Otis Redding never made a bad album. Hell, Otis Redding never cut a bad song. But most of the LPs released in his tragically short career were, in the manner of the times, patched and cobbled together. Otis Blue is the Big O’s one album that most plays like an album. The songs are strong throughout, anchored by three Sam Cooke covers and Redding’s versions of classics from “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” to “My Girl,” climaxing in his own soul-stirrer “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long.” The Stax house band — Booker T and the MGs, augmented by Isaac Hayes and the Mar-Key horns — crackles, and Redding’s voice was never better. Which is truly saying something.
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