Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul, or simply Otis Blue, released September 15, 1965 on Stax Records, is the third studio album by soul singer Otis Redding. The album mainly consists of cover songs by popular R&B and soul artists, and, bar one track, was recorded in a 24-hour period over July 9/10 1965 at the Stax Recording Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. Otis Blue was critically acclaimed upon release and became one of Redding's most successful albums; it reached #6 on the UK Albums Chart, and was his first to reach the top spot of the Billboard R&B chart. Furthermore, it produced three popular singles, all charting at least in the top 50 on both the Billboard R&B and the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
One of the most influential soul singers of the 1960s, Otis Redding exemplified to many listeners the power of Southern "deep soul" hoarse, gritty vocals, brassy arrangements, and an emotional way with both party tunes and aching ballads. He was also the most consistent exponent of the Stax sound, cutting his records at the Memphis label/studios that did much to update R&B into modern soul. His death at the age of 26 was tragic not just because he seemed on the verge of breaking through to a wide pop audience (which he would indeed do with his posthumous number one single "[Sittin' On] The Dock of the Bay").
The Very Best of Otis Redding wasn't the first Otis Redding compilation but it is the best of the single-disc collections, distilling the high points across his career (up thru the posthumous hits "(Sitting' On) The Dock of the Bay" and the heartbreaking "I've Got Dreams to Remember") in 16 tracks, every one a musical milestone and a soul music high-point of one kind or another.
The second five-album set chronicling Otis Redding's legendary work with Stax Records, this slipcase collection includes 1967's Live in Europe, 1968's Dock of the Bay and In Person at the Whisky A Go Go, 1969's Love Man, and 1970's Tell the Truth, each album presented separately and housed in card wallet style…
Presenting the music of Otis Redding, who arrived anonymously at 926 E. McLemore Avenue in Memphis– as a chauffeur for another artist – in 1962, and would go on to become an R&B supernova, with a body of work that helped transform Stax from a small record label to a musical institution. Starting with “These Arms of Mine,” which floored Stax owner Jim Stewart when Redding humbly asked to audition on that fateful day, through a host of bona fide soul classics from “Mr Pitiful,” “That’s How Strong My Love Is,” “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now),” “Security, “Try A Little Tenderness,” and of course the self-penned “Respect,” later immortalized by Aretha Franklin, all included on this collection. The life and career of The Big O tragically ended with a 1967 plane crash, but his legacy was cemented with the posthumous single release, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay,” a chart topper on both the R&B and pop listings, and a lasting reminder of the true genius of The King Of Soul.