Booker T. Jones • Interview with Robert Gordon, 2012
Special Programs • 1h 26m
Multi-instrumentalist Booker T. Jones recalls milestones in his music career—including scoring a massive hit in 1962 with the organ-driven “Green Onions”—in this interview with Memphis-based music historian Robert Gordon. Jones shares stories of recording with Soul music legends as part of the regular house band at Stax Records, and answers audience questions.
During the 2012 program, presented in partnership with the Americana Music Association, Jones describes the evolution of Booker T. and the MGs at Stax—with him on keys, Steve Cropper on guitar, Lewie Steinberg on bass, Al Jackson Jr on drums, and Chips Moman engineering—and how some free Sunday-morning studio time led to recording the songs “Behave Yourself” and “Green Onions.” Needing a name to print on the record label, Jackson looked out the window at Moman’s car and suggested “Booker T. and the MGs.” In response to an audience question, Jones recounts how “Green Onions,” originally recorded as filler and intended for the B-side of the single, became an unexpected hit after a local DJ played it.
In a compelling testimonial for music education, Jones explains how his music career roots back to age nine, when he volunteered to play the oboe in his school’s band program. With access to an array of instruments in the music room, the curious budding musician began to teach himself as many as he could, including saxophone and trombone. Jones recalls how the years of study quickly paid off when he was pulled out of sophomore Algebra class to play baritone sax in his first session at Satellite (which became Stax) Records.
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