Many music fans would agree -- you'd be hard-pressed to find a singer who embodied soul music as thoroughly as Otis Redding did during his tragically short but celebrated career. Few singers have possessed the talent to sing a song as emotionally charged as Redding did, and the 12-track, 2002 compilation, The Essentials, does an adequate job of collecting his best-known tracks. Supported by one of the greatest backing bands ever to grace a recording studio, Booker T. & the MG's, Redding only managed to issue a handful of recordings during his brief career, but boy, were they ever dandies. Included is his biggest and most renowned hit, "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay," which became a massive hit immediately after his passing in late 1967, as well as "Respect" (a song that Redding penned, but later became one of Aretha Franklin's biggest hits) and a funky cover of the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." There have been countless, more thoroughly compiled Redding sets over the years (1989's box set The Otis Redding Story, etc.), but if you're a newcomer to the wonders of Otis Redding, The Essentials is a good, affordable, place to start.
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato
feat: Carla Thomas