By James Calemine
This two-disc collection documents Otis Redding’s historic 1966 performance at the Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles. Redding already cemented his accomplishments with STAX Records, and at this point already enjoyed success by covering The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction”. Live On The Sunset Strip captures Redding at the apex of his talents.
These recordings include three full live sets that have never been available in their entirety before in the exact sequences the songs were played down to the emcee introductions. The booklet contains rare photographs and liner notes by Ashley Kahn, an author of music biographies as well as contributing to NPR.
During April 7-10, the club booked The Otis Redding Revue for Easter weekend that followed Redding’s Hollywood Bowl appearance. During these performances, Bob Dylan showed up and even offered Redding a song, “Just Like A Woman”, but Redding declined stating the song had too many words. Later Redding went on to playing San Francisco’s Fillmore, toured with the STAX/Volt Revue in Europe and blew everyone away at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967. In December of the same year, Redding died in a tragic plane crash.
Taj Mahal and his group, Rising Sons, opened for Redding during these Sunset gigs. Later Mahal said of these performances, “I’m still real clear about those shows. It was raw and unscripted. It was just the joy of music, you know. The joy of rhythm, the joy of energy…
Disc One begins with “Security”. A killer version of “Just One More Day” is next. Soon it becomes evident, this may be one of the most formidable of all Otis Redding’s live performances. Other songs on this disc include “These Arms of Mine”, “Satisfaction”, “I Can’t Turn You Loose”, “Chained And Bound”, “Any Ole Way” and “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”. The two discs are divided into three performance sets.
Disc Two includes “Destiny”, “Good To Me”, “Mr. Pitiful”, “Ole Man Trouble”, The Beatles’ “A Hard Days Night”, a ten-minute version of James Brown’s “Papas Got A Brand New Bag” and another version of The Stones’ “Satisfaction”. Hands down, Live On The Sunset Strip ranks as one of Otis Redding’s greatest recorded performances.