Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Stax Saturday Night

I was in musical heaven last Saturday night. Booker T. & the MGs hit Chicago, along with Mavis Staples and her fine band.

And my wife and I had third row seats.

Now, over the years, I've been lucky enough to see a lot of my musical heroes play live -- e.g., Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Bo Diddley, Albert King, B.B. King, Andres Segovia, Dan Penn, Kris Kristofferson, James Brown, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Eddie Palmieri, Gil Evans, The Temptations (w/ Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin), Jay McShann -- but I've never been able to catch a performance by Booker T. & the MGs. I don't think they've played a lot of Chicago dates during the last couple of decades.

The guys are obviously a little older and grayer than they were when they served as one of the greatest house bands ever (see clip below), but old age hasn't slowed them down on the bandstand. They still bring it.

As for Mavis Staples -- a fellow Chicagoan -- I have been fortunate enough to see her perform over the years, and she still sounds great. Her new record, which was recorded live at The Hideout in Chicago and released this week, captures the feel of the show I saw on Saturday. Her current band features a fine guitarist, Rick Holmstrom, who obviously absorbed a lot of Pops Staples's playing.

If I die tomorrow, I'll die having seen Booker T. & the MGs perform live. (And, yes, I'll look up Al Jackson, Jr. when I get there.) Pretty cool.

1 comment:

Rob said...

The deck was Stax-ed in your favor.

Shameless name-dropping on who you've seen live. However, you may be the only person I know who would include Dan Penn in that list. Cool.