Otis Redding: Live On The Sunset Strip

Videos by American Songwriter

Otis Redding
Live On The Sunset Strip
[Rating: 4.5]

Otis live was all about the groove.

Dusted off from the vaults for this two-disc release, these three full sets from Redding’s multi-night 1966 stand at L.A.’s Whiskey A Go Go find the southern soul man in top form. He jokes with the band, urges on the audience and unleashes his distinctive, horn infused gospel charged R&B like a man possessed.

The songs are sequenced in their original running order. That allows us to hear Otis construct his shows; bounding on stage with a burst of star-time power for “Security” or “I’m Depending on You,” then taking the vibe, but not the energy, down for the righteous ballads “These Arms of Mine” or “Chained and Bound.” Pleading, begging, shouting and testifying, he often dismisses lyrics in part or even entirely, as on his version of the Stones’ “Satisfaction” (since it was his recent single, the tune is repeated 5 times throughout the three shows), but that’s what injects these performances with their raw, unvarnished power.

“We got to get the FEELING,” he implores during one of his free form flights, and through these two hours he was clearly successful at that endeavor. The third show is the longest and loosest of the run; the closing night of the stand where Redding, the audience and the band connect with that mystical bond only a few artists ever achieve.

Otis did it consistently and effortlessly which makes this such an important artifact, not to mention an exuberant, exhilarating listen 44 years after its recording.

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