DOCK OF THE BAY SESSIONS was compiled with input from Roger Armstrong of Ace Records and Otis biographer Jonathan Gould and has the Redding family’s full endorsement. Although the individual tracks have been previously released across a smattering of posthumous albums and compilations, this marks the first time they have been assembled to resemble what this album could possibly have been. In the liner notes, musician-journalist Bob Stanley writes: “This album is the first indication of a new Otis Redding, one that has slayed audiences in Europe, one which won him a whole new crowd at the Monterey International Pop Festival.”
You can hear it in the stripped-back funk of “Hard To Handle,” and the shades of Bob Dylan – whose music Redding loved – in the beautiful lyricism of “Gone Again.” Even so, his take on the Impressions’ hit “Amen” makes it clear that Redding hadn’t abandoned his gospel roots. He hadn’t forgotten how to get people dancing either. On the rave-up “Love Man,” The Big O gets things shaking with help from Al Jackson Jr.’s propulsive beat, and rhythmic blasts of pure Memphis horn. And just to prove he can still provide heart-stopping ballads, there’s his own “I’ve Got Dreams To Remember,” with lyrics Redding adapted from a poem written by his beloved wife Zelma.
The album’s opener, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay,” was one of the last songs Redding ever recorded. Released in January 1968, it soon topped the charts on March 16, going on to sell more than four million copies and becoming the first posthumous #1 single in the history of the U.S. music charts.