Otis, My Man!
:: Otis & the Shooters - Tuff Enuff ::
:: Otis Redding - Gamma Lama ::
:: Little Joe Curtis - Your Mini Skirt ::
I was waiting tables at a diner in the early nineties and there was a little transistor radio that played the oldies station back in the kitchen. I was back there one night munching on fries when one of the waitresses started to sway softly, exclaiming that the song that was playing was “the most beautiful song in the world.” One of the cooks replied, “If you’re a woman, it is.” The song was “These Arms of Mine,” sung by Otis Redding, and it was the first time I’d heard anything by him that wasn’t “(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay.” I didn’t let on at the time, but that song and Redding’s voice moved me. You know, deep down inside where I’m soft and tender like a woman. The man’s music still continues to turn me to a puddle, and really, he opened the door for me to start investigating ‘60’s soul music and discover all the other greats, guys like Solomon Burke, Billy Stewart, James Carr, and countless others. But Otis is always tops for me; he was just so damn, uh, soulful. Check out this video clip from his appearance on British TV show, Ready Steady Go! and revel in that soulfulness.
Before he was picked up by Stax in 1962, Redding had appeared on three singles between 1960 and 1961. Two of these singles, along with their b-sides, are included on this album put out in 1968 by budget label, Somerset Records, to capitalize on his death. (Somerset, by the way, are the folks responsible for all those 101 Strings albums in every dusty dollar bin.) The singles included are “She’s Alright/Tuff Enough” (credited as The Shooters, Trans World, 1960) and “Getting’ Hip/Gamma Lama” (Alshire, 1961). The a-sides were included on Rhino’s fantastic1993 box-set, The Definitive Otis Redding, but I don’t think those b-sides are available anywhere on cd, so I’m putting them up here. The “She’s Alright/Tuff Enough” single was recorded with the band that Redding joined in 1960, Johnny Jenkins and The Pinetoppers, though I’m not clear why they were called The Shooters for the release. “Gamma Lama” is Otis doing a bit of a Little Richard impersonation, and is basically an alternate version of “Shout Bamalama,” which he recorded and released in 1961 on the Confederate label under the Johnny Jenkins and The Pinetoppers name.
As far as Little Joe Curtis, whose six songs fill up the rest of the LP, I can’t really find any info on him. It appears that Somerset used him as just that: filler. I’m putting up one of his songs just in case you’re interested, but his offerings are not very special, and that’s putting it nicely.