Sunday, August 09, 2009

Booker T. and The MG's - Melting Pot (1971) (aac, 128 kbps)

After spending a few years making hits with really short instrumentals, this album marked a more experimental turn for the legendary Memphis quartet. This appears to have been the twelfth lp, even though they were less than ten yeqars removed from the legendary debut 'Green Onions'. These guys were prolific!

So much of the magic on this record comes from the drums. Al Jackson, Jr. was more than just a talented player. He brought so much atmosphere and dynamics that the other members of the band can just make everything very simple and understated. Th result is nothing less than extraordinary. Listen to what he does on the ride cymbal on 'Back Home' during the break down. The mood becomes almost silent so that the slightest guitar line or piano riff will speak volumes. Also, the effort at innovation was present with the Manhattan Transfer-esque singing that appears on the second half of the record. At the first, I was put off by these strange noises, but now I appreciate how they accentuate the organ solo in an almost Zappa-like fashion.

Jackson was the house drummer for Stax and appeared on a variety of other records, including material by guitar god Albert King. He was described by MG's guitarist Steve Cropper as "the greatest drummer to ever walk the earth", and based on the playing on this record, it's not hard to see how someone would think that. Thus was the tragedy that much greater when Jackson was murdered in his home on October 1, 1975.

A few MG's records came after this one, but this finds the band at its peak. Understated and powerful. Conveying more emotion with fewer notes and innovating all the time. No band could do more with less.

  1. "Melting Pot" - 8:15
  2. "Back Home" - 4:40
  3. "Chicken Pox" - 3:26
  4. "Fuquawi" - 3:40
  5. "Kinda Easy Like" - 8:43
  6. "Hi Ride" - 2:36
  7. "L.A. Jazz Song" - 4:18
  8. "Sunny Monday" - 4:35
The link is in the comments.


MPomy said...

Anonymous said...

this was one of the records played by dj kool herc one of if not the original hip hop djs