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CD Review: Otis Redding's The Best: See & Hear



The Deal: Reliving the majesty and soul of Otis Redding.

The Good: Shout Factory has put together a soul package on Otis Redding that encompasses some of the best audio and video performances of his career. Redding had only four years to spread his soul message, dying at age 26 in a plane crash in 1967. You get the '67 Monterrey Pop performance capturing the soul man at the peak of his powers as well as a four-song set from the '67 Stax/Volt tour on video, as well as an audio CD sampling of Redding classics including one of his feistiest performances on record, doing "Tramp" with Carla Thomas. 1968's "The Happy Song (Dum-Dum)" doesn't get enough play. It's great to hear what Redding does with such a simple vehicle, pouring so much raw emotion into the song that he makes the scattered bits of doggerel into a rough hymn for his darling. "I've Got Dreams To Remember" is another great Redding cut that doesn't resurface enough. Play this one and Toots Hibbert's 1988 version from Toots in Memphis back to back for a soul massage that will make you tingle all over for days.

The Bad: Even though this is partly a re-release, you can never have enough Otis. Still, it would have been nice if on the audio portion they would have gone after some of Redding's lesser played tracks like "Ton of Joy," "Cigarettes and Coffee," "I'm a Hawg For You," "Stay In School" or "Hard To Handle," all of which can be found on Atlantic's 1987 The Otis Redding Story.

The Verdict: Great overview of the too-short career of the world's greatest soul man.

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