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Booker T & the MG's

Booker T & the MG’s - band/ensemble

There are few instrumental songs that have the instant recognition factor, combined with enduring popularity as the 1962 classic hit “Green Onions,” by Booker T & the MG’s.

As the house rhythm section at Stax Records, Booker T. & the MGs all but single-handedly shaped the course of Southern soul music in the Sixties. Besides providing solid, consistently creative backing for the Memphis label’s legion of great soul singers as Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Carla Thomas, Sam & Dave, and bluesman Albert King, whom they backed on his 1967 classic “Born Under A Bad Sign” The quartet created a body of instrumental recordings that defined the genre and era.

The originators of the Booker T. sound were guitarist Steve Cropper, whose slicing, economic riffs influenced a generation of other guitar players, and Booker T. Jones himself, who provided much of the groove with his floating organ lines. In 1960, Jones started working as a session man for Stax, where he met Cropper. Cropper had been in the Mar-Keys, famous for the 1961 instrumental hit “Last Night,” which laid out the prototype for much of the MG's sound with its organ-sax-guitar combo. With the addition of drummer Al Jackson and bassist Lewis Steinberg, they became Booker T. & the MG's. In a couple years, Steinberg would be replaced permanently by Donald “Duck” Dunn, who, like Cropper, had also played with the Mar-Keys.

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