I've Got Dreams to Remember
Otis Redding, The
Best: See & Hear,
I can't do what 10 people
tell me to do, so I guess
I'll remain the same.
-- Otis Redding, "(Sittin'
on) the Dock of the Bay"
Any music collection without an Otis Redding record, let alone
a Redding song on a compilation or soundtrack, is woefully incom-
plete. Granted, not everyone is into R&B, but some artists, like
Elvis or the Beatles, transcend genre conventions, and I see no
reason why rock and pop fans who don't normally listen to soul
wouldn't appreciate Otis, particularly his brass-blasted cover of
Jagger and Richards' "Satisfaction," which doesn't hit the sweet
spot quite like Stevie Wonder's version of Lennon and McCart-
ney's "We Can Work Out," but offers its own unique pleasures.
As Richie Unterberger points out, in his All Music Guide biography, the 'Stones, in turn, would cover Redding's
"That's How Strong My Love Is" and "Pain in My Heart."
There isn't a soul aficionado alive who isn't familiar with Redding,
so there's no point in preaching to the choir. Granted, some pur-
ists believe that crossover automatically equals sellout, but that's only fair when an artist compromises their integrity to reach a wider audience, and I'm not aware that Redding ever acted against his artistic impulses to attract white listeners. The proof lies in the fact that old fans didn't abandon him when he appeared at the Monterey Pop Festival or when Top 40 embraced "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay," the chart-topper released in the wake of the plane crash that took his life. A great song is a great song.
The Best: See & Hear operates
as a Redding Starter Kit with a 12-
track CD and a 12-track DVD. The
former includes the expected sing-
les, including Lowell Fulson's
"Tramp" with Carla Thomas, while
the latter captures Redding in 1967,
at Monterey and as part of a Euro-
pean Stax/Volt tour with Booker T.
and the MG's and Sam & Dave, who
perform some of their own sides.
I've been listening to the CD non-stop since I received it a few
weeks ago, and although it's tempting to proclaim Redding the
greatest soul singer of all time, I can't do that in good conscience,
not when I feel similarly about Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye. All
three died way too young, and under the most tragic of circum-
stances, but when I listen to Redding at his best, I find it easy to
forget all that: his warm and wonderful voice will live forever.
Click here for reviews of Cosmo Jarvis - S/T and Joel Plaskett - Three.
Endnote: Snaps from the AMG and Google Images.