The second incarnation of my blog
Based on the top 100 albums in Rolling Stone magazine’s top 500, I have set myself the challenge of hearing and appraising each album. I hope to be surprised and educated along the way.
At number 78 is Otis Blue by Otis Redding from 1965. The album consists of some original tracks and R&B and soul covers. Except one of the songs, it was recorded in a 24-hour period in July 1965 at the Stax Recording Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.
This was Otis Redding’s third album and was his first number one hit in the US soul charts and a huge commercial and critical success.
The performance is flawless throughout and his voice so recognisable and strong. It’s one of those albums that fits a sunny Sunday afternoon, sitting in the garden relaxing. It’s not all ballads, it’s just the feel is of summer.
One of the original songs opens the album Ole Man Trouble and continues with another original, the truly classic song Respect. Otis had written the song for Speedo Sims, but this was the first to be released.
The horns on A Change Is Gonna Come are powerful and complement his voice and the shimmering perfectly. It’s one of a few songs on the album that show some real emotion.
After a slight filler, we have another original, the wonderful I’ve Been Loving You Too Long which has also been covered many times, including The Rolling Stones.
The tracks Shake and My Girl keep up the quality, but Wonderful World doesn’t quite work in this upbeat style for me.
The lead guitar on Rock Me Baby is far heavier than most soul, but works well, powering the track along. A jumping version of (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction is a another of the covers that is slightly wide of the mark. However, the final track You Don’t Miss Your Water (‘Til the Well Runs Dry) all about being homesick is a gospel soul record that closes Otis Blue nicely.
The album is a great combination of pop, gospel, blues and soul and is an easy listen if you are in that kind of mood or something more in-depth if you want to listen to some heartfelt lyrics.
Listening back to back with Aretha Franklin from number 85 seems like a fine plan to me.
My rating: 7/10
Standout tracks: Rock Me Baby, I’ve Been Loving You Too Long
Listen to the album here.
See the Top 100 here.