“King And Queen” by Otis Redding and Carla Thomas - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1967Album Chart of the Decade: 1960s

TJR says

Immodestly titled perhaps, but “King and Queen” was a potent collaboration all the same. Producer Jim Stewart’s idea was a good one; the two voices blend well and there seems to a nice rapport between them. Upon meeting, Redding reportedly remarked: “Well, hey, you from Memphis, you from Tennessee, you can hang.” Carla was joining a tightly-knit gang, but she sounds right at home, even if her stay was merely less than a week in the recording sessions of January ’67. Once again, the supporting cast features house-band Booker T. & the M.G.'s, pianist Isaac Hayes, with the brass section provided by The Memphis Horns. The album was issued in March ’67 and featured 10 cover versions as well as a piece especially written for the LP, the fine closing track, “Ooh Carla, Ooh Otis”, a dancefloor romp which winds around the Peter Gunn motif, and seems to underline the loose-caboose sense of cool fun which has gone before. Opener “Knock On Wood” (Eddie Floyd, 1966) kicks the album off with an upbeat stomp, and is soon followed by “Tramp” (Lowell Fulson, 1966) which is reinvented here as a lover’s spat; she the nag, he the laid-back sufferer. I declare a draw in one of the greatest battles of the sexes in history! Ace horns too.

Best on side 2 is “Bring It On Home To Me” (Sam Cooke, 1962) – no one can ever touch Sam’s original but their duet version offers a fabulous alternative slant, and the group are ace, injecting some neat chops into their stylish reading of the classic. The album goes down in history as the last to be released in Otis’s lifetime. Tragically, his 26 year-old life would be lost several months later, when his own small plane crashed in between gigging engagements. Aretha Franklin stated “I heard it on the TV. My sister Caroline and I stopped everything and stayed glued to the TV and radio. It was a tragedy. Shocking.” More than 4,500 people came to the funeral on 18th December 1967. “Everybody was walking around staring at their feet for two months after that” said Stax musician Marvell Thomas. “There was true sadness at that place. Stax was usually a happy, peppy place, there was conversations in the hallways and songwriters over here and a demo going – that all stopped.” The label would never be the same without their main man.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:48] 7.1.png Otis Redding and Carla Thomas - Knock On Wood (Steve Cropper, Eddie Floyd) Soul
A2 [02:48] 6.3.png Otis Redding and Carla Thomas - Let Me Be Good To You (Isaac Hayes, David Porter, Carl Wells) Soul
A3 [03:00] 9.3.png Otis Redding and Carla Thomas - Tramp (Lowell Fulson, Jimmy McCracklin) Soul
A4 [03:13] 5.8.png Otis Redding and Carla Thomas - Tell It Like It Is (George Davis, Lee Diamond) Soul Ballad
A5 [03:14] 6.3.png Otis Redding and Carla Thomas - When Something Is Wrong With My Baby (Isaac Hayes, David Porter) Soul Ballad
A6 [02:33] 6.4.png Otis Redding and Carla Thomas - Lovey Dovey (Ahmet Ertegün, Eddie Curtis) Soul
B1 [03:14] 6.0.png Otis Redding and Carla Thomas - New Year’s Resolution (Randle Catron, Mary Frierson) Soul Ballad
B2 [03:03] 6.2.png Otis Redding and Carla Thomas - It Takes Two (Wiliam Stevenson, Sylvia Moy) Soul
B3 [03:14] 5.9.png Otis Redding and Carla Thomas - Are You Lonely For Me, Baby? (Bert Russell) Soul
B4 [03:14] 8.3.png Otis Redding and Carla Thomas - Bring It On Home To Me (Samuel Cook) Soul Ballad
B5 [02:32] 7.0.png Otis Redding and Carla Thomas - Ooh Carla, Ooh Otis (Otis Redding, Alvertis Isbell) Soul

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