Saturday, March 03, 2018

Otis Reddng / The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Live at Monterey (LP)

I still consider the Experience's performance at Monterey as one of the greatest rock'n'roll shows that I have ever witnessed (albeit only on film). The band was just starting out and were hungry as hell for the stardom that would soon follow and wanted to "make it" in America so they would pull out all of the stops - they dressed amazing, they put on a mind-boggling show (especially Jimi, of course) and they played like no one had ever heard before. The band was super tight and the songs were fantastic. Seeing the Monterey film and just catching the sight of Jimi mangling "Wild Thing" and lighting his guitar on fire made me a life-long fan. When I finally was able to see the entire performance, I was knocked out! Of course, this document, being simply a single LP covering two artists, has edited both performers' sets, but is still a magical representation of the time. Their entire sets have since been released and those should certainly be procured, but this was a must-have when this was all that was available.

Side one is Jimi's side, and the four songs chosen to represent him are his incredible take on Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" (so many people interpreted Dylan, and many did a great job, but few could make his songs their own like Jimi did), his super-charged version of the traditional "Rock Me, Baby" that has since gone on to be THEE version, the original "Can You See Me" and, of course, "Wild Thing". As I said, the playing is superb throughout and the energy is perfect.

Otis comes blazing out with a sped-up "Shout!" that literally takes his breath away before he moves on to his own "Respect" (a hit for Aretha Franklin at the time), his sexy, soulful ballad "I've Been Loving You Too Long", his classic version of the Stones' "Satisfaction" that they would later use as a template for their own live shows and finally, the dynamic build-up of his wonderful "Try a Little Tenderness".

As I said, now that the full versions are available, those should be sought out, but how great was this LP when it first appeared?