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Soul Men
     

Soul Men

4.0 2
by Booker T. & the MG's
 
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

Overview

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.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/01/2003
Label:
Stax
UPC:
0025218861021
catalogNumber:
8610
Rank:
69791

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Booker T. & the MG's   Primary Artist
Steve Cropper   Guitar
Donald "Duck" Dunn   Bass
Booker T. Jones   Keyboards
Lewis Steinberg   Bass
Al Jackson   Drums

Technical Credits

Willie Dixon   Composer
Johnny Otis   Composer
Jimmie Davis   Composer
Hoagy Carmichael   Composer
Steve Cropper   Composer
Eddie Floyd   Composer
John Lennon   Composer
Paul McCartney   Composer
Smokey Robinson   Composer
Steve Winwood   Composer
Bill Justis   Composer
Ramsey Lewis   Arranger
Dan Penn   Composer
Roger Armstrong   Tape Research
Henry Cosby   Composer
Lamont Dozier   Composer
Isaac Hayes   Composer
Rick Hall   Composer
Tony Hatch   Composer
Brian Holland   Composer
Charles Mitchell   Composer
James Moore   Composer
Warren "Pete" Moore   Composer
Earl Nelson   Composer
Richard Parker   Composer
David Porter   Composer
Bob Relf   Composer
Willie Schofield   Composer
Stevie Wonder   Composer
Stuart Gorrell   Composer
Sid Manker   Composer
Rob Bowman   Liner Notes
Sylvia Moy   Composer
Marvin Tarplin   Composer
Spencer Davis   Composer
Jamie Putnam   Art Direction
William R. Eastabrook   Cover Photo
Waymon Glasco   Composer
Robert Rogers   Composer
Wayne Carson Thompson   Composer
Oscar Frank   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Lula Mae Hardaway   Composer
Bob West   Composer

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Soul Men 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
glauver More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful companion to the 2007 best of collection. The quartet just may be the tightest, most economical group I have ever heard.They might even outrank The Band, and I thought they were the best instrumental combo ever. Get both CDs and see if you agree with me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 1995, the United Kingdom's Ace Records released twenty-five slices of Soul from the Stax Records house band Booker T. & the MGs. Entitled Booker T. & the MGs Play the Hip Hits, it was a very welcomed addition to their catalog. The tracks were never released and remained in the vaults at Stax. It is now available in the U.S. and renamed appropriately Soul Men. Almost everything here is very interesting, and while some probably remained unreleased for a reason, others are so good that the fact that they were apparently forgotten about, is just mind boggling. There are things here that are as good as, if not better, than some of their albums cuts (singles not withstanding). And there are tracks like Petula Clark's "Dowtown", highlighted by Booker T. Jones's organ work, and Stevie Wonder's "I Was Made To Love Her" that would have fit right in place on the MGs 1968 album Doin' Our Thing. The MGs' original numbers always tended to be a little funkier and obviously, more original. But more often than not, as in the case with their 1970 cover of The Beatles "Something", they were able to not just rework someone else's hit, but turn it in to an instrumental masterpiece. This is the case with their absolute killer version of an Isaac Hayes/David Porter classic "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby". The MGs, of course, played on the original in support of super duo Sam and Dave. Guitarist Steve Cropper, the "Play it, Steve" on Sam and Dave's "Soul Man", has said that when he and Jones would do a cover, they would actually try and make their respective instruments sing. So, there's a purpose there, not just guys showing off their musical chops. Ah, but what unequaled chops each of these guys had. Jones's B-3 organ and Cropper go back and forth, playing ever so tastefully, until they've done it again. They've created a beautiful piece of music that just can not be duplicated. And it's the perfect way to end the album. Cropper says he wished he had known or remembered all of these gems. He said they would have made a great album. Well, they sure do, and now it's been made available to all lovers of the legendary Booker T. & the MGs.