Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I've Been Loving You Too Long

Good music is full of these little moments.

The singer, the crowd, the notes, the night -- it all blends together. Thanks to Thomas Edison, and now the magic of the digital age, we've got several such moments recorded for posterity.

Spent the weekend in Otis Redding territory, so I had the Big O on my mind this morning. Before hurrying off to work, I surfed over to iTunes and found a "you gotta be kidding me," climb the walls every time, recording of his.

Moterey Pop Festival, 1967. "I've Been Loving You Too Long." Best damn thing you've ever heard.

Words can't describe how good this guy was. You simply have to hear it. Every word, every note, emanated from deep within his soul. Laced with feeling, this stuff meant something. It wasn't just 4/4 time and a catchy hook. This was music, baby.

These three minutes define the heart and soul of his talent. Nobody, not Sam Cooke, not Brook Benton, not even Clarence Carter, was as good as the man from Macon.

(Although if you want to hear a true classic, dig up Carter's rare Atlantic single "Making Love (At The Dark End of the Street)." That is one fantastic soul record.)

I've told you Redding's story before. He drove a group over to Stax Records in Memphis, carried their instruments inside and begged -- pleaded -- for a tryout. The song he chose that day was "These Arms of Mine."

About a year or so ago, I lamented to my friend Amanda Mohney, the former Shopper music critic, that nobody sings like Otis Redding anymore. Soul music is dead.

But on this kick-ass, play it again 100 times recording, it's alive. For one brief, glorious moment, it's 1967 again and we're hurting right along with Otis. His woman don't love him, but he can't stop now.

God, what a song.

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