5 Songs That Feature Booker T. Jones (Whether You Knew It Or Not)
Today we celebrate the birthday of organist Booker T. Jones, famous for his work as a sideman, a solo artist, and – perhaps most notably – as the leader of The M.G.’s. To commemorate the occasion, we’ve put together a list of songs that you might not have realized featured Jones’s keyboard skills, so give it a read, and then give the playlist a listen, since it includes a few bonus songs, too!
- Stephen Stills, “Cherokee / We Are Not Helpless” (1970): In a Forbes piece about Jones, these tunes – or more specifically, the self-titled Stills album on which they appear – are described as “his last contributions as a Stax sideman.” This must’ve been on a technicality, since Stills’ album wasn’t released on Stax, but if that’s what they say about it, we’ll allow it. It’s also worth noting that Jones contributes vocals to the second song.
- Eric Kaz, “Come with Me” (1974): This was Kaz’s last solo album before teaming up with Craig Fuller – late of Pure Prairie League – to form American Flyer. Jones is in good company on this album, with Jim Keltner, Bernard Purdie, and Sneaky Pete Kleinow among the other players in the mix.
- Bob Neuwirth, “Rock and Roll Time” (1974): This was the opening track from Neuwirth’s self-titled debut, and the fact that it wasn’t huge a hit is absurd, because the amount of talent that turned up to help Neuwirth out is insane. Cass Elliott, Chris Hillman, Don Everly, Dusty Springfield, Ian Matthews, Kris Kristofferson, Rita Coolidge, Richie Furay... That’s not even the whole list, it’s just that we’ve proven our point and then some.
- Rod Stewart, “To Love Somebody” (1975): You know the song, of course, but you may or may not have ever heard Stewart sing it. Recorded during the sessions for Atlantic Crossing, along with several other tunes where he’s backed by the M.G.’s as a whole, the tune ended up remaining unreleased until belatedly making its debut on Storyteller – The Complete Anthology: 1964–1990.
- Rodney Crowell, “Stars on the Water” (1981): This tune from Crowell’s self-titled third album quickly became one his most recognizable tunes, thanks in no small part to being covered by Jimmy Buffett a few years later, and it was also covered by George Strait in 2001. Make no mistake: Booker T can play any genre of music, and he’s happy to do it.