This Rhino U.K. 2012 box set rounds up the prime of Booker T. & the MG's, the five albums they released between 1962 and 1968: Green Onions, Soul Dressing, And Now!, Hip Hug-Her, and Doin' Our Thing. Often, Booker T. & the MG's are seen as nothing more than a singles act but these records illustrate just how deeply their gifts ran, as they are all deeply funky, gritty, soulful records that are easy to enjoy. And when they're collected in this convenient little box, they're even easier – and cheaper – to appreciate.
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."
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."