June Tunes, Pt. 3

It’s time to put this sluggish month behind me with some final noteworthy June ’68 releases.  I hope everyone has had a nice start to the summer.  There are some heavy hitters coming in July to heat up the hi-fi.

Otis Redding – The Immortal Otis Redding

This posthumous release consists of tracks Redding recorded in the weeks before his death.  Only one of the 11 songs had been previously released, and the album was received very well by critics.  Redding’s Hard to Handle, famously covered by the Black Crowes, is found here.


The Beach Boys – Friends

The Beach Boys, along with the Beatles, had jumped on the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation train in the summer of ’67, and Mike Love was among the guru’s students in Rishikesh with the Beatles in February and March of 1968.  This collection of brief, mellow songs became known as their TM Album, influenced by their time with the Maharishi.  Fans were still waiting for a return to the glory of Pet Sounds, and while this wasn’t it, retrospective critiques have been kind.


The 5th Dimension – Single:  Stoned Soul Picnic

This great tune, written and recorded earlier in 1968 by Laura Nyro, was soon covered by the 5th Dimension on their album of the same name as the track.  They made it their song, as it reached #3 on the US Pop chart and #2 on the Billboard R&B chart.  There’s always a place for a well crafted pop tune in my collection, even if I don’t know what the hell it means to “surry.”





January 8 – Otis Redding

Otis Redding – (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay

I’m only a few days in, and I’m already going to employ one of those words that will be difficult to avoid overusing as I move through 1968:  timeless.  You could say that about a lot of Otis Redding’s work in his way too brief life and career, but (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay, released 50 years ago today, just never gets old.  Co-written by Stax Records producer and Booker T. & the M.G.’s guitarist Steve Cropper, the lyrics came together the previous August while Redding was renting a houseboat in Sausalito, CA (hence the song’s theme) shortly after his historic appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival.  His final work on the song was on December 7, 1967.  Three days later Redding perished in a plane crash outside Madison, WI.  It became the first posthumous single to reach number one in the U.S.

On a personal note, this song was included on a Best of Atlantic Records LP box set my brothers owned.  As a result, to this day whenever I hear it on the radio, I think Hush by Deep Purple will come on next.  I hate it when that happens.