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Apr 21, 2009
The first solo album for Booker T in 20 years features Neil Young and the Drive-By Truckers.
No, nothing on Potato Hole is as unassailable as vintage MGs cuts like 'Green Onions' and 'Time Is Tight.' But the set's authoritative blend of grit and melody is mostly pretty ace.
There are no chart-baiting superstar guest vocalists or gimmicks, just gut-punching, funky, loose-limbed, rock 'n' soul jams recorded in down-and-dirty sessions without an inch of fat.
the guests' reverence for Booker T. is clear--the Truckers, as they did when they recently backed Bettye LaVette, know when to muscle up (on 'Pound It Out') and how to hang back (on moving, B3-powered track 'She Breaks,' a sweet, shimmering number filled with references to Booker T.'s awesome past).
OutKast's 'Hey Ya' cooks Shakey's bio-diesel, while his brief solo on 'Native New Yorker' buffs a thoroughbred coat, and Tom Waits' 'Get Behind the Mule' pushes the heated end of the beast.
Booker T. is more a frontman than a bandleader here, which makes Potato Hole sound less like a solo album and more like a band project.
The originals feel like old standards. But the cover of OutKast's 'Hey Ya' is the zinger: It's Southern race-mixing party music come full circle.
A sad waste of everyone's time. [Jun 2009, p.119]
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Fabulous meld of Booker T. for the ages!