Otis Redding released The Soul Album in 1966. This eleven track album followed his 1965 release Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul, which was considered one of his best. Being the prolific song writer that he was The Soul Album was recorded in the months of November of 1965 to August 1966. It was released on Volt/Stax Records in April of 1966.
The Soul Album featured a variety of different styles being juxtaposed within Redding’s song writing capabilities bringing together a collection of cover songs and originals, that he makes completely his own. The backing band on this album featured members of Booker T. & The MGs, who were the house band and featured on a large majority of Otis Redding recordings, a Memphis horn section and Isaac Hayes, who also produced the record. With a solid backing band and atmosphere, Otis Redding proves why he is considered a Soul legend, often referred to as “The King of Soul” with his passionate vocal performances and clever song arrangements. While the only single released from this album was “Just One More Day”, the album is notable for its re-workings of the Sam Cooke song “Chain Gang”, “It’s Growing” an upbeat version of a song originally by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, “Everybody Makes A Mistake” by Eddie Floyd, Roy Head’s “Treat Her Right”, and Wilson Pickett’s “634-5789”. A lost gem found on this collection is the song co-authored by Eddie Thomas and Jerry Butler “Cigarettes And Coffee”. The originals on this album while there may be few (“Just One More Day”, “Good To Me”, “Any Ole Way”) combined with the other material found here create a Southern Soulful mixture of originality and a sign of an artist coming into his own, which he would do more of on his next release Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul. That release would also be his last full length release before his untimely death on December 10th, 1967.
While The Soul Album is not often referred to as the best album in Otis’ catalogue, it is an eleven track collection of unstoppable Soul that surges with Otis’ talents as a songwriter and performer providing the listener with a sample of lesser known Otis Redding songs. It transitions between an interesting point in his career, juxtaposing Soul ballads with straight up Soul stompers and musical styles, proving to any listener of his status as “The King of Soul”.
This week's play list:
1. The Miracles – Baby Don’t You Go
2. The Vonns – So Many Days
3. James Crawford – I Don’t Care, I Don’t Care, I Don’t Care
4. Willie C. Echols – Shimmy Shelly Shake
5. The JB's – Wine Spot
6. Muddy Waters – I Be’s Troubled
7. Sonny Boy Williamson – Fattening Frogs For Snakes
8. Etta James – I’d Rather Go Blind
9. The Autographs – Do The Duck
10. Ketty Lester – West Coast
11. Danny White – The Twitch
12. Albert Collins – I Don’t Know
13. McKinley Mitchell – You’re Not Gonna Break My Heart
14. The Equators – Baby Come Back
15. Tapper Zukie – MPLA
16. Lee Scratch Perry & The Upsetters – Curly Dub
17. Grant Green – The Final Comedown
18. Miles Davis – So What
19. Otis Redding – It’s Growing
20. Otis Redding - Cigarettes And Coffee
21. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – Little Demon
22. Little Richard – Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey!
23. The Action 13 - More Bread To The People
24. Chuck Berry – Beautiful Delilah
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