Hometown heroes and STAX soul pioneers Booker T. & the M.G.‘s were honored at the first annual Mempho Music Festival this weekend. The Memphis gathering featured sets from both surviving classic M.G.‘s members, organist Booker T. Jones and guitarist Steve Cropper on Saturday. Near the end of Jones’ set, Cropper joined his former bandmate onstage for a bit and they were honored with Beale Street Brass Note award, which will be displayed on the sidewalk of Beale Street.
Jones stuck around the festival into the early evening and sat in with Cropper during his performance for “Hip Hug-Her” and “Green Onions.” Cropper’s combo was already an all-star collective featuring Dead & Company/Allman Brothers Band bassist Oteil Burbridge and, for a good portion of the show, STAX singer Eddie Floyd. One of the festival’s headliners Jason Isbell also emerged for a take on Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” while John Popper joined in on a cover of “Soul Man.” From the stage Popper also declared, “So glad to be here. So proud to be here.”
Isbell also celebrated Tom Petty during his performance on Saturday evening, covering the Heartbreakers’ “Even the Losers” and “American Girl.”