[115] Booker T. and the MGs – Melting Pot

19 Jun

Blame all my many days and nights spent in the Bleachers at Yankee Stadium.


Or blame my deeply ingrained preference for vocals and lyrics. Whatever you blame it on, despite the pedigree and the obvious talent, despite falling squarely in a genre I love, the sad fact of the matter is that I just don’t seem to be enjoying Melting Pot.

I’m interested enough on the rare occasions when the guitar is soloing away in clean, deliberate struts.  But when the Hammond Organ kicks in, taking the lead as it does for most of the 40 minutes of this album, something Pavlovian seems to happen.

You see, it’s the same sound that is played over the PA system at the ballpark in the Bronx, and after 30 or 40 seconds I’m ready for the action to begin again, for someone to throw or hit or catch something.

I’m ready for a hot dog.

I know how ridiculous it sounds, but it genuinely makes listening to these tracks a chore.

I want to be sitting in the sun, or under the lights, or even in the rain watching the minutiae of details that make baseball one of my favorite sports (I’ve probably only watch more soccer in my lifetime).

When explaining my love of the game, I always describe the feeling I have – whether at a game, watching on TV or listening to the radio – that it is entirely likely that I will see / hear something I have never encountered before.

What is rare in any other sport is an almost daily occurrence on the diamond.

Maybe that is a part of my problem with Booker T – I have heard all of this before, and often with some of the greatest vocalists on the planet (or even John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd) wailing over the top.

When the vocals do kick in here, they are the very definition of backing – wordless, wandering harmonies in search of a melody to enhance.

And once again I’m left wanting more.

In the end, for all of these reason, I find that the album feels incomplete.  It needs a song sung over the top, not to mention some peanuts and Crackerjacks, a beer and a view.  If you’re not a baseball fan – if you’ve never spent much time in the stands with an organist filling in the quiet moments between the brief but beautiful bursts of action – maybe you will be able to relate to what has been captured here.

But for me it’s time to switch off Spotify, turn on the radio feed of today’s opposition, check out the lineups and Play Ball . . .

Next Week:  James Booker – New Orleans Jazz Wizard Live!

Owned before blogging? No. (10 of 115 = 9%)
Heard before blogging? No. (17 of 115 = 15%)
Recommend? No. (94 of 115 = 82%)

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