Tag Archives: Otis redding

Tolerable Xmas Records (3)

I’ll let you into a secret – I hate the song ‘White Christmas’  in its original version.  It drones along, a malformed slice of seasonal tedium, just like all the ones we used to know.

But as it has been brought into the world, we might as well get someone to record a good version of it. Sort of stripped back, soulful, nice brass section,  schmaltz-free, recorded by someone like, oh I dunno… Otis Redding perhaps ?

Wouldn’t that be worth hearing ?

 

Carla Thomas is a midwinter child, born around the Shortest Day (December 21, 1942), the daughter of Rufus Thomas, no stranger to seasonal opportunism himself (‘I’ll Be your Santa Baby‘).

Described by some as the Queen of Memphis Soul, she also dueted with Otis Redding (notably on ‘Tramp’) and in 1963 released what may just about be my favorite Tolerable Xmas Record – ‘Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas‘)

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Almanac – December 10

1951 – Algernon Blackwood died. English short story writer and novelist, one of the most prolific writers of ghost stories in the history of the genre – it’s been said that his short story collection Incredible Adventures (1914) “may be the premier weird collection of this or any other century”.

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1967 – Otis Redding died. American singer and songwriter, record producer  and arranger. Considered one of the major figures in soul music and rhythm and blues, and one of the greatest singers in the history of popular music, his singing style influenced other soul artists of the 1960s, and he helped to craft the powerful style of R&B that formed the basis of the Stax Sound.

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1978 – Edward D. Wood, Jr. died. American screenwriter, director, producer, actor, author, and film editor. In the 1950s, Wood made a number of low-budget genre films. In the 1960s and 1970s, he made sexploitation movies and wrote over 80 pulp crime, horror, and sex novels. In 1980 he was posthumously awarded a Golden Turkey Award as Worst Director of All Time. Be that as it may, I find films like Plan 9 From Outer Space, Glen Or Glenda and Bride Of The Monster far more enjoyable than many a blockbuster by “proper” film-makers (the James Bond franchise, for starters – yawn).

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1993 – The last shift leaves Wearmouth Colliery in Sunderland. The closure of the 156-year-old pit marked the end of the old County Durham coalfield, which had been in operation since the Middle Ages.

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2005 – Richard Pryor died. American stand-up comedian, actor, social critic, writer, and MC.

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Almanac – November 24

1859 – Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species.

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1868 – Scott Joplin born. American composer and pianist. Joplin achieved fame for his ragtime compositions, and was later dubbed “The King of Ragtime”. During his brief career, he wrote 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas. One of his first pieces, the “Maple Leaf Rag”, became ragtime’s first and most influential hit, and has been recognized as the archetypal rag.

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1941 – Donald “Duck” Dunn born.  American bass guitarist, session musician, record producer, and songwriter. Dunn was notable for his 1960s recordings with Booker T. & the M.G.’s and as a session bassist for Stax Records, playing on thousands of records including hits by Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, William Bell, Eddie Floyd, Johnnie Taylor, Albert King, and many others.

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1944 – Candy Darling born. American actress, best known as a Warhol Superstar.  A male-to-female transsexual, she starred in Andy Warhol’s films Flesh (1968) and Women in Revolt (1971), and was also immortalized in the Velvet Underground‘s  ‘Candy Says’, Lou Reed‘s ‘Walk On the Wild Side’, the Rolling Stones song ‘Citadel’, and some claim she was the inspiration for  The Kinks ‘Lola’.

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1947 – For refusing to co-operate with the House Un-American Activities Committee, the US Congress cited 10 Hollywood Writers, directors and producers – the Hollywood 10 – for contempt.

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1963 – Lee Harvey Oswald, accused of assassinating John F. Kennedy, was himself murdered by Jack Ruby.

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1985 – Big Joe Turner died.  American blues shouter from Kansas City, Missouri. According to the songwriter Doc Pomus, “Rock and roll would have never happened without him.”  Although  his greatest fame came  in the 1950s with his pioneering rock and roll recordings, particularly “Shake, Rattle and Roll”, Turner’s career as a performer stretched from the 1920s into the 1980s

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Almanac – September 9

9 – An alliance Germanic tribes ambushed and annihilated three Roman legions in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.  It has been seen as a pivotal clash which ended Roman expansion into northern Europe. This notion became especially prevalent in the 19th century, where it formed an integral part of the mythology of German nationalism.

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1901 – Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec died. French painter, printmaker, draughtsman, and illustrator, whose immersion in the colourful and theatrical life of Paris in the late 1800s yielded a collection of exciting, elegant and provocative images of the modern and sometimes decadent life of those times. He died from complications due to alcoholism and syphilis.

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1941 – Otis Redding born. American soul singer-songwriter, record producer, arranger, and talent scout. He is considered one of the major figures in soul music and rhythm and blues , and one of the greatest singers in popular music. His open-throated singing was an influence on other soul singers of the 1960s, and he helped to craft the lean and powerful style of R&B that formed the basis of the Stax Sound.

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