Booker T. & the M.G.’s – Knock On Wood Tribute

Booker T. & the M.G.’s are a distinctive instrumental band from the 60’s that brought a unique sound to the airwaves. Best known for their energetic Calypso-styled track ‘Soul Limbo’, any self-respecting cricket fan would instantly recognise the opening ‘ting’ of the 4-bar rhythm  as being that of Booker T. & the M.G.’s trademark. Led by nimble-fingered frontman Booker T. Jones on organ or digital piano, the band comprised of guitar, bass and drums with the additional scoring of marimba that gave ‘Soul Limbo’ that fusion flavour.  As a salute to the recent passing of Richie Benaud, International cricketer and commentator, we knock our tins cans together with that all time classic rhythm that became a legendary motif in the world of knock on wood.  Booker T. & the M.G.’s – Knock On Wood Tribute

Booker T. & the M.G.’s

At the beginning and end of every Test Match Special, ‘Soul Limbo’ would deliver the soundtrack, eagerly joined by fans who would tap out the iconic rhythms on their tin cans. The 4-bar ‘tin can’ riff would be executed on cowbell by Booker T. & the M.G.’s countered by staccato digital piano chords and followed by an arabesque organ motif that completed the staggered entries:

G A C’ A C’–   A C F’ E D E C C–

Limbering Up And Parting Shot  

The middle section of ‘Soul Limbo’ features a marimba solo played by Terry Manning. His dexterity on this ‘woody’ percussion instrument is in no doubt as he is shadowed soon after by further improviser from Booker T. Jones on organ. With the distinct taste of Caribbean calypso combined with western rock and pop, this is iconic theme has endured through five decades. The combo track continues in high spirits until its final fade; no lyrics necessary – as ‘Soul Limbo’ speaks for itself. Booker T. & the M.G.’s knew how to deliver a great little warm-up and cadenced by the commentary of Richie Benaud – this was music to our ears.


Janet Redwood

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