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Various Hard To Handle - Black America Sings Otis Redding

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(ACE Records) 25 tracks - Otis Redding was a great songwriter as he was a singer. Here are 25 of... more

Various: Hard To Handle - Black America Sings Otis Redding

(ACE Records) 25 tracks - Otis Redding was a great songwriter as he was a singer. Here are 25 of his best compositions reinterpreted by some of the biggest names in 60s and 70s soul.

His achievements as a singer may cast a giant shadow over everything else he achieved. Anyone with a passing interest in music should be able to tell you that Otis Redding wrote ‘Respect’ and ‘Dock Of The Bay’ – that’s a given. But the vast majority of his many other singles had an Otis composition or co-write on at least one side, while almost all of the albums released during his lifetime featured additional Otis Redding copyrights. A prolific tunesmith and savvy A&R man, Otis also found time to write songs specifically for Arthur Conley and others whose careers he hoped to boost.

Otis wrote a staggering number of quality songs in a very short period of time. In fact the more Otis wrote, the more he wanted to write: in the few weeks leading up to his death, he went into Stax’s McLemore Avenue studio and cut around 30 new songs, leaving behind enough material for a trio of posthumously released albums which, for many fans, are better than many of those that came out while he was still alive.

There’s no way of telling how Otis would have progressed as a songwriter had his plane not crashed in December 1967, but the unreleased songs he left behind give a pretty good indication that he was moving in interesting and special directions. The quality of many of those posthumously issued compositions was quickly recognised by his peers. Fine versions of several of them, by Buddy Miles, Etta James, Patti Drew, Percy Sledge and others, appear in “Hard To Handle”, the latest volume in Ace’s occasional “Black America Sings” series.

As befits one of the greatest purveyors of a soul ballad, many of the best songs here allow their singers to tug at the heartstrings in the way Otis’ own versions still do. A significant number are performed here by women, who seemed to gravitate to Otis’ catalogue in the wake of Aretha’s blockbuster success with her revival of ‘Respect’.

But as well as the ballads there are numerous great examples of Otis’ up-tempo work, exemplified by his protégé Arthur Conley’s romp through ‘Wholesale Love’ and an alternate take of Otis’ own Northern Soul floor-filler ‘Loving By the Pound’ (written for Bettye Lavette, apparently!). There are more previously unissued treats here from Mitty Collier and Arthur Conley, as well as several sides receiving their CD debut.

Otis’ skills as a songwriter were patently second to none and it’s hoped that “Hard To Handle” will increase perception of just how important an all-rounder he was, and how long his career as a singer-songwriter might have sustained if the Grim Reaper hadn’t had other plans.


By Tony Rounce 

Article properties: Various: Hard To Handle - Black America Sings Otis Redding

  • Interpret: Various

  • Album titlle: Hard To Handle - Black America Sings Otis Redding

  • Genre R&B, Soul

  • Year of publication 2012
  • Label Ace Records

  • Artikelart CD

  • Edition 2
  • EAN: 0029667052627

  • weight in Kg 0.1
Various - Hard To Handle - Black America Sings Otis Redding CD 1
01 These Arms Of Mine Albert Washington & The KIngs
02 Sister Pitiful Judy Clay
03 I've Been Loving Too Long (To Stop Now) William Bell
04 Baby Cakes Maxine Brown
05 Think About It King Floyd
06 Shout Bamalama Mickey Murray
07 Security Irma Thomas
08 I'v Got Dreams To Remember Percy Sledge
09 Give Away None Of My Love Buddy Miles
10 I'm Missing You Mitty Collier
11 I Can't Turn Too Loose James Carr
12 Chanied And Bound Bettye Swann
13 Just One More Day Clarnce Carter
14 Wholesale Love Arthur Conley
15 Hawg For You Tina Britt
16 Loving By The Pound (Tk 2) Otis Redding
17 Hard To Handel Patti Drew
18 A Year, A Month And A Day Arthur Conley
19 Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song) Lou Rawls
20 Monkey On My Back Jackie Hairstone
21 Keep Pushing Me James Purify & Bobby
22 Good To Me Donald Height
23 Respect Aretha Franklin
24 (Sittin' On The) Dock Of The Bay The Staple Singers
25 I Got The Will Etta James
Various Artists Different artists/interpreters on a CD, Vinyl LP, 7ich Singe... Either as a... more
"Various"

Various Artists

Different artists/interpreters on a CD, Vinyl LP, 7ich Singe...
Either as a theme compilation or as Greates Hits, Best of..., Singles Collections etc.

 

Various Artist on Bear Family

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