GREEN ONIONS(Stax S-701, October 1962)
Billboard Top 200 Chart Peak: #33
Billboard R&B Chart Peak: ?
Produced by: Jim Stewart
Liner NotesThe chain of events leading up to a hit recording is long and often unpredictable. Sometimes, however, a record comes along that immediately takes off as a smash seller without appearing to require any planning or effort at all, as if the public were only waiting for the record to be released. Such was the case with Green Onions. Suddenly, and with amazing speed, everyone was asking at their favorite record store for Green Onions. But the success of Green Onions involves much more than could be seen by the casual observer. Especially since before the appearance of Green Onions, Booker T. & The M.G.s were unknown outside of music circles in Memphis, Tenn.
Booker T. Jones' (his full name) musical talents became apparent at a very early age. By the time he entered high school, Booker was already a semi-professional, and quickly recognized as the most talented musician in his school. He was appointed director of the school band for four years, and in addition, organized the school orchestra which played for proms throughout the Mid-South. In the classroom, he concentrated on the studies of music theory and harmony.
Booker's multiple activities earned him a coveted honor, that of being listed in the students' "Who's Who of American High Schools." Booker's first instrument was the string bass, but he soon switched to the organ, for which listeners of popular music can be grateful. It is the wonderful beat and bluesy sound that Booker extracts from the organ which made Green Onions one of the big instrumentals this year.
Booker came to the attention of recording executive Jim Stewart in Memphis, and while still in high school, he worked as a staff musician for Stax Records, appearing as a sideman on many recording dates for that label. It became obvious that one day Booker would be ready to record under his own name. Several months ago Booker's first recording session was set, and at that first date Booker recorded Green Onions. The rest is record history.
The next step was for Booker to record a long playing album, enabling him to "stretch out" and bring his own way of playing to a variety of tunes. Interestingly enough, two of the selections have been recorded successfully by other instrumentalists. Mr. Acker Bilk's Stranger On The Shore, which was a giant hit by the clarinetist earlier this year, is one of these. Comin' Home Baby has attracted a great deal of attention because of jazz flutist Herbie Mann's recording of the number.
Booker has also included another slice of Green Onions in a new tune which he wrote especially for the album, Mo' Onions, as well as an original down-home blues, Behave Yourself.
For everyone who has been mystified by the billing used by Booker T. & The M.G.s, the explanation is quite simple. "MG" stands for Memphis Group. There is no guarantee that the wave of publicity Booker T. has kicked off for Green Onions will increase the consumption of that potent vegetable, on the other hand, it is certain that more and more people will be digging Booker T.'s Green Onions sound.
Quotes & Notes"I knew when we cut 'Green Onions,' I said 'Shit, this is the best damn instrumental I've heard in I don't know when.' I knew we had a winner there."
"That sounds like somebody making love and the lady says to the man 'behave yourself!' Thus was born the title of what became the B-side, 'Behave Yourself.'"
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