Lifetime achievement Grammy-winning multi-instrumentalist Booker T. Jones’ autobiography Time Is Tight: My Life Note By Note will be published in the UK on 14 November by Omnibus Press. It was published in the US by Little, Brown on Tuesday (27). Jones turns 75 on 12 November.
The memoir tells the story of how Booker Taliaferro Jones Jr, born in Memphis on 12 November 1944, developed his musical gifts by playing in nightclubs while still at school. He delivered newspapers to pay for music lessons and to support his family, and as a teenager started to play sessions at what became known worldwide as the celebrated Stax Studios.
He writes about the formation of Booker T and the MGs and the revolutionary social integration of the group’s line-up and their work with fellow R&B heroes such as Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Sam and Dave. The book also serves as a definitive account of the inner workings of Stax Records in its glorious heyday.
No less a legend than Bob Dylan says of the volume: “Booker T will forever be known as the Booker T from Booker T and the MGs. But this book reveals so much more of the man.” Another world-famous admirer, Willie Nelson, adds that the book is “as joyful to read as Booker’s music is to listen to.”
Jones also describes his work as a solo artist, ever in-demand producer with such varied artists as Nelson, Bill Withers and Rita Coolidge, and as a studio confidant for everyone from the Blind Boys of Alabama via Big Daddy Kane to Dylan. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville in 2007.
The musician told the New York Times in a recent interview that he wrote the book himself, without a ghost writer. “I just started writing these little scenes, little memories of how I grew up, all the things I’ve seen. It’s really weird hearing my voice say those words. But the words I use, the way I use English — I finally found my voice on the page.” Jones will announce a full European tour early in 2020.