Otis Redding

Otis Redding

Otis Redding

Live on the Sunset Strip


While inessential for the most part, a select few live albums are able to accurately convey the excitement of actually being there, of transmitting the electricity of a live concert to a listener far removed from the experience. Although not generally recognized with Cheap Trick’s Live at Budokan, James Brown’s Live at the Apollo, or Sam Cooke’s Live at the Harlem Square, Otis Redding’s posthumous release Live at the Whisky A Go Go was an exciting, soulful celebration, an album that could serve as both an entry point for Redding’s brand of soul or as a chance for fans to hear the grit and faster tempos the songs displayed live.

Now, with the release of Live on the Sunset Strip, that document has been expanded to include three full sets, a chance to hear the complete 1966 performance on two CDs.

Live on the Sunset Strip shows Redding in full command of the stage, with a tight 10-piece band behind him. Seemingly able to stop and start on a dime, the band loves to throw in false stops, catching the audience off guard, especially on “I Can’t Turn You Loose” where they end the song like 10 times, only to come back faster and more intense.

The sets are a nice mix between ballads like “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now),” and fast-paced burners, like the cover of “Satsifaction” which takes the song into almost hardcore tempos, while Redding ad libs whole verses over the frantic band.

Live on the Sunset Strip is able to rise above the “you really had to be there” problem common to live albums. You actually feel you are there — the careful listener can catch a couple musical flubs, but the overall energy and electricity more than makes up for it. There is no phony overdubbed Kiss Alive crowd noise, in fact, the crowd is often difficult to hear, but having the entire concert, including the version of “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” that gets restarted after a few minutes, gives the listener a feeling of being there.

Redding and the band are able to stretch out on the songs, turning songs like “I Can’t Turn You Loose” and “Chained and Bound” into six and seven-minute soul epics, where Redding adds words and phrases at random (the phrase “Hold on, I’m Coming” gets thrown in a lot, and Redding’s “one time I’ve loved you… two times I’ve loved you…” ad lib on “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)” is both playful and yearning).

Any student of soul, hell, any human being with a soul, should pick this up immediately.

Stax: www.concordmusicgroup.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • The Lyons
    The Lyons

    A man on his deathbed is surrounded by bickering family members, many of which you would strangle him given the chance. In other words: a brilliant comedy!

  • The Reading Room
    The Reading Room

    Today’s episode features author Anna-Marie O’Brien talking about her book Adventures of a Metalhead Librarian: A Rock N’ Roll Memoir with Ink 19’s Rose Petralia.

  • Bush Tetras
    Bush Tetras

    Rhythm and Paranoia (Wharf Cat). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Tom Tom Club
    Tom Tom Club

    The Good The Bad and the Funky (Nacional). Review by Julius C. Lacking.

  • Barnes & Barnes
    Barnes & Barnes

    Pancake Dream (Demented Punk Records). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • Jeremiah Lockwood
    Jeremiah Lockwood

    A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Album (Reboot). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Metallica: The $24.95 Book
    Metallica: The $24.95 Book

    From an underground band that pioneered the thrash metal sound, to arguably the biggest rock act in the new millennium, Metallica has had a long and tumultuous history. Ben Apatoff scours a myriad of sources to catalog this history in his new book.

  • Araceli Lemos
    Araceli Lemos

    Shortly after AFI Fest 2021 wrapped, Generoso spoke at length with director, Araceli Lemos about her award-winning and potent feature debut, Holy Emy. Lemos’s film uses elements of body horror in her story about the exoticization of two Filipina sisters living in Greece and how that exploitation creates a distance between them.

  • Southern Accents 55
    Southern Accents 55

    A woofin’ good time with cuts from Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Delta Moon and more from KMRD 96.9, Madrid, New Mexico!

  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

    Absurdism with a healthy dose of air conditioning.

From the Archives