By 1973, the Stax house band, the incomparable Booker T. & the MGs, had lost half of its members. Steve Cropper and Booker T. Jones, himself, had both parted ways with the company. When the amazing Al Jackson and the wonderful Duck Dunn wanted to reform the MGs, they brought in Stax session guitarist, Bobby Manuel and Jackson, MS songwriter/keyboardist, Carson Whitsett. I listened to the single, "Sugarcane", and thought it was pleasant, but not up to B.T. & the MGs standards. Whitsett was good, not great, but I couldn't get past Manuel's very weak (anti-Cropper) guitar. I bought the album and immediately the song, "Spare Change" stood out. Whitsett's piano is superb. Dunn and Jackson are perfect, and Manuel plays a tasteful solo. But the rest of the album came across too jazzy and easy listening for my taste.
The second time I listened to it, I told myself, this is not Booker T. & the MGs, so I went in not wanting to hear them, especially Steve Cropper, and with that mindset, the whole album just came alive. I realized that this was totally different and unique to anything I've ever heard before. Carson Whitsett's considerable skills are on show, and Bobby Manuel proves his worth. He is far better, both technically and stylistically than I realized. His playing is versatile and ahead of its time. And with Duck Dunn and Al Jackson serving as the backbone to an album, you can't go wrong. I recommend this album to Booker T. fans and just fans of music.