Released in 2018, "Dock Of The Bay Sessions" is a 12 track album that asks the question - "What if"? These songs have all been out before but this album imagines what the album Otis Redding would have released had he not died on 10th December 1967.The sleeve notes by Bob Stanley are written as if Otis was alive and this record was issued in 1968.
Anyway, this is all terrific stuff - most of it is in mono and it sounds great. All the songs were written or co-written by Otis and unlike many of his original albums, we get proper credits.
So besides Otis – vocals & whistling, we have Steve Cropper – guitar (& bass on “Pounds & Hundreds”, Booker T Jones & Isaac Hayes – piano & organ, Donald “Duck” Dunn & Al Jackson Jr – drums, Wayne Jackson & Ben Cauley – trumpet & Andrew Love, Joe Arnold, Tommie Lee Williams – saxes.
Besides the peerless “Dock Of The Bay”, I remember “Hard To Handle was a single - there have been numerous covers – The Grateful Dead used to do it. But this is all terrific stuff – I particularly like “Direct Me” and “Think About It” on what would have been Side one which are mostly up tempo songs.
What would be - at probably is on the vinyl version of this - side two has the big soul ballads – “I.ve Got Dreams To Remember” is simply stunning. But so is “Champagne & Wine” – which follows. “Gone Again” is another cracking song. The album finishes with “Amen” which Bob Stanley tells me was a hit for The Impressions. It was – in 1964. Otis had a hit with his version in 1968, but of course he was gone by then.
As to whether this would have been the album Otis would have released is pure speculation, of course. But it is an interesting idea and probably one of the best 31 minutes you are likely to hear. And with apologies to the Rev Green - Otis remains my favourite soul singer.