Booker T., Billy Swan and Green Onions


Scotty, Booker T. Jones and Billy Swan at Young'Un Sound

When Booker T. Jones produced Billy Swan's album "You're Ok, I'm Ok", released on A&M in 1978, the overdub sessions were held at "Young'un Sound" studio in Nashville.  Originally built and operated as "Monument Studio" from an old church it eventually became "Studio One" and finally "Young 'un Sound" when Chip Young bought it to relocate his studio from home.  The album featured an impressive list* of performers.  Scotty did some guitar work on three of the songs and the Jordanaires also provided background vocals on some of the cuts.   Later, the same studio was sold to Al Jolson Jr. and  it became Masterlink Studio.  After Al bought it, Scotty worked there on several of the cuts on the "All The King's Men"  album.  


Scotty with his 63 Super 400 at Young'Un Sound

Booker T. Jones was the organist and leader of the Stax Records house band Booker T. & the MG's which "may have been the single greatest factor in the lasting value of that label's soul music not to mention Southern soul as a whole."  In 1962 they recorded their debut hit "Green Onions" which was released on an album with the same name which would define them as one of the "top instrumental outfits of the rock era".  Scotty was one of the first to hear the song when guitarist Steve Cropper took the song to him at Sam Phillips Recording Service at 639 Madison Avenue the day after to dub a copy.


Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis - August 2003
Photo James V. Roy

Sam's was the newest studio in town with the latest state of the art equipment.  They had both mono and stereo mastering rooms and it was only natural that Steve would bring it there.  Scotty did work like that for just about everyone in the area.  The only other place to go at the time would've been Nashville.  Scotty was pretty impressed with "Green Onions", he though it to be real 'Funky!'.

Booker left the group in 1968, relocated to Los Angeles and produced Bill Withers' 1971 gold record "Ain't No Sunshine."  He's since maintained a successful solo career and has periodically reunited with MG's guitarist Steve Cropper and bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn for a series of tours.


at Young'Un Sound
Rear: Billy Swan, Gordon Stoker, and Booker T. Jones
Front: Neal Matthews, Hoyt Hawkins and Louis Nunnelly

Billy Swan wrote "Lover Please' when he was just 16.  Bill Black recorded it with the Bill Black Combo in 1960 before Clyde McPhatter but McPhatter's version went to number 7 on the US charts.  In Memphis he worked as a gate guard at Graceland but then moved to Nashville.  Working as a janitor at Columbia's studios he met and became friends with Kris Kristofferson who came in looking for work and Billy offered him his position.  He went on to produce Tony Joe White's album "Black and White" with its million-selling single, "Polk Salad Annie" in 1969.

Playing off and on with Kris' band he wrote and released the single "I Can Help" in 1974 which topped the US charts for two weeks.  Elvis recorded a version of "I Can Help" in 1975 and in 1976 Scotty also played on Billy's album "Billy Swan" produced by Chip Young.  They remain friends to this day and Billy on more than one occasion has sat in with Scotty at performances.


Billy Swan with Scotty and Lee Rocker's band at the Gibson Lounge in Memphis, TN - August 16, 2002


You're Ok, I'm Ok

*Credits

Kris Kristofferson - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr) 
Rita Coolidge - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr) 
The Jordanaires - Vocals 
Leo Sayer - Harmonica 
Clydie King - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr) 
Scotty Moore - Guitar 
Billy Swan - Organ, Vocals 
Don Robertson - Piano 
Otis Blackwell - Piano 
Paulette Brown - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr) 
Turner Stephen Bruton - Guitar 
Jules Chaiken - Strings, Horn 
Sammy Creason - Drums 
Donald "Duck" Dunn - Bass 
Venetta Field - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr) 
Hoyt Hawkins - Vocals (bckgr) 
Booker T. Jones - Arranger, Keyboards, Producer 
Neal Matthews - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr) 
Jerry McGee - Guitar 
Jim Nipar - Engineer 
Louis Dean Nunley - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr) 
Howard Steele - Engineer 
Gordon Stoker - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr) 
Mike Utley - Keyboards 
Steve Burton - Guitar 
Stan Dacus - Engineer 

Tracks

  1. You're Ok, I'm Ok
  2. No Way Around It (It's Love) 
  3. Bloodstream
  4. Please Help Me, I'm Falling (Blair/Robertson)
  5. You Make My Soul Rock'n'roll
  6. Forever in Your Love
  7. Lonely Avenue
  8. That's America
  9. Never Go Lookin' Again
  10. Let the Rain Keep Fallin'
  11. Hello, Remember Me

 


In August of 2004 Steve Cropper presented Scotty with a Gold record for mastering Green Onions.

 

All photos on this site (that we didn't borrow) unless otherwise indicated are the property of either Scotty Moore or James V. Roy and unauthorized use or reproduction is prohibited.

 
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This site created and managed by James V. Roy for Scotty Moore with the sole intent to help promote the arts and history of American popular music and Scotty's major role in it. Every attempt was made to give credit for any images or text borrowed from the World Wide Web and we greatly appreciate the use of it. Technical difficulties or questions dealing with this Server should be addressed to the Webmaster. Copyright 2002, 2014