Dreams To Remember: The Legacy of Otis Redding

By James Calemine

Dreams To Remember emerged as the first full-length Otis Redding DVD. December 10, 2017, represented the 50th Anniversary of Redding’s death. This essential DVD includes interviews with Otis Redding, his widow Zelma, Steve Cropper (Booker T & The MGs), Jim Stewart (founder of STAX) and Wayne Jackson (Memphis Horns). This collection features performances in chronological order of his brief career.

Born in Dawson, Georgia, on September 9, 1941, Otis’ family moved to Macon, Georgia, when he was four. Otis’ father was a minister and young Otis absorbed the music he heard in the church. In time, Redding became friends with Macon musician Johnny Jenkins and a young businessman named Phil Walden. Redding began recording on Bobby Smith’s Confederate label. Redding often traveled to Athens, Georgia, to sing at the PBS station. Redding and Jenkins gigged in Macon on the weekends. Soon, Redding and Jenkins fell in with musicians from STAX records.

Redding’s songs climbed the charts. Early in his career “These Arms of Mine”, “Pain In My Heart”, “That’s What My Heart Needs”, “Come To Me”, “Mr. Pitiful” and “Chained And Bound” established Redding as one of the country’s most inspiring singer/songwriters.

Dreams To Remember contains aforementioned compositions as well as “Pain In My Heart”, “My Girl”, “Satisfaction”, “My Lover’s Prayer”, “Tramp” and “Glory of Love”. Also, included are performances from the London STAX/Volt concerts where Otis dedicated “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” to Mick Jagger along with footage of “Satisfaction”.

The film clip of “Tramp” was recorded outside Macon at Redding’s ranch, which was once viewable at the Georgia Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. This DVD spotlight’s Redding’s collaborations with Carla Thomas and songwriting with Steve Cropper. The amount of footage on this DVD proves definitive. A performance from the Monterey Pop Festival continues to amaze. Zelma Redding called the Monterey performance “The highlight of his life” because he reached another audience.

This classic DVD also includes “Try A Little Tenderness” filmed the day before Otis and his band the Bar-Kays were killed in a Wisconsin plane crash. The video for “Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay” was completed after Redding’s death. Steve Cropper states with total conviction, “Nobody can come up to the level of Otis Redding”. Wayne Jackson pointed out with the death’s of Otis Redding and Martin Luther King, “The friendliness went away from STAX Records…”

Dreams To Remember captures the spirit and songs of America’s greatest soul singer/songwriter.