Otis Redding as Purveyor of Celestial Music


Music has soul. We operate as though it does. In fact, music is one of the few areas of human endeavor where the word soul, even among secular types, is liable to go unchallenged. All kinds of music are occasionally imputed to have soul. Even music that doesn’t have anything but volume or a tiresome double-kick drum sound. Ray Coniff, to a listener somewhere, has soul. Who am I to say otherwise? Soul in these cases perhaps indicates earnestness, rhetorical force, and/or vocal polyps. Nevertheless, there are persuasive indications that the word soul does indeed manifest itself in music, and so maybe it’s useful here at the outset to point to a recording that demonstrates why music belongs in any discussion about heaven. So, along these lines, I’m going to describe briefly the mechanics of one example of soul music, namely, a live recording by Otis Redding entitled “Try a Little Tenderness.”

more from Rick Moody at Salmagundi here.