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Live At The Whisky A Go Go: The Complete Recordings [6 CD]
Audio CD | 6 CD, Live, Box Set
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Live At The Whisky A Go Go: The Complete Recordings
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In chronological order, this six-CD collection presents the entirety of Otis Redding's performances over three nights at the famed Whisky A Go Go, on LA's Sunset Strip. The seven sets, recorded Friday, April 8th, through Sunday, April 10th, feature the singer's popular songs of the time, including 'Respect,''I've Been Loving You Too Long' and his cover of The Rolling Stones' '(I Can t Get No) Satisfaction.' Several of these recordings -all remixed and remastered from the original analog tapes- will be released for the very first time. Rounding out the package is a poster, plus new liner notes from box set co-producer Bill Bentley and Los Angeles-based journalist Lynell George.
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The drawback for more casual, non-completist fans will certainly be the repetition of songs. This was pre-"Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)" and "Try a Little Tenderness (from later in 1966), so what we get here is a solid dose of his earlier soul hits ("These Arms of Mine" / "Pain in My Heart" / "Security" / "Chained and Bound" / "Mr. Pitiful") and a new emphasis on his 1965/early-'66 songs, particularly from his landmark LP "Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul." Knowing he was working to a predominantly white audience, he made his reworked version of the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" a centerpiece and eventually his go-to encore number. Thus, it is heard ten times here. (Even on the condensed 2010 double-disc "Live on the Sunset Strip" CD release it appeared five times.) His classic soul dancer "I Can't Turn You Loose" makes seven appearances. His hits "Just One More Day," the original "Respect" and his signature deep-soul romantic ballad "I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)" are heard a total of twelve times. In fact, until the final set (when the new ones "Destiny" [aka "Your One and Only Man"], "A Hard Day's Night" and his fantastic version of fellow Macon, Georgian James Brown's "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" appear), there are only 14 different songs, each heard at least twice.
On the plus side of the song repetition, Otis was never one to do anything exactly the same way twice - and his vocal performances are never less than dazzling. Listen to it one set at a time and you will be guaranteed a worthwhile musical experience. His touring band was subsequently upgraded, but the rhythm section here is very hot.
The liner notes by Lynell George do a fine job of explicating the importance of this live-performance Whisky A Go Go run in the context of Otis's career to that point. A facsimile poster of the gig is also included.
It's hard to believe something this extraordinary from 50 years ago is only first coming out now! We are hearing a super-sensational, charismatic, dynamic, one-of-a-kind young (in his mid-twenties) soul singer and leader already at the height of his considerable powers - one who, sadly, would only be with us a little more than another year and a half. This definitive set can be considered a historical musical document.