Booker T. Jones

The Road From Memphis

Anti- • 2011

Following the collaboration with John Legend, Hip Hop’s session-band The Roots have now been to the studio with the hammond-legend Booker T Jones. On The Road From Memphis, the man who won three Grammys tells the story of his journey: From his hometown, Memphis, all the way up to the Olympus of Soul. From his youth as a paper boy, who curiously eyed the organ in the corner during his piano lessons to Dap-Town, New York, to the Motown-City Detroit. As already practiced on his comeback-album Potato Holes, Booker T Jones attends to the felicitous products of modern Pop, this time with Lauryn Hill’s timeless masterpiece of Rap Everything Is Everything and Cee-Lo’s perky Pop-hit Fuck You. Booker T Jones could have easily done without the covers, because even after fifty years, his blood still doesn’t seem to have rid itself of the Funk-virus. Even without the Groove-grenades The Roots, with Questlove’s flying drums in the back, the eleven tracks would still be evidence of an icon who already shared a stage with the legendary M.G.s at a time, when the Dap Kings couldn’t even hold their drumsticks on their own. The sound stands thoroughly in the tradition of Memphis Soul, which is also due to Lou Reed on the melancholy The Bronx and due to the mighty voice of Sharon Jones. Still, the best vocals come from Booker T, himself, whose aged voice reminds the listener of the first Stax-releases on the ode to his hometown Down in Memphis. Without the cover-tracks and the long story of his live, The Road From Memphis could easily be dated to a few decades earlier and The Roots could be playing as the new Funk Brothers, whom Booker T has always admired.