Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul

Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul (typically referred to easily as Otis Blue) is the third studio album by American soul singer and songwriter Otis Redding. It was first launched on September 15, 1965, as an LP file by way of the Stax Information subsidiary label Volt.

Otis Blue consists primarily of canopy variations of latest R&B hits, overlaying themes from the blues and love ballads, amongst others. Three of the LP’s eleven songs had been written by Redding, and three others had been written by fellow soul singer Sam Cooke, who had died a number of months earlier than the album was made. Aside from one observe, Otis Blue was recorded within the span of 24 hours from July 9 to 10, 1965, on the Stax recording studio in Memphis, Tennessee. As with Redding’s earlier information, he was backed by the Stax home band Booker T. & the M.G.’s, a horn part that includes members of The Mar-Keys and The Memphis Horns, and pianist Isaac Hayes, offering a rhythmic Southern soul accompaniment for the singer’s exuberant and forceful performances.

Otis Blue was a crossover success for Redding and proved one in every of his best-selling LPs with greater than 250,000 copies bought. It was his first to high the US R&B LPs chart and in addition reached quantity 6 on the UK Albums Chart, whereas three of its singles grew to become high 40 hits: the Redding unique “I’ve Been Loving You Too Lengthy”, The Rolling Stones cowl “Satisfaction”, and “Respect” (later repopularized by Aretha Franklin). Launched in the beginning of the album period, Otis Blue is taken into account by critics to be Redding’s first totally realized LP[1] and the definitive soul album of its interval. It ranks incessantly and extremely on skilled listings of the most effective albums, together with Rolling Stone journal’s “500 Best Albums of All Time” (at quantity 78) and Time journal’s “All-Time 100 Best Albums” (at quantity 92). A two-disc collector’s version of Otis Blue was launched in 2008 by Rhino Information.


Stax Information president Jim Stewart had launched Otis Redding’s “These Arms of Mine” as a single after listening to him sing it at an audition in 1962. When it charted, he signed Redding to the label.[2] The reasonably profitable LP albums Ache in My Coronary heart (1964) and The Nice Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads (1965) adopted, with each performing effectively on the newly established R&B LPs chart (printed by Billboard), though not on its pop counterpart.[3] Preparations for a 3rd album adopted quickly after, which might additionally function Redding’s second to be launched by way of Volt Information, a subsidiary label of Stax.[4][5]


Recording gear from the Stax studio preserved on the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis; house-band participant Steve Cropper proven on an adjoining display screen, 2013

Redding recorded the album with the Stax home band Booker T. & the M.G.’s (keyboardist/bandleader Booker T. Jones, guitarist Steve Cropper, bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn, drummer Al Jackson Jr.), Isaac Hayes on piano, and a horn part consisting of members of the Mar-Keys and the Memphis Horns. The album was largely recorded in a 24-hour session between 10 am on July 9 (a Saturday) and a pair of pm on July 10, 1965, with a break from 8 pm Saturday to 2 am on Sunday to permit the home band to play native gigs.[6][7][8][9]

As with Redding’s earlier album, engineer Tom Dowd got here to the studio to help the recording, contemplating Redding to be a “genius” alongside the likes of Bobby Darin and Ray Charles.[10] “Ole Man Bother”, positioned because the opening observe on the LP, was completed in periods sooner than the opposite songs and later launched as a B-side of “Respect”.[3] The fifth observe “I’ve Been Loving You Too Lengthy” had been beforehand recorded in mono with Booker T. Jones on piano and launched as a single in April 1965, turning into a number-two hit on Billboards R&B chart; it was re-recorded in stereo for the album.[3]

Music and lyrics

The Stax crew throughout Otis Blues recording, from left to proper: Cropper, Donald “Duck” Dunn, engineer Tom Dowd, David Porter, Julius Inexperienced, Andrew Love, Floyd Newman, Wayne Jackson, and Isaac Hayes.

The vast majority of the tracks on Otis Blue are cowl variations, together with three songs initially by fellow soul singer Sam Cooke, who had been shot useless in December 1964.[11] In accordance with Jason Mendelsohn of PopMatters, the album is a “set of soul requirements, blues and rock covers, Motown hits, and unique materials”.[12] The album opens with the “mournfully harried” “Ole Man Bother”, described by fellow PopMatters author Claudrena N. Harold as one in every of Redding’s most phantasmagoric tunes.[13][14] The lyrics take care of a person, who’s “unable to flee the brutal realities of the blues”,[13] and has been in contrast with Paul Robeson’s “Ole Man River”.[15]

“Respect” was presumably impressed by a quote of drummer Al Jackson Jr., who allegedly stated to Redding after a tour, “What are you griping about? You are on the street on a regular basis. All you’ll be able to search for is a little bit respect once you come dwelling.”[16] An alternate story is advised by Redding’s buddy and street supervisor, Earl “Speedo” Sims, who states that the music “got here from a bunch I used to be singing with”, and that despite the fact that Redding rewrote it, “lots of the lyric was nonetheless there”; Sims provides: “He advised me I’d get a credit score, however I by no means did”.[17] Sims additionally states that he sang the backing vocals within the refrain.[3] Primarily a ballad, “Respect” is an uptempo and energetic music, which took “a day to jot down, 20 minutes to rearrange, and one take to file”, based on Redding.[15] Aretha Franklin coated this music in 1967 and with it topped the Billboard R&B and Pop charts.[18] Redding shouted to a girl for extra respect, whereas Franklin sarcastically countered the music and reworked it right into a “feminist hymn”.[15]

Redding (1966) performs in a forceful and energetic model all through the album.

The following music is an brisk model of Sam Cooke’s ballad, “Change Gonna Come”; a protest in opposition to racial segregation and disrespect for black individuals.[19] “Down within the Valley” is a cool cowl of Solomon Burke’s unique, with whom Redding toured earlier than the recording.[13][20] Nate Patrin of Pitchfork felt that the music “ratchets up each the gospel beatitude and the secular lust”.[14] The love music “I’ve Been Loving You Too Lengthy” was co-written by Redding and The Impressions’ lead singer Jerry Butler in a resort close to the Atlanta airport.[3] Redding’s rendition of Cooke’s “Shake” is once more funkier. The music is in regards to the membership dancing within the so-called discothèques, which debuted within the early Sixties.[21] The music was described as “a hard-swinging, full-throated 2:40 of precision ferocity with a pressure that will flat-out explode throughout his reside units.”[14]

The final 5 songs are all covers by fashionable artists: The Temptations’ “My Lady”, written by Smokey Robinson and Ronald White; Cooke’s “Fantastic World”; B.B. King’s “Rock Me Child”; The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction”, on which Redding sings “trend” as an alternative of “faction”;[3] and William Bell’s “You Do not Miss Your Water”, which was characterised as “sorrowful nation blues”,[13] and has “one of the devastating pleading-man lead vocals in all the Stax catalog.”[14] “Satisfaction” sounded so believable {that a} journalist even accused the Stones of stealing the music from Redding, and that they carried out it after Redding.[22] Music author Robert Christgau describes it as an “anarchic studying” of the Stones’ unique.[23]


Otis Blue was launched on September 15, 1965,[24] with Volt issuing the album within the US[25] and Atlantic Information releasing it within the UK.[24] The album bought greater than 250,000 copies, based on music journalist Tony Fletcher, who notes its use of a photograph of a white girl on the duvet compared to the self-representative cowl of Redding modern Wilson Pickett’s Within the Midnight Hour (1965), which, conversely, “languished within the R&B racks”.[26] Though Otis Blue solely reached quantity 75 on the Pop LPs chart in 1966,[27] three of its singles charted on the Billboard Sizzling 100: “I’ve Been Loving You Too Lengthy” charted for 11 weeks and peaked at quantity 21, “Respect” spent 11 weeks and reached quantity 35, and “Shake” spent six weeks and reached quantity 47.[28] Each the stereo and mono variations of Otis Blue charted in the UK; the previous spent 21 weeks and reached quantity six in 1966, and the latter spent 54 weeks and reached quantity seven in 1967.[29] Two completely different pressings of the music “My Lady” additionally charted within the UK; a 7-inch single peaked at quantity 11 and charted for 16 weeks in 1965, and a reissued single in 1968 reached quantity 36 and charted for 9 weeks.[29] “Satisfaction” peaked at quantity 33 and “Shake” peaked at quantity 28 within the UK.[29]

Otis Blues industrial efficiency helped Redding cross over into the pop market.[30] Summarizing its mainstream impression, Alan Lewis from Document Collector referred to as Otis Blue “the soul album that sealed [Redding’s] world popularity because the soul singer. The one whose title, with hindsight, most likely did most to determine the usage of the phrase ‘soul’ to outline the music beforehand generally known as R&B.”[31] It additionally served as proof that “the album period was right here”, based on music journalist Mat Snow, who cites it amongst a collection of mid-Sixties rock LPs – The Rolling StonesAftermath, the Seaside Boys’ Pet Sounds, Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde, The BeatlesRevolver, and the Who’s A Fast One – proving hit singles had been “now not pop’s most essential cash spinners and inventive statements”.[32] PopMatters journalist Eric Klinger added that it was uniquely profitable as a soul LP, noting that “outdoors of rock music, the album was a mainly untapped medium. LPs had been nearly an afterthought, with a few current hit singles and sufficient filler to justify the $2.98 price.”[12] On November 18, 2004, it was licensed Silver by the British Phonographic Trade, indicating 60,000 models recorded within the UK.[33]

Essential reception and legacy

Retrospective skilled opinions
Evaluate scores
Supply Score
AllMusic [11]
Blender [23]
Encyclopedia of In style Music [34]
MusicHound R&B 5/5[35]
Pitchfork 10/10[14]
PopMatters 9/10[13]
Q [36]
Document Collector [31]
Rolling Stone [37]
The Rolling Stone Album Information [38]

Otis Blue has been regarded by music critics as Redding’s greatest work.[30] Uncut journal’s Neil Spencer referred to as it “the best album of his profession [and] arguably the definitive album of the soul period”,[15] whereas Rolling Stone described it as “Redding’s true dictionary of soul, a surprising journey by way of the previous and future vocabulary of R&B … documenting a masterful artist rising to … the immense problem of his instances.”[37] In The New Rolling Stone Album Information (2004), Paul Evans named it Redding’s “first masterwork”,[38] and fellow Rolling Stone critic David Fricke referred to as it “good”.[9] Writing for Blender, Christgau appraised it as “the primary nice album by one in every of soul’s few dependable long-form artists”,[23] whereas The Mojo Assortment regarded it as “the definitive Southern soul album”[39] and Patrin deemed it the “biggest studio-recorded soul LP” from the Sixties.[14]

In a retrospective evaluate for Pitchfork, Patrin went on to name Otis Blue “a hell of a file, the crowning achievement of a person who may sound pained and celebratory and tender and gritty and proud abruptly, with a voice that everybody from John Fogerty to Swamp Dogg to Cee-lo owes a debt to”.[14] Bruce Eder from AllMusic defined additional that “Redding’s highly effective, outstanding singing all through makes Otis Blue gritty, wealthy, and achingly alive, and a necessary listening expertise”, showcasing “his expertise unfettered, his course clear, and his confidence emboldened”.[11] “Music for music, it is troublesome to think about a greater soul file”, wrote Stephen Deusner within the Memphis Flyer, crediting the singer’s “effortlessly expressive vocals” and the “measured accompaniment” of the Stax home band.[6] Equally, Spencer praised “Cropper’s stinging guitar and the atonal Memphis horns”, saying it’s “as a lot their album as Redding’s”,[15] whereas Q famous how the performers’ particular person musical components coalesce with “an attractive precision which borders on a form of Southern soul sorcery … arguably the most popular and strongest half-hour in soul”.[36] Angus Taylor of BBC Music discovered Otis Blue to be “on the crossroads of pop, rock, gospel, blues and soul”, with a collection of “brief, punchy” songs “flawlessly ordered to ebb and movement between stirring balladry and foot stomping exuberance”, making it Redding’s “definitive assertion”.[40] Harold, in PopMatters, additionally praised the varied sound, which, based on her, is a mix of “Motown pop, the blues, British rock, and Southern Soul”, though she cited Full & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul (1966) as Redding’s greatest album.[13]

Otis Blue has featured on {many professional} lists of the most effective albums. In accordance with Lewis, it’s “predictably named as a High 100 album, the token soul set in lists compiled by trendies who certainly by no means purchased it on the time.”[31] In 1993, NME ranked it thirty fifth on the journal’s “Best Albums of All Time” difficulty[41] and 405th on an analogous listing in 2013.[42][43] The album was additionally ranked at quantity 74 on Rolling Stones “500 Best Albums of All Time” (2003), quantity 78 in a 2012 revised version of the listing,[44] and quantity 178 in a 2020 revised version.[45] Time positioned it at quantity 92 on the journal’s “All-Time 100 Best Albums”. It has additionally appeared in Q journal’s “Greatest Soul Albums of All Time” and Robert Dimery’s 1001 Albums You Should Hear Earlier than You Die.[46] Based mostly on such rankings, the mixture web site Acclaimed Music lists Otis Blue because the 74th most acclaimed album in historical past, in addition to the twentieth most from the Sixties and the fourth most amongst 1965 releases.[47]

Observe itemizing

Facet one
No. Title Author(s) Size
1. “Ole Man Bother” Otis Redding 2:55
2. “Respect” Redding 2:05
3. “Change Gonna Come” Sam Cooke 4:17
4. “Down within the Valley” Bert Berns, Solomon Burke, Babe Chivian, Joe Martin 3:02
5. “I’ve Been Loving You Too Lengthy” Redding, Jerry Butler 3:10
Facet two
No. Title Author(s) Size
1. “Shake” Cooke 2:35
2. “My Lady” Smokey Robinson, Ronald White 2:52
3. “Fantastic World” Cooke, Lou Adler, Herb Alpert 3:00
4. “Rock Me Child” B.B. King 3:20
5. “Satisfaction” Mick Jagger, Keith Richards 2:45
6. “You Do not Miss Your Water” William Bell 2:53

2008 collector’s version

An expanded double-disc collector’s version of Otis Blue was launched in 2008 by Rhino Information. It consists of each the stereo and mono variations of the unique album alongside bonus tracks in B-sides, reside recordings, and beforehand unreleased alternate mixes.[13][14] Christgau graded the version with 4 out of 5 stars, saying it “comes with many ineffective alternate takes, but in addition with reside tracks that protect for historical past Redding’s country-goes-uptown model of enjoyable”.[23]

Disc one: Otis Blue (mono model) and choices from In Particular person on the Whisky a Go Go (1968)
No. Title Size
1. “Ole Man Bother”  
2. “Respect”  
3. “Change Gonna Come”  
4. “Down within the Valley”  
5. “I’ve Been Loving You Too Lengthy”  
6. “Shake”  
7. “My Lady”  
8. “Fantastic World”  
9. “Rock Me Child”  
10. “Satisfaction”  
11. “You Do not Miss Your Water”  
12. “I’ve Been Loving You Too Lengthy” (Beforehand unreleased / Mono)  
13. “I am Relying on You” (Bonus observe)  
14. “Respect” (Beforehand unreleased / Mono)  
15. “Ole Man Bother” (Beforehand unreleased / Mono)  
16. “Any Ole Means” (Bonus observe)  
17. “Shake” (Bonus observe: Dwell 1967, Stereo Mixture of Single Model)  
18. “Ole Man Bother” (Bonus observe: Dwell on the Whisky a Go Go)  
19. “Respect” (Bonus observe: Dwell on the Whisky a Go Go)  
20. “I’ve Been Loving You Too Lengthy” (Bonus observe: Dwell on the Whisky a Go Go)  
21. “Satisfaction” (Bonus observe: Dwell on the Whisky a Go Go)  
22. “I am Relying on You” (Bonus observe: Dwell on the Whisky a Go Go)  
23. “Any Ole Means” (Bonus observe: Dwell on the Whisky a Go Go)  
Disco two: Otis Blue (stereo) and choices from Dwell in Europe (1967)
No. Title Size
1. “Ole Man Bother”  
2. “Respect”  
3. “Change Gonna Come”  
4. “Down within the Valley”  
5. “I’ve Been Loving You Too Lengthy”  
6. “Shake”  
7. “My Lady”  
8. “Fantastic World”  
9. “Rock Me Child”  
10. “Satisfaction”  
11. “You Do not Miss Your Water”  
12. “Respect” (Bonus observe: 1967 model)  
13. “I’ve Been Loving You Too Lengthy” (Bonus observe: Dwell in Europe)  
14. “My Lady” (Bonus observe: Dwell in Europe)  
15. “Shake” (Bonus observe: Dwell in Europe)  
16. “Satisfaction” (Bonus observe: Dwell in Europe)  
17. “Respect” (Bonus observe: Dwell in Europe)  


Chart Peak
Billboard Pop chart 75[48]
Billboard R&B chart 1[48]
UK Album Chart 6


Music Chart Peak
b/w “Ole Man Bother”
Billboard Pop chart 35[48]
Billboard R&B chart 4[48]
“I’ve Been Loving You Too Lengthy”
b/w “Simply One Extra Day”
Billboard Pop chart 21[48]
Billboard R&B chart 2[48]
b/w “You Do not Miss Your Water”
Billboard Pop chart 47[48]
Billboard R&B chart 16[48]
b/w “Any Ole Means”
Billboard Pop chart 31[48]
Billboard R&B chart 4[48]


Area Certification Licensed models/gross sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[33] Silver 60,000^

^ Shipments figures based mostly on certification alone.


  • The one “I’ve Been Loving You Too Lengthy” was licensed Gold by the Recording Trade Affiliation of America (RIAA), indicating 500,000 models recorded within the US.[49]



  • Otis Redding – vocals
  • Booker T. Jones, Isaac Hayes – keyboards, piano
  • Steve Cropper – guitar
  • Donald Dunn – bass guitar
  • Al Jackson Jr. – drums
  • Wayne Jackson, Gene “Bowlegs” Miller – trumpet
  • Andrew Love – tenor saxophone
  • Floyd Newman – baritone saxophone
  • William Bell – backing vocals (observe 2)
  • Earl Sims – backing vocals (observe 2)

Extra personnel

  • Tom Dowd – engineer
  • Jim Stewart – supervision
  • Yves Beauvais – reissue producer
  • Invoice Inglot, Dan Hersch – remastering
  • Pete Sahula – cowl photograph
  • Haig Adishian – cowl design
  • Bob Rolontz – liner notes

See additionally

  • Record of number-one R&B albums of 1965 (U.S.)
  • Motown (music model)


  • Bowman, Rob (1997). Soulsville U.S.A.: The Story of Stax Information. New York, NY: Schirmer Commerce. ISBN 978-0-8256-7284-2. OCLC 36824884.
  • Freeman, Scott (2002). Otis!: The Otis Redding Story. St. Martin’s Press. ISBN 978-0-312-30297-9. OCLC 47443887.
  • 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.
  • Otis Blue album liner notes by Bob Rolontz. Atlantic Recording Corp.
  • Black, Johnny (2008). Basic Tracks Again to Again: Singles and Albums. Thunder Bay Press. ISBN 978-1-59223-872-9.
  • Wyman, Invoice; Coleman, Ray (November 20, 1990). Stone alone: the story of a rock ‘n’ roll band. Viking. ISBN 978-0-670-82894-4.

Additional studying

  • Harper, Simon (September 18, 2015). “Talkin’ About Coronary heart And Soul: Otis Redding”. Conflict. Retrieved June 9, 2021.

  • Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul (Adobe Flash) at Radio3Net (streamed copy the place licensed)
  • Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul at Discogs (listing of releases)

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