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"Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul"

Click to buy at Amazon.com Reviewed by Terry Cochran

I never paid much attention to Otis Redding prior to the posthumous release of "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay" in 1968 -- which quickly became one of my all-time favorites. This means that I had missed one of the best soul collections ever, which he delivered in 1965. Now comes Rhino Entertainment to fill that gap, presenting the Collector’s Edition release of "Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul". The 2-CD set is available on April 22nd!

Rhino shows its respect for an album most soul music aficionados call one of the greatest of all time with an expanded and remastered Collector's Edition. It includes several versions of each of Redding's first 3 major records which crossed over from the R&B charts into the pop Top 40:

  • The incredible "I've Been Loving You Too Long", which is a classic in its own right;
  • The original version of "Respect", before it became Aretha Franklin's signature tune; and
  • A cover of the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" which even Keith Richards said was how he had originally intended the song to sound

Neither Otis Redding nor any of the members of the Stax house band had any idea that they were about to make soul music history when they entered the recording studio on July 9, 1965. The big-voiced soul singer from Macon, Georgia was on the brink of breaking big when he recorded his third, full-length album in one amazing adrenaline-charged twenty-four hour period.

The first disc features a remastered version of the original album in mono expanded with previously unreleased alternate mixes of "Respect","Ole Man Trouble" and "I've Been Loving You Too Long", as well as remastered tracks from Redding's explosive live album "Live At The Whiskey A Go Go". The second disc contains a remastered version of the original album in stereo expanded with a version of "Respect" recorded in 1967, plus five songs recorded live in Europe the same year featuring Redding backed on stage by Booker T. & The MG's and horn players Wayne Jackson, Joe Arnold, and Andrew Love.

The 11-song album features three original tunes, including his then recent hit "I've Been Loving You Too Long", "Ole Man Trouble" and "Respect". In addition to his originals, Redding also recorded a trio of Sam Cooke songs as a tribute to the recently slain singer, who had been a seminal influence on him. Rounding out the album is a strutting version of Solomon Burke's "Down In The Valley" (with whom Otis had recently toured), B.B. King's "Rock Me Baby", label mate William Bell's quintessential southern soul ballad "You Don't Miss Your Water" and left field covers of the Temptations' "My Girl" and The Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction".

To buy "Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul", click here!

Click below to hear samples of each track or to buy MP3 copies of them:

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