The Otis Redding Story

Not Rated

Otis Redding packed a whole lot of get-down and a lifetime's worth of testifyin' into the five short years that he recorded for Stax/Volt Records, and now the legacy is given its first serious reissue treatment in this generous four-record box (sixty tracks in chronological order, complete with in-depth annotation). Huge chunks of his brilliant '65 albums, Sings Soul Ballads and Otis Blue, are included, along with five Carla Thomas duets from the 1967 LP King and Queen. Among the obscure jewels rescued from oblivion are Redding's previously unissued '66 recording of "You Left the Water Running" — originally cut as a demo for Wilson Pickett, with Otis on acoustic guitar — and a recording of "I've Been Loving You Too Long" that eclipses the hit-single version with its slower, bluesy tension and heartbreaking vocal. Sides seven and eight are a revelation in themselves, featuring late '67 tracks (the great swamp-pop stomp "Love Man" and the finger-poppin' "Hard to Handle") and ending appropriately with the masterful "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay," the last song Otis Redding ever recorded.

From The Archives Issue 795: September 17, 1998