Sometimes an artist’s time in the spotlight is brief, but no less impactful. Georgia-born, Otis Redding became known as the King of Soul… yet his reign was tragically cut short in 1967 when he and his band perished in a plane crash en route to a live performance. A sad end to a blossoming career, Redding was only 26 years old with so much music left to write and life left to live. Interestingly enough, Redding’s most famous song, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” was recorded just three days prior to his death. As a result, released posthumously, the song became his grand’s mainstream success. Adding more to the story of Redding, many would like to think the talented musician knew of the recognition somewhere afar, but all know it solidified his legacy, all while pondering what might have been.
Now fifty-six long years since Redding and his band left this earth, generations still know of and appreciate their music. Whether it be the aforementioned “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” “Hard to Handle” (also released after his death), which was given new life by The Black Crowes in 1990, or the impassioned “I’ve Got Dreams to Remember,” it is difficult to not remember Redding. That in mind, as time goes on we all need a little reminding of the greatness that came before, and that is where the new limited box set Otis Forever: The Albums & Singles (1968-1970) comes into play.
An epic new vinyl boxed set, limited to 1,000 copies, Otis Forever: The Albums & Singles (1968-1970) was unleashed on June 9, 2023 through Rhino. Fit in a delightful, solid box, it holds the limited pressing 6-LP set that comes in multi-color vinyl – The Dock of the Bay (yellow), The Immortal Otis Redding (silver), Love Man (green), Tell the Truth (blue), and The Singles 1968-1970 (yellow). All individually packaged in their own LP sleeve within the box, each sleeve offers track listings and compelling essays/linear notes that give you deeper insight into the music.
Feeling like you are opening a time capsule into the golden age of Soul music, you quickly get sucked into Redding’s world where he uniquely mixes soulful vocals, Blues, Gospel, R&B, and Rock-n-Roll stylings all together. Of course, you get the well-known hits, but you also get a ton of material that you perhaps forgot, overlooked, or may have never even known existed. That in mind, the LPs that encompass this set are all Redding’s posthumous records. Additionally, The Singles 1968-1970 is a double album exclusive to this set and it is offered in a gatefold sleeve illustrated with the 7” labels from all 24 singles. A cool exclusive, moreover, each of these tracks are mono mixes; and they sound awesome on any top shelf stereo system.
A fantastic retrospective honoring Otis Redding, upon listening to this collection you come to realize that he had so many ideas, yet he was barely an adult (only living to 26 years of age), but he wrote/sang like a wiser, elder, mature man. One of those mysterious aspects of a talented musician, it only adds to the mystique and legend that is Otis Redding.
In all, this is a set of fans of classic Soul, Otis Redding, or those curious to tap into something more skin deep than what is currently present in the world today. As mentioned, limited to 1,000 copies in the multi-color edition, there is also a black vinyl pressing of the set out there too… so while there are limited chances to grab a copy, it is still possible. Food for the mind, body, and heart, Cryptic Rock gives Otis Forever: The Albums & Singles (1968-1970) 5 out of 5 stars.