My favourite album: Otis Redding, the very best of

Who are you and how did you choose?

I am Kirstie Keate and I’m Kettle’s business editor.  I chose this album because it’s been with me in one form or another for as long as I can remember.  It’s a ‘best of’ album and as, over the years, it’s been worn out, scratched or lost I’ve always replaced it with whatever slightly different version is on the shelves at the time.  And although my musical tastes have changed over the years, and I might have a different favourite of the moment, this is my favourite overall.

What is your favourite album

Otis Redding – The very best of Otis Redding

When did you first hear or buy this album; why is it memorable?

In all honesty, the when totally escapes me.  Why is simple.  Hearing Otis Redding sing The Dock of the Bay for the first time is what really developed my love of sixties American R&B and soul.  I’d been raised on a fairly eclectic mix of a strong family connection with ballet, my parents taste which ranged from the Stones, to Eric Clapton to the Eurythmics; neighbours, who on one side blasted reggae music at all hours, and the other side a classical cellist who endlessly practised Vivaldis cello concertos and my siblings whose tastes covered old school rave, garage, cheesy pop and American rock.  Really the only things missing at the time was opera, which I’ve never developed an interest in, and soul.  

The day I heard Dock of the Bay for the first time it literally stopped me in my tracks.  As soon as I could, I went out and bought an album of his greatest hits, and in one form or another, I’ve had it ever since.

Favourite track

Dock of the Bay, in case you hadn’t guessed.  It’s one of those songs that just has a profound effect on me, stops me sweating the small suff and clears my head.  There was actually some neurological research done which showed that listening to music you really love increased dopamine levels, activating the same reward pathways in the brain as those normally activated by stimuli such as food and sex or artificially stimulated by drug abuse.  For me, this is the song that proves the research true above all others and its all the more poignant because it was recorded  couple of days before his death. 

Least favourite track

My Girl.  I can’t listen to it, I cant stand it, if I could I’d scratch it out of the CD, and I blame the Temptations for that.  I used to quite like it, but then I heard their version and I thought it was so appalling I couldn’t listen to it again.  I know theirs was the original, but I can’t abide it.

Best lyrics

The song Shake with the lyrics “Come on and let your backbone slip”.  The whole song just makes me smile.  It brings to mind people dancing completely freely and totally letting go, to the point your back bone slips.  Admittedly, this makes me think of people dancing so hard and having such a good time they nearly dislocate their spine, which is probably not such a good idea, but from a visualisation perspective, it just makes me smile.

Why is it your favourite?

Otis Redding has one of those voices that can convey the emotion of every song with to such an exquisite degree you can be laughing one minute and crying the next.  The way he sings each song is unique and memorable.  Despite there being many versions of the songs he’s sung by some legendary singers and bands, for me, his versions always stand out.  His voice is one of the all time greats.  He can literally send shivers down my spine.  It’s an album littered not only with some of my favourite songs, but also with some of the best songs of all time, and if you’ve never listened to it before, you should go and get a copy now.