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Soul Men

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/1/2003
  • Label: Stax
  • UPC: 025218861021
  • Catalog Number: 8610
  • Sales rank: 88,591

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 Jr. Drums
Technical Credits
Buster Brown Composer
Willie Dixon Composer
Little Walter Composer
Johnny Otis Composer
Jimmy Reed Composer
Jimmie Davis Composer
Hoagy Carmichael Composer
Steve Cropper Composer
Eddie Floyd Composer
John Lennon Composer
Paul McCartney Composer
Smokey Robinson Composer
Rod Stewart Composer
Steve Winwood Composer
Bill Justis Composer
Ramsey Lewis Arranger
Dan Penn Composer
Roger Armstrong Tape Research
Henry Cosby Composer
Lamont Dozier Composer
Lance Finnie 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
Kevin Savigar Composer
Willie Schofield Composer
Sylvester "Sly Stone" Stewart Composer
Muff Winwood Composer
Stevie Wonder Composer
Stuart Gorrell Composer
Sid Manker Composer
Rob Bowman Liner Notes
Jack Baker Composer
Sylvia Moy Composer
Marvin Tarplin Composer
Spencer Davis Composer
Jamie Putnam Art Direction
William R. Eastabrook Cover Photo
Waymon Glasco Composer
Robert Rogers Composer
George Fragos Composer
Wayne Carson Thompson Composer
Oscar Frank Composer
Dick Gasparre Composer
Traditional Composer
Lula Mae Hardaway Composer
Bob West Composer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Great MGs Sound

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Play those hip hits

    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.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews