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Pig time: Booker T. Jones headlines annual chowfest

Thu., Aug. 30, 2007, midnight

Among the delicacies at this year’s Pig Out in the Park, which opened Wednesday, is a funky little dish called “Green Onions.” That would be a song, not a vegetable. It is, in fact, one of the most recognizable instrumentals of all time, a No. 1 R&B hit for Booker T. and the MG’s in 1962.

If you can’t quite remember it now, chances are you will when keyboardist Booker T. Jones and his band launch into the opening notes on Saturday night at Pig Out’s Clocktower Stage in Riverfront Park.

The song has been used in a ton of TV ads (Mercedes Benz), movies (“The Blues Brothers,” “The Sandlot,” “Get Shorty”), video games (“Grand Theft Auto”) and as filler at baseball stadiums.

“One of the biggest gifts in my life is that my favorite song is one of my own, ‘Green Onions,’ ” Jones told the Vancouver Sun last year.

“I still can’t believe I was able to get in the studio, come up with that song and record it,” he said. “And then other people liked it, too. I turn on the TV and hear it and I’m just blown away.”

The song, along with other Booker T. hits “Hip Hug-Her” and “Time is Tight,” also represents an influential movement in popular music: the Stax sound.

Booker T. and the MGs were essentially the house musicians at Stax Records in Memphis. They provided the backing for such legends as Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes and Wilson Pickett.

Jones will play Pig Out with the Booker T. Jones Band (not the MG’s) on Saturday starting at 8:15 p.m. The set list will include a number of Stax vocal hits � what he calls “the soundtrack of his life” � as well as his hits with the MG’s.

And this is only one of 75 acts on three stages. Some of the other noteworthy national acts include:

�Tony Furtado, a slide-guitar and banjo virtuoso who has become a roots-music cult act. Sunday, 8:15 p.m. at the City Hall Stage.

�The Lowrider Band, featuring former members of War, with such hits as “Cisco Kid,” “Low Rider,” “Spill the Wine” and “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” Sunday, 8:15 p.m., Clocktower Stage.

Meanwhile, all three stages will be jammed day and night with local and regional acts, including:

�A variety of area performers beginning today at 1 p.m. on the Clocktower Stage, sponsored by The Spokesman-Review’s weekly entertainment section, 7, ending with Seattle’s No-Fi Soul Rebellion at 8:45 p.m.

�Too Slim and the Taildraggers, the national-charting blues act originally from Spokane, tonight at 8, City Hall Stage.

�Kenny Andrews and Resurrection, a Spokane tribute to Motown and soul sounds, Monday, 6:30 p.m., City Hall Stage.

�Devil’s Food as Alice Cooper, a tribute act from Seattle that combines the macabre with the humorous, Friday, 8:15 p.m., Clocktower Stage.

Along with your Devil’s Food and your “Green Onions” you can also browse your way through a wide variety of actual food. Pig Out is Spokane’s annual food fair, featuring dozens of booths.

Many of the perennial favorite dishes are back again: Azar’s gyros, Lylo’s teriyaki, Eldon’s Italian sausages and Island Noodles’ fried noodles.

A number of other themes are also in evidence:

�A tour of the world � Look for chicken Tikka from the Taste of India; bratwurst from Bavarian Catering; the Vietnamese eggrolls from Dim Sum Wok (Pho Van); the Caribbean specialties at Leonardo’s Bistro; and the French crepes from Crepe Time.

�A local restaurant sampler � For an efficient way to sample the fare at local restaurants, try the Maui Wrap from the Wild Sage Bistro; the BBQ Pork Sandwich from Clinkerdagger; and the Prime Rib Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich from the Catacombs.

�Goddesses and Babes � Check out the New Orleans specialties from the Gumbo Goddess and the shrimp tacos from the Baja Babes.

�American regional specialties � You’ll find jambalaya from New Orleans Cookery; North Idaho Beer Balls from Ekness Catering; Blackened Salmon over Caesar Salad at the (where else?) Blackened Salmon booth; Southern Roasted Corn at the Southern Roasted Corn booth; and barbecue, barbecue and more barbecue at numerous booths.

None of the food items will be higher than $7.95. Once again, admission and all entertainment is free.

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