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"That girl took that song away from me!!!!"

  • Dec 4, 2008
It was the summer of 1967.  Otis Redding was in the midst of the performance of his life at Monterey International Pop Festival.  What he was referring to of course was the way Aretha Franklin had turned his song "Respect" into one of the biggest hits of the year.  His version topped out at #35 on the pop charts a couple of years earlier.  But I digress.  Otis Redding was just beginning to hit his stride as summer turned to autumn in 1967.  This veteran performer had been around for a while.  The fact is that up until this point he had made the Billboard Hot 100 a total of 19 times although his records usually ran out of gas somewhere in the middle of the chart.  His tunes fared much better on the Soul/R&B charts where 8 of them had made it into the Top Ten.  It is really difficult to understand why the man had not had greater commercial success up until this point. After taking a few months off Otis Redding returned to the studio in early December 1967.  There he recorded a song he had co-written with Steve Cropper.  Everyone thought it was a mistake.  His wife hated it.  Three days later Otis Redding was dead at 26, a victim of a tragic plane crash in Wisconsin.

When the story appeared in the newspaper I remember thinking to myself "Who is that?" And although I had been collecting records for about three years I had never heard of him.  Despite his enormous talent Otis Redding had just not quite connected with general audiences.  Less than two months later in January of 1968, Volt records released that tune his wife and friends hated so much. "(Sitting On) The Dock of the Bay" went all the way to #1 on the Pop charts and remained there for a month.  Everyone was now beginning to realize just how talented this man had been.  There are a few different Otis Redding collections around but I find this to be the best of the lot.  You'll hear his version of tunes that went on to become hits by other artists like 1965's "I Can't Turn You Loose" and his dynamic version of the great blues standard "Try A Little Tenderness".  In the meantime, you'll also enjoy the exhilirating work of the Stax/Volt house band who were undeniably at their peak during this time.  For me other favorites on this compilation are the 1968 hit "The Happy Song (Dum-Dum") and Otis' high energy duet with Carla Thomas "Tramp".   An informative 12 page booklet with interesting biographical information and chart data for each track is also included. Believe me you cannot go wrong with "The Very Best of Otis Redding".   Highly recommended.
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Paul Tognetti ()
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I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on I never could … more
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It is impossible to overrate Otis Redding. This Rhino compilation, while in no way comprehensive, is nonetheless an outstanding sampler of songs by one of soul music's all-time titans. There's not a dud among these 16 songs, and some, like "These Arms Of Mine," "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay," and "Try A Little Tenderness," rank among the greatest pop songs ever recorded.

Redding's performances are mesmerizing and seem to embody the perfect balance between acute sensitivity and sheer overwhelming emotional strength. The combination of Redding's magnetism and the quality of such songs as "Mr. Pitiful," "I Can't Turn You Loose," and "Respect" is almost too good to be true. The album's only shortcoming is that there aren't more tracks to savor. A perfect introduction to this phenomenal singer.

Includes liner notes by Kevin Phinney.

Digitally remastered by Bill Inglot & Dan Hersch.

1  These Arms of Mine (Redding)  2  Pain in My Heart (Neville)  3  That's How Strong My Love Is (Jamison)  4  Mr. Pitiful (Cropper/Redding)  5  I've Been Loving You Too Long (Butler /Redding)  6  Respect (Redding)  7  I Can't Turn You Loose (Cropper/Redding/Redding)   8  (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (Jagger/Richards)  9  My Lover's Prayer (Redding)  10  Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song) (Cropper/Redding)  11  Try a Little Tenderness ...
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Release Date: November 24, 1992
Label: Rhino
Artist: Otis Redding
Genre: Southern Soul
Release Date: November 24, 1992
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