McLemore Avenue is a 1970 album by Booker T. & the M.G.s, consisting entirely of mostly instrumental covers of songs from the Beatles' album Abbey Road (released only months earlier, in September 1969). The title and cover are an homage to the Beatles album, 926 East McLemore Avenue being the address of the Stax studio in Memphis, as Abbey Road was for EMI in London.
Booker T. Jones said, "I was in California when I heard Abbey Road, and I thought it was incredibly courageous of The Beatles to drop their format and move out musically like they did. To push the limit like that and reinvent themselves when they had no need to do that. They were the top band in the world but they still reinvented themselves. The music was just incredible so I felt I needed to pay tribute to it."
The Road from Memphis is the ninth studio album by Booker T. Jones, released in May 2011 through the record label ANTI. Booker T. is backed by hip-hop band the Roots. The album reached a peak position of number 85 on the Billboard 200 and received a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Album. Mojo placed the album at number 42 on its list of "Top 50 albums of 2011."
The impossibly tight house band for the Stax/Volt labels, The MG's defined, more than any other factor, the economical and groove-heavy sound of Memphis soul. Backing such legends as Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Carla Thomas, and Wilson Pickett, they performed on over 600 recordings. They were, of course, also a legendary instrumental recording unit in their own right. This double-disc, 30-track collection includes such classics as "Green Onions," "Time Is Tight," and "Hip Hug-Her."
One of his finest '90s recordings, Chill Out balances the guitar-glitz of Carlos Santana's guest shot on the karmic title cut with a handful of profoundly deep Hooker solo performances. Among those are new versions of his standards "Tupelo" and "Annie Mae," and the soulful "If You've Never Been in Love," where expert slide-man Roy Rogers provides subtle accompaniment to Hooker's spontaneous storytelling. The band numbers that bookend the album are weak, relying on Hooker's strong vocal presence to overcome sketchy writing. Van Morrison, pianist Charles Brown, and M.G.'s leader Booker T. Jones also lend a hand. But Hooker doesn't need anybody's help to get to the passionate heart of his blues. One last note: Anton Corbijn's CD-booklet photographs of ol' Johnny Lee are terrific.
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Some find Karen Dalton's voice difficult to listen to, and despite the Billie Holiday comparisons, it is rougher going than Lady Day. But Dalton's vocals aren't that hard to take, and they are expressive; like Buffy Sainte-Marie, it just does take some getting used to because of their unconventional timbre. Her debut album has a muted folk-rock feel reminiscent of Fred Neil's arrangements in the mid-'60s, unsurprising since Neil's Capitol-era producer, Nick Venet, produced this disc too, and since Dalton, a friend of Neil, covered a couple of Neil songs here ("Little Bit of Rain," "Blues on the Ceiling"). Although clocking in at a mere ten songs, it covers a lot of ground, from Tim Hardin, Jelly Roll Morton, and Leadbelly to the traditional folk song "Ribbon Bow" and the Eddie Floyd/Booker T. Jones-penned soul tune "I Love You More Than Words Can Say".
The most consistently enticing disc in the Rock Instrumental Classics series, this is both a great party and driving record and a window on the rhythms that powered soul music in the '60s (and early '70s, in two cases). In addition to some obvious choices (the four Booker T. & the MG's tracks, the Mar-Keys' "Last Night"), it also offers some left-field picks, such as the varied approaches to Latin music offered by Ray Barretto, Mongo Santamaria, and El Chicano. The stock of virtuoso performances here is all but endless: the bass-and-drums breakdown on Cliff Nobles and Co.'s "The Horse," the glinting guitar solo on the Bar-Kays' "Soul Finger," Hugh Masekela's questing trumpet on "Grazing in the Grass".
“In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues” is a PBS special taped in the East Room of the White House celebrating Blues music. President and Mrs. Obama will host the concert event in recognition of Black History Month. The evening will include program host Taraji P. Henson and performances by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, Jeff Beck, Gary Clark, Jr., Shemekia Copeland, Buddy Guy, Warren Haynes, Mick Jagger, B.B. King, Keb Mo, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, with Booker T. Jones as music director and band leader.