R&B, Blues, Soul & Stax

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Redding Across The Pond

22 SEP 08 DAVID NATHAN

Presented the first time in the exact sequence in which they were recorded in March 1967, the 19 tracks on the newly-released Live In London & Paris offer an auditory definition of Otis Redding at his finest.

Redding had the UK audience eating out of his hands when he performed at the Finsbury Astoria on March 17 with a band that included Booker T. & the MGs (the Stax rhythm section), plus the Mar-Keys. I was present at the same show he did as part of the Stax/Volt Revue just a couple of weeks later when, like everyone else, I was enthralled by Redding's exciting performance.

US audiences may wonder why he would have included The Temptations' "My Girl" in his UK shows but, amazingly, it was his first British charted hit single. Of course, us Brits loved his take on The Beatles' "Day Tripper" and a frantic treatment of the Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," both given true soul workouts.

The Parisian crowd at The Olympia Theater on March 21 was treated to a longer show and thus witness to versions of "I Can't Turn You Loose" and two brilliant ballads, "I've Been Loving You Too Long" and "These Arms Of Mine," examples of Redding's mastery as an emotive performer of the first order. But in both London and Paris, it was his transformation of the old pop standard "Try A Little Tenderness" that was the evening's showstopper.