Otis Redding – Live at the Whiskey A-Go-Go: The Complete Recordings (Volt Records 39646)

6 CDs, essential

 

On the nights of April 8-10 in 1966, Otis Redding became the first R&B artist to play at the well-known Sunset Strip rock club, The Whiskey A Go Go.  These landmark performances were recorded for the occasion, but have never been released until now.  All three nights are documented for posterity over six CDs, two discs for each show.  Performing two sets each night, Otis and the band mixed up the running order of the songs considerably.  Although the reason for these recordings not being issued during the 60’s was due to supposed inconsistency in the recording quality, the crystal clear sound quality on these discs is totally evident.  Featuring songs from Otis’ then-currently LP, The Soul Album (“Just One More Day”, Any Ole Way”, “Good To Me”), the set is also liberally peppered with earlier gems like “Mr. Pitiful”, “Respect”, “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”, and “These Arms of Mine”.  Although the audience is polite, they aren’t exactly on fire, even though Otis and the band are giving it their all.  But ultimately it doesn’t matter about the staid crowd; what matters is that everyone here is firing on all cylinders on the breathless “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” , “I’m Depending On You”, and “I  Can’t Turn You Loose”.  The final night of the run sees the boys going nuts with the cover versions, throwing into the mix rousing versions of “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”.  Although the liner notes are a bit on the skimpy side, as historic artifacts, these recordings are essential; as listening pleasure, they are unforgettable.

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