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Soul Men by Booker T. & The MG’s

Booker T. & The MG’s were The Ventures of soul and rhythm and blues, cutting a majority of each cover track in less than three minutes. In the attention-grabbing liner notes, Steve Cropper talks about the mindset of the band in those days and why they were so successful. He explains how they purposely did covers so people would recognize the songs and wonder what the great instrumentalists had done with a particular number.

Soul Men is a compelling collection of previously unreleased (God knows why) tracks. On the back of the CD cover under the track listing, it reads-"Recorded in the 1960s." The liner notes indicate that they may have been from 1962-65 sessions. The Fantasy Jazz label was smart enough to be general about the dates because nobody was too sure.

Some of the songs like "Spoonful," "The Letter," "Day Tripper" and "Downtown" were readily recognizable to these ears, others I had never heard before, and a few others came disguised so well behind a musical mask manifested by their superior improvisational skills that I could not figure out what it was until I looked at the title. Make sure you turn your bass controls up as far as they can go because this music it is stunning. Each track, transferred from the original master tapes, is a perfected piece of art ready for the most discriminating ears to digest. It all sounds as if they recorded this music yesterday, which speaks volumes for what Fantasy does with their music that has been dormant for so many years.

I would say without hesitation and always will that they were some of the best musicians recording in the ‘60s. We have yet another goldmine of lost gems recovered to solidify Booker T. & the MGs niche as one of the most dominant forces in the recording of instrumental music.

Note: I realize that this is not fusion as we know it today, but it was then because of all the styles that the band used to make their music unique, even if the songs belonged to another artist.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Booker T. & The MG’s
  • CD Title: Soul Men
  • Genre: Fusion
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Stax Records
  • Tracks: Baby, Scratch My Back Harlem Shuffle Hi-Heel Sneakers Downtown I Was Made to Love Her Georgia on My Mind Wade in the Water Fannie Mae Day Tripper You Left the Water Running Every Beat of My Heart Aint That Peculiar You Can't Do That Wang Dang Doodle On a Saturday Night The Letter Oo Wee Baby
  • Musicians: Steve Cropper (Guitar), Ramsey Lewis (Arranger), Donald "Duck" Dunn (Bass), Booker T. Jones (Keyboards), Lewis Steinberg (Bass), Al Jackson, Jr. (Drums);
  • Rating: Five Stars
Morrice Blackwell

Owner and publisher of, Morrice Blackwell is a christian husband dad jazz fan website developing marketing manager basketball playing engineer that lives for photography.

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