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Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Otis Redding and dreams to remember

“Here I am at 24 years old, with 3 kids, and I don’t know what to do with my life.”
--Zelma Redding, Dreams to Remember
“When Otis died, the driving force was gone. And then when Martin Luther King got killed [four months later], the friendliness went out of Memphis.”

--Wayne Jackson

Listen up. The daddy's favorite R&B performer is Otis Redding. Yes, James Brown is Soul Brotha#1, but the Big O is soul personified. Redding came out of the projects of Macon, Georgia and a baptist church nearby to groove and move people all over the world-- to stir us so deeply, to make us want to clap hands, get out on the floor, dance real close and shout, "Sing it, Otis!

Redding put all of himself into every note of his songs; and all of himself went into us. He didn't merely touch our heart. He buried himself deep within the recesses of our soul. And we found ourselves saying, "I just wanna another day. Please, let me have just one more day to bathe in the hot, sweet soul of the Big O!"

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of his death and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Stax Records, Stax released Dreams to Remember: The Legacy of Otis Redding. The DVD features 90 minutes of pure, adulterated and soulful performances of Redding. Some of the hits performed on the DVD include:
* "Pain In My Heart," * "I Can't Turn You Loose," * "I've Been Loving You Too Long," * "Sitting on the dock of the bay"
* "Respect,"
* "Try a little tenderness," * "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," and a host of others.

Those final two performances-- "Try A Little Tenderness" and "Respect"-- were taped at a local Cleveland television show less than 24 hours before Otis' death.

Between the incredible performances, Dreams to Remember provides 40 minutes of interviews with people who were there to witness Redding's transformation from unknown singer straight out of the projects to hitmaker all over the world. These interviews do more than provide tidbits about a singer's life. They capture Redding's development from singer to artist, from soulful sound to hit machine, and from public life of a great artist to private life of a great family man.

The interviews also show how the Big O's overarching presence, boundless energy, and incredible creativity meld perfectly with young studio musicians at Stax like guitarist Steve Cropper, Booker T, Isaac Hayes, and Wayne Jackson to make hit after hit. The interview with Cropper is especially notable, since he co-wrote virtually everyone of Redding's hits. Also notable is the talk with Zelma Redding, the Big O's wife, who was left to take care of three children after Redding and his band (The Barkays) crashed into a lake in Wisconsin.

In the interviews with Jim Stewart, the founder of Stax Records and Zelma, you can sense who Redding really was as an R&B star but also as a person: a great individual artist but also a loving husband and nurturing father. Yes, Otis was not only a soulful singer, good songwriter and bandleader but a committed family man.

Sadly, a part of the interviews speak of the demise of Stax. Wayne Jackson, studio musician who played trumpet on most of Otis’ recordings, still appeared shaken after 40 years when talking about the Big O's death. He said something happened to Stax when Otis died:

“When Otis died, the driving force was gone. And then when Martin Luther King got killed [four months later], the friendliness went out of Memphis.”

Most of all, Dreams To Remember: The Legacy of Otis Redding is about those incredible live performances. Altogether, it pays a fitting tribute to an amazing artist and perhaps an even greater person. And thanks to his talent, The Daddy and millions of his fans will continue to have dreams to remember.


What's your favorite Otis Redding song?

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

KST said...
I remember thinking the only version of "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" was the one by Michael Bolton. My uncle promptly schooled me upon discovering this and I fell in love with Otis Redding's work.

My favorite song? "Pain in My Heart"
May 16, 2009 1:02 PM

XO said...

I love the way he caresses with "Try a little tenderness" not to mention how he builds on it. No one else can touch that!

By the way congrats on topping the 50,000 hits mark today. You've attracted some very interesting followers in one short year!

MacDaddy said...

KST: With all due respect to Oprah, who is crazy about this guy, I hate Michael Bolton's version of Try a Little Tenderness. He sounds forced and phony, like he's trying to have soul. You don't try to have soul. Either you got it or you don't.

XO: You're right: the building up to the closure, the interaction between singer and horns (which he uses as gospel back-up singers), cannot be equaled. If I'm a singer, I'm not touching that song. As for the 50,000, I remember that you've come by many times. The Daddy thanks you from the bottom of his heart.

Akannie said...

First time here, Daddy.....hafta agree with XO...Listening to O breathe out that song Try A Little Tenderness is like savoring Creme Brulee...silky and rich and leaving me wanting more....

AfroChic said...

I love 'Dreams to Remember', whenever I'm feeling down I play that to lift me up. I only knew about the standard songs like 'dock of the bay' and 'try a little tenderness' but on a whim I bought a compilation cd and dreams to remember was on there and I loved Big O every since. He killed Satisfaction. Mick Jagger's got nothing on him! Glad to know about this latest release!

MacDaddy said...

Akannie: Welcome. Thanks for signing up to become a follower of daddyBstrong. I'm looking forward to you coming back and making comments. Blessings.

AfroChic: Yes, listening to the Big O can really lift your spirit. I think it's because of his enormous spirit and the gospel sound in his music. It's like the way you feel just after you leave the church. Thanks.

CareyCarey2 said...

Mr. Daddy, that's got to be a trick question (which song?).
Damn man, that's like asking me to pick between my mother's fried chicken or my grandmother's apple pie ...can't do it. They all touch a deep place in my soul.

MacDaddy said...

"that's like asking me to pick between my mother's fried chicken or my grandmother's apple pie ...can't do it. They all touch a deep place in my soul."
CareyCarey2: I hear you. One could have a different favorite every day of the week. This morning, I was listening to his version of the gospel "Amen" and decided that was my favorite. Before that, it was "Try a Little Tenderness."

By the way, a great picture of your mother and father on your blog. Priceless.

nicki nicki tembo said...

'cigarettes and coffee' - seems so natural that you and I are here...

judy said...

Another great post, Daddy.

Though I love your political posts too, I LOVE coming here to find you talking about music. As I've said before, your writing sings! Favorite line today: "Redding put all of himself into every note of his songs; and all of himself went into us."

That's right.

CareyCarey2 said...

Thanks man, that picture has received many favorable comments. One book reviewer (on a different site) said it would make a great book cover. My mother is still living.

Christopher said...

"I Can't Turn You Loose," "I've Been Loving You Too Long," and "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay," are all classics and I love all three.

It's really impossible to choose.

Georgia's Angels said...

Try a little tenderness, there's about five friends of mine that still get together for Friday night fish frys and card playing. My friend Carol as soon as she sits down hollers where's Otis? We were in our 20's when we first heard Otis and danced the night away. Now at 60 we sing and remember all the good times gone, we still have each other and Otis.

MacDaddy said...

nikki: Cigarettes and Coffee is one of his lesser-known but great songs. It is beautifully written. Thanks.

Judy: It's always great for a writer to get a complement from another writer. A good writer like you motivates to write better. Thanks.

MacDaddy said...

"Now at 60 we sing and remember all the good times gone, we still have each other and Otis."
GeorgiaAngels: Me and my friends from the coffee shop do the same thing. Blessings.

Mista Jaycee said...

My favorite from Otis is Shake. I love that opening horn riff with Otis shouting Shake!
Love it!
Jaycee

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Sittin on the dock of the bay. . . has an almost haunting sound to it that gives me a chill every time I hear it.
i guess it's a combo of Redding's voice and the song. . . but that's how any great piece is done. . . the music, lyrics and voice all come together.

Yea, ya got it or ya don't. When ya don't ya need to listen.

MacDaddy said...

Sagacious: It's so interesting that you talk about the song Sitting on the dock of the bay being haunting. In the DVD, his wife and Stewart, founder of Stax, says he had a "premonition" that something was up, something was going to happen, something was imminent...It is strange that he wrote a song about the water and ended up dying in the water...His wife said she called him early in the morning and sound restless. Maybe this is the kind of thing that a lot of people say just before an unplanned, tragic death. But when you used the word haunting, it made me think about those two having that premonition.

MistaJaycee: Yea, the Big O had a bunch of great studio musicians behind him who felt free to improvise and give the man what he wanted. I love Shake too. Thanks.

SDG said...

I can't even begin to answer this one. lol. What comes to mind immediately is "I've Been Loving You For Too Long." Just beautiful every day of the week.

jah said...

The sweet croon of O's "I've been loving you too long," and "Let me be good to you," are among my many favorites. His duet with Carla Thomas, "When Something is wrong with my Baby," still blows me away when I hear him. You're right on...he put his all in every note. Still hits that sweet nerve when I hear him. Many thanks, daddy.

Corey said...

"You gott ta hold her...squeeeze her...nevah leeve her...........
GOTT-TA
GOTT
GOTT
GOTT-TA
TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS
LAWD HAVE MERCY ! ! ! !

OTIS REDDING HAS A GRIP ON THIS SONG EVEN FROM HEAVEN ! ! ! ! !

MacDaddy said...

Corey:Oh yeah! His version of Try a little Tenderness can't be matched. It's not just an R&B record. It's a gospel sound with that sweet organ sound matched only by those Memphis horns playing the role of back-up singers in a black gospel choir...Sweet and soulful, this song epitomized the essence of Stax Records. Thanks for reminding me.

Shady_Grady said...

One favorite Otis Redding song is very hard to pick out but would probably be "These Arms of Mine"

MacDaddy said...

ShadyGrady: Welcome. "These Arms of Mine" is a great ballad. I'll have to check, but I think it was Otis Redding's first recording.