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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Showing posts with label Booker T and The MGs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Booker T and The MGs. Show all posts

Monday, April 1, 2013

Concord / Stax Records Reissue: Albert King - Born Under A Bad Sign - New Release Review

I just received the newest reissue from Concord Music Group (April 2, 2013), Albert King's Born Under A Bad Sign. With addition of liner notes by Bill Dahl, this release has a full spectrum picture of Kings work. Featuring the Stax "House Band"; Steve Cropper (guitar), Booker T Jones (piano), Isaac Hayes (piano), Donald "Duck" Dunn, and Al Jackson Jr, (also known as Booker T and the MG's)and Wayne Jackson, Andrew love and Joe Arnold (also known as the Memphis Horns); King has the backing that can deliver anything he may want. The release opens with one of King's most well know tracks, Born Under A Bad Sign. Yes, Eric Clapton and Cream didn't hurt any by covering it, but it was Albert King that really breathed the life into it and it was his gateway to stardom. King has a very distinctive guitar playing style often attributed to his playing left handed (although the guitar was strung right handed) giving it a unique sound but I personally think Albert had his own feel later mimicked by SRV among others. It oozed blues. Next up is Crosscut Saw set to a Latin rhythm, a common maneuver for King. Albert had a great voice and his playing dominated most anything he touched. Did Eric borrow some of King's riffs... just listen! On Leiber and Stoller track Kansas City, King takes a standard pop track (hey, the Beatles even covered this track) and made it into a swing blues track. The horns really shine on this track and King riffs out but this really is a radio track. Another track showing a melding of styles is Pretty Woman. King again carries this largely based upon his vocal skills but never misses the opportunity to throw the hot riffs into the fire. King really is one of the fathers of the "modern" blues as we know it. On King original, Down Don't Bother Me, Albert gets a real solid Texas blues lope and his guitar phrasing is just perfect. On Ivory Joe Hunter's soul classic, I Almost Lost My Mind, King melds blues with jazz keeping his "V" under control with light riffs to accommodate a loose jam. Another original track, Personal Manager, shows King at a relaxed pace, taking the time to sing quietly before knocking the doors down with classic ripping blues smoke! On Laundromat Blues, King uses his call and response technique to the extreme answering his own vocal call with a guitar riff response. Listen to these riffs ...and think of how many of your favorites have played them like their own. Yes, Albert was the King! One of my personal favorites on the release, As The Years Go Passing By, shows a perfect balance between the horns, Kings rich voice and his incredible guitar phrasing. This is THE track to hear by Albert King! Also included on this release are alternate takes of Born Under A Bad Sign, Crosscut Saw, The Hunter and Personal Manager. These tracks are all really nice additions and give you different riffs and backing. Very cool. Lastly, there is an untitled instrumental of Albert jamming out with the horns. Dunn shows a bass slide and you can just sit back and listen to the King doing the Kings thing. Great release and one that you should definitely check out!

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE” Yes, you're right... this is a live track and the release is a studio cut. Enjoy Mr King in full color!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Time is Tight - Booker T & The MGs w/ Al Jackson Jr.

Al Jackson, Jr. (November 27, 1935 – October 1, 1975) was a drummer, producer, and songwriter. He is best known as a founding member of Booker T. & the M.G.'s, a group of session musicians who worked for Stax Records and produced their own instrumentals. Jackson was called "The Human Timekeeper" for his drumming ability. Jackson's father, Al Jackson Sr., led a jazz/swing dance band in Memphis, Tennessee. The young Jackson started drumming at an early age and began playing on stage with his father's band in 1940 at the age of five. He later played in producer/trumpeter Willie Mitchell's band and at the same time was holding down a chair in the popular Ben Branch Band. Future band mates Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck" Dunn first saw Jackson playing in Mitchell's band at the all-white Manhattan Club. Jackson became one of the most important and influential drummers in the history of recorded music at Stax, providing an instantly recognizable backbeat behind the label's artists which included Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Eddie Floyd, Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, and blues guitarist Albert King, who Jackson also produced. In the Seventies, Jackson co-wrote and played on several hits by Al Green, including "Let's Stay Together" and "I'm Still in Love with You". After researching the history of Stax for 10 years, Canadian Grammy award-winning musicology professor Rob Bowman wrote in Soulsville U.S.A.: The Story of Stax Records that four years after the last Booker T. & the MGs album, 1971's Melting Pot, the group got together and decided to wrap up all of their individual productions and devote three years to a reunion of the band. On September 30, 1975, Al Jackson was scheduled to fly to Detroit, Michigan, to produce a Major Lance session, when he heard a reminder on the radio about the Joe Frazier–Muhammad Ali fight that night. Jackson called Detroit to delay and said he was going to watch "The Thrilla in Manila" on the big screen at the Mid-South Coliseum. Though still legally married, Jackson was estranged from his wife. In July 1975, his wife had shot him in the chest. He decided not to press charges, but was in the process of a divorce and was planning to move to Atlanta, Georgia, to begin working with Stax singer/songwriter, William Bell. Jackson attended the screening with Eddie Floyd and Terry Manning, and after the boxing, he returned home to find intruders in his house. He was reportedly told to get down on his knees and then was shot fatally five times in the back. Around 3:00 a.m. on October 1, Barbara Jackson ran out in the street, yelling for help. She told police that burglars had tied her up and then shot her husband when he returned home. Police found nothing in the house out of place and Al Jackson's wallet and jewelry were still on him. The man believed to have pulled the trigger had reportedly known someone in Memphis and after robbing a bank in Florida, told them to meet him over at Al Jackson's house. Tracked through Florida to Memphis and then to Seattle, Washington, the suspected triggerman was killed by a police officer on July 15, 1976 after a gun battle. If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”