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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars aren't enough, 26 April 2002
By 
thestaxman (Jackson, MS United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Melting Pot (Audio CD)
In all honesty, their aren't enough stars to rate this stellar album. Unfortunately the last by these four members of Booker T. & the MGs. Booker T. Jones plays his B-3 organ with unbelievable fire and passion. Steve Cropper's rhythm and lead guitar is just unrivaled. Duck Dunn lays down some of his most inspiring bass lines ever, and as always, the perfect time keeping of the great Al Jackson, Jr. on drums makes this album a sonic delight from beginning to end. It opens with, in my opinion, the greatest piece of music ever recorded, the title cut, "Melting Pot". From start to finish it is perhaps, the most fitting example of each member's equal contribution to the sound and soul of the band. Four guys doing four distinctive things, with it all coming together like magic, and all the while, none of them having enough of an ego to detract from the other. Tragic circumstances made this the last outing by these four, and the direction they were going in here, makes it all the more tragic. However, this was certainly a perfect crowning achievement for the group. Not many bands can go out as they came in. On fire.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars is not enough, 28 Aug 2002
By 
thestaxman (Jackson, MS United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Melting Pot: Remastered (Audio CD)
In all honesty, there aren't enough stars to rate this stellar album. Unfortunately, the last by these four members of Booker T. & the MGs. Booker T. Jones plays his B-3 organ with unbelievable fire and passion. Steve Cropper's rhythm and lead guitar is just unrivaled. Duck Dunn lays down some of his most inspiring bass lines ever, and as always, the perfect time keeping of the great Al Jackson, Jr. on drums makes this album a sonic delight from beginning to end. It opens with, in my opinion, the greatest piece of music ever recorded, the title cut, "Melting Pot". From start to finish it is perhaps, the most fitting example of each member's equal contribution to the sound and soul of the band. Four guys doing four distinctive things, with it all coming together like magic, and all the while, none of them having enough of an ego to detract from the other. Tragic circumstances made this the last outing by these four, and the direction they were going in here makes it all the more tragic. However, this was certainly a perfect crowning achievement for the group. Not many bands can go out as they came in. On fire
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best music ever, 16 Jun 2003
By 
A. P. Monblat (Sutton, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Melting Pot (Audio CD)
At the risk of being accused of hyperbole, I can honestly say that the track "Melting Pot" is the finest piece of music I've ever heard. There simply are not words (at least not in my lexicon) to describe its sublime brilliance. I could mention the incredibly strong melody, its sophisticated big-city feel, the awesome interplay between Booker T's Hammond and Steve Cropper's guitar underpinned by Dunn's bass and the genuinely unique presence of Jackson's drumming, but that would still not begin to do it justice. I fell in love with this track (and the rest of the album - especially "Fuquawi" and "Kinda Easy Like") just over 30 years ago now (the album was about three years old at the time and already deleted - ridiculously enough). I've heard a great deal of amazing music since then, both new and old, but absolutely nothing touches this. In my opinion this is far and away the best album Booker T and the MGs ever made. The reviewer who said they went out in a blaze of unsung glory with this is absolutely right. They (and this album in particular) are still underrated, but at least the group have had some serious recognition now, and all or most of their material is available. Their music should live on forever.
.................................
**Added to review in October 2013 by A P Monblat**: ten years on and my enthusiasm for this album - and the title track above all - has not dimmed or diminished one iota, so here is an additional attempt to put into words the brilliance of this piece. I think epithets like passion, majesty and drama are needed to describe what is constantly in play in the music. Booker T Jones and Steve Cropper together spent the entire 1960s crafting respectively some of the tightest, funkiest Hammond organ and guitar sounds ever recorded. But it seems as if the dawn of the new, 1970s, decade imbued them with a whole new level of both passion and ingenuity, which went gushing into this track.

What makes the title track such an utter triumph is built on the achingly brilliant melody, of course. But what takes it to its masterpiece level is the combination of the two instruments being played to such insanely genius peaks of perfection. Jones and Cropper poured ten solid years of experience into the eight minutes duration of the track. For instance, about half-way through the piece, Booker T grinds out a truly bravura segment of a passion which the still young maestro had never achieved the likes of before. The second half is different from the first, and absolutely essential to experience the full glory of the track. The single-version first half (although of course brilliant, containing as it does all the main melodic meat of the piece) lacks the additional dimension the final four minutes brings. It is also during the second half in which drummer Al Jackson Jr makes that same giant leap as his colleagues from the brilliant to achieve a passion never previously heard even from him to quite this degree. Not by a frenzied drum solo (far from it - none of these four guys ever went in for long solos), but from the sheer power and strength he somehow achieves from a few key beats (nay, pounds) of the drum at just the right moments between Jone's B3 power-chords - further perfect interplay to add to the organ-guitar variety heard earlier in the progress of the track. His beats of the drum sound at this point like a cannon being fired!

To sum up, a total masterpiece born of skill and ingenuity on the one hand combined with power, drama and passion on the other. Never before or since have heads and hearts worked together in such perfect harmony.

I'll leave it at that for another ten years (watch this space!). Ultimately you have to listen for yourself. If you wish to, do let me know by voting and/or by commenting, if you think I have gone some way to putting into verbal language why this musical language is a full-on, genuine masterpiece.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great playing, brilliant grooves, 3 Jun 2008
By 
lexo1941 (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Melting Pot (Audio CD)
This was the last album by the classic lineup of Booker T and the MG's: Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn and Al Jackson. The merely curious might be expecting that the band chiefly famous for 'Green Onions' and for the music to the BBC's cricket coverage would be one-hit wonders, who can't sustain interest over the course of a whole album. After all, what we are talking about here are instrumental tracks by the Stax Records house band, a combo that specialised in backing singers like Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett. In fact, the band is a lot better than merely listenable. Walk down the street with this on your earphones and you can feel like the star of your own personal blaxploitation movie.

There isn't a bad track on the album, but there are many standouts. One is the epic 8-minute title track, which hangs on one groove for so long that it becomes truly hypnotic, as well as featuring classic drum breaks by the late Al Jackson. 'Back Home' is a jubilant high-speed stomper with a tender slow blues in the middle. The charmingly titled 'Chicken Pox' has a wicked loping B-boy groove and even more great breaks. The playing is all top-notch; Booker T. Jones can seemingly play anything, Steve Cropper's jabbing guitar is always just right, "Duck" Dunn's bass is equally nimble and Al Jackson may actually have been, as Cropper put it, 'the greatest drummer who ever lived'.

The Booker T beginner should probably get a compilation, such as Stax's 'Very Best of', which has a generous sample of tracks from the band's lifetime. But once you get the bug for this band, you start to want everything they did. Some is out of print, and some of what's in print is less than essential. But for sheer infectious rhythmic exuberance, it's very hard to beat Booker T and the MG's. Motown's house band, the Funk Brothers, were great; but Booker T and the MG's were that little bit more down, dirty and nasty.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music to listen to., 26 May 2009
By 
James A. Murray "Fuzzysurreal" (Kilwinning, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Melting Pot (MP3 Download)
Cool instrumental tracks to relax and get into the groove with. Especially Booker T's hammond organ which is just great to hear him play.
Cool!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best music ever, 7 July 2003
By 
A. P. Monblat (Sutton, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Melting Pot: Remastered (Audio CD)
At the risk of being accused of hyperbole, I can honestly say that the track "Melting Pot" is the finest piece of music I've ever heard. There simply are not words (at least not in my lexicon) to describe its sublime brilliance. I could mention the incredibly strong melody, its sophisticated big-city feel, the awesome interplay between Booker T's hammond and Steve Cropper's guitar underpinned by Dunn's bass and the genuinely unique presence of Jackson's drumming, but that would still not begin to do it justice. I fell in love with this track (and the rest of the album - especially "Fuquawi" and "Kinda Easy Like") about 30 years ago now (the album was about three years old at the time and already deleted - ridiculously enough). I've heard a great deal of amazing music since then, both new and old, but absolutely nothing touches this. In my opinion this is far and away the best album Booker T and the MGs ever made. The reviewer who said they went out in a blaze of unsung glory with this is absolutely right. They (and this album in particular) are still underrated, but at least the group have had some serious recognition now, and all or most of their material is available. Their music should live on forever.
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Melting Pot
Melting Pot by Booker T. & The MG's (Audio CD - 1992)
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