Blues/Rock/Soul (San Francisco)
To call Hammond B3 mastermind Booker T. Jones a legend almost seems like damning him with faint praise. With Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Jones was, well, instrumental in exposing the brilliance of Memphis Soul and originating the Stax sound with ’60s hits like “Green Onions” and “Time Is Tight.” Just as importantly, the M.G.’s were among the first racially integrated bands, placing them squarely in the middle of the civil rights movement. Unbelievably, his last act may be his best. Twenty-eight years after his 1981 solo album, I Want You, Jones hit the studio with the Drive-By Truckers to craft the fabulous (and Grammy-winning) Potato Hole, and this year’s The Road from Memphis featured Roots and Motown guitar icon Dennis Coffey; in between he’s played some electrifying dates with Neil Young and the Truckers, and sat in on a song for the Elton John/Leon Russell album. Legend just doesn’t feel big enough to contain all of the greatness of Booker T. Jones.
You’ll Dig It If You Dig: The birth of Soul, the three stages of man, the upgrade from black and white to technicolor, baby. (Brian Baker, CityBeat)
~ "After all these years, he remains so soulful and so good." (NPR)
~ "A showcase for 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)