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Stax Profiles: Otis Redding

Otis Redding

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Album Review

Now here's a twist on the "artist select" best ofs that have been clogging the bins for the last couple of years: Steve Cropper, an artist almost symbiotically linked with Otis Redding, chooses his 13 favorite Redding tunes. Nope, "Dock of the Bay" isn't here, so this isn't a "best of" in any conventional sense of the word. What is here is a wonderfully deep and greasy set of cuts assembled by a cat who played on most of them and produced a slew too. There are two live numbers here, "Security" and "Good to Me," with a big band including six horns, that roar to the rafters. "Happy Song (Dum Dum)" and "Mr. Pitiful" are both here representing opposite sides of Redding's soul growler persona. But so are tunes that punters almost never see on the usual ten- or 12-track collections, such as "My Lover's Prayer," "I'm Sick Y'all," and Redding's fine version of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come." The short live version of "Shake," from the Stax/Volt Revue, Vol. 3: Live in Europe — Hit the Road Stax, and the simmering Sidney Wyche ballad "A Woman, A Lover, A Friend" are here, too. Stax Profiles is a killer little comp compiled with a very personal touch.

Biography

Born: 09 September 1941 in Dawson, GA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s

One of the most influential soul singers of the 1960s, Otis Redding exemplified to many listeners the power of Southern "deep soul" — hoarse, gritty vocals, brassy arrangements, and an emotional way with both party tunes and aching ballads. He was also the most consistent exponent of the Stax sound, cutting his records at the Memphis label/studios that did much to update R&B into modern soul. His death at the age of 26 was tragic not just because he seemed on the verge of breaking through...
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