on September 17, 2003
In addition to "Dreams To Remember", there are two other Otis Redding collections, that merit consideration, each for entirely different reasons. The first is for the casual fan, "The Very Best of Otis Redding" which are two seperate releases and each CD contains 16 studio cuts, for a total of 32 songs. The second is the exhaustive "Definitive Otis Redding" with 162 cuts on 4 CDs; far more material than a casual fan may ever want to own. "Dreams To Remember", the most recent collection on Rhino, occupies a space somewhere between casual and serious.
The lightweight "Very Best" is good, but there are too many "covers" included. Everyone wants to hear the Otis version of "Satisfaction", but the inclusion of cover versions of "My Girl", "Day Tripper", "Amen" and "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" make the second volume of "Very Best" almost unendurable upon repeated listenings. The clever buyer will realize that "Dreams To Remember" has a price eligible for free shipping on Amazon, while buying the two seperate volumes of "Very Best" does not qualify for free shipping, so the ultimate price of the "Very Best" adds to about the same price as "Dreams To Remember" when you factor shipping costs. So do the math...for the same price as "Very Best" which contains 32 cuts, you can purchase "Dreams To Remember" which contains 55 cuts and none of the insipid pop covers, but does contain more of his signature deep soul sound, plus a few "live cuts" from his groundbreaking performance at Monterey Pop. "Dreams To Remember" trumps the two volume "Very Best", hands down.
Finally there is the all encompassing "Definitive" 4 CD collection. Anytime you shell out a premium retail price for an exhaustive anthology, it begs the question of how much is too much of a particular artist. There are definite throwaways on "Definitive" that become a painful exercise in listening, unless you beleive Otis could "do no wrong." It's no suprise that the venerable Rhino, which started as a collector's boutique label, is responsible for compiling and releasing all of three of these fine collections. An important final word of caution is in order: Rhino has yet to release any digitally remastered collections of Otis Redding. Indeed, no one stateside has released any remastered Redding material. The price heavy 4 CD "Definitive" Otis Redding of today, may be tomorrow's "Obsolete" Otis Redding. Until the remastered Otis is available, a nice compromise is this satisfying "Dreams To Remember" collection.
on June 15, 2002
If you're like me, you recognize 7 or 8 songs -- the big hits -- on this set and you're wondering if Redding has enough great songs to fill two CD's. I took the plunge because I loved those 7 or 8 songs; Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay, Try a Little Tenderness, Mr. Pitiful, and others. The answer is yes. Otis just tears you up, wrecks you, brings you to your freaking knees, song after song after song. Now, I'm thinking maybe I should have bought the 4 CD set. You've got to have Otis Redding in your collection and you don't want to just have the 7 or 8 hits. Trust me, you want to put Otis on and leave him on. This is a great set.
on May 7, 2000
This is a very slick two-disc set. Great care has been taken to put together an accurate timeline which touches on all of the major highlights of Redding's career. Reading the booklet while grooving to the music is a moving experience - one that Rhino Records should be proud of. Readers are led from Otis Redding's discovery to the tragic plane crash that ended his life.
Otis died at the age of 26 - which makes it all the more amazing that his music has endured like it has. These two discs contain a total of 50 tracks, many of them from live shows. If you love soul music, this is one collection that you honestly should not be without. For a personal selection, try song #13 on disc 1, "Change Gonna Come."
on June 15, 2002
Now I don't usually like to fall into the trappings of buying any kind of "greatest hits" collections if I can help it, 'cause I've found that more often than not some really great and significant songs of the artists' career are left off, in favor of maybe less-than-stellar pop radio hits. I usually prefer to go out an' purchase all their albums if they interest me enough to do so. That would've been the case with ol' Otis Redding too except that when I saw this in the record store, I fell in love with the cover design, a caricature of Otis looking sad and comtemplative, standing in front of a theater marquee on a dimly-lit street at night, in front of what looks like an early model Chevrolet. That jus' screamed nostalgia to me, an' made me wish I had been around in the mid-'60s to go to a nightclub or theater and hear Otis' powerful voice writhe an' shout his beautiful passion into his microphone.
I'm serious, you ain't never heard a voice with more pure, gritty, unbrideled SOUL than that of Otis Redding. He sang his songs with an honesty and truth that can't be falsified, and that contemporary performers need to really take note of, if they expect to really, TRULY move people. I went through a really bad break-up this past year, an' Otis' voice was one of the only things that soothed and comforted me enough to allow me to sleep peacefully at night. Another difference is that no matter what it was with Otis, whether it was a pop radio hit or not, there was always meaning and feeling behind it. Listen to the ballads more than anything. 'Pain in My Heart', 'I've Been Loving You too Long (to Stop Now)', 'You Don't Miss Your Water' and 'Cigarettes and Coffee' and any of the mournful and heart-broken ballads, are jus' the stuff of genius and pure artistry. 'Mr. Pitiful', 'Down in the Valley', 'Let Me Come on Home' and 'I Love You More than Words Can Say' and all the rest are jus' everything that you want out of ol' Otis. The spirited and down-tempo 'My Lover's Prayer' is jus' one of the CLASSICS of our time, as is 'Just One More Day', a really powerful number 'bout letting go an' dealin' with the stress of love, life an' e'ything else this cruel world bestows on us. He does a brave and inspiring version of Sam Cooke's 'Change Gonna Come' that will move you an' give you chills, especially when he sings "It's been too hard livin', an' I'm afraid to die, I don't know whas' up there beyond the clouds..." Also present here is his raucous and pounding original version of 'Respect'. Aretha Franklin may have made it famous with her anthemic reading of it, but it was already a classic, y'all.
But my personal favorite number is the deeply moving 'I've Got Dreams to Remember' in which he lays on the heartache thick, sounding on the verge of tears and an emotional breakdown, as a female vocal group coos in sweetly sympathetic response. My eyes welled up with tears one night when I played this for my now ex-girlfriend to try to show how much pain I was in over her (It didn't work how I thought it would, but it's a sad memory for me to hold on to). And of course I couldn't leave without mentioning Otis' biggest hit '(Sittin' on the) Dock of the Bay', the simple, somewhat lonely lament that has become something of his calling card. His lonesome whistling at the end gives much weight to the lyrics and atmosphere.
You'd do yourself well to look at the photos an' read the booklet while listening to this music, 'cause it will allow you to envision the man and his time period while also giving you a plethora of history an' information 'bout Otis from his discovery working in Johnny Jenkins' band to his first days as a songwriter through his fame, and his historic performance at the Monterey Pop Festival, the recording of which is presented here on the 2nd disc in its entirety. Shame how the story had to end with Redding's death in a plane crash, yet another incredible talent that perished having given the world only a sliver of his life's potential. But lucky for us, the music is still here, and his influence is apparent in all the subsequent soul singers that have emerged since then. His guttural delivery and passion was one of a kind. To put it together in one statement, this man is amazing and the songs he has written and performed are nothing short of pure soulful art. If you are a fan of soul, R&B, rock or any black-originated music, don't hesitate to add something from Otis' legacy to your collection. In the short amount of time I've listened to him, he has fast become one of my all-time favorite singers. That should be enough to convince you right there.
on December 5, 2000
Fantastic! The opening number, "Shout Bamalama" really gets you into the groove of the dynamite tracks on this album. This is especially driven home by the live at Monterey Festival tracks at the end of CD 2. Not only is this collection a tribute to one of Soul's greatest artists, but it is also a underlying recognition of the magnificence that the Stax house band Booker T. and the MGs brought to the tunes of "The Big O". From his relentless pounding of "Satisfaction", to the heart wrenching ballads, this really is a must buy for all those fans (old and new) who apreciate job satisfaction where music is concerned.
on April 8, 2002
I actually own the Otis "Definitive Collection" 4-disc set, which is more like SIX stars, really. But for the casual Otis fan, Rhino did a great job of condensing most of the bigger set's gems into this more affordable 2CD pack.
Added to that, it offers (I'm pretty sure) Otis' entire set from Monterey Pop Festival, which is pretty hard to find on CD these days. You can't go wrong with either set, but if you're not quite sure how much you want to spend, go for this one first.
You'll be hard-pressed to find a finer R&B/Soul anthology on the market.
on August 29, 2005
I cannot tell you how long it has taken me to find this collection. I have searched for this for months, and today I finally found a copy -- $50 Canadian -- not cheap but worth every penny. It's a shame that it is so hard to find Otis Redding on CD. He is one of the greatest singers ever, and yet in this day and age of countless Britney and Mandy Moore collections, you are hard-pressed to find an Otis compilation. Some of the older ones are out there ("The Very Best Of" and "Ultimate") but they are not remastered and are not as comprehensive as this one.
"Dreams to Remember" is beautifully presented by Rhino, who continue to set the bar in compilations. All the tracks are top-notch including "These Arms of Mine" and "Love Man" (two favorites featured in the film "Dirty Dancing"), "Try A Little Tenderness", the extraordinary version of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" and of course, "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay". There are also some live tracks, which are essential because Otis was highly regarded for his live performances.
If you are able to find this collection, I urge you to buy it. And I urge music stores to stock up on their Otis CDs! LOL
on June 9, 1999
I grew up listening to Otis Redding's style of music and wept when he was taken away so early in his career. However, after listening to the CD's included in this set, I can relive the energy and enthusiasm this incredible artist exuded.
If, after listening to this music, you don't "feel" the soul, then I suggest you check your pulse to see if you're still alive 'cause no one can beg and plead like OTIS!!
on April 22, 2010
Back in the early 90's, I bought the so-called "Ultimate Otis Redding Collection"
but was sorely disappointed because so many of the songs that made this
man one of the greatest voices ever to grace soul music were missing!
Add to that, the sound quality on that collection was horrendous!
But this collection of "The Big O" as he was called, is by far the best
and most complete I have ever heard before!---The new remastering
technology makes it even better! There is also a great documentary
companion DVD that goes along with this CD. Otis Redding's music was
a staple in my household when I was a child and even though he recorded
for only 5 yrs (from 1962-67), what he did in those five years still
moves us today and is always endoctrinating new listeners some 43 yrs
after the tragic plane crash on December 10, 1967 took his life as
well as the life of most of the original Bar-Kays.
Like all true greats, Otis Redding is an immortal, and this comp
will let you know that in no uncertain terms! (-:
----R.I.P. Otis Redding (September 9, 1941 - December 10, 1967)----
on November 17, 2000
OTIS was the star of STAX.OTIS was the heart and soul of STAX.Unfortunately, OTIS died when his career was reaching its greatest high.Since his departure, soul music never really recovered.Like PICKETT, OTIS often surpasses the original versions he covers.SATISFACTION is the best example.He was also one of the few soul singers to make great original albums.OTIS is also a good example of the incredible value of the human voice that simple music can never fulfill alone.