Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Booker T. & the MG's: Melting Pot [Stax, 1971]
Here the Memphis motorvators surpass the somewhat boxy rhythms that have limited all their albums as albums except for Uptight, which had vocals. Al Jackson's solidity, a linchpin of rock drumming as surely as Keith Moon's blastoffs and Charlie Watts's steady economy, is unshaken by the shifts the arrangements demand, and his deftness permits a more flexible concept in which Booker lays back some on organ and Steve Cropper gets more melodic input. A Vegas-jazz ("L.A. Jazz Song" is a title) boop-de-doo chorus upsets the balance of side two pretty badly, but for the first twenty minutes this is unbelievably smooth without ever turning slick. B+