Otis Redding

Tell the Truth

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When a major artist dies, labels can usually be counted on to release anything and everything the artist had in the can, regardless of quality. In the case of Otis Redding, most of the posthumous releases were of a very high quality. One example is Tell the Truth, which was recorded the year he died, 1967, and remained unreleased until 1970. Though it falls short of essential, Truth has a lot to excite the soul icon's more devoted followers. Tracks like "I Got the Will," "Snatch a Little Piece," and "Demonstration" are pure Redding -- frenzied, passionate, relentlessly gritty Memphis soul that makes no concessions to pop tastes or Northern soul. "Out of Sight" speaks volumes about him -- while others would have been afraid to cover a song written and defined by James Brown, Redding confidently tackles it with splendid results. Redding's last major hit, "Dock of the Bay," indicated that had he lived, he would have explored softer, Northern R&B sounds. But on this album, it was Memphis all the way.

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