Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul [Collector's Edition]

This two — cd set doubles the pleasure of Otis Redding's third album with B sides, outtakes, period live tracks and the entire record in mono and stereo versions. But Otis Blue was already perfect in its original 11 — song edition when released in September 1965 — an achievement that is even more remarkable because all but one of the tracks were recorded inside 24 hours, in two lightning sessions at the Stax studio in Memphis, on July 9th and in the early morning of the 10th. The reason for the intermission: The house band — including Booker T. and the MG's, and the Memphis Horns — had to cut out for local gigs. The haste is evident: In his Dixie — heat treatment of the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction," Redding sings "satis — fashion." But the urgency is all — natural. He barks and grunts in excited polyrhythm with Al Jackson's off — the — beat drum breaks in Sam Cooke's "Shake" and takes Southern — church liberties with the refined ecstasies of Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come." Redding had only two new originals ready for this record, the deep — wound blues "Ole Man Trouble" (with its great sobbing — brass lick) and the male — pride strut "Respect." A third included on the album, the majestic surrender of "I've Been Loving You Too Long" (written with Jerry Butler), was cut earlier and was already Redding's biggest single to date. But amid R&B — gig standards like the Temptations' "My Girl," the melodic invention in Redding's songs and the emotional investment in his performances mark the point at which he stopped merely singing soul music. He now created his own, at a high speed reflected in the stereo rerecording of "I've Been Loving You Too Long." Done at the July sessions, it is slower in tempo, magnificent in its anguish and even closer to genius.

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