Why Booker T. Jones’ Music Goes Straight to the Heart (Because That’s Where It Comes From)

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When I would tell people that I was writing about Booker T. Jones, most of the time I drew blank stares. But when I added, “As in Booker T. and the MGs,” their faces lit up. Didn’t matter if they were old or young. They knew. 

Maybe they just knew “Green Onions.” That’s enough right there. A song that sounds as fresh today as it did the day it was recorded in 1962. A song with no spare parts. It just rips right into your head and stays there forever.

When I heard at the last minute that Jones was in New York City doing promotion for his new memoir Time Is Tight, I called his publicist. “Can you be here at two tomorrow?” Eighteen hours later I was watching him try to eat a salad and answer questions at the same time. Nineteen hours later I had a good idea of how this man could write and perform a song as powerful and unforgettable as “Green Onions.”

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