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Booker T. Jones: The heart of soul

Justin Steyer

During the 1960s there was a golden age of soul music in America. Some of the greatest songs from that era came from the Stax Recording Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. A short list of artists who recorded there could include Otis Redding, Rufus Thomas, Sam & Dave and the instrumental band led by Hammond organist, Booker T. Jones—Booker T. And The M.G.s.

Credit Justin Steyer / KPLU

  Not only did Booker T. and his band have hit records of their own, they backed up many of the Stax/Volt soul singers. So we were honored to have Booker T. Jones visit KPLU for a solo organ/vocals studio session.

In conversation with jazz host, Mary McCann, Booker T. talked about his early days in the music business (he had his first hit record, Green Onions, when he was 17) and all the great musicians he’s worked with over the years and his love of fast cars. He also gave us solo renditions of 4 of his compositions: Green Onions, Down In Memphis, ’66 Impala (from his most recent recording) and Born Under A Bad Sign, which he wrote for Albert King … and which has gone on to become a blues classic.

You can also find our Studio Sessions available as a video podcast in iTunes.

Justin joined KNKX in 2009 as the station's first Multimedia Manager. In this role, Justin helped to produce multimedia content, and implement systems and procedures in efforts to transform KNKX from a traditional broadcast station into a multi-platform media organization.
Mary McCann is a poet and performer and madly in love with music. She?s written three one woman shows and had her poetry published by Arizona State University. Broadcast radio was her life from age 17 on. In 1999 she had a pioneering role in Internet radio during the dot com boom in Silicon Valley. Mary is currently the World Music Director at AOL Internet radio and one of the narrators for BirdNote. She started at KNKX in June of 2008 as the host of the Saturday Jazz Matinee.