Steve Cropper

Band members                         Related acts

- Steve Cropper -- lead guitar




Booker T. & the MG's

- Cropper, Steve (Albert King and Pops Staples

- Levon Helm's RCO All Stars

- The Mar-Keys





Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  With a Little Help From My Friends

Company: Volt

Catalog: VOS 6006

Year: 1971

Country/State: Will Springs, Missouri

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 3167

Price: $25.00


Increasingly unhappy with Gulf & Western's purchase of Stax Records, by 1971 namesake Booker T. Jones ended his longstanding relationship with the label.  In the process he effectively ended Booker T. & the MGs.  Guitarist Steve Cropper responded by releasing his debut solo album - 1971's self produced "With a Little Help from My Friends".  


Unfortunately, no matter how talented, at least on paper an instrumental set of ten-popular hits didn't appear to be the most promising way to launch a solo career.  Packaging it in a pseudo-psych cover also seemed like a questionable move for an act best known for his soul moves.  The good news was that Cropper's solo debut was surprisingly enjoyable and impressive.  Featuring an all instrumental mix of popular hits (many penned by Cropper) and a pair of new originals ('Crop-Dustin' and 'Rattlesnake'), musically the set wasn't all that different from most of the MGs' catalog.  In fact, you couldn't be blamed if you confused it for the former.  True, without Jones' B-3 keyboard to compete, Cropper's slinky Telecaster was a little more prominent this time around, but not to the point of turning the album into one of those showcases for megalomaniac behavior.  That said, Cropper's guitar was the only reason to buy the album.  For someone who readily recognized Cropper's tasteful soul stylings, the set had plenty to enjoy, including the two new originals ('Crop-Dustin' and 'Rattlesnake'), though his occasional forays into fuzz and feedback stood as personal highlights - check out his performances on '99 1/2' and the title track.  


"With a Little Help from My Friends" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Crop-Dustin (instrumental)     (Cropper - Miles) - 2:58

2.) Land of 1000 Dances (instrumental)   (Chris Kenner - Fats Domino) - 5:34

3.) 99-1/2 (instrumental)   (Steve Cropper - Eddie Floyd - Wilson Pickett) - 3:20

4.) Boo-Ga-Loo Down Broadway (instrumental)    (Jesse James) - 4;28

5.) Funky Broadway (instrumental)   (L. Christian) - 4:49


(side 2)
1.) With a Little Help From My Friends (instrumental)   (John Lennon - Paul McCartney) - 5:31

2.) Oh, Pretty Woman (instrumental)   (A.C. Williams) - 3:32

3.) I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water (instrumental)    (E. Miller) - 3:10

4.) The Way I Feel Tonight (instrumental)   (Steve Cropper) - 3:00

5.) In the Midnight Hour (instrumental)    (Steve Cropper - Wilson Pickett) - 3:36

6.) Rattlesnake (instrumental)   (Steve Cropper) - 4:57



Ironically shortly after the album was released Cropper left Stax, forming Trans-Maximus Records with ex-Mar-Key Ronnie Stoots and Jerry Williams.


By the way, Cropper has a suitably modest website at: