Soul, R&B, and even layers of soul-ripping tenderness secure the cornerstones of Otis Redding’s cherished musical catalog. Blessed with an understanding of emotion and songwriting well past his years, Macon, GA’s hometown hero shines on Shout Factory’s new Otis Redding: The Best of See & Hear release. Although a plane crash outside of Madison, WI in 1967 took the talented artist at the too-young age of 26, this release again leaves no room for dispute that just hearing four letters placed together can elicit pain, love, play, and hope simultaneously. That word is Otis.
The audio portion of The Best of See & Hear features 12 signature Otis Redding tunes such as “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” “Pain in My Heart,” and “I’ve Got Dreams to Remember.” What makes Shout Factory’s release unique is the pairing of these bare, heart-wrenching cuts alongside the Keith Richards/Mick Jagger-penned “Satisfaction,” the funk laced story “Tramp” (a duet with the Queen of Stax herself, Carla Thomas), and “Mr. Pitiful,” a song written along with Booker T & the MG’s guitarist Steve Cropper after hearing a local DJ tag Otis with that moniker.
Shout Factory! has answered our visual culture needs which are bent on the nostalgia of times past. One thing that can never be replicated is the Stax/Volt European Tour of 1967. Knowing that this footage is gold presented in black & white hues, the footage unfolds with Otis joined by a stellar house band. The DVD even features performances by the original Blues Brothers of soul, Sam & Dave and Booker T & the MG’s; Donald Dunn is a joy to watch throughout. After the European Tour footage, legendary musical director D.A. Pennebaker (Don’t Look Back) captures an additional five cuts of unmatched soul during 1967’s Monterey Pop Festival. This color footage opens with Otis doing his thing on “Shake,” and it’s performances such as this one that secured not only this artist, but this entire era, as part of a movement that can never be replicated.
The Best of See & Hear is out now on Shout! Factory.