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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Rewind: Love Man - Otis Redding (1969)

 Love Man - Otis Redding
Produced by Steve Cropper
Released 20th June 1969
US Chart #46
US R&B Chart #8

Side 1

Side 2
Otis Redding - Lead Vocal
    Andrew Jackson and Joe Arnold - tenor saxophone
    Wayne Jackson - trumpet
    Steve Cropper - guitar, producer
    Booker T. Jones and Isaac Hayes - organ, Piano
    Donald "Duck" Dunn - bass
    Al Jackson, Jr. - drums

Singles Released From Love Man
B-Side: You Made A Man Out Of Me (from The Immortal Otis Redding Album)
Released February 1969
US Chart #48

A-Side: Love Man
B-Side: Can't Turn You Loose (Live in Europe Album)
Released May 1969
US Chart #72
UK Chart #43*

*B-Side in the UK was That's How Strong My Love Is

A-Side: Free Me
Released July 1969
US Chart #103

Released November 1969
Did Not Chart

The Track Direct Me had been released previously as the B-Side to the November 1968 Single Papa' Got A Brand New Bag (Live).


Love Man was the third in a series of Posthumous Studio Albums that were released in the name of Otis Redding. The others in this series were:

 Tell The Truth (1970) 

  It's Not Just Sentimental (1992) - In the USA it was called Remember Me (as it was in some other countries throughout Europe).

All the songs on the Love Man Album were recorded in 1967 and feature Booker T. and The M.G.'s as his backing band.

Now, I want to say that whilst I like the album (he really did have one of the finest backing bands on the planet) it is worth remembering that many of these songs were not released in their time because they were not necessarily up to the normal Otis standard. Some of the tracks were released as Singles (Posthumously)  but they were never meant to be Singles in the first place but the title track Love Man is really classic and does have the kind of quality of some of those brilliant Otis Redding 45's (These Arms of Mine, Pain In My Heart, Mr Pitiful, I've Been Loving You Too Long, Respect, I Can't Turn You Loose, (I Can't Get No) SatisfactionFa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song), Try A Little Tenderness and The Glory of Love).

Of the other Posthumous Singles only Sitting On The Dock of The Bay (1968), Hard To Handle (1968), and I've Got Dreams To Remember (1968) really live up to the expectations of Redding's presence when he was alive (but hey that's my opinion, others might think differently).

On the album itself the cover of (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher is most excellent indeed and sounds like it would have fitted in quite well with what Redding was doing in 1967 but as it had only recently been a huge hit for Jackie Wilson in the same year and it was still quite close to the original version and maybe that gave them hesitation in releasing it as a Single (whereas Satisfaction, Shake and Day Tripper had been radically reworked before being released as Singles) . I'll Let Nothing Seperate Us is another classic wee ballad (written by Otis) in the vain of I've Been Loving You Too Long. A Lover's Question, which had been a hit for Clyde McPhatter in 1958 got that nice cover treatment that Otis and the band were able to bring to so many other great songs that they interpreted over time.

Five of the songs are penned by Redding himself, three are co-writes with Steve Cropper (though the opening track I'm A Changed Man is a co-write with Redding/Cropper and Louiella Cullipher), Free Me is a Redding and Gene Lawson co-write and then there are the three cover versions.

Reviews for the album were quite mixed as is understandable when you are trying to make sense of a record that has been put together from songs that didn't quite make the grade when they were first laid down in the studio and were spread over a number of different sessions. Ultimately it's not a bad album but neither is it up to the standard of some of his classic albums that were released between 1964 -1966.

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