Not perfect, but that's the way I like it
thestaxman | Jackson, MS United States | 09/20/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I have become very fond of this album, which just simmers with raw energy from the start. There's a fun introduction that leads into one of the most smoking versions of "Green Onions" I've heard. Duck Dunn's impact is felt immediately. He thumps his bass a little louder and digs into the groove a little deeper than his predecessor, Lewie Steinberg, who played on the Green Onions and Soul Dressing albums. Granted, this is a live recording and Steinberg would have probably been more aggressive live, but nobody can groove like Dunn. He rips through "Red Beans and Rice" and the rest of the set with swinging authority. This was recorded live in 1967, not 1997, but the sound is really good. Booker T. Jones played superbly on this night. His B-3 sounds amazing. The album's energy dips somewhat when The Mar-Keys come on. Except for Steve Cropper, Dunn, and trumpeter Wayne Jackson, the original Mar-Keys basically ceased to exist after their 1961 hit "Last Night". What they became, in fact, was Booker T. & the MGs plus The Memphis Horns, the heart of soul music in the '60s. The material and sound of The Mar-Keys is similar to high school R & B bands and fraternity circuit bands of the late '50s and early '60s, and thus, is just not as creative or as exciting as the MGs'. It's good, solid dance music of that period. The horn section leaves Booker T. and company to finish things off. After Cropper's soulfully sly guitar solo on "Booker Loo", the group, led by Al Jackson's get out your seat drumming, hits a groove so strong, if you can't shake your backside to it, you've got a hole in your soul. The first time I heard this album, I wasn't overly impressed. I had silly thoughts like, hey, that's not how Cropper played on the original "Hip Hug-Her". But, this album is deceptively addicting. Seems the longer I own it, the more often I play it. Just as almost anything from the MGs' catalogue, or all of Stax Records, for that matter, it gets better with every listen."
The Sound Isn't The Best - But It's Worth The Annoyance
BluesDuke | Las Vegas, Nevada | 01/02/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Live recordings of soul and rock not yet having reached a modicum of sophistication, you can forgive the rather dulled sound of this recording. Forget that - and that Booker and the boys are keeping it close enough to the original cuts - and just be happy with the way they manage regardless to dig in just a little bit harder in front of an audience. Especially since a) there's just a little more blood being shed when the Mar-Keys horns (known soon enough as the Memphis Horns) join up for their turns, particularly "Last Night"; and, b) at this writing, it is the only known live recording available (under their own name, of course; that was them backing Otis Redding at Monterey) of the greatest backing band in the history of classic deep Southern soul."