Otis Redding and Carla Thomas – King and Queen

More Otis Redding

More Soul, Blues and R&B

  • This superb collaboration makes its Hot Stamper debut here with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides
  • These sides are doing it all right — richer, fuller, better bass, more Tubey Magic, and the list goes on
  • There’s Tubey Magic, sweetness and spaciousness all over this recording – you won’t believe how good it sounds
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Redding and Thomas enjoy an undeniable chemistry, and they play off each other wonderfully; while sparks fly furiously throughout King & Queen . . . their battle of the sexes reaches its fever pitch in supremely witty fashion.”
  • If you’re a fan of Sixties Soul, this early pressing from 1967 must surely belong in your collection.
  • The complete list of titles from 1967 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

This vintage Stax pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What the Best Sides of King and Queen Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1967
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We’re Listening For on King and Queen

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Knock On Wood
Let Me Be Good To You
Tramp
Tell It Like It Is
When Something Is Wrong With My Baby
Lovey Dovey

Side Two

New Year’s Resolution
It Takes Two
Are You Lonely For Me Baby
Bring It On Home To Me
Ooh Carla, Ooh Otis

AMG 4 1/2 Star Review

Otis Redding never recorded a lighter, more purely entertaining record than King & Queen, a collection of duets with Stax labelmate Carla Thomas. In all likelihood inspired by a series of popular duets recorded by Marvin Gaye — indeed, “It Takes Two,” Gaye’s sublime collaboration with Kim Weston, is covered here — the record serves no greater purpose than to allow Redding the chance to run through some of the era’s biggest soul hits, including “Knock on Wood,” “Tell It Like It Is,”and “When Something Is Wrong with My Baby,” and while clearly not a personal triumph on a par with either Otis Blue or The Dictionary of Soul, the set is still hugely successful on its own terms.

Redding and Thomas enjoy an undeniable chemistry, and they play off each other wonderfully; while sparks fly furiously throughout King & Queen, the album’s highlight is the classic “Tramp,” where their battle of the sexes reaches its fever pitch in supremely witty fashion.

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