Over the years I’ve noticed that I have a pool of songs that I always want people to hear when I make a mix disc. This continuing series will highlight these songs, provide me an excuse to write about music, and hopefully do what I love most: turn people on to new music.
Otis Redding cannot be kept down. This is known. The man who Jon Cryer in Pretty in Pink introduced to the 80’s generation as That Guy Who Sings “Try a Little Tenderness” will not be restrained. And this song is Otis at his most unhinged. The man who made “got ta” an interjection can be found on this cut attacking the microphone with the kind of relentless joyous fervor usually reserved for Viking berserkers or lumberjack competitions. If you’re wearing headphones you can actually hear him moving his head back and forth from the mic. You can hear the spit.
At the 1:00 mark comes the trademark Otis scat. From the “dom dom” of Otis’s “Happy Song” to the “fa fa” of “Sad Song,” Otis loved to go off book. “Changed Man” gives us a series of “ya ya’s” to which Otis is so thoroughly committed you wonder if he’s speaking in tongues or transmitting a code.