Thursday, February 28, 2013

Stax Records: Knock On Wood

Original Stax Release

While Amii Stewart had a #1 record with her version of “Knock on Wood,” I still prefer the Stax Records’ original by Eddie Floyd. Floyd’s 1966 release was a #1 R&B hit that only peaked at #28 on the Hot 100. The song was co-written by Floyd and guitarist Steve Cropper. Cropper also produced the single. Instrumentalists on this record included the Stax house band – Booker T. and the M.G.’s – as well as Isaac Hayes, and others.

Second Stax Release

While it’s not typically a repeat song, it is an example of where a label issued the same song by two different artists. The first cover of the song, released on Stax, featured a duet by Otis Redding and Carla Thomas. Redding normally recorded for Stax subsidiary Volt Records while Carla was a Stax artist. Otis and Carla’s version almost did as well as the original. This 1967 hit peaked at #30 on the Hot 100 and at #8 on the R&B charts.

The idea to pair Otis Redding with Carla Thomas was influenced by Motown’s highly successful male/female duets when Marvin Gaye was teamed with his singing partners of Mary Wells, Tammi Terrell, and Kim Weston. Gaye would also team up later with Dianna Ross. Otis & Carla’s only album together was “King & Queen,” which served to be Redding’s last studio recording before his December 1967 death. Like with the Floyd recording, instrumentalists included Booker T. & the MG’s, Isaac Hayes, and others.

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