Otis Redding’s “Deepest Soul” Explored on New Concept Album

By The Second Disc, on 01 Jan 17, 2013

Otis Redding - Deepest Soul When is a lost album not a lost album?

In the case of Lonely and Blue: The Deepest Soul of Otis Redding, the answer is, “when the album has been created in 2013 to look, sound and feel like a Stax/Volt release from almost five decades prior!”  On March 5, Stax and Concord Records will release this newly-created concept album of the late soul shouter’s most torrid ballads on both CD and a special blue vinyl LP.

Compilation producer David Gorman set out with one goal in mind: “to find the saddest, most potently heartbreaking songs [Otis] ever sang, with no regard for chart position or notoriety. There are a few hits on the album, but they’re there because they fit the mood, not because we wanted to include the hits.”  In that category, you’ll find such all-time standards as “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” and “These Arms of Mine.”  Among the lesser-known tracks selected for inclusion in the 14-song set: “Gone Again,” “Little Ol’ Me” and “Everybody Makes a Mistake.”  In the case of “I’ve Got Dreams to Remember,” the version selected features different lyrics from the familiar recording.  “Open the Door” is heard in its “Skeleton Key Version.”

The design and execution of the package was foremost on the producer’s mind.  To that end, the press release notes that the “typography, color palette and layout are all meant to adhere to the Stax/Volt LP designs of the time.  The liner notes, too, are written in the present tense by a fictitious DJ commenting on Redding in his prime.  The LP jacket will be “aged,” too, to resemble a vintage, oft-played album with the wear and tear that might have resulted.  “The goal,” commented Gorman, “was to create the best album Otis never made and ‘reissue’ it in 2013 rather than do another hits compilation. We hope this album will reframe him as something more than an oldies radio staple and become his Night Beat [Sam Cooke’s atmospheric 1963 classic]— the album that exists as a starting point for people wondering why so many consider Otis Redding the greatest soul singer of all time.”

Hit the jump for the track listing and more!

The smoking-hot soul vocalist tragically perished in a plane crash in 1967, aged just 26 years old.  On just six studio albums released between 1964 and 1967 on Atco, Stax and Volt (including one duets album with Carla Thomas), Redding established himself as a giant of his generation as both a singer and a songwriter.  Thankfully, Redding lived long enough to see Aretha Franklin take his “Respect” to the top of the chart.  Upon his passing, many further posthumous releases began to appear, beginning with the 1968 Top 5 LP The Dock of the Bay.  (The single after which the album was titled became the first-ever posthumous chart-topper on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as Redding’s first and only No. 1 as a vocalist.)  Lonely and Blue is the most recent trawl through the riches of the Redding catalogue.

This new-old compilation, which looks ideal for late-night listening, arrives on LP and CD on March 5 from Concord’s reactivated (and quite vital) Stax imprint.  A pre-order link isn’t yet active but we’ll update as soon as one is available!

Otis Redding, Lonely and Blue: The Deepest Soul of Otis Redding (Stax/Concord, 2013)

  1. I Love You More Than Words Can Say
  2. Gone Again
  3. Free Me
  4. Open the Door [Skeleton Key Version]
  5. A Waste of Time
  6. These Arms of Mine
  7. I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)
  8. Everybody Makes a Mistake
  9. Little Ol’ Me
  10. I’ve Got Dreams to Remember [Rougher Dreams]
  11. Send Me Some Lovin’
  12. My Lover’s Prayer

Track 1 and original version of Track 4 from The Dock of the Bay, Volt, 1968
Tracks 2, 9 & 11 from Remember Me, Stax, 1992
Track 3 from Love Man, Atco, 1969
Track 5 and original version of Track 10 from The Immortal Otis Redding, Volt, 1968
Track 6 from Pain in My Heart, Atco, 1964
Track 7 from Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul, Volt, 1965
Track 8 from The Soul Album, Volt, 1966
Track 12 from Complete and Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul, Volt, 1966