King & Queen is a studio album by American recording artists Otis Redding and Carla Thomas. It is Thomas' fourth album and Redding's sixth and the final studio album before his death on December 10, 1967. Influenced by Marvin Gaye's duets, the album features ten covers of soul classics and the eleventh finishing song co-written by Redding.
Producer Jim Stewart had the idea to produce a duet album with Otis Redding and Carla Thomas, as he thought it would help their musical careers' progress, and that "[Redding's] rawness and [Thomas's] sophistication would work" well together. Another reason to combine the two artists was in the hopes of achieving a success similar to that which Motown singer Marvin Gaye had with both Tammi Terrell and Kim Weston. Carla Thomas was already successful in the R&B business; she had already had many singles appear in both the Hot 100 and Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles charts, most recently her 1966 song "B-A-B-Y". Redding agreed to record with Thomas, simply stating, "Well, hey, you from Memphis, you from Tennessee, you can hang". At the time the album was recorded in January 1967, Thomas was studying at Howard University in Washington D.C. for an M.A. in English. Recorded in about six days (another source states only three days), the album features eleven songs: ten covers of soul classics, and an eleventh song, "Ooh Carla, Ooh Otis", that Redding co-wrote with Al Bell. It features house band Booker T. & the M.G.'s, pianist Isaac Hayes, and the brass section The Memphis Horns. Six out of eleven songs were cut during their session; the rest were overdubbed by Redding in the following days owing to their concert obligations.
Three singles were released from the album: "Tramp", the first cut song, was released as a single in April and peaked at number two on Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart and at number twenty-six on Billboard Hot 100; "Knock on Wood" peaked in September at number eight on the Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart and number thirty on the Hot 100 charts; and "Lovey Dovey" was released late in 1968, and charted at number twenty-one on the Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles list and number sixty on the Hot 100. The album was released on March 16, 1967.
In retrospective reviews King & Queen has gained positive comments. Jason Ankeny of Allmusic gives the album 4.5 stars out of 5. He states that "Redding and Thomas enjoy an undeniable chemistry, and they play off each other wonderfully", and summarizes the album as follows: "Otis Redding never recorded a lighter, more purely entertaining record than King & Queen".Robert Christgau gives it an "A-"; although he says the album was "pretty ephemeral", he praises the exciting music, and writes that it sounds "vivacious, catchier and funnier [than] most soul music".