Today would have been Otis Redding’s 75th birthday. While his family are marking this milestone with a weekend-long party in his hometown of Macon, Georgia, Guardian music has the premiere of a never-before-released live track by the soul giant. It’s coming out as part of a six-CD collection celebrating his three-night run on Sunset Strip in 1966 and captures the Stax star in the midst of critical and commercial success following his third studio album Otis Blue.
The shows were crucial to his ascent. They were at a Hollywood venue known for launching bands such as the Doors, the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield – a deliberate move to introduce him to a wider market.
Redding became the first major soul act to perform on the Whisky A Go Go stage. “The Strip, like much of 1960s Los Angeles, had invisible but tough to permeate dividing lines,” Lynell George says in the box set’s liner notes. “Redding began to see this three-night run as just the right spark to help him jump over all those many lines – from star to superstar, from R&B/soul to pop, from all-black rooms to arenas.”
The collection – Live at the Whisky A Go Go: The Complete Recordings – presents the first opportunity for fans to relive these historic sets in their entirety, including between-songs chat from Redding. Take a listen to his typically urgent, emotional and triumphant performance of Just One More Day, recorded on 8 April, 1966.
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