Booker T. – 1974 – Evergreen

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A surprisingly great album by Booker T – recorded after his Memphis years with The MGs, and his duets with Priscilla – and done in a sweetly mellow style that has Booker emerging as a whole new style of songwriter! As with all the post-MG albums, Booker sings lead vocals on all tracks – in a gently, almost folksy mode that fits beautifully with the compressed production of the set.

There’s almost a Terry Callier-ish quality to a few of the cuts, and on others, Booker’s hitting a cool LA style that’s kind of a west coast take on the Memphis vibe – but with a few more rock-based touches. 

Tracks
A1 Jamaica Song 2:25
A2 Mama Stewart 2:52
A3 Tennessee Voodoo 4:46
A4 Flamingo 3:38
A5 Song For Casey 4:52
B1 Evergreen 6:30
B2 Country Days 4:35
B3 Why Me 3:35
B4 Front Street Rag 2:14
B5 Lie To Me 6:00

Playing organ and keyboards in the MG’s, one the greatest R&B and soul bands in the history of pop music, Booker T. Jones was no stranger to the pop world when he recorded Evergreen in 1974. As part of the MG’s, he played on innumerable Stax Records sessions backing everyone from Otis Redding to Sam & Dave, and the MG’s hit the charts a few times themselves, beginning with the timeless “Green Onions” instrumental in 1962.

But things began going south for Stax in the early ’70s, and Jones could see the writing on the wall, leaving the label well before it filed for bankruptcy in 1975 and signing with A&M Records in 1971 and consequently releasing a series of albums with his then-wife Priscilla Coolidge.

He signed with Epic Records in 1974, issued Evergreen, and then returned to A&M Records. Evergreen isn’t a soul record, at least not the way the MG’s did it, and Jones wore several hats at the sessions, playing some guitar and bass on it in addition to organ and keyboards, handled most of the vocals, and also wrote, arranged, and produced all the tracks (with the exception of a cover of Kris Kristofferson’s “Why Me“).

It’s really a laid-back roots album, and one doesn’t get any of Jones’ famous organ playing until the fourth cut, an instrumental called “Flamingo” and it’s there on the title track, “Evergreen“, as well, but most of the album is a light-breezed mix of folk melodies, subtle calypso, and reggae rhythms, ragtime, and what is know these days as soul-jazz, and it’s all very pleasing, but far from the greasy soul-funk sound of the MG’s.

Wounded Bird Records reissued Evergreen in 2013, adding in six bonus tracks, which included the single version of “Evergreen” and interesting cover versions of “Take Me to the River” and “Whiter Shade of Pale” none of which change the overall mood and feel of the original album.

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Conversation for album: Booker T. – 1974 – Evergreen

19 Comments
  • salim
    Posted at 10:17h, 24 January 2019 Reply

    Love Booker T. My fav organ player.

  • Noah
    Posted at 10:36h, 24 January 2019 Reply

    Great one from a legend. Respect.

  • Max.H
    Posted at 10:41h, 24 January 2019 Reply

    Nice one from a legend, many thx.

  • Ziabolik
    Posted at 02:05h, 25 January 2019 Reply

    Never heard it before. But can’t forget Booker T & the M G ‘s!
    The sound of Memphis soul. These guys were studio musicians on dozens of classic ’60’s soul hits.

  • Jason Clark
    Posted at 02:12h, 25 January 2019 Reply

    Elegance, pure and simple.

  • Wilson
    Posted at 00:34h, 26 January 2019 Reply

    Beautiful music!!! Your site is really, really hot!!!

  • Manishboy
    Posted at 11:54h, 26 January 2019 Reply

    What a great album. I had never heard of it before and it’s a shame cause this a great mix of Soul jazz/folk and more.

  • Diego
    Posted at 18:58h, 26 January 2019 Reply

    What an excellent sound! Thank you so much for sharing a listen.

  • Timothy
    Posted at 19:43h, 26 January 2019 Reply

    Super!!!!!!!!♡♡♡♡♡

  • Barbara
    Posted at 02:01h, 27 January 2019 Reply

    Nice…just got into more Booker T

  • Rivoldo
    Posted at 12:26h, 27 January 2019 Reply

    This is so great!
    thnx again!

  • Antonis
    Posted at 23:45h, 27 January 2019 Reply

    This brotha had so much soul.

  • John Macon
    Posted at 23:47h, 27 January 2019 Reply

    Music will never be the same again…

  • Ramiro
    Posted at 10:39h, 28 January 2019 Reply

    Thanks for introducing this gem to me. Greetings from Argentina.

  • Noiz
    Posted at 01:17h, 29 January 2019 Reply

    thx as always, Ive been gettin some really nice gems from you lately!

  • QueenL
    Posted at 11:16h, 29 January 2019 Reply

    Never seen it before. dig it. thans.

  • Forlan
    Posted at 18:54h, 29 January 2019 Reply

    Another great share.

  • Luigi
    Posted at 23:10h, 30 January 2019 Reply

    Bravissimo. Bellissimi brani voce stupenda.

  • U23T
    Posted at 12:39h, 01 February 2019 Reply

    Unique and amazing LP all round. Good work Nikos.

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