Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul

Full & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul, or just Dictionary of Soul, is the fifth studio album by American soul singer-songwriter Otis Redding and his final solo studio album launched earlier than his demise. The profitable Otis Blue and the next efficiency at Whisky a Go Go led to his rising fame throughout america. The album has two sides: the primary primarily incorporates cowl variations, and the second songs primarily written by Redding.

The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul was launched on October 15, 1966 on the Stax label and peaked at quantity 73 and at quantity 5 on the Billboard 200 and the R&B LP charts respectively. The album produced two singles, “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Unhappy Music)” and “Attempt a Little Tenderness”. In 2000 it was voted quantity 488 in Colin Larkin’s All Time High 1000 Albums.[1] In 2012, the album was ranked quantity 254 on Rolling Stone journal’s listing of The five hundred Biggest Albums of All Time. An expanded model, which incorporates stereo and mono mixes of the unique album, in addition to extra tracks, was launched in 2016.


The success of Redding’s third album, Otis Blue, noticed a rearrangement of the Stax firm. Producer and co-founder of the American label Stax Data, Phil Walden, signed musicians together with Percy Sledge, Johnnie Taylor, Clarence Carter, and Eddie Floyd, and along with Redding they based the manufacturing corporations “Jotis Data” (derived from Joe Galkin and Otis), on which solely 4 recordings have been launched, two by Arthur Conley and one by Billy Younger and Loretta Williams, and Redwal Music (derived from Pinkding and Walden).[2]

Redding determined to carry out on the nightclub Whisky a Go Go on the Sundown Strip in entrance of a predominantly white viewers, changing into one of many first soul artists to play within the western United States. His efficiency acquired important acclaim by the press, and musician Bob Dylan supplied another observe of his hit tune “Simply Like a Lady” to him, however he declined his proposal.[3][4] After his efficiency there he went again to the Stax studios to proceed recording new songs.[5] This might be his ultimate solo studio album.[6]


Dictionary of Soul options the Booker T. & the M.G.’s—organist Booker T. Jones, pianist/guitarist Steve Cropper, bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn, drummer Al Jackson, Jr.—pianist Isaac Hayes, and the Memphis Horns, consisting of tenor saxophonist Joe Arnold, trumpeter Wayne Jackson, tenor saxophonist Andrew Love and baritone saxophonist Floyd Newman.[7]

The album opens with “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Unhappy Music)”.[8] Derived from the theme of The $64,000 Query,[9] the tune was written by Redding and Cropper and its lyrics are about Redding’s behavior to hum or sing the horn strains. David Porter served because the background singer, singing the “fa-fa-fa-fa-fa” half alongside Redding.[8]

The second single on this album, “Attempt a Little Tenderness”, was written by English songwriter duo Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly, and American Tin Pan Alley songwriter Harry M. Woods within the early 30s, however it was not till February 1933 when bandleader and clarinetist Ted Lewis’ model turned successful. The primary model by a black artist was by Aretha Franklin, who recorded it in 1962 for her The Tender, the Shifting, the Swinging Aretha Franklin.[5] Two years later, Sam Cooke recorded it as part of a medley alongside Tin Pan Alley normal “For Sentimental Causes” and “You Ship Me” on his At The Copa. In line with Cropper, Redding listened to the latter two songs however rearranged it with the assistance of pianist Hayes. Examples of what the latter organized and launched have been the tree-part, contrapuntal horn line within the first seconds, which was impressed by Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” strings, and the cymbal break within the peak, which Hayes later featured on his “Theme from Shaft”.[5] The tune was recorded on September 13 and launched on November 14, 1966, charting at quantity 25 on the Billboard Sizzling 100 and at quantity 4 on the Sizzling R&B chart. Components of the tune have been later combined within the Grammy Award-winning “Otis” by hip-hop artists Jay-Z and Kanye West.[10][11] Aspect one options primarily cowl variations, together with nation normal “Tennessee Waltz” and The Beatles’ “Day Tripper”, the latter of which was praised for turning “right into a swaggering stomper” versus the unique.[6]

Aspect two is principally composed of Redding songs, the exception being Chuck Willis’ “You are Nonetheless My Child” and “Love Have Mercy”, co-written by David Porter and Hayes. The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul was launched on October 15, 1966 on the Stax label and peaked at quantity 73 and at quantity 5 on the Billboard 200 and the R&B LP charts respectively.[7][12]


Skilled scores
Evaluation scores
Supply Score
Allmusic [7]
Encyclopedia of Standard Music [13]
MusicHound R&B 4/5[14]
The Rolling Stone Album Information [15]

The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul acquired constructive important reception. In a retrospective assessment Mark Deming of Allmusic gave the album 5 out of 5 stars, stating that it “discovered the rugged-voiced deep soul singer persevering with to develop the boundaries of his model whereas staying true to his tough and passionate signature sound.” He preferred “My Lover’s Prayer” and “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Unhappy Music)”, asserting that they have been worthy of an Academy Award. The backing bands have been for him “totally distinctive and remarkably adaptable, becoming to the nooks and crannies of Redding’s voice with their supple however muscular performances.”[7] Journal Rolling Stone rated the album 4 out of 5 stars, stating that Redding “delivers one in all his most mature performances, smoky and at instances nearly langorous” in “Attempt a Little Tenderness”, and the second single is “onerous and exact however swinging.”[15] In 2009, Daryl Easlea of BBC music gave the album a constructive assessment and acknowledged that Redding was on the “peak of his powers” when he recorded it. One tune from the album, “Attempt a Little Tenderness”, was mentioned by Easlea to be Redding’s most remembered tune after solely “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay”,[6] which was launched posthumously shortly after his demise. The album was ranked at quantity 251 on Rolling Stones The five hundred Biggest Albums of All Time,[16] 254 in a 2012 revised listing,[17] and 448 in a 2020 revised listing.[18] It was additionally included in Robert Christgau’s “Primary Document Library” of Nineteen Fifties and Sixties recordings, revealed in Christgau’s Document Information: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981).[19] Critic Jon Landau known as it “The best file ever to come back out of Memphis and definitely the most effective instance of recent soul ever recorded.”[20]

Money Field mentioned of the one “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Unhappy Music)” that it’s “a pulsing, contagious wailer filled with ‘soul.'”[21] Money Field described “My Lover’s Prayer” as a “tender, slow-shufflin’ romancer a few head-over-heels in love fella who tells his gal that he’ll at all times be there when she wants him.”[22]

Monitor itemizing

Monitor itemizing tailored from Allmusic.[7]

Aspect one
No. Title Author(s) Size
1. “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Unhappy Music)” Steve Cropper, Otis Redding 2:44
2. “I am Sick Y’all” Cropper, David Porter, Redding 2:57
3. “Tennessee Waltz” Pee Wee King, Redd Stewart 2:57
4. “Candy Lorene” Isaac Hayes, Alvertis Isbell, Redding 2:31
5. “Attempt a Little Tenderness” Jimmy Campbell, Reginald Connelly, Harry M. Woods 3:50
6. “Day Tripper” John Lennon, Paul McCartney 2:36
Complete size: 17:35
Aspect two
No. Title Author(s) Size
7. “My Lover’s Prayer” Redding 3:12
8. “She Put the Harm on Me” Redding 2:40
9. “Ton of Pleasure” Redding 2:56
10. “You are Nonetheless My Child” Chuck Willis 3:53
11. “Hawg for You” Redding 3:30
12. “Love Have Mercy” Hayes, Porter 2:29
Complete size: 18:40


Credit tailored from Allmusic.[23]

  • Otis Redding – vocals
  • Booker T. Jones – bass guitar, keyboards, vibraphone
  • Isaac Hayes – keyboards, piano
  • Steve Cropper – guitar
  • Donald Dunn – bass guitar
  • Al Jackson Jr. – drums
  • Wayne Jackson – trumpet
  • Gil Caple – tenor saxophone (on “Attempt a Little Tenderness”)[24]
  • Andrew Love, Joe Arnold – tenor saxophone
  • Floyd Newman – baritone saxophone


  • Bowman, Rob (1997). Soulsville U.S.A.: The Story of Stax Data. New York, NY: Schirmer Commerce. ISBN 978-0-8256-7284-2. OCLC 36824884.
  • Gulla, Bob (2007). Icons of R&B and Soul: An Encyclopedia of the Artists Who Revolutionized Rhythm, Quantity 1. Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-34044-4. OCLC 220310006.
  • Guralnick, Peter (1999). Candy Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom. Again Bay Books. ISBN 978-0-316-33273-6. OCLC 41950519. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
  • Inglis, Ian (2006). Efficiency and Standard Music: Historical past, Place, and Time. Ashgate. ISBN 978-0-7546-4057-8. OCLC 57893942.
  • Moore, Allan F. (June 16, 2003). Analyzing Standard Music. Cambridge College Press. ISBN 978-0-521-77120-7. OCLC 49626566.

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