Review : Otis Redding - Live in London & Paris
RollingstonesOtis Redding didn't simply "play concerts." The soul giant was a human Mount Vesuvius: He erupted. Redding was at the height of his fame in March 1967, when he played these two brief shows in London and Paris. (He would die in a plane crash in December that year.) And the audience's reaction is ecstatic — it's a fair bet that few of these Europeans had ever witnessed a spectacle quite like Redding and the all-star Stax house band, Booker T. and the MG's and the Mar-Key horns, tearing into "I Can't Turn You Loose." Legendary producer Tom Dowd supervised the recording in London, and the show is a barnburner — six torrid uptempo soul numbers leading into Redding's signature whisper-to-a-scream anthem "Try a Little Tenderness." But the Paris concert highlights the singer's balladeering, adding the stately "I've Been Loving You Too Long" and "These Arms of Mine." And there is a bit of cheeky turnabout at work in Redding's trip to the other side of the Atlantic. He delivers two of the most baldfaced homages in pop history — the Beatles' "Day Tripper" and the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" — taking the world's biggest rock stars to school for a torrid Memphis-soul master class....full text
OldiesIt would be enough if the revivification of the Stax label meant the re-release of his 1967 set Live In Europe, a London set which defines the live Otis Redding experience at its best (along with documenting his introduction to the continent, a pivotal moment in his and soul music's history). But adding a set from Paris, performed at around the same time, makes this a must have for Otis fans -- and, thus, soul fans of any stripe....full text
PopmastersYou don’t need any more evidence that Otis Redding was one of the most electric live performers of the 20th century, or that Booker T. & the MGs were the most sympathetic of backing bands, or that, when push comes to shove, Stax edges out Motown in that ongoing R&B label grudge match in your head. But you do need the new Redding compilation Live in London and Paris, because it’s like listening to dynamite, and, what the hell, it doesn’t hurt to reinforce your own steely convictions if the reinforcements are this incendiary. Screw the supercollider, man—this record sounds like it’ll open up some black holes—blam!—and sing you all the way over to that alternate dimension. With all due respect to Einstein, the usher of my transcendence is spelled O-T-I-S....full text
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