: The Legacy of Otis Redding
" Dreams to Remember "

Satisfaction And Respect for Otis, (12/12/07)

The Concord Music Group continues to commemorate the Stax label with it's nonstop celebrations of Stax's fiftieth anniversary, and now with the fortieth anniversary tribute to the tragic death of the great Otis Redding with their newly released Dreams To Remember DVD. It's hard to believe that it's been forty years since an airplane crash took the life of Redding (and the Bar-Kays), especially when you consider how so much of his music still sounds so very fresh to this day. Redding's music continues on with the Stax release of Dreams to Remember: The Legacy of Otis Redding, which features sixteen never-before-seen performances (some actual concerts and some lip-synched TV spots) on this outstanding DVD tribute. Edited beautifully by Reelin' In The Years Productions, who gorgeously mesh together the music with brand new interviews from those who closely knew one of the greatest Soul singers of the twentieth century. It is also noteworthy to mention that Dreams To Remember, has been issued with the full approval of Redding's estate, and that this DVD is the first "official" Otis Redding anthology.

The performances were taken from the United States, as well as European concerts and television footage. Highlights include "I've Been Loving You Too Long," "Pain In My Heart," "Satisfaction," "I Can't Turn You Loose," plus the two closing pieces of "Respect" and "Try a Little Tenderness," which were recorded less than twenty-four hours prior to Redding's death. I would also like to mention that the audio sound quality throughout is far better than I would have expected with the outstanding re-mastered audio and video presentation.

Interview highlights include insightful and emotional conversations (all documented in 2007) with Redding's wife Zelma (who never remarried); his daughter Karla; Redding's music collaborator, producer, and guitar player Steve Cropper; Wayne Jackson of the Memphis Horns; and, Jim Stewart, the founder of Stax who, interestingly, gave his first interview in thirteen years for Redding. They all speak of Redding's tremendous strength as a performer, singer, songwriter, as well as his admirable family-oriented qualities.

Unlike too many DVDs released today, Dreams to Remember also includes a wonderful twenty-four page insert (with rare photos and memorabilia) written by Rob Bowman, author of the book Soulville U.S.A. Additionally, Bowman co-produced and conducted the interviews on this extremely fine DVD set.

DVD bonus segments include a newly found radio interview Redding did in London around 1966, a photo gallery of previously unseen images from the Redding estate, and a brand new video of "The Dock of the Bay." Speaking of "The Dock of the Bay," which was released after Redding passed, Cropper talks about editing the over-dubbed tracks on the very same day he found out about Redding's plane crash and, erringly, Cropper recalls actually mixing the final edit before Redding's remains were found. \

Thankfully it feels like every effort has been mustered to locate the best possible video and audiophile-quality sound. Many of these videos have been sleeping in the television vaults for more than forty years, thus making this DVD a technical marvel as the final product is quite sharp, in both sound and video. A mild warning should be issued about some of the lip-sync segments by Redding, but no matter, these over-dubbed performances still portray the coolness of Redding and offers yet another glimpse about his brilliant personality on video. Plus the audio portions seem to have been updated to 21st century standards.

Kudos to the Reelin' in the Years production staff for their fine effort in making this DVD such a treasure. Plus additional applause goes towards the Concord Music Group for giving us a "mostly" brand-new heaping dose that celebrates the greatness of Otis Redding and for keeping the flame of Stax alive and burning. Bravo!

Bob Putignano: www.SoundsofBlue.com