SXSW Interview: Booker T. Jones
Austin Convention Center, Friday, March 16
More than 40 years after his group the MGs scored a most indelible hit in "Green Onions," Booker T. Jones opened up a treasure chest of anecdotal music history for a modest assembly of Friday afternoon SXSW registrants. From guitarist Steve Cropper's days as a generous record store clerk in Memphis, to a teenage Jones backing Willie Mitchell club dates, to stints producing the likes of Bill Withers, Willie Nelson, and Neil Young, Jones intimated the multifaceted career of a true renaissance man. Having played as a sideman on timeless classics including Otis Redding's "Dock of the Bay" and Albert King's "Born Under a Bad Sign," the soft-spoken Jones, 62, reminded his audience that organ wasn't the only instrument his work at Stax required him to master. Ultimately citing the acoustic guitar as his preferred expression, Jones confirmed that it was his dedication to a formal music education that yielded the cosmic cool of MGs classics "Time Is Tight" and "Hang 'Em High."