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Time Is Tight by Booker T. & the MG's

Album: UptightReleased: 1968Charted:
  • Booker T. & the MG's were the house band for Stax Records, but they released some albums under their name. They recorded this in the mid-'60s and reworked it in the late-'60s as the theme for the film Up Tight.
  • After the demise of Booker T. & the MG's, band members Steve Cropper and Donald Dunn joined The Blues Brothers (John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd), who used this in the introduction to their live show.
  • A famous cover of the song emerged by UK punk band The Clash, who would often use the song as a live warm-up. The Attractions' Steve Nieve contributed some piano lines in the recorded version, which was done at Marquee Studios in March 1978 before being completed by producer Bill Price in August 1979 during the London Calling sessions for inclusion on the US rarities compilation Black Market Clash. It featured only once live for the band, as the set opener to a show in Los Angeles in April 1980.
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Comments: 13

Anyone else noticed that the whole piano epitune concluding "Layla" by Derek and the Dominoes can be made a song of its own, a tune with the riff and accompaniment of this very instrumental? It takes a little imagination, but it would be very, VERY easy to do.Drew - Birmingham, Al
NOBODY, BUT NOBODY can play drums on this like AL JACKSON!!! A MACHINE!!! A FREAKIN' METRONOME!!! LIKE A CLOCK!!!Michael - Illinois, Il
I learned how to play the drums with this song.Rob - Ft. Mitchell, Al
Good points, James from Spring Hill; the song "builds" as you say and contains those subtle layers that make this song SO listen-able. One of my all-time favorite instrumentals!Camille - Toronto, Oh
Actually, the Blues Brothers used both Time is Tight and Can't Turn You Loose. In the film, Time is used in the "build" and Can't Turn You is used in the "intro" of Jake and Elwood. And as Ben notes sometimes mixed in shows. Julian, I agree. This is maybe my favorite number from the 60's/70's and I especially like how it builds and how Booker uses uncommon restraint on the keys to add subtle layers that other players would blow through and over power the number.James - Spring Hill, Ks
Actually the Blues Brothers often used a combination of Can't Turn You Loose and Time Is Tight. The rhythm section plays the groove of Time Is Tight and the Horns play the riffs of Can't Turn You Loose of over it. You can hear this in the car chasing scene in the super market in the (first) film.Ben - Schwyz, Switzerland
cholthoff@t-online.deCarl-walter - Hannover, Germany
I forgot to mention: whoever knows about the drawbars, please email me: Carl-walter - Hannover, Germany
Does anybody know Booker's drawbars for "Time is Tight"?
Carl-Walter, Germany
Carl-walter - Hannover, Germany
Not only did they borrow the rhythm and bass line but Squeeze also use to open shows with this songs and segue it into "In Quintessence."Rahj - New York, Ny
In a book about the band Squeeze,Glenn Tilbrook said that he borrowed from Time is Tight for his song 'In Quintessence'. He also said Elvis Costello borrowed from it too for his song 'Temptation'. -Mike,San Diego,CAMike - San Diego, Ca
The Blues Brothers used the Otis Redding composed Can't Turn You Loose in the opening of their shows, not Time is Tight. THey have similar rhythms so i could understand the confusion.Otis - Reading, Pa
I LOVE THIS FRICKIN SONG!!!Julian - Anaheim, Ca
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