Tuesday, October 30, 2012

#101: Otis Redding - Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul (1965)

I don't know why I'm surprised that Otis Redding was putting out this kind of music in 1965. Maybe it's because before listening to this album I used to peg him as the guy who sings "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" and I naively assumed that all his other tracks would be similar. While in this same year Dylan may have been changing landscapes in song writing, Redding provided a lot of maturity in soul music through this album.

Down in the Valley
As much as it pains me to give credit to Solomon Burke for co-writing this song, it's really quite a special track. The arrangement is absolutely perfect, it knows when to breathe, when to groove, when to stab the horns, and when to sprinkle just a little ivory on top. I'm only three tracks in and I must say that I need to get more Otis Redding records.
For most music lovers "My Girl" is the definitive song for the Temptations (written by Smokey Robinson). While that may be the version everyone thinks of - I absolutely have to it up to Otis. He brings so much more soul and emotion to the song. While the arrangement doesn't vary hardly at all from the Temptations - the vocals are just so much more personalized when Redding does it.

You know, if I didn't know better I'd say this is an Otis Redding song. It's kind of ironic that the Stones were popularized on the idea of taking blues and soul music and speeding it up. Then Otis Redding comes along and covers the Stones. I may be alone (and call me crazy) but I think I prefer this over the original. When the music dropped out and you just hear the drums chugging along - I got chills. It's such a departure from the original yet it's so true to it.

All in all, holy shit. It's a shame no one talks about Otis Redding any more. He's the 'King of Soul' for a reason: he's ridiculous. I may have spotlighted only cover songs on this album, but his originals are no slouch - for instance there's a little song called "Respect" that made it on the record. The album flows from song to song in a way I haven't heard in a long time - it's seamless. It's as perfect of a blend as you can get between moving your soul and moving your feet.

Tomorrow's album: Beach Boys' Today.

No comments:

Post a Comment