MEDIA BLACKOUT #630.271!
Booker T. & The MGs – McLemore Avenue (Stax) :: Brothers and
sisters, the Stax Remasters series just keeps strollin’ on with one of the more notable reissues being this vital mostly-instrumental
remake/remodel of Abbey Road, which was recorded in 1969 mere months after the Beatles released their iconic album.
One of the things that makes McLemore Avenue so memorably unique is that, rather than ape the album’s actual
17 track running order, the band opted instead to scuttle four songs and reconfigure the remaining 13 into only four tracks,
three of which contain lengthy resequenced medleys. The result is a soulfully smooth stylistic retooling that doesn’t
attempt to imitate so much as it inventively extrapolates and augments—and that goes double for Booker’s remaining
Beatle takes which are included as bonus tracks.
The Beatles – Green Apples (Parlophone) ::
Johnnie Taylor – Taylored In Silk (Stax) :: Meanwhile, this smooth as you know what
masterpiece from Stax’s resident blues wailin’ Soul Philosopher finds him in fine fettle, most notably on the
cautionary up-tempo tale “It’s Cheaper To Keep Her” wherein JT tells every man what he oughtta do if he
didn’t heed Cab Calloway’s earlier era entreaty to beware, brother, beware: “You’re tied up, you better
stay tied up ’cause it’s cheaper to keep her! Son, you’re gonna pay some alimony or do some time!”
– Here, My Dear (Motown) :: Exactly!
Johnnie Taylor – Taylored In Silk (Stax) ::
But that’s nothing compared to the equal opportunity advice JT offers to unfaithful finks everywhere: “If
somebody can steal an airplane out from out of the sky, when you look around, somebody’s done stole your love right
from under your eye! You know what they call that, boy? Hijackin’ love!”
Eric Clapton –
Layla (Polydor) :: Ex...
George Harrison – Bye Bye Love (Dark Horse)
SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK: The Staple Singers – Be Altitude:
Respect Yourself (Stax) :: Simply put, this is one of the greatest R&B slash Funk slash Pop albums ever waxed for
public posterity, period. It’s also educationally enlightening in that when the Staples sing: “You the kind of
gentleman that want everything your way; take the sheet off your face boy, it’s a brand new day” on the titular
title track they ain’t just whistlin’ in Dixie. Nor are they kidding any less when they wax poetic on the musically
minimal but no less persuasive “I’ll Take You There”—and those are just the two tracks that you already
know about, what with them being global hit singles and all.
In the meantime, which is definitely a groovy time, wrapped around
those two stellar standouts are eight additional awe-inspiring essays that effortlessly unite into one giant groove-laden
feel-good celebration of faith and fidelity. Which is why, if you only buy one reissue album this year, you really oughtta
ensure that it’s this one because your heart and soul will thank you for it later—in spades.
Be seeing you!