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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...These Arms Of Mine..." - Hard To Handle: Black America Sings Otis Redding (2012 Ace CD Compilation/Remasters), 26 Jun. 2015
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" (London) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hard To Handle-Black America Sings Otis Redding (Audio CD)
In the cleverly compiled and musically uplifting "Black America Sings..." series of CD compilations – so far Ace Records of the UK have done Bob Dylan ("How Many Roads"), The Beatles ("Come Together"), Bacharach and David ("Let The Music Play") and Sam Cooke ("Bring It On Home") – all with applause from the sceptics and the already-converted. So it was always going to be the turn of the mighty Otis "Dock Of The Bay" Redding at some point in time – and 2012's "Hard To Handle" doesn’t disappoint. It even manages to pull off a bit of a coup by throwing a superb Previously Unreleased Take by the great man himself. Here are the dreams to remember...

UK released October 2012 – "Hard To Handle: Black America Sings Otis Redding" on Ace CDCHD 1352 (Barcode 029667052627) is a 25-track CD compilation of Various Artists and pans out as follows (71:06 minutes):

1. These Arms Of Mine – ALBERT WASHINGTON & THE KINGS (1968 USA 7” single on Fraternity 1002, A - and March 1968 UK 7” single on President PT 182, A)
2. Sister Pitiful – JUDY CLAY (1969 USA 7” single on Atlantic 2669, A)
3. I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now) – WILLIAM BELL (1967 USA LP "The Soul Of A Man" on Stax S 719)
4. Baby Cakes – MAXINE BROWN (1967 Wand recording first appeared on the 1985 UK LP "Like Never Before" (by Maxine Brown) on Kent 047)
5. Think About It – KING FLOYD (1973 USA 7” single on Chimneyville 446, A)
6. Shout Bamalama – MICKEY MURRAY (1967 USA 7” single on SSS International 715, A)
7. Security – IRMA THOMAS (Unissued 1968 Chess Recording finally released in July 1990 on the CD compilation "Something Good: The Muscle Shoals Sessions" on Chess CHD-93004)
8. I’ve Got Dreams To Remember – PERCY SLEDGE (on the "Blue Night" CD album from 1995 on Sky Ranch/Virgin France 7243 8398712 2)
9. Give Away None Of Your Love – BUDDY MILES (1971 USA 7” single on Mercury 73261, A and in the UK on Mercury 6052 127)
10. I’m Missing You – MITTY COLLIER (1969 Previously Unissued Chess Recording – First Release Here – 2012)
11. I Can’t Turn You Loose – JAMES CARR (1968 unfinished Goldwax Recording finally released on the 1977 Japan-Only LP "Freedom Train" on Vivid Sound VG 3006)
12. Chained And Bound – BETTYE SWANN (1969 USA LP "Don't You Ever Get Tired Of Hurting Me?" on Capitol ST 270)
13. Just One More Day – CLARENCE CARTER (1975 USA LP "Loneliness & Temptation" on ABC Records ABCD 896)
14. Wholesome Love – ARTHUR CONLEY (1967 USA LP "Shake, Rattle & Roll" on Atco SD 33-215)
15. Hawg For You – TINA BRITT (1969 USA 7” single on Minit 32082, A – and – on the 1969 LP "Blue All The Way" on Minit LP 24023)
16. Loving By The Pound (Take 2) – OTIS REDDING (Previously Unissued Volt Recording, 2012)
17. Hard To Handle – PATTI DREW (1968 USA 7” single on Capitol 2339, A)
18. A Year, A Month And A day – ARTHUR CONLEY (Previously Unreleased 1968 Atco Recording, 2012)
19. Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song) – LOU RAWLS (1968 USA LP "The Way It Was The Wait It Is" on Capitol ST-215)
20. Monkey On My Back – JACKIE HAIRSTON (1967 USA 7” single on Atco 6464, A)
21. Keep Pushing me – JAMES & BOBBY PURIFY (1966 Bell Recording first issued on the 2009 CD compilation "Shake A Tail Feather! The Best Of" on Sundazed SC 11096)
22. Good To Me – DONALD HEIGHT (1967 USA 7” single on Shout 223, A)
23. Respect – ARETHA FRANKLIN (1967 USA 7” single on Atlantic 2403, A)
24. (Sittin’ On The) Dock Of The Bay – THE STAPLE SINGERS (1969 USA 7” single on Stax 0031, A)
25. I Got The Will – ETTA JAMES (on the 1988 LP/CD "Seven Year Itch" issued in the UK on Island ILPS/CID 9923)
NOTES: Tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 11, 18, 20, 21 and 22 are MONO
Tracks 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 12 to 17, 19 and 23 to 25 are STEREO

The beautifully-annotated 20-page booklet peppers the typically brilliant TONY ROUNCE paragraphs with publicity photos of Mickey Murray, Albert Washington, Irma Thomas, Bettye Swann, James Carr, Clarence Carter, Maxine Brown (on the cover of Blues & Soul Magazine in December 1967), Lou Rawls at Fame Studios in 1971, James & Bobby Purify, The Staple Singers, Arthur Conley and Rick Hall at the Fame Studios in the Autumn of 1966 - and so on. There is even a rare 7" picture sleeve of Buddy Miles and his "Give Away None Of Your Love" 45 from 1971 that I’m sure was promo-only (I’ve never seen it before). The audio is particularly strong. Long-standing mastertape engineer NICK ROBBINS has done the Remasters at Sound Mastering in London – and despite the differing sources – each song packs a punch - especially the cuts in Stereo which sound vital and full of that (largely Sixties) energy.

Otis’s style of guttural-blast one second and aching-ballad the next - virtually set up a template for Male 60ts Soul and most of these interpretations follow those styles (some slowing down the pace on fast songs or vice versa). While Aretha's "Respect" and The Staples Singers doing "Dock Of The Bay" are probably too overly familiar for most Soul fans - stuff like Tina Britt's fantastic chugger "Hawg For You" screams out to be rediscovered. There's clever choices too using 'later' recordings from the 70’s, 80s and 90s – Clarence Carter's unexpectedly touching version of "Just One More Day" from a 1975 ABC Records LP most people have long forgotten (and clearly shouldn’t have) as well as "I Got The Will" powered through by Etta James in 1988 (on Island Records) and most pleasing of all - a 90's Percy Sledge tackling "I've Got Dreams To Remember" - a rendition that oozes heart and not just well-produced style.

Amongst the 60ts stuff are names that will make most Soul aficionado hearts flutter a little faster - the great James Carr, Maxine Brown and Bettye Swann. Winners include a superb-sounding torch ballad by Mitty Collier on "I'm Missing You" (previously unreleased too) and a 1966 Bell Records recording of "Keep Pushing Me" by James And Bobby Purify (great 60ts guitar Funk). While I’ve already mentioned the driving groove of "Hawg For You" by Tina Britt – the Black Crowes come to mind when I hear Patti Drew's blistering funk of "Hard To Handle" (which the Crowes covered almost verbatim on their 1991 debut to such great effect). But one of the prizes on here for Redding collectors will surely be Take 2 of "Loving You By The Pound" which is new and exclusive to this set. As Otis never sang a song the same way twice – his slight vocal variations are fascinating. Although his vocal is storming – it still feels not up to his usual powerhouse performance and was probably why another Take was chosen as the master. Still – it’s a real find.

Another winner from Ace and a compilation I keep returning too. I suspect both Otis Redding and Soul Music fans will feel the same...
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Redding Willing and Able, 24 Dec. 2012
D. G. Markieluk "Don" (Inverness Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hard To Handle-Black America Sings Otis Redding (Audio CD)
Great compilations, especially Staple Singer "Dock of the Bay".
Good value for the true soul fan makes you realise what a superb talent Otis Redding was.
Thoroughly recommended.
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