Get High and Cruise Down McLemore Avenue -- Booker T. & the MGs' Take on Abbey Road
Today's dope: Pursang Haze, a rank and fuzzy hybrid with a kick like something out of a Sonny Chiba movie.
Deep-fried Jelly Babies: Here Booker T. & the guys slather the Fab Four's R&B-derived music with a fresh coat of funky before taking Paul McCartney's Side Two mini-symphony for a joyride down Soul Street. Approaching the problems of Macca's melodic vehicle as a matter of reverse engineering, Booker begins at nearly "The End," whomping together a spine-tingling R&B suite out of the source album's finale, which in turn folds "Here Comes the Sun" Escher-like into "Come Together" for a single stupendous 15-plus-minute track. "Something" rates its own separate exploration, with George Harrison's best-loved song given additional heft and eloquence with Booker T.'s piano lines and virtuoso guitar solos by Steve "The Colonel" Cropper that almost push proceedings into the proggy stratosphere. The doomy symmetry of "Because/You Never Give Me Your Money" is conjured into a trawl down Beale Street on a steamy Friday night, and the closing medley of "Mean Mister Mustard/Polythene Pam/She Came in Through the Bathroom Window/I Want You (She's So Heavy)" begins with a Lennonesque simmer before settling into a long hypno-groove highlighted by some of Jones' career-best keyboard figures. Al Jackson Jr.'s all-devouring cymbal shimmer closes out the album with the quartet's fine old trick of running proceedings down like some steampunk-era clockwork funk machine coming to the end of its nickel's worth of play. This tasty reissue is a fine replacement for the old Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs CD now going for ruinous sums on eBay. Hold on for the radio spot buried at the end.
More Applejack: If the five magisterially brooding bonus covers of
earlier Beatles tunes like "You Can't Do That" and "Eleanor Rigby"
aren't enough, bend an ear to this raging-sick 1969 cover of "Back in
the U.S.S.R." by a Southern boy named John Fred, whose "Judy in
Disguise (with Glasses)" delights fans of Maclen pastiche to this
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