Tuesday, September 15, 2015

50 years ago: Otis Redding’s Otis Blue released

First posted 4/7/2008; updated 12/1/2020.

Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul

Otis Redding

Released: September 15, 1965

Charted: October 16, 1965

Peak: 75 US, 11 RB, 6 UK

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: R&B


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Ole Man Trouble (Otis Redding) [2:55]
  2. Respect (Redding) [2:05] (9/4/65, 35 US, 4 RB)
  3. A Change Is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke) [4:17]
  4. Down in the Valley (Bert Berns, Solomon Burke, Babe Chivian, Joe Martin) [3:02]
  5. I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (Redding, Jerry Butler) [3:10] (5/15/65, 21 US, 2 RB)
  6. Shake (Cooke) [2:35] (5/20/67, 47 US, 28 UK, 16 RB)
  7. My Girl (Smokey Robinson, Ronald White) [2:52] (11/25/65, 11 UK)
  8. Wonderful World (Cooke, Lou Adler, Herb Alpert) [3:00]
  9. Rock Me Baby (B.B. King) [3:20]
  10. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) [2:45] (3/5/66, 31 US, 33 UK, 4 RB)
  11. You Don’t Miss Your Water (William Bell) [2:53]

Total Running Time: 32:22


4.398 out of 5.00 (average of 18 ratings)

Quotable: “A virtual template for soul music.” Blender Magazine

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Otis Redding never made a bad album. Hell, Otis Redding never cut a bad song. But most of the LPs released in his tragically short career were, in the manner of the times, patched and cobbled together. Otis Blue is the Big O’s one album that most plays like an album.” TL When he recorded it, he “had a vocal maturity beyond his mere 24 years.” CS “The self-proclaimed Mr. Pitiful sang of longing and civil injustice like a man who had suffered them for at least 50 years.” CS

“Recorded in just three days, it’s a virtual template for soul music,” BL It “presents his talent unfettered, his direction clear, and his confidence emboldened, with fully half the songs representing a reach that extended his musical grasp.” BE

“More than a quarter of this album is given over to Redding’s versions of songs by Sam Cooke, his idol, who had died the previous December, and all three are worth owning and hearing. Two of them, A Change Is Gonna Come and Shake, are every bit as essential as any soul recordings ever made, and while they (and much of this album) have reappeared on several anthologies, it's useful to hear the songs from those sessions juxtaposed with each other, and with Wonderful World, which is seldom compiled elsewhere.” BE

“Two originals that were to loom large in his career, are here as well.” BE “The pain of love was one of Redding’s favorite subjects, and he expresses that torment brilliantly on” CS “soul-stirrer I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” TL in which he is “seemingly about to implode.” BL Meanwhile, Respect, “a classic long before Aretha Franklin made it immortal, is a musical call to arms” CS in which Redding “channel[s] the energy of the civil rights movement.” CS

There’s also “Redding’s spellbinding renditions” BE of the Temptations’ My Girl and William Bell’s You Don’t Miss Your Water. Most notable is his cover of the Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction, “a song epitomizing the fully formed Stax/Volt sound and which Mick Jagger and Keith Richards originally wrote in tribute to and imitation of Redding’s style.” BE “Using horns and bass guitar on the infamous riff, …[Redding] mines a conviction about which Mick Jagger only dreamed.” CS

“Among the seldom-cited jewels here is a rendition of B.B. King’s Rock Me Baby that has the singer sharing the spotlight with Steve Cropper, his playing alternately elegant and fiery, with Wayne Jackson and Gene ‘Bowlegs’ Miller’s trumpets and Andrew Love's and Floyd Newman’s saxes providing the backing.” BE In fact, throughout the album “the Stax house band – Booker T and the MGs, augmented by Isaac Hayes and the Mar-Key horns – crackles and Redding’s voice was never better. Which is truly saying something.” TL “Redding’s powerful, remarkable singing throughout makes Otis Blue gritty, rich, and achingly alive, and an essential listening experience.” BE He “was never more sweatily persuasive.” BL

Notes: A 2008 Collector’s Edition added live tracks from the Whisky a Go Go, alternate versions of tracks, a stereo version of the album, and selections from Live in Europe on a 2-disc version.

Resources and Related Links:

No comments:

Post a Comment