It was customary during the late-1950s and early-60s to surround a hit or two with covers of some memorable songs of the day when creating an album. Booker T. & The M.G.s followed this formula but managed to take many of the songs in unexpected directions. Ray Charles ‘ “I Got a Woman” and “Lonely Avenue,” The Isley Brothers’ “Twist and Shout,” Herbie Mann’s “Comin’ Home Baby,” and Jackie Wilson’s “A Woman, a Lover, a Friend” are twisted and turned all out of shape but eventually return to their basic structure.
The two bonus tracks are live versions of “Green Onions” and “Can’t Sit Down,” recorded at the Ballroom in Los Angeles during 1965 with Duck Dunn on bass. While they have been released previously, they are always welcome.
In many ways, Green Onions is a trip back in time but one well worth taking as it catches one of the best instrumental groups in American rock history at the beginning of their career. Booker T. & The MG’s have created a lot of good music during the last 50 years, but Green Onions remains one of their best works of art.