Monday, March 11, 2013

Lonely & Blue: The Deepest Soul Of Otis Redding

The new Stax release, Lonely & Blue: The Deepest Soul Of Otis Redding, is a collection that focuses on the heartbreaking, yearning ballads that Redding sang in singular fashion. Producer David Gorman in explaining the concept behind this release stated “I tried to find the saddest most potently heartbreaking songs he ever sang, with no regard for chart position or notoriety.  There are a few hits on the album, but they’re there because they fit the mood, not because we wanted to include the hits.”

It is packaged as if was originally released on Stax during Redding’s lifetime, and mixes some of his most famous ballads of love and heart break. This includes the hits I’ve Been Loving You Too Long, These Arms of Mine, and My Lover’s Prayer, along with lesser known gems Gone Again, Open the Door, Waste of Time, and Everybody Makes a Mistake, along with alternate takes of Open the Door and I’ve Got Dreams To Remember. This latter performance has somewhat darker lyrics than the issued recording.

Throughout Redding is heard with the Stax great studio band including Booker T & the MGs with Steve Cropper being especially superb on the cover of Send Me Some Lovin'. Throughout the Memphis Horns or the Bar-Kays add their signature riffs. As the album closes with his cover of Clyde McPhatter’s My Lover’s Prayer, one is reminded how Otis Redding took familiar songs and made them his own. This terrific ‘new’ Redding release displays just how fresh and contemporary Otis Redding still sounds over 45 years after his tragic early passing. Yes, I highly recommend this.

I received a review copy from a publicist. Here is Otis performing I’ve Been Loving You Too Long.

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