Tuesday, April 29, 2008

No. 474: Live in Europe

Band: Otis Redding
Album: Live in Europe
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: Otis Redding's last album released before his death, "Live in Europe" has several of Redding's best songs. Backing band Booker T. and the MGs rock Redding's hits and the power of his voice fills the album.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: I'm happy with this placement.
Best song: "Try a Little Tenderness" is a classic.
Worst song: I like every song on this record, though "Shake" isn't as strong as the rest of the tracks.
Is it awesome?: Sure.

"Live in Europe" was the final Otis Redding album released during his lifetime. On the tour, Otis pulled out all his hits and the popular songs of the time. Not surprisingly, he absolutely hit each song out of the park; Working the crowd perfectly and lilting his voice to each note.

The great thing, of course, about "Live in Europe" is Redding's backup band. Because they were the studio band for Stax/Volt, Booker T. and the MGs played on most of Redding's studio records, but hearing them tear through "Respect," "Satisfaction" and "These Arms of Mine" is striking and perfect.

The set closes with "Try a Little Tenderness" and Redding shows why he's one of the defining voices of soul. His voice fills the pressured silence perfectly as the crowd -- I assume -- watches in amazement.

It's a fantastic live record and one that showcases Redding's amazing talent shine.

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