Otis Redding: Classic or Dud

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By the way, is the Rhino Anthology (i guess it's titled "dream to remember"...) any good?

Simone, Saturday, 24 March 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

I have nothing but respect for the man, but among the soul greats, he's the one I have the hardest time with. He never seemed to have much of a sense of melody and his performances weren't particularly driving (the way that, say, Wilson Pickett's were). I have no doubt that he poured out his heart and guts into everything he recorded, but to me his songs sound like a very pure ideal of soul for soul's sake, and I usually need some sort of pop corruption in my r&b to grab me. Still, I love the mood of "Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay" and the dynamics of "Try A Little Tenderness" - maybe I just need to give him a few more listens.

Patrick, Saturday, 24 March 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

that rhino anthology is great. you get all the hits and the album tracks AND the live tracks from monterrey.

utterly classic, though i think i'll be in the minority. patrick, i can understand your plight. when i first bought his hits collection, i wondered what the big deal was...but that's usually the case with artists who go on to become my favorite artists (e.g. david bowie, the smiths, the pixies, etc).

his songs are probably the starkest of the stax artists and are often melody is sacrificed for feeling. but, as the good woman once said, oh, what a feeling. for me, his throat acts as the direct intermediary between his heart and your ear. it's very likely that there's never been a singer, as far as i'm concerned, who makes you feel every word like otis.

less obvious tracks to seek out: "that's how strong my love is," "shake (live)," "just one more day," "cigarettes and coffee," "i love you more than words can say" (especially), and "i've got dreams to remember."

a caveat: if you're just getting into soul, otis is not a good starting point. you need to have an appreciation for the sound and the dynamics of the music before getting into him. start with motown, work your way through atlantic, and then get to stax.

fred solinger, Saturday, 24 March 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Don't know enough of his output to really say, but what I know I think is great. If you ever see it cheap, it's definitely worth it to pick up _Live In Europe_. There is some off-the-chain energy on that album, really inspiring, w/ one track slamming into the next & all the fast ones played double time, all w/ Redding screaming his head off. And he looks like a million on the front cover with that kick ass red suit. Definitely worth keeping an eye out for.

Mark Richardson, Saturday, 24 March 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Sittin' On the Dock of The Bay is overrated. The REAL winner is I've Been Loving You Too Long. Check out the Monterey Pop box (which is worth getting for its own sake) and listen to the way he whips the crowd into a frenzy. When he sings he feels pain and he believes EVERY SINGLE WORD HE SINGS.


JM, Saturday, 24 March 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Mmm, I would say classic just for 'Sitting on the Dock of the Bay', one of those soul classics that really touch me, great mood as Patrick said. I always want to check out Live at Monterey, but I seem to forget once I step into a record shop.

Omar, Sunday, 25 March 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Utterly classic. Cannot be wronged. 'Try a Little Tenderness' is just way too short - as soon as it really gets going, it's over. I first discovered Otis through that song, as it was used in a mid-to-late 80s play (kind of "It's grim oop North" style) called 'Road' by Jim Cartwright. There's this unbelievable last scene where the four main characters, to break out of their lives, get plastered on cheap wine really quickly, listen to Otis singing 'Tenderness' and then are provoked by the emotion of that song into really speaking about what's going on in their heads . . .

Sounds awful when I describe it. But look out the play, and you'll see what I mean. Ever since then, Otis Redding has been some of the most emotional music I regularly listen to.

Vaughan, Sunday, 25 March 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

two years pass...

Mr Noodles (Mr Noodles), Wednesday, 31 December 2003 15:49 (seventeen years ago) link

Would be a bit weird to claim he was a dud, wouldn't it?

I think he - like every single Stax/Volt act other than him too - is overrated. But he certainly had a great voice, and "Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay" is a wonderful song.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Wednesday, 31 December 2003 19:05 (seventeen years ago) link

'Try a Little Tenderness' is just way too short - as soon as it really gets going, it's over.
ahhhhhh, get ready to be happy - i have a live version, off the tower comp i think, where he just keeps it going. he ends the song and then comes right back into the chorus like 5 times¡¡¡ you think the band is going to pass out at any second - it's brilliant¡

dyson (dyson), Wednesday, 31 December 2003 20:45 (seventeen years ago) link

Classic. Classic. Classic. (And better than Wilson Pickett BTW.) The way he phrases the opening line of "These Arms of Mine" just floors me everytime. He's up there with Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye and Al Green.

LondonLee (LondonLee), Thursday, 1 January 2004 16:39 (seventeen years ago) link

Alec Empire once told me that Otis's version of "Satisfaction" on the Live at Monterey Pop album was what he imagined the Sex Pistols sounded like before he heard them, and that makes sense to me...

For the "overrated" crowd, just remember: The guy didn't have a mainstream hit until he was dead. And I can't imagine why anyone who knows "Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa" and "Dock of the Bay" wouldn't think he was a great and growing songwriter when his plane went down in '67.

It's weird to me that the engine is still unretrieved at the bottom of Lake Monona, a small and shallow body of water in my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin. The evidence surrounding the accident is so scant, it's possible his plane just ran out of gas.

Pete Scholtes, Friday, 2 January 2004 15:43 (seventeen years ago) link

four years pass...

guys i'm drunk and all kinds of funky and


^^^^^^^^^^^^^ so hot

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Wednesday, 12 March 2008 05:19 (thirteen years ago) link

it was joe tex then headhunters now this i am on a drunk funk rampage

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Wednesday, 12 March 2008 05:19 (thirteen years ago) link

yall don't even understand

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Wednesday, 12 March 2008 05:20 (thirteen years ago) link

feelin like bimble up in this

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Wednesday, 12 March 2008 05:20 (thirteen years ago) link

(u know it's jokes, bimble)

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Wednesday, 12 March 2008 05:20 (thirteen years ago) link

two years pass...


"Otis Redding — Live on the Sunset Strip" double CD released this week.

The set expands on a 10-song single LP originally released two years after Redding's performances, and about a year after his death in 1967 at age 26 in a plane crash. The new CDs capture the electricity of the music, presenting them for the first time in complete performances as Whisky fans heard them. But it's hard to convey the full influence his shows had on the crowd.

"It was unbelievable," said guitarist, singer and songwriter Ry Cooder, who at the time was a member of the Rising Sons (along with Taj Mahal), the opening act for Redding and his 10-piece Memphis-based band on all four nights of their stint. "He'd get up, stomp his foot, wave his arm, grab a microphone and sing with such searing intensity, I thought, this man's going to have a heart attack if he keeps this up. He's not going to make it. But it was good — a great R&B show, the likes of which I'd never seen."

Bee OK, Friday, 21 May 2010 08:08 (eleven years ago) link

ooo weee na good gettin' gooder

kumar the bavarian, Friday, 21 May 2010 10:12 (eleven years ago) link

Otis total classic of course, also I think he drew some amazing performances out of the bands he played with

"murder me with orgasms, formula, formula” (tomofthenest), Friday, 21 May 2010 11:58 (eleven years ago) link

six months pass...

I've Been Loving You Too Long >>>>> (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay

I can't figure out one good reason why Sittin' charts higher (even on ILX)

ZOUNDS! (CaptainLorax), Tuesday, 7 December 2010 07:43 (ten years ago) link

Try a Little Tenderness >>>>> both of 'em.

Lightning Is For Babies (Johnny Fever), Tuesday, 7 December 2010 07:47 (ten years ago) link

don't change the subject

ZOUNDS! (CaptainLorax), Tuesday, 7 December 2010 07:49 (ten years ago) link

two months pass...


This thread reminds me that I still need to get that live in California album that was released last year.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 3 March 2011 16:40 (ten years ago) link

eight months pass...

Listening to Live on Sunset... YES. Does anyone feel like Otis feels? Jesus.

Janet Snakehole (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 5 November 2011 04:04 (nine years ago) link


citation needed (Steve Shasta), Saturday, 5 November 2011 04:20 (nine years ago) link

I fucking love this shit even though it was ruined by all baby boomers ever.

citation needed (Steve Shasta), Saturday, 5 November 2011 04:21 (nine years ago) link

Nothing could ever ruin Otis. Not even the fact that Michael Bolton's 'Dock of the Bay' was the first version I ever knew ;_;

Janet Snakehole (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 5 November 2011 05:26 (nine years ago) link

Listened to his Monterey Pop set tonight. 20 mins of bliss.

shaane, Saturday, 5 November 2011 06:29 (nine years ago) link

Michael Bolton's 'Dock of the Bay' was the first version I ever knew ;_;

;_; ;_; ;_;

Hardy Rock Anthem (crüt), Saturday, 5 November 2011 06:41 (nine years ago) link

I was only 12! It was the before-time! *sobs*

Janet Snakehole (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 5 November 2011 06:43 (nine years ago) link

I don't hold it against you, it is just a sad story.

Hardy Rock Anthem (crüt), Saturday, 5 November 2011 06:44 (nine years ago) link

ty crut. *sniffle*

Janet Snakehole (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 5 November 2011 06:52 (nine years ago) link

Nothing could ever ruin Otis.

― Janet Snakehole (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, November 5, 2011 1:26 AM (7 hours ago) Bookmark

Yep. So so wonderful.

I heard I've Got Dreams to Remember last night while I was out. I think that's still my favorite OR song. I knew I liked the place we were at right then and there.

Juggy Brottleteen (ENBB), Saturday, 5 November 2011 13:10 (nine years ago) link

Listened to his Monterey Pop set tonight. 20 mins of bliss.

This. Fucking relentless.

Tarfumes The Escape Goat, Saturday, 5 November 2011 13:11 (nine years ago) link

Years ago I was watching some programme on TV (probably a soul documentary or something, can't remember) and there was footage of an absolutely amazing live version of Try A Little Tenderness, dunno where from - could it be from Monterey?

The Eyeball Of Hull (Colonel Poo), Saturday, 5 November 2011 14:40 (nine years ago) link

"This is a song I wanna dedicate to all the miniskirts."


shaane, Saturday, 5 November 2011 15:45 (nine years ago) link

That's a lol music video thing through most of that, but there's some concert footage at the end too.

shaane, Saturday, 5 November 2011 15:48 (nine years ago) link

tell the truth is my favorite album of his,odd as that may be.listening to it just makes me wanna explode and fall on my knees and holler I got-ta got-ta got-ta!!!!!
similar to what brown does to people,but even more powerful!

zhalgiris, Sunday, 6 November 2011 09:30 (nine years ago) link

Live on Sunset version of "Good to Me" starts out with him saying "Okay we got paid we're gonna goof around a little with a new song"...and of course proceeds to KILL it. This guy...

Janet Snakehole (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 6 November 2011 14:07 (nine years ago) link

one year passes...

There's just been a pretty great Documetary biography of Otis on BBC4 which reminded me of a question I've been wondering about for years

Does anybody know anything about the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club influenced material that Otis Redding was working on before he died.
I read about this years ago and have always wondered if there was any of it somewhere taht just hadn't been released for some reason. Or maybe I just wasn't aware it had been.
Sounds from the documenatry that was just on BBC4 that Otis had had to take it easy for a 6 week period sometime in '67 because of polyps on his vocal chords. This doc said he couldn't actually talk for the 1st 2 weeks of this period. but what he did do wwas sit and listen to Sgt Peppers which expanded his idea of what he could achieve with his own music. He had already recorded The Beatles Day Tripper a while earlier but this period influenced him to sketch out several tracks the best known of which was Sitting On THe Dock of The Bay.
So I've always wondered what happened to the rest of this music. Was it recorded at all? Even in demo form? THe documentary said taht he didn't even get to finish recording Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay, I'm not sure to what extent taht refers to.
Otherwise I'm wondering what sketched out means since I don't think he could read or write music. That doc did show him playing an acoustic guitar at one point, not been sure how he wrote songs up to now at all.
Still wondering to what extent if any that music survives.
So, anybody know anything?

Stevolende, Friday, 31 May 2013 21:20 (eight years ago) link

& in case you missed it the Documentary Otis Redding Soul Ambassador is very worth trying to find. Somebody may have it up on Pirate bay if you're outside of BBC i-player territory or can't get that to work.

Stevolende, Saturday, 1 June 2013 09:06 (eight years ago) link

two months pass...

The new box set of mono singles sounds tremendous. Such power.

EZ Snappin, Tuesday, 6 August 2013 13:36 (eight years ago) link

been checking that out. even on songs that aren't top notch his delivery carries it

making plans for nyquil (outdoor_miner), Tuesday, 6 August 2013 14:07 (eight years ago) link

Very true. Because of the Stax house band and his commitment to sell every vocal the lesser b-sides are still nice to hear.

EZ Snappin, Tuesday, 6 August 2013 14:12 (eight years ago) link

otis could sing the phone book and it'd be an emotional rollercoaster

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 6 August 2013 17:02 (eight years ago) link

And alphabetical!

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 6 August 2013 17:04 (eight years ago) link

the Documentary Otis Redding Soul Ambassador is very worth trying to find

it's currently on YouTube


I can’t do rap music, unless it’s old stuff like Dr Dre (onimo), Wednesday, 7 August 2013 12:30 (eight years ago) link

six months pass...

The greatest soul man of all imo. He hit the ground running and never faded, and the thought of what he could have achieved in the late 60s/early 70s makes my heart ache.

What is wrong with songs? Absolutely nothing. Songs are great. (DL), Tuesday, 11 February 2014 11:25 (seven years ago) link

I hope that Soul Ambassador doc is still on Youtube. I need to watch it sometime

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 11 February 2014 14:24 (seven years ago) link

I honestly don't think anyone has ever sounded as sincere and noble and calmly anguished as Otis on I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now).

the "Weird Al" Yankovic of country music (stevie), Tuesday, 11 February 2014 16:12 (seven years ago) link

reading about his final days in that new Stax book is such a bummer.

tylerw, Tuesday, 11 February 2014 16:17 (seven years ago) link

ooh, new stax book? tell me more, is good?

the "Weird Al" Yankovic of country music (stevie), Tuesday, 11 February 2014 16:22 (seven years ago) link

yeah it is great! total page-turner, full of great stories, crazy record biz shenanigans. Respect Yourself by Robert Gordon.

tylerw, Tuesday, 11 February 2014 16:28 (seven years ago) link

thanks - will search out! gordon is a name to trust.

the "Weird Al" Yankovic of country music (stevie), Tuesday, 11 February 2014 16:33 (seven years ago) link

I've been wanting to check it out, but haven't read Rob Bowman's book yet; would one make the other redundant?

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Tuesday, 11 February 2014 16:36 (seven years ago) link

It's been a while since I read it, but the Guralnick book Sweet Soul Music has a lot of good material on Stax

Burt Stuntin (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 11 February 2014 16:40 (seven years ago) link

yeah I haven't read Bowman's book -- obviously it's gotta cover a lot of the same ground (though there are so many people involved in the story that there are probably plenty of unique perspectives in each book).

tylerw, Tuesday, 11 February 2014 16:47 (seven years ago) link

been a long time since I read the Bowman book - I liked it OK but I don't remember it at all as a "total page-turner" shenanigans-fest so the Gordon book actually sounds great

brio, Tuesday, 11 February 2014 17:29 (seven years ago) link

one year passes...


Mark Ribowsky author of seven books, including "Ain't Too Proud to Beg: The Troubled Lives and Enduring Soul of the Temptations" has a new one out about Otis Redding. He's gonna be on this syndicated US public radio show

curmudgeon, Monday, 8 June 2015 23:13 (six years ago) link

I like his Phil Spector bio

Οὖτις, Monday, 8 June 2015 23:22 (six years ago) link

What a weird question Did someone actually say 'dud'? I can't be bothered to read the whole thing.

Don't worry about answering.

chromecassettes, Tuesday, 9 June 2015 03:06 (six years ago) link

I wish somebody would compile his work from just before he died. He was supposed to have taken a large influence from Sgt Peppers which fed into him doing things like Dock of The Bay. But when he died the label just put out lps with material mixing recording eras dating back for the previous 5 years. So as far as I know the later era material has never appeared in one place and is scattered over a number of lps or unreleased.
Surprised that nobody has done that over the years unless they have recently and i haven't heard about it.

Stevolende, Tuesday, 9 June 2015 09:41 (six years ago) link

^The third disc of the Rhino "Otis!" box may be what you're looking for.

Love, Wilco (C. Grisso/McCain), Tuesday, 9 June 2015 18:50 (six years ago) link

that box is straight fire

one of the top Liam Gallaghers on the live circuit (stevie), Wednesday, 10 June 2015 09:44 (six years ago) link

two years pass...

Is there a version of Pain In My Heart with stereo separation in the channels? I'm looking for a version with the vocals in one channel and the instrumentals in the other like the early Beatles stereo albums.

brotherlovesdub, Tuesday, 7 November 2017 23:53 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

Otis Redding was the best. I listened to Try a Little Tenderness with my class and felt so spirited and exuberant afterwards. Idk what it's like to get a blood infusion but that is how I imagine it. That song!!! Most classic of classic.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Wednesday, 12 December 2018 18:55 (two years ago) link

truth!!! it’s such an invigorating song <3

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 12 December 2018 21:13 (two years ago) link

my students loled at me a little because i couldn't stop myself from clapping and stomping a little

the dynamic trajectory of that song is just total magic

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Wednesday, 12 December 2018 21:18 (two years ago) link

He really was magic. Was thinking about him this week because it was his birthday a couple days ago. Honestly one of my favorite singers ever.

Benson and the Jets (ENBB), Wednesday, 12 December 2018 23:24 (two years ago) link

He was so great, but that cover of Tenderness is something else, an epic - the sweetness of the first half, the unalloyed passion and desperation and gutbucket soul of the second half...

Bênoit Balls (stevie), Thursday, 13 December 2018 10:17 (two years ago) link

ha, sounds like you're talking about the original! i like the live version here. it's so good i don't even mind the watermark
the band straight up sizzles and i love watching the audience wig out


weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 13 December 2018 14:31 (two years ago) link

Picked up one of 2 current biographies I'm aware of of him a few weeks ago not read it yet.
So hoping i get more info on the influences he was picking up in late 67.
THis book is the Stax and Southern soul one Dreams TO Remember by Mark Ribowsky published in 2016.

Stevolende, Thursday, 13 December 2018 14:47 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

just listened to this 28-minute piece on "Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay" & really enjoyed it, great tidbits about the writing & recording from Booker T & Steve Cropper and some affecting interviews with different random civilians about their relationship to the song:


warn me about a lurking rake (One Eye Open), Thursday, 23 January 2020 18:36 (one year ago) link

cool, checking it out now

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Thursday, 23 January 2020 19:14 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

Otis passed away at only 26 years of age!

calstars, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 21:05 (one week ago) link

I know! Crazy, especially given how much and what he recorded in his very last sessions. Of all the early deaths in rock history, his is probably the most incalculable in terms of age, his health, how much he was creating, and where he might've went with his work.

birdistheword, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 23:08 (one week ago) link

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