One of the best genuine "Soul" albums...
nicjaytee | London | 04/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Recorded in 1965 when "soul", as opposed to R&B, Motown and gospel, was starting to develop its own identity, "The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads" set an early reference point for this new style of music.While his next album - "Otis Blue" - was more polished, more commercial and more successful, this often overlooked record is in many ways much more staisfying. Redding's singing is quite stunning, with heart-rending deliveries that make you believe that he means what he says. And, the back up from Booker T, Steve Cropper and the Stax "house band" is consistently creative and incisive. Many of the arrangements used here became standard reference points for the flood of "soul" (or, more aptly, "not really soul") records that were to follow. But, while Sam Cooke and Ray Charles fans may argue, this was where it all came together for the first time in a glorious, unified whole. While the subsequent soul standards - "Mr Pitiful" and "That's How Strong My Love Is" - provide the opening and closing bookends, it is the numbers in-between that make this album really stand-out. If "soul" is the ability to capture emotions through music then, here it is. The sparse, single note piano arrangement and desperate lyrics on "It's Too Late" are breath-taking - alongside Ray Charles' "Someday Baby" one of the saddest tracks ever made; if the joy of love's enfatuation is what you're looking for then "Your One And Only Man" has it; and, for believable pleading, then "Come To Me" has never been bettered.There's no R&B and, with the exception of "Mr Pitiful" (despite the title), no dance records. What there is, is a genuinely painful heart and... that's what "soul" - a much maligned musical label - is in fact all about.If you like the slower tracks on "Otis Blue" then buy this... it won't disappoint."
The original soul
nicjaytee | 01/17/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been listeneng to this album since 1965 and I never tire of it. Why? "Nothing Can Change This Love" is possibly the best "soul" (not R&B, not blues, not urban, not gospel--but all of these together, and then some) song that was ever recorded. Otis's treatment of "Woman, Lover, Friend" will engage your blues sensibilities in new ways. "Home In Your Heart" will make you dance. "Keep Your Arms Around Me" will make you dance. Slowly. The soul music of Otis Redding journeys the peaks and valleys of life and speaks to them eloquently, if somewhat crudely. All the songs on this album are great. This is one CD that belongs in everyone's collection."