In music, the adjective "classic" should only ever be reserved for albums and artists like soul legends Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin.
Redding died in a plane crash in 1967 but, fortunately, left a trail-blazing library of his own hits and interpretations of others. At 15, he was part of Little Richard's backing band, hooking up with the trend-setting Stax label in 1964 and scoring his first hit with These Arms of Mine. His studio career may have lasted less than four years, but the songs he recorded, backed by the red-hot Stax house band, are fully represented here. Though every track is superb, my favourites include Try a Little Tenderness, Hard to Handle, A Change is Gonna Come and a version of the Rolling Stones' Satisfaction.
Along with 27 recordings from Redding are 23 songs from Aretha Franklin. After starting as a gospel singer in her preacher father's church and a brief stint with the Columbia label, she moved to Atlantic Records, and the rest is history. Hits such as (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, Think, Chain of Fools and Respect established Franklin as a first-rate singer, pianist, songwriter and arranger.
Later hits, such as her collaborations with the Eurythmics (Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves) and George Michael (I Knew You Were Waiting For Me) are also included on this collection.
It's almost criminal that these 50 amazing songs will cost you less than $25. Enjoy. You won't get better value.
Aretha Franklin & Otis Redding
The Very Best of ... Together
Rating: 5/5 stars