The Sept. 5 edition of Greasy Tracks featured the music of Otis Redding and an interview with author Mark Ribowsky who discussed the recently published bio Dreams To Remember: Otis Redding, Stax Records, and The Transformation of Southern Soul (Liveright).
The author of a dozen-plus biographies of music and sports figures, Ribowsky recounts Redding’s life with aplomb — tracing his humble roots in segregated Georgia to the culmination of his short-lived, but iconic career with his legendary appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival and the recording of “(Sitting On) The Dock Of The Bay” which was released less than a month after Redding’s death in a plane crash at the age of 26 in December 1967.
Heavily influenced by Sam Cooke, Little Richard and James Brown, Redding carved out his own niche as he defined southern soul, going from playing the “Chitlin’ Circuit” to thrilling crowds in Europe and music halls across the U.S. with his high-energy performances as he pushed Stax Records from a regional label to a national player.
He released a handful of well-received albums and singles, but it was the posthumous “Dock of The Bay” which remains his most famous and beloved recording.
Ribowsky delves into the complex personality of Redding, often incorrectly considered near-saintly, but in his drive to succeed, he was on one hand a ruthless bandleader and womanizer, while on the other, fiercely loyal to those close to him, yet uniquely vulnerable as captured in such famed ballads as “Pain In My Heart,” “Chained and Bound,” and “Mr. Pitiful.”
Now in its 21st year, Greasy Tracks is the longest-running soul and blues program in Connecticut.