on 3 June 2008
This late album by the great Stax Records house band is a fine addition to their majestic catalogue. English listeners will note the title track from its use for many years as the theme music to BBC cricket coverage (it's odd how you expect the original version to fade away after thirty seconds). But there are other gems here: there's a remarkably soulful and jazzy version of 'Willow Weep For Me', with Jones on acoustic piano; the great 'Hang 'Em High', whose mixture of R&B and cowboy music was hugely influential on the Jamaican dub scene; a cool version of Hendrix's 'Foxy Lady', bringing Jimi back into the soul music camp; and a fascinatingly menacing version of 'Eleanor Rigby', full of ominous flattened fifths, the most successful cover I've heard of a song that you mess with at your peril.
If you're curious about the band and this is the only album you can find, you'll find that there was a lot more to them than 'Green Onions'. A compilation album might be a better place to start, but this is still good stuff.
on 24 September 2012
If you are looking for a `Best Of' type compilation of Booker T & the MGs, then this might not be the one for you. It is however, an essential buy for anybody that likes the sound of the Stax house band, Booker T & The MGs. It is a faithful reissue of their 1968 LP on Stax `Soul Limbo'.Okay, so it might not have the one everybody knows `Green Onions' or the classic `Time Is Tight', but you will not be disappointed by the tracks it does have.
It boasts an impressive array of differing styles, from the bright, cheerful uptempo version of The Tams `Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy, to the much more laid back cover of the Delfonics `La La Means I Love You'. Both tracks are heavily dominated by the Hammond organ and guitar sound, which the band are best known for. The sound however, is considerably varied when they do their version of the old jazz standard Willow Weep For Me. A song that has been recorded by the likes of Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. This version relies upon the piano instead of an organ as it's key instrument, which is perfect for this slow bluesy number.
Although the majority of the recordings on this album are instrumental cover versions of songs popularised by artists of the time such as Aretha Franklin, Albert King, Jimi Hendrix and even The Beatles. There are also a handful of their own compostions. Such as Heads Or Tails, Over Easy, and the instantly recognisable `Soul Limbo' which gives this LP it's title. Even people who have never heard of Booker T & The MGs will know this track, as it has been used extensively on British TV for coverage of the Cricket. It's great to hear this magnificent track in it's entirety.
You can hear, from listening to this album why Booker T & The MGs were in such high demand as the Stax House band, as they adopt whatever style they are performing in so well. This is perfectly demonstrated in the closing track of the album `Foxy Lady' which is instantly recognisable o the work of Hendrix. You could be forgiven for thinking that the man himself was on the recording.
As well as the vinyl reproduction, this offering is also available as a CD, for those that want to enjoy this classic album, but no longer have access to a record player.