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Otis Redding

Live in London and Paris

Stax Records

Sounds like: Macon, Ga.'s finest at his apex

Short take: The voice of soul lives on

Rushing onstage in March of '67, Mr. Pitiful tore into "Respect" as if he was racing a train. Otis Redding took everything to the limit, screaming "Gotta gotta have it" over and over until he had torn through the ceiling and was out cruising the cosmos. Redding wasn't above singing the hits of the day, like "My Girl," "Shake," "Day Tripper" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." He made them so much his own, others simply didn't exist. These two live concerts are Redding at his peak. By the time he got to the Monterey Pop Festival that June, it was all over but the shouting. Of course, no one could guess Redding would be gone by December, leaving the world listening to "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay" over and over with a heart full of tears that still haven't dried. This is the voice of soul that, thankfully, lives forever. Bill Bentley


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Queen + Paul Rodgers

The Cosmos Rocks

Hollywood Records / Release date: Oct. 28

Sounds like: A classic rock mash-up for 1974

Short take: Capitulating to clichs

After spending two years lobbying diehard Queen fans for continued support with new singer Paul Rodgers in the fold, the outfit known as Queen + Paul Rodgers has debuted with The Cosmos Rocks. With all eyes on how Rodgers will fill Freddie Mercury's shoes, the group delivers two tracks that put the former Bad Company singer in the "Bohemian Rhapsody" spotlight. Rodgers attempts to get playful with the mid-tempo love song "Call Me," while you get the full, classic, over-the-top Queen sound heavy riffs, layered background singers and rough-and-tumble frontman vocals on "C-Lebrity." Other interesting if predictable moments include Rodgers showing off his tender side on "Small" and guitarist Brian May blazing on "Warboys." But ultimately, the album feels a little forced, making it a less-than-auspicious beginning. John Benson


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Dub Colossus

In a Town Called Addis

Real World Records

Sounds like: Music taking you to the moon

Short take: If you feel, you heal

Dub Colossus is really a man named Nick Page, who also goes by Dubulah. He's a composer, guitarist, bass player and programmer. But what Page really is, is an alchemist. He takes music he loves and adds to it so it becomes something else. On In a Town Called Addis, Page jumps in the deep end of Ethiopian singing and musicianship to create a contemporary marvel. He traveled to Addis Ababa in 2006 and fell headfirst into the scene there. The artists he works with, like Azmari Dub, Black Rose and Sima Eda, will be unfamiliar to most of us. But it doesn't matter. Spiritual chanting, rhythmic inventiveness and instrumental passages of breathtaking beauty will leave you spellbound. The voices are completely distinct, and they serve each song in a way that clearly invokes a culture that respects music as a cornerstone of society. Bill Bentley

  • Otis Redding, Queen + Paul Rodgers, Dub Colossus.

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