A bizarre and rather wonderful tribute to a bizarre and rather wonderful album. It's hard to think of any other band that could have covered an entire Beatles' album without sounding like the soundtrack to the movie of 'Sergeant Pepper', but Booker T and The MG's do it with superb conviction, by the simple means of leaving out the vocals. (That's not all they leave out - to the great relief of all, they also don't bother to cover the original album's most embarrassing blemish, the awful 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer'.) Booker T Jones plays the vocal melodies with great virtuosity on a variety of instruments, chiefly his ultra-cool Hammond organ with a Leslie speaker.
They also change the song order around, sequencing the tunes mostly as medleys with a few (such as their tender version of 'Something') standing alone. Steve Cropper reproduces the tasty but very difficult guitar licks in 'You Never Give Me Your Money', remarkable if the rumours are true that he never listened to the original and was taught the parts by Jones.
This isn't the most essential Booker T and The MG's album by a long way (that would be probably be 'Melting Pot'), but it's a remarkable one, down to the droll cover shot of the band crossing McLemore Avenue in Memphis, the street on which Stax Records' studio was located. On the strength of this record and some of their others, America's funkiest rhythm section was perfectly capable of soaring too.