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Live In London and Paris

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Album Review

When the Love Generation (which, truthfully, did no better with that emotion than any other generation) got its first real glimpse of soul giant Otis Redding at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 backed by Booker T. & the MG's, a powerhouse band if there ever were one, they saw love with a capital L, because Redding sang love songs like the world was about to end, wringing the emotion out of them like a soulful, urgent hurricane. He was, simply put, an unstoppable force on-stage, taking all the energy of gospel and upping the ante until it seemed like the very sky itself was about to fly off into space from the very power of it. Redding was soul, and soul in every fiber of his being. The two sets included here, which predate the Monterey performance by a couple of months, were recorded in London (March 17) and Paris (March 21) on the Stax/Volt package tour of Europe in 1967, and they just might be even more astounding (particularly the Paris night) than the Monterey set. Working again with the MG's, with the horns of the Mar-Keys along for extra kick, Redding burns the house down in both of these sets, wringing every last bit of energy out of Sam Cooke's "Shake" until it seems the universe is about to come off its hinges, turning "Try a Little Tenderness" into a silken caress, making "I've Been Loving You Too Long" into an anthem for the hopeless arc of love, and taking "Day Tripper" to places the Beatles could only dream about, all with the MG's and the Mar-Keys churning behind him like a huge, funky turbine. This was Stax soul in all its ragged, vital glory. The original tapes of these sets (Atlantic issued an LP of the London show in 1967) have been reassembled and restored for this release, and the end result is a stunning reminder of what a giant Redding was. You want to know about love? Drop this in your player.

Biography

Born: 09 September 1941 in Dawson, GA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s

One of the most influential soul singers of the 1960s, Otis Redding exemplified to many listeners the power of Southern "deep soul" -- hoarse, gritty vocals, brassy arrangements, and an emotional way with both party tunes and aching ballads. He was also the most consistent exponent of the Stax sound, cutting his records at the Memphis label/studios that did much to update R&B into modern soul. His death at the age of 26 was tragic not just because he seemed on the verge of breaking through to a wide...
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