OTIS REDDING - Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul
On July 8, 1965, Otis Redding was a young soul singer of modest renown, less than three months removed from releasing his first Top 10 r&b hit single. By July 10, he had become something else entirely: It took only 24 hours to lay down 10 of the 11 songs that would make up Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul, arguably the 1960s' greatest studio-recorded soul LP. (The only track not recorded at that time was the #2 hit, "I've Been Loving You Too Long".) Friends and associates had noticed Redding's growing confidence as a singer, and once Otis Blue hit shelves it was clear he was poised enough to pick up the mantle of the recently slain legend Sam Cooke, up to that point the greatest soul singer in America. He was also prepared to take on the Temptations and the Rolling Stones and B.B.King on their own turf; the only way to top him would be to give one of his original compositions to Aretha Franklin ("Respect"). In the simplest terms: It's a hell of a record, the crowning achievement of a man who could sound pained and celebratory and tender and gritty and proud all at once, with a voice that everyone from John Fogerty to Swamp Dogg to Cee-lo owes a debt to.