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Critics’ picks: the complete Otis Redding collection, for starters

Posted 12:00am on Sunday, Jul. 21, 2013

The Star-Telegram arts writers spotlight what’s rocking their world this week.

1Otis Redding, The Complete Volt/Stax Singles Collection : Soul singer Otis Redding died much too soon — in a plane crash at age 26 — but he made the most of his short time on earth. This new three-disc set, in stores Tuesday, certainly proves it, encompassing every Redding hit and B-side released by Stax, Volt and ATCO, with many appearing on disc for the first time with original mono mixes. From Try a Little Tenderness to (Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay, the full spectrum of Redding’s formidable talent is on display.

— Preston Jones

2 2012 National Medal of the Arts: President Obama presented the National Medal of the Arts to several notables in the East Room of the White House recently. Among the honorees were opera singer Renee Fleming, dramatist Tony Kushner, film director George Lucas, comedian Elaine May, composer Allen Toussaint, musician Herb Alpert and artist Ellsworth Kelly.

— Gaile Robinson

3 Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong: Less hyped than two other TV books (Difficult Men, about modern-classic TV series and the men who created them, and Top of the Morning, about morning TV), this book about the making of The Mary Tyler Moore Show is better without seeming as full of itself. Armstrong, a former Entertainment Weekly writer, details James L. Brooks and Allan Burns’ creation of the show, the resistance it met from CBS executives, the doors it opened for female writers in Hollywood, and the ways it inspired modern writers such as Tina Fey — all in a breezy style that makes her points without hammering you over the head with them.

— Robert Philpot

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