“…Take a picture of this The fields are empty, abandoned ’59 Chevy Laying in the back seat listening to Little Willie John Yea, that’s when time stood still…” – Robbie Robertson – Somewhere Down The Crazy River
William Edward “Little Willie” John (November 15, 1937 – May 26, 1968) was an American rock ‘n’ roll and R&B singer who performed in the 1950s and early 1960s. He is best known for his successes on the record charts, with songs such as “All Around the World” (1955), “Need Your Love So Bad” (1956), and “Fever” (1956). An important figure in R&B music of the 1950s, John was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
Otis Redding was soul, but Otis Redding was country, too. That was a point on which he always insisted, and that was the way others saw him. His strength was his simplicity, even if the simplicity was hard-won. The basis for his music was sincerity, not spectacular showmanship; he was at heart a stand-up singer whose power came from his ability to inspire…
.. a workmanlike singer and a very accomplished songwriter, who showed occasional flashes of brilliance.
~The Rough Guide to Soul and R&B
“…I’d had nothing directly to do with Motown while I’d been in Detroit, I’d still been around a lotta their artists and seen from a distance how they did things. And so, when I eventually got to Memphis, I could see that it was pretty much the SAME – you know, musicians getting together producing music, with everybody in the same groove… So yeah, working at Stax was very easy, because everybody was open-minded. You know, Al and I first met (legendary MGs guitarist) Steve Cropper at the same time we met Jim Stewart. So what would happen is, Cropper and I would more or less go off to the hotel, sit down and talk about music – and BOOM, almost immediately we’d WRITE something! While Al Bell and Jim Stewart would go off and talk about music and BUSINESS… So yeah, that’s the way it started – and it just moved on from THERE! I later went on to write with Booker T., which was great too. You know, Stax was all about TEAM-work. Like if an artist was recording and needing backing singers, I’d go and sing on THEIR record, and in turn they’d sing on MINE! That’s just the way we DID things.”
– Eddie Floyd (Blues&Soul.com, issue 1067)
The music is the message, the message is the music. So that’s my little ministry that the Big Man upstairs gave to me – a little ministry called love and happiness.
“Green plays the boyish Sam Cooke supplicant–or maybe a smooth Otis Redding, or an assertive Smokey Robinson–with the startling is-that-a-synthesizer? high note…”
~Robert Christgau (in 1970 – review of “Gets next to you” album)