Review: Booker T., Potato Hole

This album looks great on paper:

Legendary organist and Stax Records session mainstay Booker T. joins forces with the Drive-By Truckers, whose Patterson Hood is the son of Muscle Shoals bassist David Hood. Add Neil Young's lead guitar into the mix, and the result? Gritty instrumental R&B gold, right?

Not really. Potato Hole sounds like a set of 10 rhythm tracks in search of songs — melodies, vocals, that sort of stuff. As a result, while some of the music has a certain scrappy energy, the whole affair ends up being tedious.

Versions of "Hey Ya" and Tom Waits' "Get Behind the Mule" fare best, mostly because the aggregation has a melody to dig into.

Booker T. is not an improviser, a soloist of any particular skill. (Just listen to the Booker T & the MG's 1962 hit "Green Onions" — it's a quick, grabby riff with a good groove, and little else.)