Masterful ensemble playing
William Jones | Rockville, MD USA | 09/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Just about everything Booker T. and the M.G.'s recorded is worth hearing, but this is an often overlooked masterpiece. The "Ode to Billie Joe" starts off as a dirge/march and then swings uptempo. "You Don't Love Me", recorded by the same rhythm section with Albert King, has a neat arrangement, as does "Let's go Get Stoned". "Blue on Green" is straight ahead organ-combo blues done the way it should be--no one player is trying to do all the work. None of these tunes appears on The Best Of...on Atlantic."
Do it forever
thestaxman | Jackson, MS United States | 10/24/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Al Jackson. Al Jackson. Anyone who wants to be a drummer should know him and listen to this album to hear his amazing snare sound. While this album is one of the better ones in their catalog, it's also somewhat of a mixed bag. Ten of the eleven songs were knocked out in one day. That's almost unheard of these days with today's production standards, artists' egos, and simply, time and money. This shows what a well-oiled machine Booker T. & the MGs were and how creative and explosive the four of them had become. "The Beat Goes On" was recorded over three months before, and should I just say that ten songs would have been a nice even number. "I Can Dig It" is an uninteresting MGs original, and the title track sounds like it was done three years and three albums before this one. These three songs sound mediocre compared to what they were capable of, but as always, the superior musicianship, on "I Can Dig It" particularly, make them all worth listening to. This album features four top-notch covers that were included on the Time Is Tight box set. "Never My Love" and "Ode To Billie Joe", along with the wonderful "Expressway To Your Heart", featuring Jackson's unbelievable snare, and the tight as can be "You Don't Love Me". The surprises here are "The Exodus Song", which has a kind of "Hang 'Em High" like atmosphere, and also great, great versions of "You Keep Me Hangin' On" and a slowed down offering of one of my favorite Ray Charles songs, "Let's Go Get Stoned". The former features, again, terrific work by Jackson, and a Duck Dunn / Steve Cropper bass line that's incredibly infectious, and the latter featuring a vintage Cropper guitar solo that shows why people always remark on him being such an economical player. Everyone in this band had the key to soul - less is more. When the album is over, the listener will feel as if he or she has been surrounded by greatness. This is an overlooked gem in the spectacular catalog of Booker T. & the MGs."
A good "transition" album
William Jones | 04/06/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This album came out between the two best MG's albums: "Hip Hug-Her" and "Soul Limbo." Stylistically, it falls between those albums. The edgier blues/funk style of "Hip Hug-Her" and the earlier albums is becoming more refined and jazzy in the style of "Soul Limbo" and the albums that followed. The best MG's albums mixed original and cover tunes in almost equal quantities. "Doin' Our Thing" is almost all covers and some of the choices ("The Beat Goes On," "Ode To Billie Joe") are definitely below par. Not a bad album, but pick up "Soul Limbo" and "Hip Hug-Her" before you pick this one up."