We hear from very reliable sources that Stax Records (the current version of the classic Southern Soul label recently revived by Concord Records) will be releasing a completely restored version of Otis Redding's legendary 1966 appearances on LA's very own Sunset Strip.
The title is Otis Redding: Live on the Sunset Strip and the double CD will be released on May 18th with liner notes by NPR's Ashley Kahn, with a lot of input from opening act Taj Mahal (then in the Rising Sons with Ry Cooder).
Redding's appearances at the Whiskey A Go-Go were recorded live on April 9 and 10, 1966. This is the first time the recordings have been released as a complete package that would allow contemporary fans to hear how the scorching band sounded throughout their shows.
Track listing, quotes from the liner notes and a video reminder of how amazing Redding sounded live in his prime:
Otis Redding ~ Live on the Sunset Strip
STX-32046 (Stax 2-CD)
Show 2, Set 3
1. Security 3:07
2. Just One More Day 5:20
3. These Arms of Mine 3:10
4. Satisfaction 6:44
5. I Can't Turn You Loose 6:20
6. Chained and Bound 4:52
7. Respect 3:36
Show 3, Set 1
8. I'm Depending on You 4:46
9. I Can't Turn You Loose 6:18
10. Satisfaction 6:06
11. Chained and Bound 7:32
12. Just One More Day 4:33
13. Any Ole Way 4:03
Show 3, Set 1
1. I've Been Loving You too Long (To Stop Now) 3:56
2. Satisfaction 5:02
3. Destiny 2:56
4. Security 2:57
5. Good to Me 3:35
6. Respect 2:13
7. Chained and Bound 6:57
8. Mr. Pitiful 2:18
9. Satisfaction 6:28
10. Ole Man Trouble 2:40
11. I Can't Turn You Loose 4:41
12. A Hard Day's Night 4:13
13. These Arms of Mine 3:34
14. Papa's Got a Brand New Bag 10:08
15. Satisfaction 3:31
From the liner notes by Ashley Khan:
"Located at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Clark Street, the Whisky A Go Go had, in two short years, served as the seed to a local youth-oriented, cultural scene (along the fabled Sunset Strip), a national dance-and-fashion trend (including mini-skirts and white Go-Go boots) and even a hit album in 1964: Johnny Rivers at the Whisky A Go Go. Owned and run by Elmer Valentine and Mario Maglieri, two former cops from Chicago, the Whisky was ahead of the curve in its integrated booking policy. Mahal was singing in the Rising Sons, a blues-rock ensemble that included guitar master Ry Cooder in the lineup and played regularly at the Whisky.
Mahal also attended many of the Whisky shows: "They really did a lot to integrate what went down on the Sunset Strip. In the beginning Elmer and Mario would have Martha and the Vandellas there, or they'd have the Temptations, and all these people would be showing up and looking at each other, 'what are you doing here?' The white people would be looking at the black people, black people would be looking at the white people, and everybody'd be looking at the Mexicans."
Throwing an unfiltered dose of Southern soul into what was becoming a bubbling musical mix on the Strip, the Whisky booked the Otis Redding Revue for the Easter weekend that followed his Hollywood Bowl appearance--Thursday through Sunday, April 7-10. Typical of many R&B roadshows (to this day), Redding's entourage included an emcee, a full, 10-piece band (led by saxophonist Bob Holloway) and three up-and-coming singers performing one tune apiece before the headliner hit the stage. In '66, Redding's hand-picked protégés included blues belter/pianist Katie Webster (who also played keyboards in Redding's band), teenager Carl Sims (later to achieve a degree of success on the Malaco label), and Kitty Lane, a singer who recorded for the Baltimore's small Ru-Jac soul label, and "had a voice like Martha Reeves of Martha and the Vandellas," says Mahal.
Normally, the Whisky presented two or three bands a night; a headliner of national reputation, with one local act hired as support. To Mahal's enduring pride, the Rising Sons opened for Redding; once they finished their set--as he tells it--school was in session. "After performing our act we couldn't wait to get offstage to watch all the things the musicians did, you know--like the bass player would stay down off the stage, behind the drummer and watch the foot pedal on the drums and those guys would lock in.
[... Mahal remembers:] "This is so burned in my mind--first of all, Otis's show was a revue, the band would play an instrumental number, like "Get Out of My Life, Woman" or "Sidewinder" then these different singers would come out and do one song. Then Otis's valet would walk up to the mic and say 'Ladies and gentlemen, the man that brought you 'Pain in my Heart'! Blaammm! Horns blasting all over, drummer would go 'Crack!' '"Security"!' Blaammm, crack! 'I got to have some "Respect"!' Then the band would go, '1, 2, 3. . .' and Otis would come charging out of the wings, do a side slide right past the microphone, then slide back and grab the microphone, and start shouting out 'I Can't Turn You Loose. . .'
"Well, PANDE-FUCKIN'-MONIUM! Everyone in the place was just nuts. And then he put out so much energy in that first song--he'd heat up so much--that he'd take his jacket off, loosen up his tie and roll his sleeves up and say, 'Alright, now we want to get with a slower song. . .' and he'd do 'These Arms of Mine' or any of the great soul ballads he was doing then.
"Otis did stuff, he bent words around--the thing I learned from him--we used to say 'worry a line,' which meant hold on to it and shake it a little bit--the song, the line, the note. 'These...arms...of...miiiiine...'--that would kill me."
Redding was an instant phenomenon, packing the house and inspiring the Los Angeles Times to write: "Drawn by his growing popularity, a fervid audience, shoe-horned into the club, chorused in on some of his songs and at one point interrupted his introduction of a ballad by clamoring for more of his fast paced tunes . . . Redding was assured of an In Group [sic] following Thursday night when from among his spectators emerged Bob Dylan, trailed by an entourage of camp followers."
(Legend has it that during his Whisky run Dylan offered Redding a first-listen to his recent recording "Just Like a Woman" that evening with the hope that he'd cover it. Though Redding was open to the general idea--besides "Satisfaction," the Beatles' "Day Tripper" was in his repertoire--he thought the song too wordy.)
Asked if any other big names were in attendance, Mahal replies, "the star who was there was Otis Redding, that's all I know."
The group departed Los Angeles and in the months that followed, more and more came to see Redding in the same light. The run at the Whisky became part of the momentum of '66, including two more radio hits ("Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)" and "Try a Little Tenderness") and the top spot on an all-star soul tour of the U.S., and his first tour of Europe. During Christmas week, a three-night stand at San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium--the cradle of hippiedom and rock culture--blasted Redding into his final year."