No one drives a funky beat like Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Booker T. Jones. King of the Hammond B-3 organ, he set the foundation of soul music in the ’60 as leader of the MGs, the original house band of Stax Records, the groundbreaking southern soul label. Who could forget “Green Onions”? He’s branched out since then, producing for Bill Withers and Willie Nelson and recording with Bobby Darrin and John Lee Hooker, among many others.
At the upcoming gig, he will pound out the powerhouse songs on his hot, new all instrumental album, “Potato Hole,” (Anti-Records). For this, his first recording in two decades, he was joined by guitarist Neil Young, bassist David Hood and Hood’s volcanic bandmates Drive By Truckers. He named the rousing title track after the 19th century African-American colloquialism for a cache for secret food supplies dug into the dirt floor of a slave shelter: "My potato hole is the place I have deposited my musical treasures for safe keeping where I put my goodies, where I have my stuff stored to keep it cool.”
Cool they’re not. This week, with fiery bandmates, guitarist Tony Gonyea, bassist Ronnie James and drummer Darian Gray, he will perform the album’s seven newly written songs, including sweet “Nan,” dedicated to his wife, and three remarkable covers - Outkast’s “Hey Ya,” Tom Wait’s “Get Behind the Mule” and the Drive By Truckers’ “Space City.” If things go as planned, listeners will be engulfed by irresistibly rhythmic and earthy grooves.
photo by Karen Pulfer Focht