The look of pure joy on the face of Booker T. Jones on this night said everything that needs to be said about why a person becomes a musician. As he sat at the organ, settling into the upbeat groove of “Hip Hug-Her” from the Booker T & the M.G.’s album of the same name, Jones beamed. And the Brooklyn Bowl crowd — most if not all of us much younger than his 68 years — smiled back. Jones’ music has, in a sense, already outlived him, winning the hearts of generations who never saw his original band play, who only know the original Stax Records from the Internet and (if they’re lucky), the used LP bin. That smile on Booker T’s face, as he played that organ in the exact way that only he can, was the smile of a man who knows he is immortal.
With their Bowlive series, now in its fourth year, Soulive have easily established themselves as the premier soul-jazz act in America right now, commanding large crowds over these seven nights in Brooklyn as well as top-shelf special guests. On this Tuesday night it was the inestimable Booker T, David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, and band semi-regulars the Shady Horns; appearances at some of the other shows included Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Lee Fields, Luther & Cody Dickinson (of North Mississippi Allstars), Nigel Hall, and more. This set, just shy of two hours, was a bit shorter than some of the multi-set extravaganzas of the previous nights, but it made for a tight, nicely-sequenced run of tunes that never flagged and offered up one big number after another. In addition to Booker T classics like “Hang ‘Em High” and “Born Under A Bad Sign”, the band dug into newer pop fare like Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” (also covered by Booker T on his 2011 solo effort The Road From Memphis) and Lauryn Hill’s “Everything Is Everything”. This show didn’t have the string of Beatles covers that the Bowlive we saw last year did, but tonight we did get “Something In the Way She Moves”.
Of course, no show featuring Booker T could be complete without his first classic, “Green Onions”, which closed out the main set. Not content to leave things there, Soulive came back out one last time for a fitting finale of “Tuesday Night Squad”, which segued into a classic blues number (which I could use your help identifying). With three nights to go, Soulive showed no sign of slowing down. Bowlive may well be their own bid for immortality.
I recorded this set with a Schoeps MK5 cardiod microphone and a Schoeps MK8 figure-8 microphone in mid-side configuration onstage to capture the ideal width and upfront sound of the stage, plus a pair of Oktava MK-012 mics pointed at the left stack to give the recording a little flavor of the balance of the PA mix. The results are outstanding, arguably better than last year’s Soulive recording. Enjoy!
This NYCTaper recording is being hosted on the Live Music Archive. You can stream the entire show by clicking the song titles below.
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Bowlive IV, Night 4
Brooklyn, NY USA
Hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack
Thanks to Eric McRoberts for the loaner of the Oktava mics
Schoeps MK5c+MK8 (M-S, onstage, slightly ROC)>KC5>PFA>Aerco MP-2 + Oktava MK-012 (left stack, A-B)>>Edirol R-44 [Oade Concert Mod]>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ Oktava source)>Voxengo MSED (decode M-S)>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (align, smooth peaks, mix down)>Izotope Ozone 5 (light EQ and tube exciter)>Audacity 3.0 (fades, tracking, amplify, balance, downsample)>FLAC ( level 8 )
Tracks [Total Time: 1:53:01]
04 [banter1-intro Shady Horns]
05 Hat Trick *
06 [banter2-intro Binky Griptite]
07 For Granted * &
09 Flurries *
10 [banter4-intro Booker T]
11 Hip Hug Her * %
12 Hang ‘Em High * %
13 Born Under A Bad Sign * % #
15 Crazy [Gnarls Barkley] * %
16 Time Is Tight * % #
17 Something In the Way She Moves [Beatles] * %
18 Everything Is Everything [Lauryn Hill] * %
20 Green Onions * % #
21 [encore break]
22 Tuesday Night Squad
23 [unknown blues standard] # * %
* w/ the Shady Horns (Eric Bloom, Ryan Zoidis, James Casey)
& w/ Binky Griptite, Freddie, Mike Buckley
# w/ David Hidalgo
% w/ Booker T Jones
If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT these fine artists by visit Soulive’s website and Booker T’s website and buying their records. Soulive’s albums can be found at Royal Family Records [HERE] and Booker T’s latest music (plus greatest hits) is available [HERE]