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The Department of Afro American Research, Arts, and Culture's Archive is a subdivision of DAARAC that digitally preserves Afro American films. On this website, you may browse our archive that consists of film posters, screenshots, and movie synopsis. All information provided here is for research and reference purposes. We do not host full-length films on this website.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Legendary Group: Booker T. & The M.G.'s

Formed in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A., in 1962 taken from part of the Mar-Keys, the group comprised:

Booker T. Jones (b. 12th November 1944, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A; organ)

Steve Cropper (b. 21st October 1941, Willow Spring, Missouri, U.S.A; guitar)

Lewis Steinberg (bass)

and AI Jackson Jr. (b. 27th November 1934, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A., d. 1st October 1975, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A; drums).


"As the house band for the Stax/Volt labels, Booker T. and the MG’s helped define the spare, punchy sound of Memphis soul music. By contrast to Motown’s orchestrated, pop-soul records, the Stax approach was lean, economical and deeply groove-oriented. Between 1963 and 1968, Booker T. and the MGs appeared on more than 600 Stax/Volt recordings, including classics by such artists as Otis Redding, Eddie Floyd, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Johnnie Taylor and William Bell. As a result of Stax’s affiliation with Atlantic Records, the group also worked with Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, and Albert King. Moreover, Booker T. and the MGs were a successful recording group in their own right, cutting ten albums and fourteen instrumental hits, including “Green Onions,” “Hang ‘Em High,” “Time Is Tight” and “Soul-Limbo.”

The group came together in the early Sixties at Stax Records, a studio and record store on East McLemore Avenue in Memphis. By 1962, guitarist Steve Cropper, organist Booker T. Jones and bassist Lewis Steinberg were established session musicians at Stax. They were joined on a recording date for Billy Lee Riley (of “Flying Saucers Rock ‘n’ Roll” fame) by drummer Al Jackson, with whom Steinberg had played in the house band at Memphis’ Plantation Inn. It was during some down time at the Riley session that this lineup recorded the classic Sixties soul instrumental “Green Onions.” The definitive version of Booker T. and the MGs (which stood for “Memphis Group") was completed in 1963, when bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn - a former schoolmate and bandmate of Cropper’s who’d been touring with the Mar-Keys, another Stax backup group - replaced Steinberg. This lineup lent instrumental fire and uncluttered rhythmic support to countless soul classics. Particularly fruitful was their relationship with Stax’s biggest star, Otis Redding. In addition to playing on virtually all of his records, the band backed him at his legendary performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 (along with the Mar-Kays), and guitarist Cropper co-wrote his best-known number, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” Cropper also shared writing credits on such soul standards as Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour,” Sam and Dave’s “Soul Man,” Eddie Floyd’s “Knock On Wood” and Albert King’s “Born Under a Bad Sign.”

The group gradually disintegrated after the sale of Stax in 1968, although the rhythm section of Dunn and Jackson continued to play on many subsequent Stax recordings. Booker T. Jones branched out into record production and worked on a music degree at Indiana University. Cropper opened a studio in Memphis in 1969 and moved to Los Angeles to do session work in the mid-1970s. Jackson went on to provide a solid backbeat for Al Green. All the while, Booker T. and the MGs remained an ongoing entity, albeit an intermittent and casual one - that is, until the senseless murder of Jackson by an intruder in 1975. In 1990, the remaining members came together to back Neil Young on a tour. In 1994, they released That’s the Way It Should Be, their first album in more than 20 years.”


Green Onions (Stax 1962)
Mo' Onions (1963)
Soul Dressing (Stax 1965)
My Sweet Potato (1965)
And Now! (Stax 1966)
In The Christmas Spirit (Stax 1966)
Hip Hug-Her (Stax 1967)
with the Mar-Keys: Back To Back (Stax 1967)
Doin' Our Thing (Stax 1968)
Soul Limbo (Stax 1968)
Uptight (Stax 1969)
The Booker T Set (Stax 1969)
McLemore Avenue (Stax 1970)
Melting Pot (Stax 1971)
as the MG's: The MGs (Stax 1973)
Memphis Sound (Warners 1975)
Union Extended (Warners 1976)
Time Is Tight (Warners 1976)
Universal Language (Asylum 1977)
Solo: Booker T. Jones
Try And Love Again (A&M 1978)
The Best Of You (A&M 1980)
I Want You (A&M 1981)
The Runaway (MCA 1989)
That's The Way It Should Be (Columbia 1994)



Anonymous said...


The album Union Extended was released by STAX, not Warners (only in the UK)


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