This wonderful Southern R & B song comes from the Stax album King & Queen. The album would be the last one that Otis Redding would record prior to his death in December 1967. Producer Jim Stewart was the coordinator for the concept album; he thought “that the rawness of Otis’ voice would blend well with the sophistication of Carla’s”. The album produced two hits; this song and “Knock on Wood”. Otis had a limited range, but what he did in that range was amazing and powerful. Carla Thomas went on to have several more hits on Stax, but it always seemed to me she had the most fun pairing up with Otis Redding on this piece of vinyl history.
There are so many elements that make this song. Carla’s fierce retorts to Otis. Otis’ raw responses that glide in to the bemoaning melody. The strong hook of Booker T and The MGs in the rhythm section with Dunn and Cropper driving the engine of the song. The Memphis Horns punctuating between the call and responses of the two singers. The song is raw, fun and yes, you can dance to it.
The song plays on heavy rotation on Sirius’ Soul Town station. And if your out driving some late night, its a worthy turn up of the volume song.
2 thoughts on “Commute Music of the Week 5/2/14: Otis and Carla “Tramp””
Always looking for a good “new” old song; one I never discovered before. Thanks!
Fran, I love the Stax catalog. There are so many hidden gems there. I grew up listening to my sister’s 45s of Stax, Motown and Fame label artists. So much music, fun and memorable tunes!