The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul

Crawdaddy Features

This article originally appeared in Issue 8 of Crawdaddy in February, 1967

The liner notes provide us with a dictionary of the various and sundry scat ejaculations of Otis Redding. The front cover is garish and hideous. The record inside is superb, which is safe for me to say even though it is the first of Otis Bedding I have ever heard. There‘s not a piece on the album that isn’t a masterpiece. There are the two hit songs, “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)” and “Try a Little Tenderness.” Side two is loaded with the really superlative numbers—”She Put the Hurt on Me,” which is about the closest Redding ever gets to singing an actual melody, “You’re Still My Baby,” an exercise in free rhythm in which Redding’s voice flows as a unifying thread, and “Hawg for You,” which hearkens back to Muddy Waters in its deeply moving earthiness. This cut is perhaps the best showcase for Otis Redding’s multifaceted vocal talents. He weaves his phrases in and around the melody line in a way that clearly shows that the blues is not dead. “Day Tripper” is side one‘s standout number; Redding turns it into an entirely different beast, but with the original meaning of the song, if not its original feeling, intact. Congratulations to Otis Redding and everyone else connected with this superlative album.

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