Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Booker T. & The MG’s / The Mar-Keys “Stax Instrumentals”

Booker T. & The MG’s / The Mar-Keys

Stax Instrumentals
( Stax Records, 2003 )
Catalog # 8609-2

01 Let’s Go [Cropper, Dunn, Jackson, Jones]
02 Good Groove [Cropper, Dunn, Jackson, Jones]
03 Candy [Newman]
04 Peppy [Mar Keys]
05 Slidin’ [Cropper, Dunn, Jackson, Jones]
06 Put a Label on It [Cropper, Dunn, Jackson, Jones]
07 Raw-Hide [Grant, Wray]
08 Gigglin’ [Newman]
09 Jazzy [Cropper, Dunn, Jackson, Jones]
10 Weird Stomp [Cropper, Dunn, Jackson, Jones]
11 Made in Memphis [Mar Keys]
12 Soul Twist [King Curtis]
13 Funky Folks Cha Cha [Cropper, Dunn, Jackson, Jones]
14 Tick Tac Toe [alternate take] [Cropper, Jackson, Jones]
15 Settle Down [Mar Keys]
16 Blue Peanut [Mar Keys]
17 Ain’t It [Cropper, Jackson, Jones]
18 Lawn Party [Cropper, Dunn, Jackson, Jones]
19 Tighten Up [Mar Keys]
20 Saucy [Cropper]
21 Consumption [Cropper, Dunn, Jackson, Jones]
22 Three Leaf Clover [Cropper, Dunn, Jackson, Jones]
23 Sassy [Newman]
24 The Floyd [Newman]
25 The Bo Vitch [Cropper, Jackson, Jones]

Compiled & Liner Notes – Alec Palao
Composed By – Al Jackson Jr. (tracks: 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 13, 18, 21, 22),
Booker T. Jones (tracks: 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 13, 18, 21, 22),
Donald “Duck” Dunn (tracks: 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 13, 18, 21, 22),
Mar-Keys, The (tracks: 4, 11, 15, 16, 19),
Steve Cropper (tracks: 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 13, 18, 21, 22)
Other [Archive Research By] – Roger Armstrong

Total Time 64:25
AAD / Mono (except #13 and 21 stereo)
Format: Compilation, Stereo, Mono
Country: Germany
Released: 2003

In fact the bassist Donald Duck Dunn and the lead guitarist Steve Cropper of Booker T and the MG’s were in the movie as cast members of the Blues Brother’s band.
As back up band for the majority of Stax studio soul music alumni, Booker T. & the MG’s/Mar-Keys had a wide range of melodic styles back then as represented on this compilation encompassing early ’60’s yackity sax dance party pop to the smokey electric base, twangy guitar and bluesy-cool jazz organ riffs first heard in the ‘62 Green Onions hit.
Their unique sound has permeated through American pop culture where their influence can be heard in Frankie Avalon beach movies, Beach Boys songs, the Door’s “Rider’s On The Storm”, the Partridge Family, even TV commercials all the way to the present Late Night with David Letterman and the early SNL bands. And the thing is most of the songs on this compilation sound more modern, fresh and original than what most bands are producing today.
Also, specific to this Fantasy Records release is the sound quality of this remix is the best out of the bunch. Big bass sound with distinct separation between instruments on the majority of the cuts that give a live studio feel similar to the way jazz sessions were recorded back in the day.
I say the majority of the songs because there are some that don’t cut the mustard on sound fidelity on this particular set. In fact on one Rhino label remix I have of the “Very Best of Booker T and the MG’s” has the bass sucked right out of most of the songs giving them a flat, AM radio-sh sound where cranking it up makes the kick bass drum sound thonky and hollow. “EQ-ing” doesn’t help. It just creates more distortion.
The cause of this can be deduced from the “Stax Instrumental” set liner notes where Steve Cropper, the lead guitarist, describes this ambient warm bassy sound the early Stax studio embued to their recording sessions. He says they had to use filters to substantialy tone down the bass because it would create wide grooves in the vinyl LP cuts eating up so much wax they couldn’t fit the rest of the songs on the album. But because they had plenty of room on a single 45rpm release, Green Onions being their first, they allowed more bass which accounts for this hit’s signature sound making it on all record’s and probably the reason for the sound quality inconsistancies on a wide range of re-released cuts. It’s apparent on my two set’s some selections may have come from master tapes mixed for LP’s. Cool FYI nonetheless for those who’ve ever wondered why vinyl has that certain sound quality. It’s not the wax, it’s the mix.
My favorites on this record are “Slidin”, “Consumption”, “Tick Tac Toe” among many others. Really cool crusin’ music. I can tell you this is definately a keeper album.
By Tim Lookingbill “Digital Dude” (Amazon)

More info here.

By Rob

1 comment:

ullartin said...


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