and "Booker's Theme," which was only available on the 1969 Stax various-artists sampler Soul Explosion. The 1992-1994 live cuts (all previously unreleased), with various drummers in place of the late Al Jackson, show the band in decent though not amazing form, including a ten-minute jam on "Time Is Tight" and a version of "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" with Neil Young on vocals. The booklet contains extensive liner notes by Stax Records authority Rob Bowman. © Richie Unterberger /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