4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Way overdue and a must have,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Evergreen (Audio CD)
Update for the Wounded Bird release - 2/14/13.
Since the ultra expensive Japanese CD is now out of print (it was listing at $90 used immediately before this release) Wounded Bird is to be commended on getting this great CD back in print. All my original comments stand- hence no change in the star rating. BUT...... this CD comes with 6 extra tracks, the 45 version of the title track plus "Life is Funky" which was apparently a 45 in 1975 and which are good to have. The remaining 4 tracks were unreleased until this CD - probably with good reason. As a group, they are seriously marred by the use of "syn-strings" - keyboard emulations that just don't work. On a individual basis while "Higher and Higher" is an interesting prequel to the A & M version that Booker T. cut several years later to modest interest, the other songs should have been left gathering dust. The included version of "Love Is Strange", a song - apart from Buddy Holly's posthumous rework- that is cloying at best - certainly doesn't work in this Peaches and Herb retread version with Booker on the duet with the then Mrs. Jones , Priscilla Coolidge. Imagine "Hey Priscilla - how do you call your lover boy, Hey Booker... etc". Painful and embarrassing. Still the tracks "Evergreen" and "Flamingo" remain vintage Booker T.
Original comments from Epic Japan release: Recorded in California in 1974 when Booker T. had made the final break with Memphis, this album has never been available on CD before this inevitably expensive Japanese release which also has limited availability. After some 35 years of listening to an increasing worn vinyl version with all the compression inherent in that medium it is really great to have this CD version available. The strengths of the album - like all of Booker T's work are in the instrumentals although the album is more slanted to vocals than the former all instrumental outings. "Evergreen", the album title is a standout track. The B3 sounds magical and the extra depth in the bass from the format makes this a great listening experience. I was going to say that no one plays the B3 like Booker T., however there were rumors that Mike Utley ex-member of the legendary Dixie Flyers and now of Jimmy Buffett band fame played lead keyboards on this album (he is listed on the sleeve) - whether this was only on the vocal tracks or the instrumentals is unknown but like Dr. John, Mr. Utley is pretty close to the master in his B3 prowess.
This CD re-issue leads to 3 comments - the first related to the two Booker T. and the MGs albums that have not seen the light of day since their vinyl release - the somewhat MOR release on Elektra and a Stax outtake album that appeared in the UK in the 70s with a title along the lines of "Union Ave Extended", the latter being the HQ of the Stax empire before the bankruptcy. It would be so nice to have both available again. The second is the paucity of material that Booker T has recorded in recent years. While there was a new album on Anti last year with Neil Young "Potato Hole", the last Booker T and the MGs album was in 1994 with the "That's The Way It Should Be" on Columbia. Booker T and the remaining MGs, Duck Dunn and Steve Cropper, are an important part of our musical heritage and it would be so nice if they recorded together more regularly while they can. For those who missed it, Booker T and the MGs actually played on the soundtrack of the movie, "Be Kind Rewind" and the two tracks on the album "Lulu's Back in Town" and "I Ain't Got Nobody" are great.
Finally, the Japanese release of Evergreen on CD with the original sleeve, while expensive, contrasts with Sony US's new strategy of releasing rare soul CDs as CDRs with minimal to no documentation in a format with a limited life. For Don Covay's PIR album "Travelin' In Heavy Traffic". they couldn't even get the track order right on the insert. So, thank you Sony Japan for the release of Evergreen and for those of you looking at rare PIR CDs, check out Edsel UK before you order the CDR version to check whether they have released the album you're after.