Booker T. & The M.G.'s: Green Onions (Deluxe 60th Anniversary Edition) (Rhino) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Booker T. & the M.G.’s

Green Onions (Deluxe 60th Anniversary Edition)


Jun 29, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

The debut album by Booker T. & The M.G.’s turns a shade over 60 years old this year and is still as fresh as a Tennessee daisy. Green Onions manages to sound both timeless and completely of its time in a way that cannot be explained. Who’d have thought that the public would still be intrigued to listen to 12 Hammond Organ-led instrumentals, some of which were pretty much composed on the spot, 60 years after they were recorded?

It’s all about the quality of the band. If you’ve got Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper, and Al Jackson Jr. playing on a tune, even the slightest of material will still be worth listening to. Acker Bilk’s jazz-lite classic “Stranger on the Shore” sounds surprisingly righteous here, with Bilk’s mournful clarinet replaced by Booker T.’s church organ. Even a simple blues like “Lonely Avenue” has enough detail and deft touches to stop it being just another formulaic gospel 12 bar. Only once does quality control slip—“Mo’ Onions” is a quick cash-in re-tread of the title track, but even that manages to raise a wry smile.

Green Onions is a gorgeous collection of blues, soul and pop tunes played by a band almost at the top of their game. When peerless bassist Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn joined the MG’s in 1965, they turned into the tightest combo south of Motown and the only band with the chops and the feel to keep up with Otis Redding in his prime. Even without Redding at the helm, the band could effortlessly blow the roof off anywhere they played. If you want to hear a masterclass in painfully hip, greasy grooves, you really should start here. It never hurts to familiarize yourself with the classics. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 10/10


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