Happy Birthday: Al Jackson (Booker T. & The MG’s)
Today we celebrate Al Jackson, the legendary percussionist who sat behind the kit for Booker T. & The M.G.âs during their â60s heyday, into the â70s, and until his death in 1975. To celebrate the date, weâve got the most recent MGâs best-of set for your listening enjoyment, but weâve also put together a six-pack of tracks that you may not have realized featured Jacksonâs playing.
1. Moms Mabley, I LIKE âEM YOUNG (1972): The biggest reason you probably werenât aware that Jackson played on this album is that itâs virtually impossible to find a copy of it nowadays. Thereâs no clip from it on YouTube, itâs long out of print, and the official track listing consists of a grand total of two titles: âMonologue Iâ and âMonologue II.â That said, we can at least tell you how the album was advertised in a full-page ad in JET Magazine when it was originally released: âMoms will tell you things your momma never did. The tales Moms has to tell you on her new album, I LIKE âEM YOUNG, arenât Mother Goose stories at all. Theyâre all about sex and drugs and sex and the Fuzz and pollution and sex and muggings. And more. Now the funniest mother on earth is funnier than ever.â
2. Jerry Lee Lewis, âMeat Manâ (1973): Jackson only played on one track on Lewisâs SOUTHERN ROOTS album, but it led off the LP, so anyone who even gave the record three minutes of their time wouldâve heard his contribution. The song in question was written by Mack Vickers and was originally recorded by Atlanta James in 1970, but itâs far to say that Lewis made it his own.
3. Elvis Presley, âSweet Angelineâ (1973): The King of Rock ânâ Roll made a rare visit to Stax to record a few tracks in the â70s, this being one of them. Itâs a great song that most people probably havenât heard, since it was never released as a single, but itâs well worth a listen.
4. Eric Clapton, âGive Me Strengthâ (1974): Jackson can be heard on a couple of tracks on Claptonâs 461 OCEAN BOULEVARD, though neither were big hits. Still, this is a fine bit of blues from our man Eric.
5. Leon Russell, âLady Blueâ (1975): The late, great Leon Russell released some classic albums during the â70s â indeed, itâs the decade which many would describe as his creative heyday â and while 1975âs WILL Oâ THE WISP isnât generally held up as the best of the bunch, itâs an underrated gem worth investigating.
6. Rod Stewart, âI Donât Want to Talk About Itâ (1975): One of Jacksonâs last sessions before his death in â75 resulted in his contribution to one of the great rock ballads of the decade.
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