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Excerpt 3 From Stanley Booth Interview Series Volume 1: Otis Redding

Posted: Dec 02, 2008

Excerpt #3 From Stanley Booth Interview Series Volume 1


In Mystery And Manners’ ongoing interview series with writer Stanley Booth, Booth discusses spending time with Otis Redding. In excerpt #3 Booth talks about spending time in the studio with Redding, and hearing of his death.

Stanley Booth: …he wanted to fill the silent void that was left by Sam Cooke. That’s what he was aiming at with “Dock of the Bay”. He was trying to do more of a pop sound. Monterrey had a profound effect on them.

James Calemine: They all came back as superstars.

SB: Well, not as much as the European trip. Duck threw his razor away when he got back from Monterrey. Cropper started to grow a beard and let his hair grow. They got hip, which was cool because they needed to step out a little bit and look like musicians. Hell, they are musicians why should they look like filling station attendants? That’s what they looked like when I met them.

JC: Talk about being in the studio while Otis was recording.

SB: It was at 478 South Mclemore in Memphis. Otis never went to Muscle Shoals. He didn’t need to. I was there that whole week. I heard him cut a bunch of things—“Hard To Handle” was one, but he cut five or six songs during the time I was in the studio. He sang the horn parts to the horn players and they’d play it back to him. He was really arranging the whole thing. I would say secondly Al Jackson was arranging because of the way he played drums.

JC: The week you were in the studio with him he was killed…

SB: I flew to New York on Sunday after seeing the WDIA Goodwill Revue on Saturday night with Sam & Dave, Muddy Waters, Carla and Rufus Thomas—it was a helluva night. I flew to New York because I had this gig from Esquire.

Otis’ crash happened on a Sunday. That night I heard the crash happened and Otis was killed. That took the wind out of my sails. The next day—Monday—I went to 1841 Broadway where Atlantic Records had its offices and I met Cream, Joe South, and Ted White-who was married to Aretha. That day I also met Jerry Wexler and Ahmet Ertegun...

Next installment coming soon...yours in soul,

James Calemine

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