Saturday, 28 January 2012

Otis Redding - In Person At The Whisky A Gogo (1968)

There's a reason they call him Mr. Pitiful. Following in the tradition of James Brown's Live at the Apollo ('63), Sam Cooke's Live at the Harlem Square Club ('63), and Ray Charles' Live in Concert ('64), Otis Redding recorded this performance live from the Sunset Strip LA at the Whiskey A Go Go club on March 30, 1966. Like the R&B giants who preceded him, Redding was looking to make the switch from the Rhythm & Blues Scene to the more popular 'crash pop scene' (think Sinatra and the Beatles), and this recording proves such. Redding belts out the classics: "Mr. Pitiful", "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag", "Respect" and the Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" with a heart that's clearly been broken and mended many times over.

Redding died in a plane crash in 1967 and is most commonly known for his sedentary "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" - which was written and recorded less than a week before his untimely death and proved to be his post popular song. This album is of note because it shows Otis trying to appeal to the pop audience before his performance at the Monterey Pop Festival (organized by Jerry Wexler) in June 1967 - which is commonly acknowledged as signifying Redding's switch from R&B to Pop. That being said, the album was released a year after his performance at Monterey which shows it may have taken a while for the record execs to catch on to the fact that Redding appealed to all audiences.

Redding drops some of his R&B swagger but doesn't sacrifice intensity. Listen to the ferocity of his band. The album reached #7 on the US R&B charts and is soaked in soul, blues and pure emotion.

Vinyl ripped @ 320

On loan from J.M - many thanks!

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  2. Great post. Glad I could be of service!