Memphis Minute - November 12
The young man was having an identity crisis. Able to play many instruments, he liked the guitar, but that job was already taken by a guy who worked at the local record store. With discipline and respect taught in his house, he was preparing for the Army in high school - he was a student ROTC commander and could assemble an M1 blindfolded. When he was asked to sit in his first recording session, he was handed a baritone sax. One day in the studio, he was playing a riff on a Hammond organ when the engineer and the rest of the band picked up on it. At 17, he had just written one of the foundations of the Memphis soul sound. Later on he backed Delaney and Bonnie, Stephen Stills, and - how do you refuse your wife’s sister - Rita Coolidge. He also produced a record for Coolidge, Bill Withers (“Ain't No Sunshine”), and Willie Nelson’s Stardust. But first there was Rufus and Carla Thomas (sax on “Cause I Love You”), and Hammond organs (M3 and B3) for Otis Redding, Eddie Floyd, Wilson Pickett, and a string of instrumental hits by his band, including that guy who worked at the record store.
Happy Birthday to child prodigy, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, (teen) Founding Father of Stax and Memphis soul - Booker T Jones, born in Memphis on this day in 1944!
Of course that Satellite Records store worker who played guitar, wrote songs, and produced for Stax is Steve Cropper. Here is Booker T with Cropper, and the late Al Jackson Jr and "Duck" Dunn - Booker T and the MG's