Live In London and Paris
By James Calemine
In March of 1967 Otis Redding, at the peak of his career, crossed the Atlantic to perform for his growing European fanbase. These two performances have been combined for this 19 song CD. Legendary producer Tom Dowd supervised the recording of these two shows. The shows were mixed from the original multi-track tapes and presented the songs in the order they were played on stage.
Redding was backed by the STAX house band, Booker T & The MGs. Steve Cropper told this writer of this European tour: "We realized Otis was so much bigger in Europe than he was in the States because we were never able to get him off the R & B charts. We could never really break Otis into pop. The feeling was it (the European tour) was so successful--we get back to The States and Otis was like, 'I don't think I can work with my band again. I've got to have you guys.' We all left equally as guys that wanted to play and we go over to England and the fans all make us superstars."
These shows represent Otis Redding at this zenith of his live performance powers. It's hard to believe by the end of the same year, he would die in a tragic plane crash. The London show was cut short due to a curfew. A rollicking "Respect" opens the show after a brief introduction. Redding's version of "My Girl" with Booker T & the MGs backing him proves at that point in time they were the best band on the planet. The horns on "Shake" accentuates the foot-stomping beat. The disc is a fine testimony that performing live was Otis Redding's forte. On "Fa Fa Fa Fa" Otis engages the crowd in a sing a long. Keith Richards expressed his content when Redding covered The Stones' "Satisfaction", and the version on this CD indicates why Richards was so proud.
The Paris crowd was quite excited during the show. The Paris version of "I've Been Loving You Too Long" alone pays for this CD. Like in London, Redding surprised the crowd by doing a rendition of another English band, The Beatles' "Day Tripper". Live In London and Paris preserves Otis Redding's glorious legacy, and earns him an eternal state of grace...