Booker T. Jones - Potato Hole (2009)

Booker T. Jones
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Front man of the soul-surviving, legendary Stax machine, Booker T. & the M.G.s, power organist Booker T. Jones returns to the forefront once again on Potato Hole, his first solo outing since 1981's "I Want You" for A&M Records. On this round, joining him in the studio is alt-country band Drive-By Truckers and the legendary rock/country guitarist Neil Young, humbly serving here as an impeccable session player. The all instrumental Potato Hole is not too far a cry from the Stax glory days, but don't expect something as organic as "Green Onions" or "Melting Pot" to magically appear. When he tackles Outkast's "Hey Ya," the gospel-ish organ solos cannot replicate Andre 3000's playful, synth-driven original. Jones is still a creative force, penning such amalgams of cool organ-rock like the opening "Pound It Out" and the bluesy Sly Stone funk of the title track.

Front man of the soul-surviving, legendary Stax machine, Booker T. & the M.G.s, power organist Booker T. Jones returns to the forefront once again on Potato Hole, his first solo outing since 1981's "I Want You" for A&M Records. On this round, joining him in the studio is alt-country band Drive-By Truckers and the legendary rock/country guitarist Neil Young, humbly serving here as an impeccable session player. The all instrumental Potato Hole is not too far a cry from the Stax glory days, but don't expect something as organic as "Green Onions" or "Melting Pot" to magically appear. When he tackles Outkast's "Hey Ya," the gospel-ish organ solos cannot replicate Andre 3000's playful, synth-driven original. Jones is still a creative force, penning such amalgams of cool organ-rock like the opening "Pound It Out" and the bluesy Sly Stone funk of the title track. Besides the country-rock hybrids of Jones's soulful organ pumps, effective experiments-something the 64-year old veteran is historically known for-are miniaturized in this mix. Sure, the band exercises their Memphis soul sweet-tooth and blend well with the organ legend, but Potato Hole is not quite the big, memorable return many may have anticipated, particularly considering his wealth of hits and relevance to soul's origins. Back in the day, Jones was an innovator. Potato Hole shows an innovator revving in the shadows of the M.G.'s revolution. That said; Potato Hole is a satisfying and highly appreciated return to the recording world, cooking with all the right ingredients of a post-Stax revival. Now let's hope Jones doesn't have us waiting another three decades to pump out some more of that original Memphis soul food. Notable songs: "Pound It Out," "Potato Hole," "Native New Yorker" and "Space City." Vocals: N/A  Lyrics: N/A  Music: 3 stars  Production: 3 stars  Soul Tracks Call: Recommended

By J. Matthew Cobb

 
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