I’ve just returned home from a free show on the Hudson River in Rockefeller Park, where Booker T and the MGs welcomed the Dap-King-less Sharon Jones on stage for the last half-hour of their return engagement with New York. Ms. Jones relayed an anecdote about seeing Otis Redding as an 11-year-old in 1967, and I couldn’t resist delving into the Redding Archives for tonight’s edition of Pullin’ ‘Tubes.
Longtime followers of my likes and dislikes (mom?) know that Bill Graham holds a lotta weight with me. Graham’s autobiography slings high praise for Otis, whom Graham brought to the Fillmore with an 18-piece band for three shows in December 1966: “By far, Otis Redding was the single most extraordinary talent I had ever seen. There was no comparison. Then or now.” About his appearance, Graham offered this: “Six foot three, a black Adonis. He moved like a serpent. A panther stalking his prey. Knowing he was the ruler of the universe. Beautiful and shining, black, sweaty, sensuous, and passionate. He was the predecessor to the one who finally broke through to playing before a mixed audience of black and white rock and rollers.”
Anyway, here’s a sick clip of Otis tearing down the house on Try A Little Tenderness. And Graham’s dead-on-balls accurate: Check out the crowd with a minute to go, it’s a fucking madhouse among the swooning pale faces.