“The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads” by Otis Redding - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1965Album Chart of the Decade: 1960s

TJR says

The same team who delivered “Pain in my Heart” remained intact for album # 2. The core band of Booker T. Jones (organ), Steve Cropper (guitar, piano), Donald Dunn (bass), and Al Jackson Jr. (drums) were in place along with the superb Memphis Horn section of Wayne Jackson (trumpet), Charles Axton (tenor sax) and Floyd Newman (baritone sax). Otis takes on O.V. Wright’s summer ’64 single “That’s How Strong My Love Is” for the album’s opener – it makes for a classic starter, and immediately the promise of last year’s strong debut LP looks as if it’s going to be fulfilled. I just love Otis doing these heartfelt ballads – and the cultured toughness of his band ensures the effect is never drippy. Strange, therefore, that a local DJ branded him “Mr Pitiful” on account of his soul balladeering. Turning the negative into a positive, Steve Cropper persuaded Otis to respond with a single and “Mr Pitiful”, which closes this LP, was issued in January ’65, backed with a “pitiful” soul ballad called “That’s How Strong My Love Is”. What a 2 sider that was! “Mr Powerful” might have been a better description but, to be fair, it wouldn’t have made for such a great song title! The slow ballads are in the majority on this LP and these provide the very best moments that the set has to offer, with side 2 proving to be the richest. A gorgeously tender reading of Jerry Butler’s 1958 tune “For Your Precious Love” kicks off the flipside and it just goes to show… it’s not necessarily the song, it’s all about the delivery. Otis and his boys take ownership of the title. On “Come to Me” (one of his own) I think to myself He just keeps on belting out these classics with un-nerving ease. Up and coming country-soul songwriter Obie McClinton seems like a find; from his pen, “Keep Your Arms Around Me” is another big highlight track. All ingredients from band to singer are exquisite. Last year’s debut had been really good, but this follow-up was greater still; classy and cool from start to finish.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:24] 9.4.png Otis Redding - That’s How Strong My Love Is (Roosevelt Jamison) Soul Ballad
A2 [02:25] 7.5.png Otis Redding - Chained And Bound (Otis Redding) Soul Ballad
A3 [03:18] 6.2.png Otis Redding - A Woman, A Lover, A Friend (Sidney Wyche) Soul Ballad
A4 [02:48] 6.0.png Otis Redding - Your One And Only Man (Otis Redding) Soul
A5 [02:59] 7.9.png Otis Redding - Nothing Can Change This Love (Samuel Cook) Soul Ballad
A6 [03:00] 7.2.png Otis Redding - It’s Too Late (Chuck Willis) Soul Ballad
B1 [02:49] 8.3.png Otis Redding - For Your Precious Love (Jerry Butler, Richard Brooks, Arthur Brooks) Soul Ballad
B2 [02:35] 6.4.png Otis Redding - I Want To Thank You (Otis Redding) Soul
B3 [02:38] 8.9.png Otis Redding - Come To Me (Otis Redding, Phil Walden) Soul Ballad
B4 [02:10] 6.1.png Otis Redding - Home In Your Heart (Otis Blackwell, Winfield Scott) Soul
B5 [02:46] 8.9.png Otis Redding - Keep Your Arms Around Me (Obie McClinton) Soul Ballad
B6 [02:26] 8.6.png Otis Redding - Mr. Pitiful (Otis Redding, Steve Cropper) Soul

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