This album is like one terrifically funky soundtrack to a great movie. If you want a dose of early MGs, this their second album, is the place to go. Their first album came about after they had an unplanned number one smash, the immortal "Green Onions". This really is their first cohesive release as a band. Because this was released in 1964, it is a collection of tracks recorded over a two-year period. This was before their fellow Stax Records studio rat Isaac Hayes would become a solo star and revolutionize the album market.
Every track, save one, here is an original, and you have surely heard some of these gems in movies, including the home grown sounds of "Home Grown", the very memorable "Chinese Checkers", and "Can't Be Still" (probably original bassist Lewie Steinberg's finest moment).
The title cut is one of my favorite MGs songs ever. If I could point to the one song that made me fall in love with drumming of Al Jackson, this is it. This is the man who would later co-write and light the fire under such Al Green classics as "I'm Still In Love With You" and "You Ought to Be With Me". There are lots of people in a variety of fields and walks of life that I respect, but I don't know if there's anyone I have such an admiration and affinity for as the late Al Jackson. "Soul Dressing" appeared on the soundtrack to Billy Bob Thornton's critically acclaimed 1996 film Sling Blade.
Prime time MGs bassist Duck Dunn is listed in the liner notes as playing, but they don't specify which tracks, and Steinberg is listed as a co-writer on all the originals; including "Outrage", which features fancy organistics by late Memphis area musician William Allan in place of Booker T. Jones. This was actually released as the B-side to a song called "Boot-Leg", which was the first MGs single co-written by Dunn and actually had Isaac Hayes in Jones's chair.
The album's tone is largely set by the young Steve Cropper, whose guitar is a blazin' throughout. Especially on the title track, the "Green Onions" rework "Jellybread", and the fabulous "Plum Nellie", which is also highlighted by great organ and trombone work by the multi-talented Jones.
This album isn't as timeless as their later work, but it is a great trip back to a more soulful time.