Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Otis Redding & Carla Thomas

  • King & Queen [Stax, 1967] A-

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

King & Queen [Stax, 1967]
I used to think Live in Europe, also a 1967 release, was Otis's finest; now I think it's among his worst, and for the same reason--too many concessions to an English audience that wanted fast rock and roll songs. My own personal favorite--probably among my five most-played LPs--is The Immortal Otis Redding, which showcases the unduplicated warmth, tenderness, and humor of his ballad singing. By contrast, this one--cut basically as a novelty, with the two singers in the studio, according to the story, on separate days--is pretty ephemeral. Vintage Otis, that's all; Carla Thomas was never anything special, but with Redding counterposing his rhythms, she sounds like she could scat with Satch himself (well, almost). Enormously vivacious, catchier and funnier that most soul music, and I know several people who would kill me if I didn't include it. A-

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