It can be argued that it was Booker T. Jones who set the cast for modern soul music and is largely responsible for its rise and enduring popularity. On classic Stax hits like “Green Onions,” “Hang ‘Em High,” “Time Is Tight,” and “Melting Pot” the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Musicians Hall of Fame inductee and GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award recipient pushed the music’s boundaries, refined it to its essence and then injected it into the nation’s bloodstream.
Booker‘s Hammond organ is one of the most familiar sounds in pop and soul music. As the teenaged house keyboardist at Stax Records in the 1960s, he applied this sound to dozens of hits, and with the MGs, created a whole new kind of groove. He played on hundreds of Stax singles by legendary singers like Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Albert Collins, Robert Bell and Eddie Floyd. The MG’s own recordings are classics as well. “Green Onions” (which Booker wrote when he was 17) was a mega-hit that Rolling Stone and others have listed among the greatest songs of all time. The song was given a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999.
Sound the Alarm, the new album from Booker T, finds the Hammond B3 organ master looking ahead yet again, laying down his distinctive bedrock grooves amid a succession of sparkling collaborations with some of contemporary R&B’s most gifted young voices. Sound the Alarm also marks Booker T’s historic return to Stax Records, the Memphis soul label the instrumentalist, bandleader, producer, and songwriter helped put on the map during the 1960s, along with his brilliant band, the MGs.
Creatively, it’s another bold new step in a career that has witnessed a striking resurgence in recent years. Booker T took home Best Pop Instrumental Album GRAMMY Awards for both 2010’s Potato Hole, his head-turning collaboration with The Drive-By Truckers and 2012’s The Road From Memphis, his critically acclaimed album with The Roots.
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“After all these years, he remains so soulful, and so good.” – NPR
“…Jones’ ever-sinuous way around his Hammond B-3, which sings, purrs, moans and shouts with often near-human expressivity, under his skilled touch.” – Los Angeles Times
“transports listeners to the ’60s heyday of Stax, where [Jones] and the MGs defined soul music.” – USA Today
“…brilliant reinvention of the MG’s soul chemistry, ramped up for the 21st century.” – MOJO
“…a satisfying return to Booker T.’s classic instrumental soul and funk.” – Boston Globe
“Booker T. Jones sounds more pithy and forceful than ever … Mr. Jones still jabs terse, unhurried melodies that sound as if he knows the lyrics but would never tell.” – Jon Pareles, New York Times
“A bad ass set of MG’s-style instrumentals… [with] Jones’ sweet, thick Hammond B-3 riffs” – Rolling Stone