Throwback: Otis Redding-Try A Little Tenderness

Otis Redding was the tenth artist to record “Try A Little Tenderness” when he included it on his 1966 fifth album. The publishers of the song did not want Redding to record a “negro version” but Aretha Franklin and Sam Cooke had already covered it in 1962 and 1964. Percy Sledge also covered “Try A Little Tenderness” in 1966. Redding and Isaac Hayes rearranged it and the slow beginning changed into a frenetic climax of Redding’s pleas. Redding incorporated Duke Ellington and Lee Gaines’s “Just Squeeze Me (But Please Don’t Tease Me)” into his cover and the popular phrase “sock it to me.”  “Try A Little Tenderness” was one of the hits to propel Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary Of Soul up the charts. His intense performance gave him ownership of the song in the pop realm despite it having been written and recorded by others. The album was adored by critics and widely accepted by the public and “Try A Little Tenderness” became Redding’s signature song. Dictionary Of Soul was the last album of Redding’s to come out before his death in a 1967 plane crash. There are no less than 30 versions of “Try A Little Tenderness” including a Frank Sinatra cover but Otis Redding’s recording is still the most recognized one. The song has also been sampled most famously by Jay-Z and Kanye West for their Watch The Throne single “Otis.” The Otis Redding Foundation is currently in the process of creating the Otis Redding Center for the Arts in Redding’s native Macon, Georgia. 



Throwback: Barry White-It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me

Barry White’s seventh album Barry White Sings For Someone You Love restored his chart relevance with the support of two popular singles;”It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me” and “Playing Your Game, Baby.” The former boasted a funky bass-heavy symphonic groove underneath White’s bewitching baritone. Nelson Pigford and Ekundayo Paris co-wrote and Barry White arranged the song. White’s description of intimacy was accented by his rapturous growls which were clearly for a bedroom scene but the music was made for dancing. His singing about sex with a pulsating dancefloor arrangement was undeniable and allowed the song to peak on multiple charts.

The musical science of “It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me” outlasted the disco era and reaffirmed White’s status as one of R&B’s eternally favored love men. His beginnings with a soul orchestra in the ’70s brought him success as a producer and a solo artist and in the ’90s he was able to make a modern style transition that tastefully kept the essence of his musical mojo. Mary J. Blige’s “You Bring Me Joy” sampled “It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me” and it is also heard in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories. Barry White was posthumously added to the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in 2013. 


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Listen: Tuomo & Markus -We’re Not Buying It

Tuomo & Markus

Listen to Tuomo & Markus’s “We’re Not Buying It” from their forthcoming sophomore album. The Finnish duo drew from ’60s and ’70s soul when they wrote the song that calls Sly Stone to mind. Love Records, which was a Finnish label founded in 1966 and released an eclectic mix of rock, jazz and politically-oriented music, was another inspiration for “We’re Not Buying It.” Tuomo Prättälä and Markus Nordenstreng made their debut in 2018 with Dead Circles and soon they will see the release of Game Changing. In the past, they recorded several soul singles under the name Pratt & Moody. Of their current song they say,

“’We’re Not Buying It’ pays musical tribute to the soulful protest songs of the late 60s and early 70s. We love the way artists like Curtis Mayfield, Allen Toussaint and Staple Singers would write hit singles with heavy social subject matter. The lyrics for We’re Not Buying It were originally inspired by the ’occupy’ movement, but can be applied to any situation, where a majority of the people feels they’ve been left behind, ignored or lied to by those in power. Like in the case of black lives matter movement, abortion rights activism or action on climate change.”

Game Changing comes out on October 14th via Grand Pop Records.