Friday, October 14, 2011

Otis Redding - That's How Strong My Love Is (ATCO 226001)


That's How Strong My Love Is

Roosevelt Jamison Honored In Memphis
This past Tuesday, September 6th, the Memphis City Council passed a Resolution renaming Emerald Street between Mount Moriah Road and Knight Arnold Road 'Roosevelt Jamison Road', an honor shared by only a handful of others in the City, like Willie Mitchell and Rufus Thomas. Roosevelt is also scheduled to be presented with a 'Note' on Beale Street tomorrow, September 9th, in a public ceremony at W.C. Handy Park in Memphis at 4:30pm.

This is wonderful news.

What is not so wonderful, however, is the fact that our friend Roosevelt is gravely ill. In addition to his worsening emphysema, he has recently been diagnosed with brain cancer, and was released from the hospital just this past week. My heart goes out to him and his marvelous wife Linda, both of whom worked so hard to make our O.V. Wright Memorial Benefit the success that it was back in 2008. I literally can't thank them enough.

As the composer of what many consider to be the greatest of all Soul songs, Roosevelt's place in the history of American Music is secure. Without his tireless work behind the scenes at the legendary Blood Bank at Beale and Fourth Street in the early sixties, we may never have heard O.V. Wright, The Ovations or James Carr. His well-documented role as Carr's manager, psychologist and soul-mate resulted in some of the greatest music ever recorded. I've written about all of this before, of course, and you can check it out here.

Otis Redding's version of Jamison's song of songs that we have here was originally released as Volt 124 in December of 1964, and rose to #18 on Billboard's newly re-instituted R&B chart early the following year. The fact that it was re-issued as this A side again in the UK in 1969 (as well as on the German Atlantic issue pictured at left), testifies to its power and longevity. Stax, of course, had initially turned both the song and its original singer away, and only decided to have Otis sing it after the Goldwax O.V. Wright release started to make some noise in the charts. Roosevelt told me that he was unaware that Otis was going to cover the song until he heard it on the radio, and was dismayed that they had chosen to change some of the lyrics on him. "Hey, I had about a hundred more verses I could have given them if they asked me!" As good as Redding's treatment is, I think you'll all agree with me that O.V.'s is better...

May God Bless and Keep You, Mister Jamison. Get Well Soon!
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The official unveiling of the Roosevelt Jamison Road sign will take place this Saturday, October 15th at 10:30am. The ceremony will be held at 3177 Emerald Street, Memphis... near the corner of Emerald & Knight Arnold.

For more information call: 901-428-4226

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