Otis Redding, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Whiskeytown

Otis Blue / Otis Redding Sings Soul (Collector's Edition), Street Survivors (Deluxe Edition 30th Anniversary), and Strangers Almanac (Deluxe Edition) (Atco / Rhino)

Reissues

Otis Redding

Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul (Collector's Edition) (ATCO/Rhino)

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Street Survivors (Deluxe Edition 30th Anniversary) (Geffen)

Whiskeytown

Strangers Almanac (Deluxe Edition) (Geffen)

Southern by birth, studio, and soul, these three musical institutions won't roll over upon having crucial chapters of their recorded legacies exhumed on respective 2-CD deluxe editions, but Dixie already sat up. Georgia's immortal esophagus peeler Otis Redding cut his third LP, 1965's Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul, in Memphis backed by Booker T. & the MGs and Isaac Hayes during one 24-hour tear. Versions both in mono and stereo – the latter in Technicolor vs. the former's stoic black and white – come padded out with excerpts from ancient live albums, yet this R&B sacrament still beats the heart of its genre. Whether Redding's demanding "Respect," pleading "I've Been Loving You Too Long," or covering Sam Cooke thrice, soul-baring skillet knockouts abound. Jacksonville, Fla.'s Magnificent Seven recorded Southern rock poet laureate Ronnie Van Zant's 1977 swan song at Miami's Criteria Studios with Otis Blue overseer Tom Dowd before returning to Atlanta for take two. The second disc's original album recovers a spark ultimately sanded down into Nashville corners minus drummer Artimus Pyle's stiff plod, particularly "You Got That Right" and "I Never Dreamed," both on the 2001 expanded edition. Street Survivors' "Freebird," Teflon-coated chiller "That Smell," comes with a bonus pair of greater and lesser versions, though the real blue plate special is Van Zant's autobiographical rewrite of Merle Haggard's "Honky Tonk Night Time Man." Whiskeytown's sophomore slam and major label debut, 1997's Strangers Almanac, manages an emotional, lyrical, and musical certainty as sophisticated and true as Lucinda Williams' Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, though it fades at the last. Thirteen original tracks balloon into 39, including a flat KCRW session, red-hot outtakes (the Barn's on Fire sessions), alternates takes ("Turn Around"), demos ("Houses on the Hill"), and covers of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" and the True Believers' "The Rain Won't Help You When It's Over." Neil Young's unreleased archives equal one-tenth of those by former Whiskeytown North Carolinan Ryan Adams.

(Otis/Lynyrd) ***

(Whiskeytown) ****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Raoul Hernandez
SXSW Music Review: Nine Mile Records & Touring Serves Up Tacos, Lone Stars, and Roots Galore at the Continental Club
Nine Mile Records & Touring Serves Up Tacos, Lone Stars, and Roots Galore at the Continental Club
Welcome to the Virtual Live Music Capital of the World

March 20, 2021

SXSW Music Review: Finland – The Happiest Country in the World – Presents the Showcase Must Go On
Finland – The Happiest Country in the World – Presents the Showcase Must Go On
“South by Southwest, I said put your fucking hands up!”

March 19, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Otis Redding, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Whiskeytown

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle