Concord Music Group continues its Stax Remasters series by dipping into the label’s early days with a bona fide R&B classic. The title track of Booker T. & The MGs’ 1962 Green Onions is still instantly recognizable today from appearances in television (American Dad) and film (X-Men: First Class), and was in May 2012 inducted into the Library of Congress’ prestigious National Recording Registry. On July 24, the original Green Onions album will be reissued and expanded with two bonus tracks.
“Green Onions” was created by the classic line-up of organist Booker T. Jones, guitarist Steve Cropper, drummer Al Jackson Jr. and bassist Lewis Steinberg. Originally the B-side of the May 1962 Volt single “Behave Yourself,” the catchy, organ-driven blues was quickly flipped, and reissued as an A-side on the Stax label. The Green Onions album followed that October as the debut long-player from Booker T. & The MGs, and included “Green Onions” as well as “Behave Yourself.” The instrumental made it all the way to pole position on the R&B chart, and made an impressive No. 3 placement on the Billboard Hot 100. Cover versions followed by everyone from Henry Mancini to The Ventures, and it remains one of the most beloved songs to come out of the Stax hitmaking factory.
The album was filled with similarly tight playing from the Stax house band on a variety of familiar songs and originals, including the follow-up, “Mo’ Onions.” (Belatedly released as a single in 1964, “Mo’ Onions” hit the Hot 100 Pop and R&B Singles charts.) Reissue producer Nick Phillips stated, “Beyond ‘Green Onions,’ which was their biggest hit single, there are so many other great songs on this album which Booker T. & The MGs transformed into timeless R&B instrumental classics, like ‘Comin’ Home Baby,’ ‘Twist and Shout,’ and Ray Charles’s ‘I Got a Woman.’ No matter what song they started with, by the time they were done with it, it was uniquely and unmistakably their own.”
Hit the jump for more on the new reissue plus the track listing and pre-order link!
The new reissue also includes two bonus tracks, both live tracks. “Green Onions” and “Can’t Sit Down” were recorded at the 5/4 Ballroom in Los Angeles in August 1965. These performances feature Donald “Duck” Dunn replacing Steinberg on bass, and Stax family member Charles “Packy” Axton on saxophone for “Can’t Sit Down.” Rob Bowman has penned new liner notes. Bowman states, “In the annals of American music, there have been only a handful of rhythm sections that have all but single-handedly set the course for a whole genre of music. In the case of Booker T. & The MGs, the genre in question is Southern soul music. Although Southern soul has its roots in select 1950s recordings by James Brown, Sam Cooke, and Ray Charles, the genre coalesced in the early and mid-’60s at Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee, where Booker T. & The MGs served as the ‘house band.’” Joe Tarantino has remastered all tracks.
This latest Stax Remaster hits stores on July 24. You can pre-order below!
Booker T. & The MGs, Green Onions (Stax LP 701, 1962 – reissued Stax/Concord, 2012)
- Green Onions
- I Got a Woman
- Mo’ Onions
- Twist and Shout
- Behave Yourself
- Stranger on the Shore
- Lonely Avenue
- The One Who Really Loves You
- I Can’t Sit Down
- A Woman, A Lover, A Friend
- Comin’ Home Baby
- Green Onions (Live) (Bonus Track – recorded at the 5/4 Ballroom, Los Angeles, CA, 1965)
- Can’t Sit Down (Live) (Bonus Track – recorded at the 5/4 Ballroom, Los Angeles, CA, 1965)