8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Show 'em how it's done,
This review is from: Hip Hug Her (Audio CD)
Many people say that Hip Hug-Her is the best album ever released by Booker T. & the MGs. While that's up for debate, this certainly is one of the legendary quartet's greatest achievements. Donald "Duck" Dunn replaced original bassist Lewie Steinberg, and this was the second album with Dunn as a permanent member. This is the album where the four musicians merged into the most formidable instrumental unit the world has ever known.
The title cut is just pure prime time Booker T. & the MGs. Booker T. Jones is playing with a newly found confidence, and this was the first single they released with Jones playing the Hammond B-3 organ. The B-3 itself could be partly responsible for Jones's swinging playing style, and he would use this type of organ on almost every track the group would eventually record. Tight as can be from start to finish is drummer Al Jackson, Jr., with that perfect snare sound and as usual, this album is full of great moments from him. No wonder, considering he started playing in his father's famed Jazz/Swing band when he was five years old, his work on the jazzy "Pigmy" and "Booker's Notion" (which obviously features terrific work, both on piano and organ, by Jones) is superior to any drummer I've ever heard in the Jazz world.
The interplay between this band is rivaled by none, particularly the backbone of Dunn, Jackson, and Soul guitarist numero uno Steve Cropper. The hip shaking and perfectly titled "Soul Sanction" and especially the great "Double or Nothing" (which though used as an encore to this day at their concerts, will not be found on any MGs compilations) display their tight, yet seemingly effortless, playing that was the envy of groups such as The Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Z.Z. Top, and even now such diverse artists as Chuck D. and Pearl Jam marvel at.
The album's closer is a fantastic cover of Bobby Hebb's "Sunny". It's highlighted by some of the most perfect guitar work I've ever heard on the intro by the always impeccable Cropper and Jackson's patented delayed backbeat. And Booker's organ work just defines the essence of cool. When Hip Hug-Her was unleashed, the MGs went from being known as the best studio backing band in the world to being bona fide stars.