Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Definitive Otis Redding
Genres: Pop, R&B
Having died at age 26, Otis Redding gave only a glimpse--albeit a well-documented one--of what he was capable of doing. These four CDs capture Redding's best moments and give a depth that is essential to Redding and Stax-e... more »
Amazon.com essential recording
Having died at age 26, Otis Redding gave only a glimpse--albeit a well-documented one--of what he was capable of doing. These four CDs capture Redding's best moments and give a depth that is essential to Redding and Stax-era R&B fans. Redding shaped Stax's signature soul sound, in part by further livening up already high-powered horn charts and heavy rhythms, and in part by simply singing his heart out to a ringing degree. His early, heavily showy stuff is featured here in the form of "Shout Bamalama," but very quickly this set begins to boast just how categorically awe-inspiring Redding's vocal powers were. He made the heart hurt on scorching love-lost tunes ("That's What My Heart Needs") and then could jar the floor with bursting tempi, complex horn charts and unflagging passion on a tune like "Mr. Pitiful." By the time he was churning out tracks with the estimable instrumental outfit Booker T. & the MG's, Redding's dramatic delivery and awesome power were evenly keeled, ensuring at least an unforgettable performance--many of which are on these four CDs. The first three collect catalog material, from the early tunes (a great vantage on Redding's forming talent) to "Tramp," his erstwhile hit with Carla Thomas, to the jump-out-of-your-seat energy of Sam Cooke's "Chain Gang." The last CD collects live performances, each of which is distinctly unforgettable. Then there's the sure sign of Redding's ascendance, "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay," recorded within days of this Macon, Georgia, native's tragic early death. For those looking for something more compact than this set, try the anthology Dreams to Remember. Be prepared, however, to feel teased by just two CDs when you could have four. --Andrew Bartlett
A Compleatist Pick for Soul.
Christopher Wanko | Nutley, NJ USA | 04/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a fan of Otis Redding's music since I bought a vinyl record of the 1967 Monterey Pop festival with Jimi on one side and Otis on the other. For *two years* I only listened to the Jimi side; one day I just flipped it over to check out Mr. Redding and was shocked.No, I was stunned. I felt stupid and small. I could've been listening to Otis for TWO WHOLE YEARS LONGER. The effect that might've had on me at that time would've been immeasurable. If I had only started earlier, I could've been smarter, smoother, better looking, with increased vim and vigor. And we all want more vim.Given the choice between box sets of soul brothers to buy, I'd probably recommend Otis without qualification to anyone. Marvin Gaye has a better voice, Sam Cook is a bigger talent, but with respect to approachability and the elusive emotive feelings you get from listening, Otis really stands apart from the other two. His music is fun but the anguish in his love songs is real. It's hard to describe in mere words, but let me try.The backup band of Booker T and the MGs is possibly the best in soul music. Coupled with a vocal musician like Otis Redding, the result is the kind of tight song structure that seems fluid and natural until you give it a really good listen. Then, you recognize the talent of the drummer working with the bass and guitar, and just how a horn section is supposed to work in all that. The person to thank ultimately is Otis, who had all this music in his head and managed to team up with musicians as talented and empathetic as himself.The result is three CDs of some of the finest, most listenable soul recorded. Nevermind the monoaural sound. Delight in the range of happy songs, rockin' songs, soulful songs, and songs that defy categorization. After those three CDs run through, treat yourself to the Otis concert on disc four and wonder, as all his fans must have wondered at least once, what might've been if his plane landed safely..."
The King Of Soul
thestaxman | Jackson, MS United States | 08/15/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If Ray Charles is the genius of Soul, James Brown it's godfather, and Aretha Franklin it's queen, then undoubtably, Otis Redding is it's king and Booker T. & the MGs, Soul's crown princes. He's the only singer I've ever heard who sounds like he's in the room with you. If the world was to face disaster and maybe only some would survive, we would have to place Otis's recording of Sam Cooke's "Change Gonna Come", his definitive version of "Try a Little Tenderness" and "I've Been Loving You Too Long", a song he wrote with the legendary Jerry Butler, in a time capsule. This was soul music. It's rare when a box set can be enjoyed by someone who is not familiar with the artist. (Another one being Otis's Stax cohorts, Booker T. & the MGs' Time Is Tight) But Otis's voice, along with the MGs' majesty made some of the greatest music of all time. What set Otis apart from people, and what eludes many artists, was his ability to turn someone's song inside out and make it his own. He frequently covered songs by one of his biggest influences, Sam Cooke. Cooke's "Change Gonna Come" is a perfectly beautiful record. Why would anyone touch it?!? Otis and the MGs with The Memphis Horns make what could be the most gut wrenching and beautiful and "soulful" track ever recorded. Also fun is Otis's cover of Sam Cooke's "Cupid". Cooke's version is again, quite perfect and way ahead of its time. Redding's version is stripped down and playful as can be. And when he sings, "Cupid, please hear my cry", man he's crying. Not to be overlooked is Redding's songwriting talents. Not many black guys are considered when the subject of singer/songwriters are brought up. But he, like Al Green later, wrote many of his best records. Otis wrote many of his songs with Steve Cropper. On the Eddie Floyd/Booker T. Jones written "I Love You More Than Words Can Say", Cropper's and Redding's musical relationship reaches its full potential. Otis sings, "Living without you is so painful", and Cropper's guitar sings one of it's most soulful responses. Another treat is the Redding, Booker T. Jones, and Al Jackson written rocker, "Let Me Come On Home". But the gem of this set is disc four. Twenty three live songs, edited seamlessly, so it is as if you were at an Otis show. The "king" outdoes the "godfather" on "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag", and there's a heartbreaking version of "Just One More Day". It all ends perfectly when Otis Redding and the MGs take you away from everything on a trip to soul heaven with "Try a Little Tenderness" from Monterey Pop. Music didn't die with Buddy Holly. It began a slow demise on December 10th, 1967, when Otis Redding passed away. Today, R&B is laughable, Country seems to come off of a conveyor belt, and there's no such thing as Soul anymore, or Rock & Roll for that matter. Maybe it's because the hippies grew up and began to run things, or technology, but today, there's almost no soul left in music. Now we have people who whoop and holler, Trying to be soulful and show range. All they show me is terrible insecurity or ego. It's like watching an awful actor. It's pretentious. Hopefully, one day we can wade through all the garbage. The material here will stand the test of time."
Brilliant Retrospective of Otis's Output
Christopher Wanko | 06/19/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"An astonishing collection. Within seven short years Otis Redding (1941-1967) not only created an inimitable personal style but, almost singlehandedly, gave soul music its texture and vocabulary. He was anguished, tortured, and yet, in his determination to find some basis for carrying on, revealed a tenderness and hopefulness which after his death was never recaptured. His was the great voice of longing and yearning in the face of despair. For the first time, early pre-Stax material, lost songs, and live performances are collected along with the hits. We can hear Otis mature from his raucous Little Richard inspired "Shout Bamalama" through the gradual development of his plaintative style as in "Security", "Pain In My Heart", and "That's How Strong My Love Is" through to the brilliant output from 1965-1967: "I've Been Loving You", "Champagne and Wine", "My Lover's Prayer", "Hard to Handle", "Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)", "Dock of the Bay", etc., etc. etc. Moreover such lost tracks as "Gone Again", "Pounds and Hundreds", "You Left Your Water Running", and "Cupid" obtain, by being placed within the context of his released oeuvre, the stature that they richly deserve. Except for possibly Dylan no other American singer can claim such a formidable output in such a short time. Otis may have even equalled or surpassed Dylan in several respects - incorporating horn sections in to his songs, adapting standard rock into soul (the way Dylan did into folk), creating a musical persona every bit as distinctive as Dylan - he never let up, the well never ran dry (he didn't live long enough to go into a rut), and his last recordings show him trying to expand his emotional range even further: "I've Got Dreams to Remember" and "Gone Again" are particular highlights in this regard. The "live" CD is staggering in its abundance of energy and excitement. &qu! ot;Otis" is a maginificent collection of a still too underrated artist."