Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Chinese Checkersdotdotdot
artworkBooker T. and the MG's was essentially the house band at Stax/Volt Records. "Chinese Checkers" was one their more interesting song titles. This comp collects a bucket load of bands playing tribute. Some surf, but mostly Memphis soul. A very fun collection.
Picks: Green Onions, Chinese Checkers, Soul Limbo, Hang 'Em High, Hip Hug Her, Melting Pot, High Ride, Soul Dressing, Can't Be Still, Rinky Dink, Kinda Easy Like, Born Under A Bad Sign, Time Is Tight

Track by Track Review


Green Onions dotdotdot
Memphis Soul (Instrumental)

The Slackmates do a mighty interesting variation on the classic Booker T. and the MG's tune. More exotic, or maybe loungy, yet very cool.

Chinese Checkers dotdot
Memphis Soul (Instrumental)

Low brow cheese, lacking the cool of the original single. Bongos and gutty rhythm guitar, and combo organ. Kinda gimmicky, in the way the early synthesizer records were.

Soul Limbo dotdotdot
Memphis Soul (Instrumental)

Taking their time to arrive at the melody, Los Banditos have some kinda fun with this rhythmic charmer. Very nice cover.

Hang 'Em High dotdotdotdotdot
Spaghetti Western Surf (Instrumental)

Booker T. and the MG's covered Enio Morricone's classic spaghetti western theme to the film "Hang 'Em High," so it's fair game for this comp. Austin's big twang Sandblasters do an incredibly cool version, with rich vibrato and whammy, and western rhythms. It's complete with a dramatic drums and acoustic guitar break. Infectious and totally cool.

Hip Hug Her dotdotdot
Memphis Soul (Instrumental)

While a little cheesy, this classic Booker T. and the MG's song is always fun. Del Noah and the Mt. Ararat Finks don't play too loose with the intent, while using fuzz and extra cheese. The result is a very fun track.

Melting Pot dotdot
Memphis Soul (Instrumental)

Jazzy guitar licks and Leslie mall organ create a cute and sorta white bread soul sound. OK, but not memorable.

High Ride dotdotdot
Memphis Soul Surf (Instrumental)

Italy's Cosmonauti use fuzz and twang to recreate "High Ride" in their own impeccably cool way. A fun and rhythmic track, with excellent drums and bass holding the time.

Soul Dressing dotdotdot
Memphis Soul (Instrumental)

The Booker T. and the M.G.'s classic single recut. It's hard to outdo that classic Stax studio sound, so this fresh approach was a good idea. It is at least as interesting and listenable, though less energy seems present. I do like the surf guitar tones better than the Memphis tones of the original. Nice track.

Can't Be Still dotdotdotdot
Memphis Soul Surf (Instrumental)

Austin's Sir Finks use almost Davie Allan fuzz and rich damped reverb surf guitar with cheesy organ, and solid bass and drums for guts. They reinvent "Can't Be Still" in a way that's a blend of cheesy and cool. Quite fun.

Rinky Dink dotdotdotdot
Memphis Soul Surf (Instrumental)

Dave 'Baby' Cortez' cheesy organ masterpiece is filtered through the Booker T. and the MG's looking glass, and then taken to the dockside bars by Chicago's Cocktail Preachers. Quite a fun track.

Kinda Easy Like dotdotdot
Memphis Garage Soul (Instrumental)

garage masters the Waistcoats groove down "Kinda Easy Like" until it's a natural in the carport across the way. Groovy, soulful, and garagy in a good way.

Born Under A Bad Sign dotdotdotdot
Memphis Soul (Instrumental)

Italy's Bradipos IV make nice surf noises with organ added on this rendition of "Born Under A Bad Sign." It's in the mold of Booker T. and the MG's, but also in the surf groove. Pretty fun.

Time Is Tight dotdotdotdot
Memphis Surf (Instrumental)

Opening with a marvelous decaying delayed guitar chord, this quickly drops into a solid version with most unusual drums and a great quirky arrangement. This is not one of my fave Booker T. and the MG's tracks, but this version has immense charm. Great stuff.