I just received the new release, Lonely & Blue: The Deepest Soul of Otis Redding which is due to be released tomorrow. This is a really cool album of tracks recorded by Redding but not assembled as a greatest hits nor a reissue. The packaging is authentic 60's style and even has the wear mark from years of vinyl sitting on the shelf (and an inner sleeve)!! This may be the best Otis Redding album ever! Yes...album. Concord is releasing this not only on CD but on blue vinyl!! The release opens with I Love You More Than Words Can Say, a really hot soul track. Redding really shows where it's at. Gone Again, a track which has just a pinch of country blended into the soul is great and trimmed with trumpets. Free Me, has cool guitar arpeggiation under the melody with keys and accent horns, but of course the focus is Redding's phrasing. Open The Door, another track with just a pinch of country (somebody's gonna ask where, but it's there) has the strength of the oldest James Brown cuts and that's a strong statement. A Waste Of Time, a great soul track with the warm sound of horns behind is a very strong track. These Arms of Mine is of course a big hit and a killer track. Get this. It's my least favorite track on this recording. Yes...it's that strong. I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now) is about as classic Otis as you get and of course Redding's sliding note is the highlight of the track. This is icing on the cake. This album isn't about greatest hits. this album is about great soul singing. Everybody Makes A Mistake has a strong gospel feel and is sung from deep inside. Possibly one of the best tracks on this great release. Little Ol' Me, another track with a more of the country flavor is a nice change, keeping you in the deep soul feel but lightening up a little allowing Redding to just work his voice. I've Got Dreams To Remember, another classic is very strong and rounds out the side but again, some of the lesser known tracks are the highlight of this recording. Send Me Some Lovin' has the classic R&B piano rhythm and intro of a bit more guitar on this track allowing Redding to lay back and paint his voice on the track rather than carrying it. This is an interesting alternate on his prime talent. My Lover's Prayer is a really hot soul track and a nice conclusion of this really deep soul recording. If you have every Redding release, you might look at this as the best of the best. If you don't have Redding CD...this is the one to buy! Not the greatest hits... that it's not. But this may be the best set of Redding recordings every assembled on one disc. It's really a nice set.
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