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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 25 June 2002
This has to be the finest Booker T & The MG's album ever released. It's their tribute to The Beatles "Abbey Road" but in the original Booker T style. Everything about this album is superb. From the wonderful Hammond organ to the great drum fills. Definitely an album that cannot be missed from anyone's collection. I rate this in my Top 5 of all time favourite albums.
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on 24 June 2011
The chances are, if you are reading this review you are already a fan of Booker T & MG's and possibly already own a copy of this album and trying to decide if it worth buying this "HD" copy. I have quite a few "remixed" cd's in my collection and this is the best I have heard. Very clean with nice bass definition.
I would say that the extra tracks are not as good as the main titles, but still not bad.

So - do yourself a favour - buy it - now!!

Just as a reference - listening with, Onkyo 715 compact cd/tuner/amp & pair of TDL bookshelf speakers on stands.
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on 3 June 2008
A bizarre and rather wonderful tribute to a bizarre and rather wonderful album. It's hard to think of any other band that could have covered an entire Beatles' album without sounding like the soundtrack to the movie of 'Sergeant Pepper', but Booker T and The MG's do it with superb conviction, by the simple means of leaving out the vocals. (That's not all they leave out - to the great relief of all, they also don't bother to cover the original album's most embarrassing blemish, the awful 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer'.) Booker T Jones plays the vocal melodies with great virtuosity on a variety of instruments, chiefly his ultra-cool Hammond organ with a Leslie speaker.

They also change the song order around, sequencing the tunes mostly as medleys with a few (such as their tender version of 'Something') standing alone. Steve Cropper reproduces the tasty but very difficult guitar licks in 'You Never Give Me Your Money', remarkable if the rumours are true that he never listened to the original and was taught the parts by Jones.

This isn't the most essential Booker T and The MG's album by a long way (that would be probably be 'Melting Pot'), but it's a remarkable one, down to the droll cover shot of the band crossing McLemore Avenue in Memphis, the street on which Stax Records' studio was located. On the strength of this record and some of their others, America's funkiest rhythm section was perfectly capable of soaring too.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 26 September 2011
I bought the original CD when ACE released it through its Stax catalogue and have loved it ever since for it s simple quality of interpreting the Fab Fours best recorded offering and playing with the running order of the song cycle to their own agenda. I would even admit that at times I found myself preferring this to the orinal source material when choosing which one to play!

Now it comes issued in a new even clearer audio version with the bonus addition of several other Beatles tracks the group have recorded over the years at Stax (though none come close to equalling the Mclemore Avenue tracks standard). Also the very helpful high standard ACE booklet included fills in how the whole original sessions came to be. Most surprising for me was the group did not record it together in the Stax studio in Memphis which was the clear impression created by the cover photo and UK knowledge of how the group worked and rehearsed. Instead Booker T with Messrs. Dunn and Jackson laid down the main tracks and armed with these Booker subsequently met up with Steve Cropper in LA to do his guitar over dubs, given he was off producing another band. Regardless the music does not show any seams and is a priceless profesional reinterpretations of the Beatles classic, which many have considered unsurpassable over the years.

One only prays given ACE has access to the Chess catalogue they will now feel encouraged to give Ramsey Lewis the same treatment for his recordings of songs from the Beatles White Album on his "Mother Nature's Son" LP and also add the many other Beatles songs he has covered over the years, especially in the 60s when on Chess.
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on 26 April 2002
The greatest band in America took on the greatest band in England, and the boys from Memphis held their own. This is a very cutting edge and ahead of its time (Think Pink Floyd, Metallica) album. The Beatles' and The MGs' influence and superiority on and over the future of music is clearly evident here. Al Jackson does things that the wonderful Ringo Starr could never imagine. Duck Dunn does the Paul McCartney thing better than Paul McCartney. And Steve Cropper never even heard Abbey Road! Booker T. Jones taught him what to play! Another testament to these two men's greatness. How could you do The Beatles without lyrics? Only one band could. When the MGs got their hands on anything, including the material here, one quickly forgets and doesn't need anything but the music. The whole band is in peak form. They bring their Stax soul/funk to the table and also, show themselves as world class musicians as on their both beautiful and barn storming cover of "Something". And In The End, McLemore Avenue equals or argueably betters Abbey Road.
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Like "Electric Mud" by Muddy Waters, "McLemore Avenue" by Booker T. & The M.G.'s divided fans and critics alike at the time of release - and has done ever since. Some call it a masterpiece - even visionary - while others see it as little more than an opportunistic cash-in that only half worked in Stax's otherwise impressively individualistic canon of releases. More than 40 years after the event - I think it's fair enough to call it a bit of both - good and bad (much like this new reissue actually). Here are the details...

Released May 2011, Concord Music Group, Inc 0888072328747 breaks down as follows (59:03 minutes):
1. Medley: Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End/Here Comes The Sun/Come Together
2. Something
3. Because/You Never Give Me Your Money
4. Medley: Sun King/Mean Mr. Mustard/Polythene Pam/She Came In Through The Bathroom Window/I Want You (She's So Heavy)
Tracks 1 to 4 are the album "McLemore Avenue" released April 1970 in the USA on Stax Records STS 2027 and July 1970 in the UK on Stax SXATS 1031

Tracks 5 to 10 are all Beatles covers - 5 and 6 are "You Can't Do That" and "Day Tripper" from the late 60s album "Soul Men"; 7 and 9 are "Michelle" and "Lady Madonna" from the 1969 album "The Booker T. Set"; 8 is "Eleanor Rigby" from the 1968 album "Soul Limbo" - while track 10 is a PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED (Alternate Take) of "You Can't Do That" (recorded late 60s).

The new 12-page booklet has very knowledgeable and affectionate liner notes by ASHLEY KHAN (author of books on the recording career of John Coltrane and Miles Davis). You also get the original artwork and production credits, a collage of 2 photos on the inlay beneath the see-through tray and the disc itself pictures the group too. But it's a shame the booklet doesn't go any further - there's no new photos, no memorabilia - not even a picture of the lone 7" single of "Something" (US or UK). It makes the inlay feel workmanlike at best - even a little dull - when it should have spread its wings a little. But the big news is the SOUND...

I bought and recently reviewed another title in this new "Stax Remasters" series - "Be Altitude: Respect Yourself" by The Staples Singers and I duly raved about the fabulous sound quality on that after years of lacklustre reissues in jewel cases and repro digipaks. This is the same. 24-bit remastered from the first generation tapes by JOE TARANTINO at Joe Tarantino Mastering in Berkeley, California - the audio quality is truly GORGEOUS - absolutely incredible clarity that will make you reassess every song.

To the music - it probably seemed like a good idea at the time - "McLemore Avenue" would cover the recently released "Abbey Road" album by The Beatles (September 1969) and do it all in that distinctive Booker T & The M.G.'s instrumental style. They even aped the famous UK album sleeve and wittily called it after the street on which the Stax Studios resided in Memphis. They also realigned the 17-songs of the original LP into four new tracks - three lengthy Medleys and one straight up shorter cover of "Something" (which was actually released as a 45 on both sides of the pond to some success). The problem for me is that of the four tracks only two really work - "Something" and the "Because/You Never Give Me Your Money" Medley. The playing and clever interpretation on each is superb. On the other two however - I feel the band sounds way too close to a poor man's Procol Harum without the vocals. But again I must reiterate that if you have any affection for these songs, you 'need' to hear them on this stunningly good new remaster.

Of the five bonus covers - the best is undoubtedly Track 5 - the first version of "You Can't Do That" (from "A Hard Day's Night") - it's really excellent. Unfortunately the cuts of "Day Tripper", "Michelle" and "Lady Madonna" don't fare so well - barely rising above a bar-band doing cheesy Lounge versions of famous Beatles songs - it's not good. The last track is an (Alternate Take) of "You Can't Do That" which is a lot rougher than the first and not as good either.

Too sum up - I wasn't prepared for two things on this reissue - the truly astonishingly remaster by Joe Tarantino - and secondly how it transformed the listen and made me reassess what I had formerly thought of as an anomaly - an LP on Stax best avoided.

If you're a fan of the record - this is no-brainer - it's an absolute must-own. If you're like me and aren't particularly bothered, I'd still say give "Something" and the "Because/You Never Give Me Your Money" Medley a try on iTunes - you'll be more than impressed...

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 (1974)
4. Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get - THE DRAMATICS (1972)
5. Born Under A Bad Sign - ALBERT KING (1967)
6. I'll Play The Blues For You - ALBERT KING (1971)
7. Be Altitude: Respect Yourself - THE STAPLE SINGERS (1972)
8. Taylored In Silk - JOHNNIE TAYLOR (1973)
9. Do The Funky Chicken - RUFUS THOMAS (1969)
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on 21 September 2012
The best instrumental version of Abbey Road ever. This album was originally released in 1970 and remains one of my favourite albums of all time. I have owned the original vinyl and the original CD version of this album but now I own this version and it's so much better digitally re-mastered and with the extra bonus tracks too which the original album didn't include.

The sound quality is so much better than before and now sounds like a brand new album. You'd never believe this was a 42 year old recording.

Well worth the money and the presentation is superb

Everyone has heard Abbey Road but to those who haven't heard a Stax take on it, try this and you'll love it. From the Hammond B3 organ to the fabulous drum fills and the chugging bass lines, this is the ultimate version of Abbey Road like you've never heard before.

It's an album that's very close to my heart as it was my late father that introduced me to it.

If Amazon allowed ten stars, it still wouldn't be enough.
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on 17 November 2015
Booker t and the Mgs play Abbey Road. Brilliant stuff by Booker T Jones, Al Jackson, Donald "Duck" Dunn and Steve Cropper. The Beatles Abbey Road album played by the grooviest cats on the planet ,And at a wonderful price as well. Brilliant soulful music by the Stax House Band.
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on 7 February 2014
I was a bit worried this might be too cheesy. I needn't have worried. As with most other Booker T stuff they seem to get it right. The funky rhythms and cool tones abound. Steve Cropper in particular is in fine form - who needs to shred on guitar when you have taste?
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on 28 June 2014
I had this album on vinyl and have been looking for it on CD for a while. This version contains the original tracks plus some bonus tracks. I remember my friend who was an avid Beatles fan really enjoyed it.
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