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Music  >>  Vinyl  >>  Soul/R & B

Otis Redding

Dock Of The Bay Sessions

Otis Redding Dock Of The Bay Sessions
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After his wildly successful breakout appearance at the Monterey Pop festival in 1967, Otis Redding’s career was in the balance. Having developed polyps on his larynx, he entered hospital in NY in September of that year for surgery. Taking time off to recover, he tentatively entered the studio again in Memphis in November of that year to start recording what would be his next album. At the time Otis was heavily impacted by The Beatles, & in particular the Sgt Pepper’s album, prompting him to think about heading in a new direction with his songwriting and recordings. The most notable song was of course, (‘Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay’, but other tracks from these sessions exhibited subtle touches of these new musical influences. And of course, Otis’ voice was smooth & clear, as a result of the repairs from the surgery, but at the time still overflowing with that effervescent soul. After sessions in November, Otis went back into the studio on December 6 & 7 for what ended up being his last recording session, as he tragically died in a plane crash a few days later. The rest is history, with Steve Cropper finishing production on the ‘Dock of the Bay’ single, released via Stax/Volt in early 1968, & steadily rising up in the charts before becoming Otis Redding’s first ever #1 record in the pop charts (also doing the same on the R&B side), & at the same time becoming an all-time classic. 

A ‘Dock of the Bay’ album came following the success of the single, though it was mostly cobbled together from previous 45’s from Otis’ career, & the remainder of those November recordings remained on the shelf until a series of posthumous albums from Atlantic, with repertoire sourced from various unreleased tracks spanning various years of recording sessions. Fast forward to 2018, & the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the landmark ‘Dock of the Bay’ single. As part of the campaign, Rhino is putting together a ‘Dock Of The Bay Sessions’ album – in some ways to attempt to compile ‘the album that could have been’ if not for the tragic events of December 10. The album is  the first release looking to feature those post-surgery- recordings as a package, & giving an indication of the new direction Otis was heading in. And as a part of the joint Concord/Rhino Stax 60th campaign, it is also the first time that many of these tracks will have been released under the Stax/Volt branding, while a large number have been out of print on vinyl for many years, and the record is unique, due to the fact it includes masters from both the WMG & Concord (Fantasy) vaults. Compiled with input from Roger Armstrong from Ace Records (who worked on Otis material released via Fantasy) & Otis biographer Jonathan Gould, & with full approval from the Redding family. While there will never be a ‘definitive’ idea of what that next Otis album would have been, this Sessions album compiles a lot of great tracks, & once again shows the depths & talents of The Big O.

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