Agony Shorthand

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

One instrumental compilation I reach for before almost all the others for mood enhancement & moderate toe tapping is this 2003 collection from 1960s Stax instrumental stalwarts BOOKER T. & THE MG'S and the MAR-KEYS. It's rather ingeniously entitled "Stax Instumentals". It's nothing that'll shake the foundations nor rattle the core of your being, but its thick grooves and bold hooks are FUN with a captal PH. If I'm not mistaken, the CD is all unreleased tracks as well, which is pretty stunning because the MG's stuff is as good as anything I've heard on their official releases -- and no Beatles BS either! An admission: I'd never heard the MAR-KEYS until I got this CD and obviously have a little crate-digging to do. Their rollicking, organ-driven pounder "Made In Memphis" instantly went to the top of my 60s instrumental list; in fact both acts were 2 of the best ivory-tinkling organ grinders of all time, with more soul and heft in a single track than most bands manage in a lifetime. AND, as I've found out, you can not only play it for the ladies, for your record-nerd pals, but even when the parents or in-laws are around too! How many in your teeming multitude of discs & vinyl can you say that about?