Otis Redding – The Immortal Otis Redding Atco SD 33-252 (1968)
Otis Redding died in a plane crash at the height of his career. Though his record label released a number of posthumous albums, Otis’ premature death meant that he left behind a significant amount of recordings that would have been released anyway had he lived. The Immortal Otis Redding actually manages to be one of Redding’s very best studio albums. If The Soul Album was an attempt to modernize Otis’ sound, but was only partly successful at doing so, then The Immortal Otis Redding returns to that approach, but finds more success. There is a more rich and smooth sound here, with fewer elements of raucous 1950s rock n/ roll and R&B. Otis’ voice blends well with the backing music. Side one is nearly perfect. Side two has more to like. In hindsight, though, this relatively short album could have been his single best album if it included some additional songs recorded in 1967 that were released elsewhere, “I’m A Changed Man,” “Direct Me,” “Look at the Girl,” “(“Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay,” “Tell the Truth,” and maybe even the magnificent 1966 outtake “You Left the Water Running.” (If need be, “Champagne and Wine” and “A Waste of Time” might be dropped, though really there was plenty of room for more tracks on the original LP).