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Otis' European Soul Souvenir
on April 20, 2000
The LP's original liner notes read, "You should've been there, but since you weren't, you'll have the opportunity to hear, literally see and definitely feel this one man band of soul." Indeed, Otis Redding's legend lies deeply in intense live performances like these recorded on the "Hit the Road Stax" European tour.
With a crowd before him whose adoration he could feel and return, (and an Austin Powers soundalike who spells Otis' name to start the show), with Booker T. & the MGs with the Mar-Key horns at their rockin' soul best behind him, Otis tears through hits and cover songs with ferocity unusual even for him. "Respect" and "Can't Turn You Loose" become full throated rave ups, and the smoother soul of "Shake" and "My Girl" translate into hard Stax soul (with memorable horn lines Otis loved singing against). But he saves the most incredible performances for the disc's second half, stoking "Satisfaction" and "Day Tripper" with intensity (again, especially in the horn lines) Keith Richards' and George Harrison's guitars could only estimate.
Hear Otis leading the crowd on "Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa (Sad Song)" then leading them up the soul ladder of his hit "Try A Little Tenderness." You sense great joy, then the sobering realization that no one -- Otis (who passed away the year this was released), the crowd, Memphis soul itself - would ever play or hear soul this right again. That fact alone makes this concert recording one to savor (and append with more tracks, and remaster) and essential for all classic R&B fans.