When my father returned from Vietnam safely to our family, he brought back all kinds of stuff. I can distinctly remember him going to work as bayman wearing a rice paddy hat, my mom’s flatware set with Budda on each piece, and the Panasonic stereo receiver, record player and stack of records he brought back. All his records had his distinct signature (first two initials, then our last name) and the pile he had was all over the place: Iron Butterfly, Santana, 5th Dimension, and The Best of Booker T. and the MGs. These records were bought over seas, and had recycled covers, colored vinyl, and strange plastic covers over the LP. The Booker T. record was a US pressing, and it looks like he may have traded it with someone else (my fortune!), because the other name is scratched out and replaced below by my father’s signature. This record is where I first heard Donald “Duck” Dunn play the bass. I can remember the song playing “Green Onions” over and over and over, and any time I hear Booker T. and the MG’s play, it takes me back to my childhood.
Later on, I discovered the Blues Brothers, and put two and two together that Dunn and Steve “The Colonel” Cropper were in that band, playing the classics behind Belushi and Akroyd. I watched that movie more than any other movie (besides Fletch) as a kid with my friend Sammy. We loved the music, we loved the band. As I got older, I always bought BT&TMG 45’s, and still do. In the last few weeks, Booker T. played here in Brooklyn, a show I would have liked to to take my sons to. The little one has to get a bit older, and then we will hit them all as a family. They need to experience real music before they get tainted with autotune, Wacka Flacka, and Katie Perry. I was saddened to hear that Dunn had passed, a small part of my childhood gone again. Last week it was Adam Yauch, this week it was a member of one of the first Soul bands I ever got to listen to. I’ll be spinning some Booker T. and the MG’s tonight for the young ones. Rest In Peace Duck Dunn, your bass lines and pipe will surely be missed.