The Dock of the Bay the Definitive Collection - Otis Redding

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The Dock of the Bay the Definitive Collection - Otis Redding

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Review of "The Dock of the Bay the Definitive Collection - Otis Redding"

published 16/10/2013 | mikeb2102
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Excellent
Pro Every track on this album, a great collection of Otis Redding's Career
Cons Not a single weak track on this album
exceptional
Originality
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
Value for Money
Lyrics

"The King of Soul at His Best"

The Dock of the Bay the Definitive Collection - Otis Redding

The Dock of the Bay the Definitive Collection - Otis Redding

Introduction

Otis Redding was first brought to my attention in the late 1980's, I had heard a couple of Otis Redding songs through the 'Dirty Dancing' soundtrack and I also had a sixties compilation with '(Sittin' On) The Dock of Bay' on it. When I started listening to a lot of soul music in the 1990's, Otis was brought to my attention again and I purchased this album. I had listened to it on and off since then, and a few nights ago, I was channel hopping when I came across a documentary on Otis Redding that brought all these songs flooding back, and here I am reviewing this album.

Otis Redding

Otis Redding was a black American soul music singer/songwriter, who had quite a few big hit singles in his own country and in the UK, before tragically dying in a plane crash, just when he was about to release the best song of his career. Otis wrote and co-wrote a number of hit singles, some would be made more famous by other artists, such as the first track on this album. Aside from singing, Otis was also a very successful businessman and amassed a huge fortune by the time of his death in 1967 at the age of 26. The thing that really stood out for me when watching this documentary was how he played to a predominantly black audience in America (it was a time of segregation in America), it must have been such an eye opener when he came to the UK with his band, to see and audience full of black and white people cheering him on together. Upon his return to the states he bridged the gap between black and white people in America and his music started to get played on predominantly white radio stations, he played the Monterey Festival in 1967 and blew the crowd away, he wasn't supposed to be a headline act, but he became a headline act with that performance. Who would have thought that six months after Monterey he would be die in a plane crash in a frozen lake. He was about to embark on a musical change when he recorded his most famous song '(Sittin' On) The Dock of Bay', it was seen as too pop orientated compared to his other soul releases, although posthumously it became his only number one single.

The Definitive Collection

This album is compiled from singles and album tracks, and some posthumous releases. Six of the songs on this compilation appeared on Otis' third album 'Otis Blue' , which is also well worth a listen. There are twenty songs in total on this album and they are not in any particular order, but this is a good thing as it means they all get equal attention. I have listened to some albums where all the good songs are put at the beginning and then the rest of the album gets ignored.

Track By Track


Respect

The album begins with a rousing rendition of 'Respect'; most people will be familiar with this signature Aretha Franklin song, although this was in fact penned and sung originally by Otis. The song was initially written as a ballad for a little known group called The Singing Demons. When they failed to produce a decent version of the song, Otis changed some of the lyrics and upped the tempo and recorded it himself. This song is an up tempo song with the singer pleading with his woman that, she can treat him however she likes, as long as she gives him respect when he comes home. I love this song, it has a great beat to it with lots of brass instruments, that keep the song moving at a nice pace. This song appeared on Otis' third album 'Otis Blue', it also became one of Otis' biggest crossover hits (this was at a time of segregation in America). Aretha Franklin had bigger success with her version of the song and even added the "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" refrain, which doesn't appear in Otis' version and to be perfectly honest, it isn't missed. I love both versions of the song equally, in my opinion they are two different songs all together.
Mr Pitiful

This was written by Steve Cropper and Otis Redding and came about after a radio DJ had called Otis 'Mr Pitiful' by the way he sounded when singing ballads. This is a mid tempo number and is nice little song. Steve thought of the idea for the song, and along with Otis they penned the lyrics and the music. The song was released as a single and reached number 10 on the Billboard R & B Chart in 1964.

Love Man

All of those familiar with the film 'Dirty Dancing', and its soundtrack, will probably recognize this track, that was where I had first heard it. This is definitely a mover, it has got a nice groove you can dance to, I absolutely love it. This was released as a single posthumously in 1968 and charted at number 17 on the U.S. R & B Chart and number 43 on the U.K. Singles Chart, I was shocked when I saw it wasn't released during his lifetime, as I'm sure it would have been a hit.
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

The first of a few cover versions on this compilation, from the classic album 'Otis Blue', this is a cover of the Jagger and Richards composition released in the same year, 1965, now how's that for a compliment, well it was more of a thank you, as The Rolling Stones had covered one of his tracks on a live album. Apparently Otis didn't know a lot of the words to this song and made them up. This is shorter than The Rolling Stones original, clocking in at 2:47 compared to 3:44 and also has a horn section playing the main riff to the song, which is what Jagger and Richards had intended it to sound like when composing it. This version reached number 4 on the U.S. R & B Chart and number 33 on the U.K. Singles Chart.

Security

This is a mid-tempo number telling of how he doesn't need money or material things, he just needs the security of a relationship. In the last chorus his requests turn into a plea to give him one more chance to save their relationship. This was released as a single and reached number 20 in the U.S. R & B Chart and it was also released on Otis' debut album 'Pain In My Heart' in 1964.
I Can't Turn You Loose

This is an up-tempo foot stomper, with a backing track that reminds me of Freda Payne's 'Band of Gold. Otis' vocal sounds really gravelly in this song and this is one that you just have to move your feet to while listening to it. This song charted on the U.S. R & B Chart in 1965 at number 11, it was originally the B-Side of a song called 'Just One More Day', which doesn't appear on this album, but was Otis' first break on the U.K. Singles Chart, this song is also one of my favourites on this compilation.

Shake

Another song from the 1965 album 'Otis Blue', this time a Sam Cooke cover version and Otis gives this a raucous going over. I actually prefer this version to Cooke's, just purely because it is full of passion, Otis sounds like he really means it when telling the audience to shake. You just have to tap your feet while singing this song, it another one of those songs that you can't help but move. A live version was released in 1967 and charted at number 16 in the U.S. R & B Chart and 28 on the U.K. Singles Chart.
Hard To Handle

This is a great rocking little number, it was released as a single posthumously and didn't do too well in the U.S. Charts, reaching number 38 on the Billboard R&B charts and number 51 in the pop charts. It fared a lot better over here though, reaching a respectable 15 in June 1968. Fans of the film 'The Commitments' will probably recognise this song too, as it was a main feature in the film and on the soundtrack. I love this song and up until I purchased this album, I had only heard cover versions of it, so I was really pleased when I found the original on this album. This was composed by Redding, along with Al Bell (Co-owner of Stax Records, Otis' record company) and Allen Jones (Manager of The Bar-Kays) and is a great up tempo track.

Tramp

This time we have a duet with "The Queen of Memphis Soul", Carla Thomas, this track appeared on a 1967 album Otis and Carla released called 'King & Queen', the album featured covers of many classic soul hits. I love this track and for the purposes of this review, I had to listen to the original version by Lowell Fulson and I have to say I prefer this one, the solo version just doesn't have the same feel about it as this duet. The way the song is played out here is like a bickering couple, rather than a guy admitting he's a tramp. This song is one of the hightlights on this album for me, I love the arrangement here, the original reached number 5 in the UK Billboard 100 in 1967 and I would imagine if this were released as a single, it would have scored higher.
Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)

Otis couldn't play brass instruments and would often make a noise to inform his horn section how he wanted the music to sound, and for this song he left the arrangement in the title " Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa". In this song Otis sings that he keeps singing these sad songs all the time, it's all he knows, and he's singing them because he's trying to get a message to someone he loves. This song is a mid-tempo number and although I don't feel it is the greatest song on the album, it is still a very good song in my opinion.

My Lover's Prayer

This song is another slow tempo affair, Otis sings of talking things over with a lover and trying to get her back. Otis sings this song with so much emotion, it is amazing he had any left to put into any of his other songs, " What can the matter be, now? It can't be too serious, we can't talk it over, living in this misery, darling, you can't make my life all over". This was released as a single and reached number 10 in the U.S. R & B Chart and number 37 in the U.K. Singles Chart.
These Arms of Mine

I first heard this on the 'Dirty Dancing' soundtrack and even listening to it now, after all those years, I still think this is one of the most beautiful love songs ever written. This is a really slow number and Otis really lets his emotion shine through as he is yearning for someone to hold in his arms. Otis keeps the same slow pace throughout this song, and his voice is like a lead instrument, that you can imagine this song without music and it would still sound as great, and in fact in the intro when Otis sings "These arms of mine...", the band doesn't join in until "mine". This is a great song for one of those romantic evenings, and is also a song I can hear Elvis Presley singing, I think he would have sang a great version of this. This song appeared on Otis' debut album 'Pain in My Heart' in 1964, the single was also Otis' first to make an impact on the U.S. R & B Chart, hitting number 20. It was after hearing Otis' sing this, that Jim Stewart offered him a recording contract with Stax Records.

That's How Strong My Love Is

This is another cover version and probably the most famous version of this song, it was released as a single in 1965 and reached number 18 on the Billboard R & B Chart, it was also on the album 'The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads'. The song was written by soul singer O. V. Wright, although it didn't chart when he released it as a single, this song has also been covered by The Rolling Stones, and the Hollies in the same year.
Cigarettes and Coffee

I love this song, it is another slow number, and I'm not usually a fan of slow numbers, I much prefer upbeat affairs. This is a song telling of his love for a woman and he is having one of those nights that you just don't want to end " It's early in the morning, about a quarter till three, I'm sittin' here talkin' with my baby, over cigarettes and coffee.".

My Girl

A song originally composed by Smokey Robinson and made famous by The Temptations, the arrangement is kept the same on this number. As much as I like Otis' voice, I do think The Temptations range of voices added something more to this song, although this song doesn't sound out of place on this album and fits in well with the rest of the songs. This was actually Otis' biggest hit during his lifetime in the U.K. reaching number 11 in the Singles Chart.
A Change is Gonna Come

Another Sam Cooke cover version here and this time one that became really popular amongst the Civil Rights Movement and black America when it was originally released by Sam in 1964. The version on this album came from Otis' 1965 album 'Otis Blue'. This is another song that I thought the original was much better, I think Cooke puts more emotion into his version and you believe he really feels a change is gonna come soon.

I've Been Loving You Too Long

This is one of the stand out songs in Otis' repertoire, I absolutely love this song. Otis' is singing of his love for someone and doesn't want to let them go, perhaps due to a split, again this is another really emotional song. There were two versions of this song recorded in the same year, the first one with Isaac Hayes on piano and the second one which appears here with Booker T Jones on piano. The Rolling Stones paid tribute to Otis by covering this number (becoming the first band to do so). The Stones cover appears on the album 'Got Live If You Want It' in 1965, although it wasn't performed live for this album, it was actually a studio version with audience noises added. This was released as a single in 1965 and reached number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100, it was also released on Otis' third album, 'Otis Blue'.
Try a Little Tenderness

This is an often covered song, which was originally recorded in 1932 by the Ray Noble Orchestra. Fast forward to 1967 and Otis recorded an entirely new arrangement for the song, backed by Booker T and the MG's. The song starts off like a jazz number before it gathers a bit of memento, eventually hitting a crescendo of sound. This is the version that I have seen people try to emulate so many times, although I don't think anyone can compare to Otis' vocal on this. This reached number 4 on the U.S. R & B Charts and number 46 in the U.K. Singles Chart and was from the album ' Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul'

Pain in My Heart

This was the title track from Otis' debut album 'Pain in My Heart' and is another heartfelt slow tempo number mourning the loss of a loved one, a relationship breakdown and how he wants his lover to come back. The song is backed with a full musical arrangement, although it is the piano that seems to really carry this song through. I love Otis' vocal towards the end of the song, he sounds like he is going to explode. This song was released as a single in 1964 and reached number 11 in the U.S. R & B Chart.
(Sittin' on) The Dock of Bay

This is definitely without a doubt, Otis Redding's signature song. Otis had been composing this song while on tour and he kept adding little bits here and there to it. Together with Steve Cropper, they finished the song and recorded it complete with a machine in the background that produced the wave noises. There is a section in the song where Otis whistles, he had planned on adding words to replace the whistling, at a later time, unfortunately that didn't happen. The song was recorded on 22nd November and overdubs were added on 8th December 1967 and two days later, a plane carrying Redding and a few band members plunged into the icy waters of Lake Monona near Madison, Wisconsin. This gave him is only Billboard Hot 100 number one single within a few weeks of his death. This was the first posthumous single to top the U.S. Charts, it also reached number three in the U.K. Singles Chart. I love this song, it is a nice easy song to sing along to and is also a great song to switch on and escape in the lyric. I have not heard anything like Redding's vocal on this track before it or since, it is absolutely sublime, and what a way to end this definitive collection. This is one of those songs that just makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck from the first bars to the last.

Track Listing

1 - Respect (Redding)
2 - Mr Pitiful (Redding, Cropper)
3 - Love man (Redding)
4 - (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (Jagger, Richards)
5 - Security (Redding)
6 - I Can't Turn You Loose (Redding)
7 - Shake (Cooke)
8 - Hard To Handle (Jones, Bell, Otis Redding)
9 - Tramp (Fulson, McCracklin)
10 - Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)
11 - My Lover's Prayer (Redding)
12 - These Arms of Mine (Redding)
13 - That's How Strong My Love Is (Jamison)
14 - Cigarettes and Coffee (Thomas, Butler, Walker)
15 - My Girl (Robinson, White)
16 - A Change is Gonna Come (Cooke)
17 - I've Been Loving You Too Long (Redding, Butler)
18 - Try a Little Tenderness (King, Campbell, Connolly, Woods)
19 - Pain in My Heart (Neville)
20 - (Sittin' on) The Dock of Bay (Redding, Cropper)

Price

You can purchase this album from www.amazon.co.uk for £4.73 including delivery and in my opinion it is worth more than that for this fantastic collection of songs.

Verdict

Overall this is a great collection of songs, there is really something for everyone on here, whether you're in a romantic mood, in need of uplifting music or are even feeling melancholy, this album certainly does the trick. There isn't a single weak track on this album and every song is just as good as the one that preceded it, I would have liked to have seen the cover version of The Beatles 'Day Tripper' on here, although I have that on another album. This is a great album to have on in the background when entertaining that special someone, it isn't too heavy, it doesn't take too much effort to listen to, it's nice and light and very entertaining. I would definitely give this 5/5 stars, it is like a breath of fresh air, from a different time when people not only sung well, but wrote their own material as well.

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Comments on this review

  • danielalong published 19/10/2013
    E x
  • MsTricia published 17/10/2013
    excellent review x
  • Essexgirl2006 published 17/10/2013
    I have this, it's a great album
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Product Information : The Dock of the Bay the Definitive Collection - Otis Redding

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Sub Genre: '60s

Original Release Year: 1992

Performer (Last name, First name): Redding

Studio / Live: Studio

Title: T

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Listed on Ciao since: 14/10/2013