Sunday, December 13, 2015

otis blue: otis redding sings soul

Otis Redding earned a little respect with the soul reinvention of this landmark session.   With a couple of singles under his belt  ("Gettin' Hip"  and "Shout Bamalama" on Confederate Records),  Redding got to perform "These Arms of Mine" at a Stax session for his bandmate Johnny Jenkins and impressed studio head Jim Stewart so much he offered him a contract.  The song was a top twenty R&B hit and featured on his debut album Pain in My Heart.  Redding and Steve Cropper wrote "Mr. Pitiful" after a DJ coined the nickname for Redding.  It was a top ten R&B hit driving sales for his second album The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads released early in 1965.  

Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul was recorded in less than two days with  Booker T. & The MGs, Isaac Hayes, and members of the Mar-Keys and the Memphis Horns at Stax Recording Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.  The sessions were produced by Jim Stewart, Isaac Hayes, and David Porter and featured Otis Redding on vocals;  Booker T. Jones on keyboards and piano;  Isaac Hayes on keyboards, piano, and production;  Steve Cropper on guitar and production;  Donald Dunn on bass;  Al Jackson, Jr. on drums;  Wayne Jackson and Gene Miller on trumpet;  Andrew Love on tenor saxophone;  Floyd Newman on baritone saxophone;  and William Bell and Earl Sims on backing vocals.  

Redding would express:   "I guess it is a bit like a clique. We always have the same guys on the recordings. We don’t have contract trouble like you do here. I always have Steve Cropper on guitar; Al Jackson on drums – he’s too much; then a guy called Duck on bass guitar; and Isaac Hayes, who does the arrangements for Sam and Dave, plays piano...We all get up and down to the studios at 12, midday and work through until nine in the evening. All the songwriting is done in the studio...We don’t get it prepared outside beforehand, no. Then we quit. Go home and relax and sleep. Everybody has a good think about the things they’ve been doing and then comes back the next day at 12 – always at 12 – fresh and with a lot of new ideas. That’s it.”

Booker T Jones:  "It was [intense], but he [Redding] seemed to be possessed at that time. Nobody was quite sure what was going on with him. He just seemed to be in a hurry. Not a hurry – obsessed. And we didn't understand why. We just went along with it. If he wanted to go for 24 hours we just did it."

Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul  went to number seventy five on the pop album chart and was a number one smash on the R&B album chart.

"I've Been Loving You Too Long" hit number twenty-one on the pop chart and number two as an R&B single.  

Respect was a top forty pop hit and a number four R&B single; but went on to become a smash for Aretha Franklin two years later.  

Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul

full album:

Side one

00:00 - "Ole Man Trouble"   Otis Redding 2:55
02:39 - "Respect"   Redding 2:05
04:48 - "Change Gonna Come"   Sam Cooke 4:17
09:04 -  "Down in the Valley"   Bert Berns, Solomon Burke, Babe Chivian, Joe Martin 3:02
12:06 - "I've Been Loving You Too Long"   Redding, Jerry Butler 3:10
Side two
15:03 - "Shake"   Cooke 2:35
17:45 - "My Girl"   Smokey Robinson, Ronald White 2:52
20:43 - "Wonderful World"   Cooke, Lou Adler, Herb Alpert 3:00
23:57 -  "Rock Me Baby"   B.B. King 3:20
27:23 - "Satisfaction"   Mick Jagger, Keith Richards 2:45
30:12 - "You Don't Miss Your Water"   William Bell 2:53

Ready Steady Go

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