Alternate Takes Highlight Otis Redding Retrospective

TIMES POP MUSIC CRITIC

"Remember Me" isn't the starting place for anyone wanting an introduction to Otis Redding, one of the greatest soul singers ever.

But the just-released Fantasy album is a treat for longtime Redding fans because it includes 22 previously unreleased tracks by the man who died in a 1967 plane crash at age 26.

The material ranges from previously unavailable Redding songs to Redding's versions of the Drifters' hit "There Goes My Baby" and Sam Cooke's "Cupid."

But the most appealing moments in the album are probably the alternative versions of some the songs that are at the heart of Redding's legacy, including "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay," "I've Got Dreams to Remember" and "Try a Little Tenderness."

Best of all is the first take of the wistful "Dock of the Bay," where we hear Redding imitating the sound of sea gulls at the start of the song. There was such a tender, melancholy aura to the record that it's surprising to hear Redding break up with laughter during a whistling sequence. Wisecracks someone in the studio: "You're not going to make it as a whistler."

Besides the Redding package, Fantasy has also just released previously unavailable material by three other Stax Records artists: Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas and William Bell, as well as a previously unreleased 1965 live album recorded by Stax artists at the old 5/4 Ballroom in Los Angeles.

Titled "Funky Broadway," the live album includes Booker T. & the MGs' "Green Onions," Rufus Thomas' "Walking the Dog," Bell's "You Don't Miss Your Water" and the Mar-Keys' "Last Night."

'60s Soundtracks: Sony Music's Special Products department has released soundtracks from four vintage films that featured musical contributions from noteworthy pop, rock and jazz figures.

They are: "Zabriskie Point" (selections include Pink Floyd's "Heart Beat, Pig Meat" and "Crumbling Land," the Grateful Dead's "Dark Star" and the Youngbloods' "Sugar Babe"), "Blow Up" (a score by Herbie Hancock plus the Yardbirds' "Stroll On"), "The Strawberry Statement" (Neil Young's "Down by the River" and "The Loner," plus Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's "Helpless" and Buffy Sainte-Marie's "The Circle Game") and "Get Yourself a College Girl" (Dave Clark Five's "Whenever You're Around" and "Thinking of You Baby," the Animals' "Around and Around" and "Blue Feeling," and Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto's "Girl From Ipanema").

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