Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Immortal Otis Redding
Genres: Pop, R&B
He'd only recently stolen the show at the Monterey Pop Festival, winning the hearts and minds of the white hippie audience; he'd just recorded "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay," now and forever one of soul's all-time greate... more »
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He'd only recently stolen the show at the Monterey Pop Festival, winning the hearts and minds of the white hippie audience; he'd just recorded "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay," now and forever one of soul's all-time greatest moments. And then he died in that horrible plan crash. The Immortal Otis Redding was the first posthumous release following Redding's tragic death, and it reveals the interesting direction Redding was taking in the studio during the last six weeks of his life. Produced by legendary Stax guitarist Steve Cropper, Redding often seems headed in a direction here primed for the funk of the future, although he never had the chance to put his final imprint on it. Ironically, nothing on this disc became a pop or R&B hit in the wake of "Dock of the Bay," although any number of tunes certainly qualify for that status. It may have been a case of too much, too soon. Not until two decades later did the Black Crowes' hit cover of "Hard to Handle," the best thing that band ever did, rightly echo the genius on this recording. --Bill Holdship
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A rarity: A posthumous album that doesn't plunder the legacy
29-year old wallflower | West Lafayette, IN | 06/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"On November 10, 1967, soul music's version of "The Day The Music Died" happened. A plane crashed in Lake Monona near Madison, Wisconsin. Aboard were soul star Otis Redding & 4 members of the band The Bar-Kays. All but one Bar-Kays member perished in the crash. Otis, then on the verge of breaking through to pop audiences, was only 26 at the time. Naturally, with his death, unreleased recordings were released posthumously, probably more as a tribute to him than as a last-ditch attempt to cash in on his name. 1968's THE IMMORTAL OTIS REDDING was one of those rare posthumous albums that didn't tarnish the career Otis had worked so hard to build.
"[Sittin' On] The Dock Of The Bay", of course, was recorded just 3 days before Otis' death & became the first posthumous #1 hit of the rock era. It seemed that Otis was more popular in death than he was alive. The DOCK OF THE BAY album (1968) had its share of previously unreleased songs that were later released & became hits. Apparently, Otis was quite prolific, for the songs kept pouring out afterward & the appropriately-titled THE IMMORTAL OTIS REDDING is just even more icing on the cake.
Unlike his absolute best album (and one of the greatest ever made) OTIS BLUE (1965), which mostly contained covers, IMMORTAL has more originals on it, proving Otis was just as accomplished a writer in his own right (he did, after all, write "Respect"!). The truly moving "I've Got Dreams To Remember" (#41 pop, #6 R&B)was co-written by Otis with his wife Zelma & considering that his death was just around the corner, it's enough to bring a tear to the listener's eye. The same goes for the traditional (but swingingly arranged by Otis) "Amen" (#36 pop, #15 R&B), which had been a hit for the Impressions 5 years earlier. Otis' version is just as heartfelt & proof that he hadn't forgotten his raising as a child of the church.
Other somber tunes that didn't become hits include "A Waste Of Time" (a forgotten masterpiece of Southern soul), "Champagne & Wine", "You Made A Man Out Of Me", Ray Charles' "A Fool For You" & "Think About It". This is definitely perfect midnight music to either mend your broken heart or give the one you love a little somethin' (wink wink).
But while Otis may be an expert at loving up a storm, he still has the equal ability at getting the listener up & moving. "Hard To Handle" (#51 pop, #38 R&B) was no doubt exposed to a new audience thanks to the Black Crowes' 1990 revival & I was even surprised to find that it was a cover. While the Crowes' version is just as much their own, Otis' version still moves like hell. "Nobody's Fault But Mine" (B-side to "Dreams)", "A Thousand Miles Away" & "The Happy Song" (#25 pop, #10 R&B) work just as well at bringing up the dullest of parties.
While the digging up of a deceased artist's unreleased material would border on the obscene & darn near disrespectful, with Otis Redding, it was clear that the music he hadn't released yet or still intended to work on further was just as good (and, in some cases, better) than what did get released. In fact, Otis had so much music left in the can, that 4 posthumous albums were released & the verdict is that it was indeed worth it (can anyone tell me if LOVE MAN has ever been released on CD?). THE IMMORTAL OTIS REDDING proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that while Otis may have left us at only 26, his music is indeed immortal & that probably he had plans to dazzle us with even more great music. Now, we can only wonder."
His very best single collection
Nelson Yomtov | NYC area | 08/27/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been listening to this masterpiece since its release and it remains as raw and emotive a statement today as it did 30 years ago. This is the full spectrum of the Otis personna: swaggering, boisterous and powerful; innocent and wide-eyed; pleading for forgiveness as the unfaithful lover. It goes on and on, each cut slicing back another part of Otis' genius. "Dreams to Remember" may well be the greatest song he composed -- and he composed many. The backing of his long time studio cohorts is sensational -- Steve Cropper's minimalist twangings compliment Otis' vocals superbly. I'm a rather tough critic, even on my favorite performers, but this is about as good as r&b ever got."
My favorite soul music and soul artist
osapientia | Carson, CA | 02/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When you have heard too much motown or James Brown, and want something a little different, a little grittier, Otis Redding is your man. Otis' music is the most honest to goodness, balls to the walls soul you will ever experience. There is no lie whether he is begging or pleading for his woman's love or when he's shouting gospel on "Amen." And the sparse yet powerful playing, especially by the Memphis horns, add the funky backround that is the trademark Otis sound. There is definitely more going on in his music than you will get with Motown. Otis is like the Led Zeppelin of soul, the heaviest and hardest but not quite as famous as the Beatles. This album is by far his best. Short and very sweet."