The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Expanded “Green Onions” Coming From Booker T. & The MGs

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Concord Music Group continues its Stax Remasters series by dipping into the label’s early days with a bona fide R&B classic.  The title track of Booker T. & The MGs’ 1962 Green Onions is still instantly recognizable today from appearances in television (American Dad) and film (X-Men: First Class), and was in May 2012 inducted into the Library of Congress’ prestigious National Recording Registry.  On July 24, the original Green Onions album will be reissued and expanded with two bonus tracks.

“Green Onions” was created by the classic line-up of organist Booker T. Jones, guitarist Steve Cropper, drummer Al Jackson Jr. and bassist Lewis Steinberg.  Originally the B-side of the May 1962 Volt single “Behave Yourself,” the catchy, organ-driven blues was quickly flipped, and reissued as an A-side on the Stax label.   The Green Onions album followed that October as the debut long-player from Booker T. & The MGs, and included “Green Onions” as well as “Behave Yourself.”  The instrumental made it all the way to pole position on the R&B chart, and made an impressive No. 3 placement on the Billboard Hot 100.  Cover versions followed by everyone from Henry Mancini to The Ventures, and it remains one of the most beloved songs to come out of the Stax hitmaking factory.

The album was filled with similarly tight playing from the Stax house band on a variety of familiar songs and originals, including the follow-up, “Mo’ Onions.”  (Belatedly released as a single in 1964, “Mo’ Onions” hit the Hot 100 Pop and R&B Singles charts.)  Reissue producer Nick Phillips stated, “Beyond ‘Green Onions,’ which was their biggest hit single, there are so many other great songs on this album which Booker T. & The MGs transformed into timeless R&B instrumental classics, like ‘Comin’ Home Baby,’ ‘Twist and Shout,’ and Ray Charles’s ‘I Got a Woman.’ No matter what song they started with, by the time they were done with it, it was uniquely and unmistakably their own.”

Hit the jump for more on the new reissue plus the track listing and pre-order link!

The new reissue also includes two bonus tracks, both live tracks.  “Green Onions” and “Can’t Sit Down” were recorded at the 5/4 Ballroom in Los Angeles in August 1965. These performances feature Donald “Duck” Dunn replacing Steinberg on bass, and Stax family member Charles “Packy” Axton on saxophone for “Can’t Sit Down.”  Rob Bowman has penned new liner notes.  Bowman states, “In the annals of American music, there have been only a handful of rhythm sections that have all but single-handedly set the course for a whole genre of music.  In the case of Booker T. & The MGs, the genre in question is Southern soul music. Although Southern soul has its roots in select 1950s recordings by James Brown, Sam Cooke, and Ray Charles, the genre coalesced in the early and mid-’60s at Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee, where Booker T. & The MGs served as the ‘house band.’”  Joe Tarantino has remastered all tracks.

This latest Stax Remaster hits stores on July 24.  You can pre-order below!

Booker T. & The MGs, Green Onions (Stax LP 701, 1962 – reissued Stax/Concord, 2012)

  1. Green Onions
  2. Rinky-Dink
  3. I Got a Woman
  4. Mo’ Onions
  5. Twist and Shout
  6. Behave Yourself
  7. Stranger on the Shore
  8. Lonely Avenue
  9. The One Who Really Loves You
  10. I Can’t Sit Down
  11. A Woman, A Lover, A Friend
  12. Comin’ Home Baby
  13. Green Onions (Live) (Bonus Track – recorded at the 5/4 Ballroom, Los Angeles, CA, 1965)
  14. Can’t Sit Down (Live) (Bonus Track – recorded at the 5/4 Ballroom, Los Angeles, CA, 1965)

Written by Joe Marchese

June 27, 2012 at 14:02

3 Responses

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  1. These recent Stax remasters sound pretty great, and I look for forward to an upgrade on this classic title, ’cause I’m a fanatic. That said, the bonus tracks they’ve been offering are a mixed bag – often they’re available on other in-print releases and don’t offer a complete picture of that artist’s work at the time.

    In this case, the two bonus live tracks can still be found on the incredible “Funky Broadway: Stax Revue Live At The 5/4 Ballroom” CD, which actually features three more Booker T & the MGs tracks not included on this “Green Onions” remaster – despite plenty of space on the CD for them.

    Rob Bowman is correct – Booker T & the MGs was an incredible, revolutionary combo – and they deserve greater acclaim and name recognition. While I welcome these Stax reissues, I question why the Concord Music Group isn’t focusing on an artist or two at a time and reissuing each artist’s entire catalog in a way that would garner greater publicity for the artist, rather than the seemingly scattershot approach they’re taking.


    June 27, 2012 at 19:38

    • John
      Totally agree – Concord certainly touted great plans for Stax after they bought Fantasy and its been a very mixed bag ever since – more K-Tel than Rhino/Ace. Maybe now that Ace has reactivated Stax in the UK we’ll see more rare stuff than endless repackaging – maybe even Cropper/King/Staples “Jammed Together” with the 6 min version of Tupelo.

      Mike Williams

      July 24, 2012 at 08:45

  2. Still need to pick up the reissue of McElmore Avenue… These guys were awesome.


    June 28, 2012 at 17:53

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