Stax legend Eddie Floyd performs worldwide and always pays tribute to Otis Redding.
Stax stalwart Eddie Floyd already had blazed musical trails of his own in Detroit with soul luminaries Wilson Pickett and “Sir” Mack Rice when he met Otis Redding in Memphis.
Floyd, a soul artist and premier songwriter, had been persuaded to come to Stax by soul great Carla Thomas in 1965. He was well aware of Redding’s songs and reputation.
“Otis was dynamic and considered the leader of Stax records in every way and everyone followed suit, followed Otis’ lead, came up with the Memphis Sound and made history,” Floyd said recently, as he looked back 40-plus years, pausing on Dec. 10, 1967, the date Redding died in a plane crash.
In reflection Floyd sees Redding “like the disciple or apostle of soul who spread the Memphis Sound to Europe and beyond.” And in this 50th anniversary year of Stax, Floyd has been busy promoting the Memphis and Stax sound all over the world.
The historic Stax first European tour in 1967 headlined by Otis Redding did much to stimulate the popularity that Stax enjoys to this day, he said.
“They will always remember when we did our first tour and Otis brought us all over,” said Floyd. “Now I am doing it in places where I thought I would never go.”
Floyd always does Redding’s signature tune “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay” at his worldwide performances. The classic was released posthumously in 1968.
That ’67 tour “was like how America treated The Beatles when they first came over in 1964,” recalls Floyd.
Floyd was in London when he first heard the news of the fatal plane crash that killed Redding, the pilot and all but one member of the Bar-Kays band that was on board. He was doing his first single European tour.
The call from a local newspaper came at 6 a.m. “We woke the band up and we were all up at 7 a.m. in the morning in the lobby of the hotel. It was buzzing,” said Floyd.
“It was all that you could read, see and hear about.”
Redding was 26 with an “old soul,” said Floyd. “He’d been here forever.”
Floyd said he and others “thought we could and should really carry it on,” realizing that they had something special.
“It was destined to be, it had to be.”
Dr. King’s Death And The Lorraine Motel’s Role In Soul Music History…
“Everything in the world changed after his death, but I don’t know if it stopped the music…The attitude and things was a little different of course, nobody experienced that before, but that didn’t stop the music…All the music or 99 and a half of it probably came from the Lorraine Motel…We come into town, a little hotel downtown, and a little gentleman named Mr. Butler who owned the hotel loved entertainers to come and we sat in those little rooms and write…We sat in those rooms and write…Every time I see on t.v. the monuments of Memphis or Dr. King I am looking at the same rooms where we wrote Knock on the Wood, 634-5789 (Soulsville USA), Midnight Hour etc., I look at that as being a double history thing although many don’t realize or acknowledge that…That particular day I was recording in the studio when I heard Dr. King got killed…My mind goes back to those little rooms at the Lorraine Motel and I can see every corner…I probably stayed in every room…It’s kind of ironic that all the history of the music started there at first and the ending was Dr. King…It’s a double history thing there…”
(Please visit the official Eddie Floyd Web site http://www.eddiefloyd.com/)
(Ron Herd II also known as R2C2H2 Tha Artivist hosts the Internet radio show “Tha Artivist Presents...W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio” at www.blogtalkradio.com/weallbe