Forgotten Songs of the ‘80s: The Reddings
This is going to be the most interesting post I’ve ever done because the song in question is an instrumental; but it’s also one of the funkiest instrumentals any one will ever hear.
The Reddings were led by Otis Redding’s sons and one of their cousins. When “The Awakening” came out in 1980, they were still in their teens but they knew exactly how to separate themselves from their famous father. Dexter and Otis III on drums and bass respectively set the tone right from the beginning. At first, you’re not sure if what you’re hearing is a knock-off of the theme from “Shaft” but Otis immediately lays down the funkiest bass riff ever heard and his brother falls in behind him with the simplest of intros.
But then they kick in to the main idea and it’s impossible to believe that playing this perfect and expertly done is coming from a bunch of teenagers. To show how funky the bass is here, Les Claypool of Primus has taken it on himself to reintroduce the world to this amazing track by playing it with every project he’s ever worked with; hell, he even played it with Jay Lane on Primus’ 2010 appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
After the album of the same name withered away, this talented trio found themselves having to cover their dad’s classic “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” just to get any attention before disbanding by the end of the eighties. Over the years, with the help of Les Claypool and the internet, people are beginning to realize how truly great these guys were and with the value of time, we will be able to see that in terms of funk instrumentals, “The Awakening” definitely belongs in the top three.