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Review Sun Jun 12 2011

Review: Booker T @ Old Town School of Folk Music, 6/11

Booker T Jones was a musical prodigy who got his start at Stax in Memphis while still in high school. That was nearly 50 years ago and his career shows no signs of ending. Saturday night he was at the Old Town School of Folk Music for two shows. Playing in support of a new album, The Road From Memphis, it was no surprise when the early set began with two of its tracks - "Harlem House" and "Down in Memphis." The former was a nice introduction that showcased some of Booker T's absolutely sick skills on a Hammond organ. The latter was a rather pedestrian bluesy number.

But then the fun began with "Green Onions", one of the most iconic instrumental songs of all-time. It wasn't completely faithful to the version everyone's heard a hundred times, though. A few guitar licks differed and the tempo was just barely slower. But if you figure Booker T plays it at every show, the man's allowed some leeway. At any rate, it certainly excited the crowd. That trend would continue on numerous songs with freestyling and improvisation peppering music that's been in his repertoire for years and even some that's new. After the first of three from 1968's Soul Limbo album ("Born Under a Bad Sign"), Booker T (now on guitar) and his backing band rolled through covers of "Take Me to the River", "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" and "Ain't No Sunshine."

Back to behind the Hammond (where it seemed most of the audience wanted to see him), he and the band returned to an original in "Soul Limbo", which was preceded by an anecdote about the BBC's usage of it for their cricket Test Match Special and featured a lengthy drum solo. A cover of Lauryn Hill's "Everything is Everything" followed and sounded the freshest of the new album songs with a funky beat and Jones' organ skills highlighted. A trifecta of stone-cold Booker T classics closed the set. "Hip Hug-Her", "Time is Tight" and "Hang 'em High" each drew rousing applauses of recognition and were elevated by the wealth of talent on stage. Even though the band was pulled together between Oakland and Boston, those boys could play and they dropped an abundance of tricks into those three. It may not have been some transcendental event, but it definitely had stirring moments from one of the finest organists ever.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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