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Stax Instrumentals

music reviewmusic reviewmusic reviewmusic review  out of 4 Music Review: Stax Instrumentals

Artist: Booker T & MG's
Genre: Instrumental, Blues, Jazz
Release Date: April 2003

Review by Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
4 stars out of 4

Twenty-Five great instrumental tracks finally get the dust blown off and are seeing the light of day for the first time with this extraordinary release on Stax (Fantasy Jazz). This collection offers further evidence that the label and its impressive roster of musicians created timeless music that has served as both a benchmark for styles and techniques across the board in sound and musical production.

I feel very strongly that this music was a precursor to jazz-rock fusion. With the combination of rock, jazz, blues, rhythm & blues and blues, it is obvious to me that this was surely the first kind of modern rock oriented fusion music to take shape.

Booker T. & The MGs and The Mar-Keys had many of the same musicians. That does not come as a revelation because Stax and their strong stable of artists gained their well-known reputation for playing on every record the label ever recorded. The bands would later receive accolades both with their respective bands and individually.

This music, recorded in the early 60s, and subsequently forgotten for what seems like an eternity now, is finally available for our listening gratification. Even though all of these tracks are strong, it never came off the shelf. No doubt, the label most likely looked at the songs as not being viable single material. I do not think the recordings took aim at that market anyway, which is understandable as the creative process was a carefree jam style approach with no deadlines imposed on the recording sessions, which really had no particular structure to start with. Steve Cropper commented that they had a lot of fun and there was no pressure and that is why it sounds so happy. It really does sound happy, and it all is such a joy to hear.

The liner notes that accompany this CD are splendid, giving eye-opening detail of the techniques and equipment used for the sessions. This is a must-have CD of over 64 minutes of instrumental paradise. If you enjoy instrumental music that is multi-crossover, this CD will be welcomed in your stereo time after time.

1. Let's Go (Cropper/Dunn/Jackson/Jones) - 2:21
2. Good Groove (Cropper/Dunn/Jackson/Jones) - 2:52
3. Candy performed by Mar-Keys - 2:45
4. Peppy performed by Mar-Keys - 2:02
5. Slidin' (Cropper/Dunn/Jackson/Jones) - 2:43
6. Put a Label on It (Cropper/Dunn/Jackson/Jones) - 2:03
7. Raw-Hide performed by Mar-Keys - 1:54
8. Gigglin' performed by Mar-Keys - 2:17
9. Jazzy (Cropper/Dunn/Jackson/Jones) - 2:07
10. Weird Stomp (Cropper/Dunn/Jackson/Jones) - 2:39
11. Made in Memphis performed by Mar-Keys - 2:48
12. Soul Twist performed by Mar-Keys - 2:48
13. Funky Folks Cha Cha (Cropper/Dunn/Jackson/Jones) - 3:32
14. Tick Tac Toe (alternate take) (Cropper/Jackson/Jones/Steinberg) - 3:34
15. Settle Down performed by Mar-Keys - 2:08
16. Blue Peanut performed by Mar-Keys - 2:50
17. Ain't (Cropper/Jackson/Jones/Steinberg) - 2:54
18. Lawn Party (Cropper/Dunn/Jackson/Jones) - 2:45
19. Tighten Up performed by Mar-Keys - 2:06
20. Saucy performed by Mar-Keys - 2:36
21. Consumption (Cropper/Dunn/Jackson/Jones) - 2:52
22. Three Leaf Clover (Cropper/Dunn/Jackson/Jones) - 2:24
23. Sassy performed by Mar-Keys - 2:10
24. The Floyd performed by Mar-Keys / Floyd Newman - 2:03
25. The Bo Vitch (Cropper/Jackson/Jones/Steinberg) - 2:13



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