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Pop - Released May 1, 2012 | Rhino Atlantic

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This album, released posthumously, captured Otis Redding's show at the Whisky A Go Go from April of 1966 in Los Angeles. What is essential here was that it captured Otis Redding's sound in a small club with his own touring band, as opposed to his work on stage with Booker T. & the MG's -- an ideal band, to be sure, which is why they were sent over to Europe with him and why they were at Monterey with him a year later, but not the group that Redding normally worked on stage with. This album is closer to how Otis Redding sounded in the years coming up and working his way to the top, and the way that his original audience on the chitlin' circuit heard him. The singer and his band (including a pair of tenor saxes, a trombone, and four trumpets, with James Young, Ralph Stewart, and Elbert Woodson pounding out the rhythm on guitar, bass, and drums, respectively, go through roaring versions of "Respect," "I Can't Turn You Loose," "These Arms of Mine," "Pain in My Heart," "Satisfaction" and "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" and four more, in Redding's only full-length recording in a small-scale setting. They may not have the musical elegance of Booker T. and company, but they create this intense, hypnotic sound that is spellbinding. The set itself lasts less than 40 minutes but the singer and his band are so energetic, that it doesn't feel short or lacking. This album was, in more ways than one, Redding's equivalent to Sam Cooke's Live At The Harlem Square Club, and just as essential. Reissued in 1992 on the Atco label through Rhino Records. ~ Bruce Eder
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R&B - Released April 24, 2012 | Rhino Atlantic

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R&B - Released July 15, 2008 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Otis Redding's third album, and his first fully realized album, presents his talent unfettered, his direction clear, and his confidence emboldened, with fully half the songs representing a reach that extended his musical grasp. 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. Also featured are Redding's spellbinding renditions of "(I Can't Get No) 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), "My Girl," and "You Don't Miss Your Water." "Respect" and "I've Been Loving You Too Long," two originals that were to loom large in his career, are here as well; the former became vastly popular in the hands of Aretha Franklin and the latter was an instant soul classic. 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. Redding's powerful, remarkable singing throughout makes Otis Blue gritty, rich, and achingly alive, and an essential listening experience. ~ Bruce Eder
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R&B - Released May 28, 1991 | Rhino

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Otis Redding's talent began to surge, across songs and their stylesand absorbing them, with the recording of The Soul Album. In contrast to The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads, which was an advance over its predecessor but still a body of 12 songs of varying styles and textures, rising to peaks and never falling before an intense, soulful mid-range, The Soul Album shows him moving from strength to strength in a string of high-energy, sweaty soul performances, interspersing his own songs with work by Sam Cooke ("Chain Gang"), Roy Head ("Treat Her Right"), Eddie Floyd ("Everybody Makes a Mistake"), and Smokey Robinson ("It's Growing") and recasting them in his own style, so that they're not "covers" so much as reinterpretations; indeed, "Chain Gang" is almost a rewrite of the original, though one suspects not one that Cooke would have disapproved of. He still had a little way to go as a songwriter -- the jewel of this undervalued collection is "Cigarettes and Coffee, co-authored by Eddie Thomas and Jerry Butler -- but as an interpreter he was now without peer, and his albums were now showing this remarkable, stunningly high level of consistency. Also significant on this album was the contribution of Steve Cropper, not only on guitar but as co-author of three songs. ~ Bruce Eder
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R&B - Released May 1, 2012 | Rhino Atlantic

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R&B - Released July 24, 2012 | Rhino Atlantic

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Recorded and released in 1966, Otis Redding's fifth album, Complete and Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul found the rugged-voiced deep soul singer continuing to expand the boundaries of his style while staying true to his rough and passionate signature sound. Redding's ambitious interpretations of "Tennessee Waltz" and especially "Try a Little Tenderness" found him approaching material well outside the traditional boundaries of R&B and allowing his emotionally charged musical personality to take them to new and unexpected places, and while his cover of "Day Tripper" wasn't his first attempt to confront the British Invasion, his invigorating and idiosyncratic take on the Beatles' cynical pop tune proved Redding's view of the pop music universe was broader than anyone might have expected at the time. While Redding's experiments with covers on this set were successful and satisfying, it was on his own material that he sounded most at home, and "My Lover's Prayer" and "Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)" are deep Southern soul at its finest, with Redding's forceful but lovelorn voice delivering an Academy Award-worthy performance. And once again, the Stax house band (centered around Booker T. & the MG's and the Memphis Horns) prove themselves both thoroughly distinctive and remarkably adaptable, fitting into the nooks and crannies of Redding's voice with their supple but muscular performances. With the exception of his duet album with Carla Thomas, Complete and Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul was the last studio album Redding would fully complete before his death, and it proves his desire for a broader musical statement didn't begin when he encountered "the love crowd" at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. ~ Mark Deming
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Soul - Released October 30, 2015 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
Soul Manifesto is a fancy but accurate title for what is essentially another installment in Rhino's Original Album Series, where all the individual albums are presented as mini-LPs in paper sleeves, slid into a small box, and marketed at a low price. In this case, this rounds up the 12 albums that form the core of the Otis Redding discography: the five studio albums he released between 1964 and 1967 (Pain in My Heart, The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads, Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul, The Soul Album, Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul, the Carla Thomas duet album King & Queen), the live albums Live in Europe and In Person at the Whisky a Go Go, and the four posthumous studio LPs released between 1968 and 1970 (The Dock of the Bay, The Immortal Otis Redding, Love Man, Tell the Truth). While other rarities were dug up years later -- two noteworthy sets are 1992's Remember Me and the following year's box set Otis! The Definitive Otis Redding -- this has all the important music Otis made, all delivered in a handy and affordable little box. If you didn't own this seminal music already, this is a great way to get it. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Soul - Released June 1, 2015 | Rhino Atlantic

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R&B - Released July 31, 2012 | Rhino Atlantic

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R&B - Released July 24, 2012 | Rhino Atlantic

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R&B - Released May 15, 1992 | Rhino Atlantic

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R&B - Released May 12, 1992 | Rhino Atlantic

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R&B - Released February 5, 2007 | Rhino - Elektra

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R&B - Released November 6, 1992 | Rhino Atlantic

This was another anthology that was definitive for many years, but lost a lot of value once Rhino began with its CD reissues. Atlantic hasn't bothered to reissue it as a CD, so it's only available on cassette. The original sound was decent and the range of selections good, and it still can be a nice introduction to Redding's greatness. There wasn't much information available beyond the minimum details. ~ Ron Wynn
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R&B - Released February 3, 2013 | Rhino Atlantic

Although his recording career only lasted five years, from 1962 through 1967 (seven studio albums in all), with his biggest hits coming in the last two years of that time, and his only number one, "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay," after his death, Otis Redding is still widely considered the greatest performer of the classic soul era, a designation he undoubtedly deserves. A dynamic performer and a more than competent songwriter ("Dock of the Bay," for instance, is a Redding original), he brought the energy and directness of gospel into the secular world with a fervor and passion that made his songs, and particularly his live versions of them, into gritty sermons on the joy, loss, pain, and yearning that attends being in love. It helped, too, that his backing outfit on most of his tracks was the great Stax Records house band the MG's, who knew how to punch in and stomp it and also when to lay back in a quiet storm behind him, and the band and Redding together were an unstoppable force. There have been plenty of Redding compilations over the years, with this one, The King of Soul, being yet another one, but it is distinctive for its breadth, tracking the arc of Redding's career through 92 tracks arranged chronologically over four discs, and because it also, particularly when covering the early years, includes mono mixes, which often carried more tightly focused punch than the stereo ones. Appearing during the 50th anniversary year of the release of Redding's debut album, Pain in My Heart, this set tells the story of the King of Soul as well as any other compilation out there. Everything essential is here, and with Otis Redding, it's pretty much all essential. He was that kind of artist. ~ Steve Leggett

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Otis Redding in the magazine