Otis Redding

Otis Forever: The Albums & Singles (1968-1970)
Otis Redding

Otis Redding’s death in a plane crash in late 1967 created a monumental task for producer and guitarist Steve Cropper – the posthumous presentation of Redding’s unreleased work. Ultimately, four collections were released, including The Dock of the Bay (February ’68); The Immortal Otis Redding (June ’68); Love Man (June ’69); and Tell the Truth (July ’70). They’re all reissued in this new vinyl box, along with two other LPs that collect mono versions of Redding’s singles issued from ’68 to ’70.

While Redding’s voice will always be the star of the show, this set is also a deep dive into soul guitar, courtesy of the genre’s primary architect. Cropper’s thoughtful restraint is evident on achingly beautiful ballads like “I Love You More Than Words Can Say,” “I’ve Got Dreams to Remember” and “A Waste of Time.” But he’s in his element on uptempo numbers like “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” and the driving “Hard to Handle,” where Cropper, never one to compete with the horns, stays close to the chords and simply locks in a wide groove.

A master class in unflashy guitar – and a document of one of the most-consequential musical partnerships ever forged between a singer and a guitarist.

This article originally appeared in VG’s September 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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