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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect, but that's the way I like it, 21 Feb 2003
By 
thestaxman (Jackson, MS United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Back To Back (Audio CD)
I have become very fond of this album, which just simmers with raw energy from the start. There's a fun introduction that leads into one of the most smoking versions of "Green Onions" I've heard. Duck Dunn's impact is felt immediately. He thumps his bass a little louder and digs into the groove a little deeper than his predecessor, Lewie Steinberg, who played on the Green Onions and Soul Dressing albums. Granted, this is a live recording and Steinberg would have probably been more aggressive live, but nobody can groove like Dunn. He rips through "Red Beans and Rice" and the rest of the set with swinging authority. This was recorded live in 1967, not 1997, but the sound is really good. Booker T. Jones played superbly on this night. His B-3 sounds amazing. The album's energy dips somewhat when The Mar-Keys come on. Except for Steve Cropper, Dunn, and trumpeter, Wayne Jackson, the original Mar-Keys basically ceased to exist after their 1961 hit "Last Night". What they became, in fact, was Booker T. & the MGs plus The Memphis Horns, the heart of soul music in the '60s. The material and sound of The Mar Keys is similar to high school R & B bands and fraternity circuit bands of the late '50s and early '60s, and thus, is just not as creative or as exciting as the MGs'. It's good, solid dance music of that period. The horn section leaves Booker T. and company to finish things off. After Cropper's soulfully sly guitar solo on "Booker Loo", the group, led by Al Jackson's "get out your seat" drumming, hits a groove so strong, if you can't shake your backside to it, you've got a hole in your soul. The first time I heard this album, I wasn't overly impressed. I had silly thoughts like, hey, that's not how Cropper played on the original "Hip Hug-Her". But, this album is deceptively addicting. Seems the longer I own it, the more often I play it. Just as almost anything from the MGs' catalogue, or all of Stax Records, for that matter, it gets better with every listen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fair record of its period, 5 Oct 2013
By 
Siriam (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Back To Back (Audio CD)
As another reviewer comments given a concert recording in the mid 60s, the sound quality is not great but certainly acceptable. What the concert recording does convey is how the Stax Revue sounded live instrumentally on their raptly received concert tour in Europe backing other Stax and Atlantic vocalists versus the more normal and limited fare most concert packages offered at that time. As the separately available Otis Redding live show recordings from this period show it was definitely about the excitement not the audio and note perfect performances. One also is hearing a rare outing by studio hardened backing musicians in performing extended instrumental live sets, which was pretty unique whether UK or USA then and even now.

The album also shows how adaptable the MGs with Booker T were and so there is little surprise that in later years they rose to be a quality stand alone act in their own right both in studio recordings and live concerts.
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Back To Back by Booker T. & The MG's (Audio CD - 1991)
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