Booker T. & The MG's: Booker T. Jones (vocals, keyboards); Steve Cropper (guitar); Donald "Duck" Dunn (bass); Al Jackson, Jr. (drums).
Additional personnel: Judy Clay (vocals).
Recorded June 1968. Originally released on Stax (2006).
Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1991, Fantasy Studios).
Personnel: Booker T. Jones (vocals, keyboards); Judy Clay (vocals); Steve Cropper (guitar); Al Jackson, Jr. (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Phil DeLancie.
Recording information: 06/1968.
Arranger: Booker T. Jones.
This soundtrack album to Jules Dassin's film of the same name proved a successful endeavor for Booker T. and the MG's; the music here was as adventurous and diverse as anything they'd done. For starters, it required the band to focus more on their already exceptional "ambient" elements, stretching out in slower, spacier grooves than their studio albums (or record-buying audience) would allow.
UPTIGHT shows the MG's mixing slow, moody blues ("Blues in the Gutter"), expansive ballads ("Tank's Lament"), edgy form-shifting jams ("Run Tank Run"), and even a waltz-time carnival theme ("Deadwood Dick"). Another first here is the presence of vocals, two from vocalist Judy Clay, and two from Booker T. himself (whose textured, soulful voice is a pleasant surprise). None of this is to say that the band doesn't perform with its usual crackling chemistry and airtight precision. The lock step of Donald Dunn's bass and Al Jackson's drumming holds the rhythm down while Steve Cropper's articulate guitar and Booker T.'s flowing, floating organ keep the Memphis soul torch burning bright. The added bonus of "Time is Tight," one of the band's finest cuts, rounds out this intriguing effort.