Friday, November 17, 2023

Otis Redding - The Singles 2xLP (From Otis Forever: The Albums and Singles 1968 - 1970 Box Set)


Rhino / ATCO (2023) 

My plan of reviewing every Otis Redding album in this box set over a series of consecutive Fridays and/or Mondays failed miserably. But at long last, we can get to the final, double LP of this set, The Singles. For me, this was absolutely the main even of this box set and is something I’ve been waiting for when it comes to Otis. A proper singles compilation.

To me, the comparison must be made to the Three CD set, The Complete Stax/Volt Singles Collection. This set captures every single that Otis Redding released, but there was never a vinyl equivalent. Is The Singles that equivalent now? Not exactly, but it gets us very close. I actually made an Excel spreadsheet and listed every song on the CD set. I then went through and noted when that song appeared on any of the records in the two Otis Redding vinyl box sets. My goal was to see if by having both box sets, do I have all of these songs on vinyl. Turns out, it’s pretty close.

There’s only three songs (excluding live versions) that only exist on the CD set: “Mary’s Little Lamb,” “Don’t Leave Me This Way” and “I’m Depending on You.” That’s not bad considering the CD set has seventy songs on it. Spreadsheet aside, The Mono Singles is an excellent collection of non-album Otis Redding tunes and includes some of my very favorite songs of his.

When you have an album that has hits on it like “Hard To Handle,” “The Happy Song” and “Can’t Turn You Loose,” that’s a pretty high bar. And those are just the highest of highs on an album crammed full of them. To me, this album is worth the purchase of the entire set and having nice shiny copies of all of his posthumous albums is a bonus. I still don’t understand why both box sets include The Dock of the Bay album as that’s just an extra, unneeded copy of you buy both sets, but being able to make two purchases and have pretty much the entire catalog of Otis Redding on vinyl is a truly wonderful thing.

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