Groovin’ with the sons of Booker T: MMW, Big Organ Trio, & The City Champs

In an earlier post, “I live for the funk…” I featured one of my favorite James Brown songs, an instrumental track “Why Am I Treated So Bad.” To continue on that funk-jazz trip, I’m taking the road to Memphis, Tennessee! Another funk soul pioneer was Booker T and MGs, a band who mainly backed up soul artists on the Stax Record label in the 1960s, but had their own success especially with the highly recognizable “Green Onions.” Stax was responsible for some of the greatest music in the history of soul, including Otis Redding and Isaac Hayes.

In the following video clip, John Lennon’s jukebox was found with all kinds of American soul records, including some 45s of Booker T & The MGs. The guitarist of the band, Steve Cropper, talks about the Stax sound – a solid rhythm, holding a groove and getting people to move:

Holding it down for Memphis are The City Champs. I first heard them through my girl DJ Moonbaby who was rockin’ their CD last year. I immediately went over to her to find out who she was playing. When I checked out the credits, I realized I knew the drummer, Memphis native George Sluppick, from his days playing with Florida band Mofro (one of my favorite bands whom I’ll be writing about soon). I guess George has moved on to his Memphis roots with The City Champs. Here they are with “One Cylinder”:

You don’t have to be from Memphis to keep it funky. Mike Mangan’s Big Organ Trio from my home of Southern California are making sure folks are shaking it in the west. Their website doesn’t have any upcoming shows but I’m going to keep my eye out to catch them live soon!

One of my favorite jazz jam bands is Medeski, Martin, & Wood (MMW). Around for almost 20 years, these guys are uber-talented. They have taken some of their jams to outer space in recent days. But I just love that down home funk:

Links & Resources:
Stax Soul Musuem
Booker T & The MGs
Booker T is still doing his thing as a solo artist. He won a GRAMMY this year for his album, Potato Hole!
The City Champs
Drummer George Sluppick
Big Organ Trio
Medeski, Martin, & Wood
JJ Grey & Mofro


  1. I love this BLOG! It’s giving me wonderful things to share. You are supremely knowledgeable and I appreciate this so much. Stay Fresh!


    • Thanks so much Jake!!! I briefly checked out your website: very cool!! I’ll go through it more thoroughly after work but I did see something about boogaloo!! I’ve been wanting to do a post on boogaloo – Charlie Palmieri.. etc.


  2. […] George Sluppick of Memphis’ The City Champs, whom I wrote about a few posts back, was the drummer for Mofro for many years before he moved on to his new project. Mofro has changed it’s lineup over the years and added more arrangements (strings, horns, etc) to their sound these days, but when I first started seeing them it was stripped down just straight groove. Anyways, hope to see both JJ Grey & Mofro AND The City Champs again real soon – I’m ready for those sounds that feed my soul. […]


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