Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Greatest Instrumental of the Rock Era

That would be Time Is Tight by Booker T. and the MGs.

I discussed this with my brother Michael, who earned his living as a musician for many years. He nominated several songs by San Francisco bands, including Bombay Calling by It's A Beautiful Day and Edward The Mad Shirt Grinder by Quicksilver Messenger Service, as well as a few Carlos Santana guitar solo songs and Grateful Dead jams. But Time Is Tight still gets the nod from me.

It starts with Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck" Dunn playing the same line on guitar and bass, respectively. In comes Al Jackson on drums, hitting the bass drum every beat, the high hat-snare combination sounding like someone panting during sex.

Then comes Booker T. Jones on the organ. Smooth as a silk skirt on a pretty girl. Nice and quiet and grabbing your complete attention.

Steve Cropper, a terrific guitarist, plays possibly the simplest guitar solo of all time about halfway through the song and reprises it at the end.

This is not a song about virtuosity. If you were teaching this song to kids, only the bass player might be hard pressed to keep up. This is song about being in the pocket, getting in the groove and staying there under complete control. The bass and drums are the true all stars, and soloists are just the guys who grab your attention for a few bars.

This is about Time being Tight.

God bless Booker T. & The MGs and their magical 3:17 seconds of wonder.


Now playing: Booker T & The MG's - Time Is Tight
via FoxyTunes


FranIAm said...

This is what I love about music... the ability to completely transform a moment.

Reading your words, I was really struck by what a great song this was.

Listening to it, I was completely swept back to another time in my life.

Bravo. No wonder you are in the 10K club.

Karla said...

Foxy Tunes was acting all crazy, so I bopped around and found a video of a live rendition done in 1970.

Everyone is much hairier then! Check it out!

Matty Boy said...

Yeah, it's great to see young pictures of Cropper and Dunn, where Cropper kind of looks like Eddie Haskell and Dunn is sort of a dweeb. Later on, Cropper looks like a scary biker and Dunn like the magic mystical man who has the bestest druuuuuuuuuuuuuggggsssssss.

The picture I found is much earlier.

Padre Mickey said...

Took a trip, around the world and I must of met
a myriad girls...