Otis Redding

The Very Best of Otis Redding, Vol. 2

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Rhino's first Otis Redding volume was perfect within the confines of a 16-song single disc, and a difficult act to follow. The Very Best of Otis Redding, Vol. 2 is a fine companion volume and fills in some different kinds of gaps. The lion's share of the disc is devoted to 13 more singles, several of which ("I Love You More Than Words Can Say," "Security," "That's What My Heart Needs," "Chained and Bound," "Glory of Love") are, if not definitive, then still all-but-essential. Several posthumous singles are also here, along with two more duets with Carla Thomas. More revealing and representative of the range of Redding's talent, however, are three album tracks that show off Redding applying his talents to the songs of Smokey Robinson, with a rapturous account of "My Girl"; the Beatles, in a ferociously freewheeling, elongated, and essentially re-composed version of "Day Tripper"; and, most notably, Sam Cooke with "A Change Is Gonna Come." The latter, arguably the best recording ever given a Sam Cooke song by anyone other than Cooke himself, might just be the best Otis Redding song never released as a single. The neophyte and the casual listener will love the contents of this disc, and even longtime fans may be impressed with some of the choices.

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