This is how its done RIGHT, yessiram!
Andre M. | Mt. Pleasant, SC United States | 10/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a DVD documetnary on a truly great artist done ABSOLUTELY RIGHT and as Otis would say in "Hard to Handle"-yessiram!
Unlike most docuemtaries of musicians, these guys undertsand that this is the DVD age where they are not limited by time for commercials so they put the films of Otis' sngs IN THEIR ENTIRETY balancing this with enough interview footage from those who really know him (no second-guessing talking head academics here). These combine to make this DVD a TEN-star winner.
Surprisingly, no footage from Otis' classic 1966 appearance on the British TV show Ready Steady Go (which occasionally appeared on American Cable TV in the late 80s and was available on VHS for a brief spell) is included, but as magnificent as that was, it's hardly missed here since what we have is so excellent and The Big-O's likeable charisma shines through on even the lip-synchs. The songs from "The!!!Beat" (1966) in color, especially a rarely heard tune called "Don't Mess With Cupid" is loads of fun with our man dancing with some really sumptious soul sisters (hard to believe these women are probably now in their sixties!).
The promotional clip of "Tramp" (minus Carla Thomas on film) is quite a hoot! Otis makes fun of his country image by bumbling around his farm in Macon with overalls and riding bareback on a donkey (that actually moves in time to the song). Then we see our hero transformed with a green suit to match the dollar bills that fall from his pockets (eerily, he also poses with the very plane that he lost his life in)! I recall one book saying that there is a lost TV clip of Otis and Carla doing a "Black honeymooners" routine to this song. That would be interesting to see.
The last two clips of our humble hero performing "Try a Little tenderness" and "Respect" in Cleveland n the day before his death with the original Bar Kays (who also died on that plane crash). These guys really did perform as if it's their last day on earth and Otis' interjection of Areath Franklin's version of his famous tune will knock you out of your seat!
The Redding Family, musicians Steve Cropper and Wayne Jackson, as well as Stax head honcho Jim Stewart make clear their affection for our man and what made him so special. After you see this wonderful DVD, you too will undertstand. Support DVD's like this to get more domestic bootleg-free classic R&B on DVD."
The Big "O" Lives
Pedro G. | 10/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You just never know about the quality of music-related videos. Often they're just messy clip jobs with brief snippets of performances and poorly researched history. Cheap stuff not worth the time or money.
That is hardly the case here (or for any of the Reelin' In the Years productions I've seen).
"Dreams to Remember" is extra special in part because this is somehow the first video compilation of performances by the greatest soul singer of all time. Here we are, 40 years after his death, and Otis's talent and charisma still jump off the screen. Kind of a natural high-definition from 60s videotape.
Even when he's just lip-synching, you can't take your eyes off the man and can't help but think that we haven't seen anyone like him since. Search prime time TV all you want for your MP3-generation "American Idol." This disk shows the sin of such idolatry.
The interviews, placed between the performances, with musicians Steve Cropper and Wayne Jackson, Otis's wife and daughter, and especially reclusive Stax founder Jim Stewart add valuable context--not filler. Brief audio interviews with Otis are also a plus.
Stunning stuff. Legendary performer. Top quality production.
"I've got dreams...dreams to remember..."
M. Wheeler | Gaithersburg, Maryland USA | 09/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Footage of Otis Redding is incredibly rare - commonly circulated clips consisted of the `Ready Steady Go' special, the `Remembering Otis' DVD and his performance on `Upbeat.' To commemorate the 40th anniversary of his death, "Reeling in the Years" has seen it fit to release performance footage, with the permission of the Redding estate. I thought that most footage of Otis Redding was destroyed. From 1956 to 1972, it was standard operating procedure for television studios to engage wiping - erasing the extremely expensive video tape ($2,500, inflation adjusted) for use in further broadcasts. About 95% of television programs from the 1950s and 90% of television programs from the 1960s are gone. It is nothing short of amazing to see what footage was discovered.
There was one aspect I was concerned about. Many artists that appeared on TV programs did not perform live, but lip-synced. Of the fifteen performances, seven are lip-synced. (Pain In My Heart, Mr. Pitiful, Just One More Day, I Can't Turn You Loose, Don't Mess With Cupid, Any Ole Way and Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa). However, one should consider that even seeing Otis in moving pictures is a gift in itself. Many, if not all of these performances have not been seen in such quality and in their entirety since their original air date forty years ago. Although there are some video glitches, they are minor and do not detract from the performance -there is some brief film breakup in the lip-sync of Mr. Pitiful and a blue bar is visible on the left side of the screen during Otis' performance of `Tenderness.' While on the subject of footage, there is minor overlap with `Remembering Otis' - the performance of My Girl in Norway and Shake in Monterey can be found on this disc.
Interviews of Otis Redding are a rarity. However, Reelin' was able to locate an audio segment (the visual portion does not survive) of a BBC interview and Dick Clark Productions discovered a clip of America's oldest teenager having a chat with Otis.
But the DVD is not all television appearances. We have a fantastic clip of Otis singing `I've Been Loving You Too Long' and `Satisfaction' on tour and much more - there is also home movie footage. Throughout the DVD, we can see snippets of Otis at FAME Studios fooling around with someone who appears to be Arthur Conley (the footage is murky, it's difficult to know for certain), we see footage of Otis on the tour bus chatting with Steve Cropper, we see Otis fooling around on his ranch as Tramp plays in the background and, most haunting of all, we see footage of Otis smiling as he stands in front of his Beechnut plane. We also get a glimpse of rare photos, presumably provided by Zelda Redding.
This disc is not your typical clip reel. Sandwiched between the archival footage are interviews with Otis' acquaintances, which include Zelma Redding (widow), Steve Cropper (guitarist of Booker T & The MGs), Jim Stewart (founder of STAX), Wayne Jackson (member of The Memphis Horns) and Karla Redding-Andrews (daughter) who naturally provide unique perspectives into Otis' life. The producers of the DVD speak the truth when they regard it as their best work - one has a true gift here - a 45-minute documentary and 45-minute clip reel."
GIFT FROM GOD
BILLYBOBUK | PLANO,TX | 09/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"December 10th marks the 40th anniversary of Otis Redding and his band the Bar-kays tragic loss in an airplane crash in Madison,Wisconsin.This release is a wonderful tribute to everyone of them and their families and friends.
I saw Otis perform 3 times back in London, twice with the fabulous Stax Revue show and once solo at the RamJam club. He was a dynamic performer, and brought pure joy to all his shows with great enthusiasm,appreciation, and a voice that was pure dramatic soul--pretty good hip shaker too!!
The contents of this DVD are well covered in Amazons notes,18 performances,gathered from various sources-in between we get interviews with his lovely wife Zelma,Steve Cropper,Wayne Jackson,Jim Stewart and his daughter Karla.The performances are all great,he obviously was not at ease lip-syncing for TV, but put a mike in his hand and its a whole different show.If you are a fan of Otis and the whole Stax story, this DVD is essential--it will bring joy to your heart and a tear to your eye-that is a smooth combination.
Special thanks to Reelin'in the Years and all who put this release together--we need to support these guys who are making available in pristine sound and vision the great sights and sounds that make up music history.
Next time you are down in Memphis visit the Stax Records building, beautifully restored,see all the memorabilia,listen to the sounds in the building they were born--walk in the steps of Otis--you are following one of the greats."