Booker T – Potato Hole.

One of the first records that I ever remember is the American Graffiti Soundtrack. That album lived in my housePotato Hole growing up and I can remember it from the earliest age. I pulled it out of my collection this morning just to confirm that I still have it. I was immediately transported back to my 70’s childhood. As far as I’m concerned, there is no better collection of 50’s-era rock-n-roll. Del Shannon, The Big Bopper, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and on and on. As a kid I would open up that double gatefold album with the roller skating waitress on the cover and play those 2 records over and over and over again; sometimes listening on the record player in the living room at home, other times on the one at the camp in New Hampshire. It seems as though American Graffiti was always there as I was growing up. Now American Graffiti was released in 1973. I was 2 years old. It’s not likely that I was dropping records on the turntable at 2, but this is certainly a record that goes back to my earliest ability to consciously listen to music.

Booker T. and the M.G.’s Green Onions has always been my favorite song on the entire soundtrack. That groove is just amazing. The choogling beat just rolls perfectly. I’ve always loved the way the organ sounds on that song. As I’ve grown up, I still love that song every time I hear it. When I saw recently that Booker T released a new album I was intrigued. Then I heard a review of Potato Hole and learned that the Drive-by Truckers were Booker T’s backing band and I had to hear it. When I started listening something occurred to me. I’ve been hearing Green Onions for basically my entire life. It’s one of the first songs I ever loved. And I don’t think I’ve ever heard another Booker T song. Weird, huh? How could that be? I pride myself on having every album known to man and I’ve only ever heard one song by Booker T. and the M.G.’s.

Therefore I really had no idea what to expect on first listen. I mean, I love the Drive-by Truckers but when I think of them it’s not so much as musicians but as storytellers. That’s their place in my consciousness; a bunch of guys that can tell an amazing story in a song. So what are they doing backing Booker T on an album of instrumentals? Well, however these guys came up with this combination, I’m glad they did. That organ is still font and center of every song but the Truckers weave their signature guitar sound throughout. As much as this is a Booker T album, it’s also a Drive-by Truckers album, but with the lyrics torn out. What I enjoy most is that neither Booker T nor the Truckers dominate. It’s a perfect interplay between the two. For me, with any instrumental album, it’s hard to pick out a favorite song; they all kind of wind together as one long piece of work. I will say that I lost my groove during a couple of the slower songs, but on the whole I’m pretty excited by this album. I think with the Truckers as the backing band Booker T manages a really contemporary sound. This doesn’t sound like a 50’s throwback at all. It sounds very much like a group of guys with huge respect for each other’s work doing their best to stay true to the other’s sound.

It was a pleasure to be able to relive those childhood memories of Booker T and American Graffiti. After being terribly disappointed in the last Drive-by Truckers album, it was a pleasure to hear some great new music from them. Check out Potato Hole yourself. You’re going to like it too.

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~ by spinthis45 on July 3, 2009.

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