A little over a year before his death, Otis Redding brought his nine-piece band to the Sunset Strip’s famed Whisky a Go Go in April 1966 for an electrifying three-night residency, where he performed seven sets in three days. The concerts were documented on the posthumous release In Person at the Whisky a Go Go, but now an upcoming six-CD box set will collect all of his performances at the famed venue.
A heartfelt and passionate, previously unreleased performance of Redding’s pleading 1964 hit “Mr. Pitiful,” full of fluttering horns and staccato rhythm guitar, from the first set he played on April 9th – right in the middle of his residency – is premiering here. When it’s done, he tells the audience how happy he is to be there recording a live album and encourages the crowd to get as loud as they want. “Holler as loud as you want to, stomp as hard as you want to,” he said. “Just take your shoes off. Get soulful. … We’ll get into a thing.”
Redding was 24 at the time of the performances, which coincided with the release of The Soul Album, including the hit “Just One More Day.” Later in the year he’d put out Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul. But his performances at the Whisky also found him singing some of his biggest hits, including “Respect,” his cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” and his ballad “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long.”
“I remember standing right in front of the stage for the whole show,” Doors guitarist Robby Krieger has said of the shows. “I never heard of Otis Redding before and I was amazed at the energy that he created on the stage.”
The box set Live at the Whisky a Go Go: The Complete Recordings, which will come out October 21st, features recordings that have been remixed and remastered from the original 4-track analog tapes. It will also come with a poster and new liner notes.