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4.1 out of 5 stars30
4.1 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 9 April 2007
This may not be worthy of 4 stars but its nearer that than 3 for me. These guys were the backing band in the sixties for the Stax/Volt labels. Most of the records you hear by Otis Redding, Sam & Dave etc had these guys playing, and theres a good reason for that, they are very good musicians.

Everybody knows 'Green Onions', it remains a classic instrumental, apparently made-up in the studio. The cover of 'I Got A Woman' motors along, propelled by some infectious drumming from Al Jackson. A change of pace for track 6 gives the guys to show off their blues playing on 'Behave Yourself'. This is a lovely slow blues, which builds up a head of steam and gives Booker T a chance to show off his Hammond playing.

Their are really only two reasons not to buy this album. Firstly the tracks are all instrumentals, so theres no point buying this if you like to listen to lyrics. Secondly the Hammond Organ sound Booker T uses a lot of the time does sound a little dated now (especially on 'Stranger on the Shore') and its used on most of the tracks. However contrary to the previous reviewers I found this to be an enjoyable album in its own right regardless of what the group did later in their career.
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on 15 September 2003
This is what happens when a group of guys have an unexpected monster smash hit. In 1962, while in the studio jamming, a seventeen year old prodigy named Booker T. Jones, a twenty-one year old guitarist named Steve Cropper, and a couple of veterans of the Memphis music scene came up with something that Stax Records president Jim Stewart deemed good enough for release. Needing a B-side, Cropper suggested working up something Jones had been playing around with some time earlier. What was supposed to be a B-side excited Cropper, and local DJs quickly began to flip the "Behave Yourself" single to the other side, and "Green Onions" began to create quite a stir. Quickly, the sides were reversed, and "Green Onions", with it's groovin' riff, Booker T.'s funky organ lines, and cutting edge guitar bursts courtesy of Cropper became Stax's biggest hit at the time, reaching number three on the national Pop charts and topping the R&B charts. The group, now billing themselves as Booker T. & the MGs (Memphis Group), released this solid, if unspectacular instrumental album later that year.
As could be expected, they weren't really able to recreate the hit single's magic, and besides that title track, the rest of the album comes across today as sounding pretty dated. This album should not be bought to familiarize listeners with Booker T. & the MGs. Cropper, Jones, drummer Al Jackson, Jr., and later Donald "Duck" Dunn (who would replace original bassist Lewie Steinberg) are widely considered to be the tightest, most soulful, and versatile band of all time. They would go on to be the house band at Stax, playing behind Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Albert King, Eddie Floyd, Johnnie Taylor, Rufus and Carla Thomas, and more. They provided the blueprint for Soul music, and set a standard of excellence that nobody since has come close to meeting. On their own, they released over a dozen brilliant singles, and several terrific albums.
However, other than the timeless title track, there is nothing on the album that is a "must hear". And "Green Onions" can be found on MGs compilations, box sets, and countless soundtracks. Make no mistake about it though, the album, for what it is, is quite good. This isn't a garage band rushing to sell an album cause they had a hit. Lewie Steinberg was very accomplished, and Al Jackson, though just a few years older than Steve Cropper, had been playing in his father's Jazz/Swing band since he was five years old! And as well as Cropper's groundbreaking work on the title cut, the young white guitarist showed himself to be equally adept at both Blues and Jazz. His playing is both simple and sophisticated, with the underlying element being taste. And Booker T. Jones played like no seventeen-year-old kid. This being said, there is no real reason to recommend this album, unless you are already familiar with the MGs' greatness, and you want to hear everything they recorded.
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on 8 March 2000
"Green Onions" was originally recorded as the B-side to what was intended as their debut single, "Behave Yourself," but ended up reaching #1 in the R&B charts and becoming Booker T. & The MG's most famous tune. This album was quickly assembled around those two songs to capitalize on the success of the million-selling single. Along with a follow-up jam, "Mo' Onions," they recorded nine mediocre covers of previous hits by Ray Charles, the Isley Brothers, Jackie Wilson, and Acker Bilt. I'd recommend this album only if you don't plan on investing in the wonderful "Time Is Tight" box set, which contains the best tracks off this disc, the three originals.
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Released Monday 3 September 2012 in the UK (22 July 2012 in the USA) - Concord Music Group, Inc 0888072339606 is release number eight in the 2011/2012 "STAX REMASTERS" CD Series and breaks down as follows (43:48 minutes):

Tracks 1 to 12 are the album "Green Onions" - released October 1962 in the USA on Stax Records ST-701 [Mono] and July 1964 in the UK on London HA-K 8182 [Mono].

Tracks 13 and 14 are BONUS TRACKS - "Green Onions (Live)" and "Can't Sit Down (Live)" which first appeared on the 1992 CD "Funky Broadway: Stax Review Live At The 5/4 Ballroom" (previously unreleased tracks at that time).

The new 12-page booklet has very knowledgeable and affectionate liner notes by ROB BOWMAN - the LP's artwork on the front and rear of the booklet (including Bob Altshuler's original 1962 LP liner notes) - session details, Stax Records release info and reissue credits. But once again the big news is the NEWLY REMASTERED SOUND...

I've reviewed all the other titles in the "Stax Remasters" series (see list below) and duly raved about the fabulous sound quality on them - especially after years of lacklustre reissues in jewel cases and repro digipaks. Well this is the same. 24-bit remastered from the first generation tapes at JOE TARANTINO Mastering in Berkeley, California - the audio quality is meaty - especially of course on the slinky organ of Booker T Jones and the guitar-chopping of Steve Cropper.

Named after a vegetable that plagued American gardens in the summertime and played by a group named after a British Sports car - the 7" single "Green Onions" was a bona-fide monster. Originally issued in the USA on Volt 101 - it was quickly withdrawn and reissued on Stax 127 with the languid "Behave Yourself" as its classy B-side. It hit the US charts in August 1962 and made Number 1 R&B and Number 3 Pop. But not only is "Green Onions" absolute classic 60t's Soul - it has to rank as one the greatest instrumentals ever issued - its cool still intact a full 50 years after it blew everyone away and brought dancefloors to life all over the world.

I wish I could say the rest of the album lives up to that high - it doesn't. The covers of The Beatles "Twist And Shout", Acker Bilk's "Stranger On A Shore" and Ray Charles' "Lonely Avenue" are not great - but things pick up considerably with their plucky version of Phil Upchurch's "Can't Sit Down" with fantastic sound quality on Cropper's guitar and Al Jackson's drums. The same applies to their cover of Jackie Wilson's "A Woman, A Lover, A Friend" - with Duck Dunn's bass having a warm sound. The identikit "Mo' Onions" was issued as a 45 in 1963 on Stax 142 and has been a fan favourite ever since (and a big moment in their live shows). It sounds fantastic here. The only real plonkers for me are the two live versions, which hardly warrant the word 'bonus' in my book.

Speaking of 'disappointment' - for fans this is a very good release - better sound and better presentation (even if the supposed extras are dogs). But it has to be said that since the initial flurry of "Stax Remasters" in 2011 which promised a new coming for this fabulous Soul/Funk label (see list below) - 2012 has seen only 2 reissues - Albert King and this? And iconic or not - "Green Onions" is a rather obvious, safe and boring reissue.

To sum up - despite those naff live additions - you do get better sound than that Rhino reissue nearly 20 years ago - improved packaging and a value-for-money pricetag. Recommended...

And please Concord Music? Let's have some Carla Thomas, Eddie Floyd, Soul Children, The Emotions, William Bell, Little Milton, Margie Joseph, Isaac Hayes, Judy Clay, Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett and more of The Staples Singers too...

PS: titles in the "STAX REMASTERS" series are (all reviewed):
1. Green Onions - BOOKER T. & THE M.G.S (1962)
2. McLemore Avenue - BOOKER T. & THE M.G.S (1970)
3. Woman To Woman - SHIRLEY BROWN (1975)
4. Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get - THE DRAMATICS (1972)
5. I'll Play The Blues For You - ALBERT KING (1972)
6. Be Altitude: Respect Yourself - THE STAPLE SINGERS (1972)
7. Taylored In Silk - JOHNNIE TAYLOR (1973)
8. Do The Funky Chicken - RUFUS THOMAS (1970)

PPS: Lovers of ATLANTIC, STAX and VOLT Records should note that as of October 2012 there is a massive reissue program of classic albums going on in Japan - 100+ titles to be exact (which includes Booker T & The MG's). They feature Fifties Blues and R'n'B, Sixties and Seventies Soul, Funk & Fusion. All are budget price (£7.50 per disc) and feature 2012 DSD remastering. Many of these titles are familiar - but a huge number are new to CD. For a full detailed list of these Japanese reissues - see the 'comment' section attached to this review...
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on 6 August 2015
Were Booker T & the MGs promoting healthy food back in the 1960s , or was it just something to stick on a burger . I`ve got the record , and if I remember rightly it`s pretty good but not life changing . Typical short playing time from budget vinyl veterans "Hallmark" . These rough and ready recordings probably helped convince a lot of young musicians to give it a go in the spirit of "if they can do it so can I" . As it happened , there was more to these guys than met the eye .
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VINE VOICEon 16 April 2010
Green Onions must have been flogged to death over the years. Four chords turned this jam into a monster hit, and well deserved too. This album takes one back to the 1960s and is brilliantly remastered.
The music is simple, guitar and drums and a mog. There are some nice bluesy pieces but over and beyond the Green Onions it is little more than background music.
Worth buying for that one track though.
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on 27 September 2014
I have always been a Booker T and as I have now worn out the tape I had of Green Onions it was time to get the disc. More than Happy!
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on 24 May 2015
Good seller, deluvery took a little longer than expected. Otherwise everything smooth. Recomended
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on 1 September 2014
Listening to this over and over. Not a bad track on there.
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on 4 December 2014
Everything wen fine.
Many thanks
Antony Cru
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