From his earliest years in the segregated South in Memphis, Booker T. Jones’s driving force was music.

While he worked paper routes and played gigs in local nightclubs to pay for lessons and support his family, on the side he was also recording sessions in what became the famous Stax studios — all while in high school.

Not long after that, he would form the genre-defining group Booker T. & the M.G.’s, whose recordings went on to sell millions of copies, land a place on Rolling Stone‘s list of the top 500 songs of all time, and help forge collaborations with some of the era’s most influential artists, like Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Sam & Dave.

Booker T. Jones’s book Time Is Tight is a deeply moving account of how he balanced the brutality of the segregated South while transforming a burgeoning studio into a musical Mecca. He also released a companion album called Note by Note to accompany the memoir.

Jones joined us in the Gumbo Kitchen to talk more about that book and all the memories contained within it.