Booker T. & the MG's - McLemore Avenue (Music CD)

Release Date: 16 May 2011
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Though Booker T. & the MG's had always been more of a singles act, they made a series of respectable long-players throughout the 1960s as well, culminating in the fine Melting Pot from 1971. Prior to recording that album, however, they assembled this Beatles homage, tackling an entire album from the Liverpool quartet. Rather than stroll down the Abbey Road they pay tribute to, however, organist Booker T. Jones, guitarist Steve Cropper, bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn, and drummer Al Jackson, Jr. strut down McLemore Avenue, the funky Memphis location of the equally legendary Stax studios. Most of the songs are arranged in a fluid medley style, maintaining the suite-like feel that unified the original. The results often veer toward a sort of funky muzak. Imagine, if you will, the sort of tunes you might have heard piped into the Stax offices or renditions offered up by a late-night lounge act. Following the introductory pairing of "Golden Slumbers" and "Carry That Weight," the quartet flexes its combined muscle on "The End," a performance complete with soloing from Cropper and heated organ bursts from Jones. It's all over far too quickly, however, lapsing into George Harrison's "Something" and bringing up the main problem with McLemore Avenue. As the backing band behind countless Stax classics, rhythm, rather than melody, has always been the MG's' strong suit. Thankfully, the Abbey Road material balances the schmaltzy sentimentality of tracks like "Golden Slumbers" and "Here Comes the Sun" with the tougher grooves of "The End" and "Come Together": songs that lend themselves much better to the MG's' approach. The quartet may have been better off stretching out on a few of these tracks, rather than rendering the bulk of the album. As it is, McLemore Avenue remains a curio for Booker T. and Beatles fans alike. ~ Nathan Bush
Release Date: 16 May 2011

1. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End/Here Comes The Sun
2. Something
3. Because/You Never Give Me Your Money
4. Sun King/Mean Mr Mustard/Polythene Pam/She Came In Through T
5. You Can't Do That
6. Day Tripper
7. Michelle
8. Eleanor Rigby
9. Lady Madonna
10. You Can't Do That


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Catalogue No: 7232874