Spin #46: Otis Redding : The Dock of the Bay
SUNDAY DROP - SPIN #46
This weeks 46th Spin is the classic album, 'The Dock of the Bay', which was released in 1968. Actually it was released one month after Otis Redding's death at the age of 26 years old where he unfortunately went down in a plane crash with his band members. It's such a shame that he never managed to see, whilst still alive that his song, '(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay', would go on to become his biggest hit. A modest man, who thought that his talents as a singer and dancer weren't very good, managed to be such an influential figure still until this day. So come on and take a seat with my wife and children as we spin this fine record from the comfort of our sun room.
I like the acoustic tones and intimate setting feeling on this album, so I have decided to play it on our Marshall Woburn II speaker and Audio Technica turntable in the front sun room.
Image : Otis Redding
I know that I need to add a lot more Otis Redding albums to our collection here at R'nR. Sadly, this is the only one that I have been able to source. He is one artist that I can just put the record on and sit there completely relaxed or energised to dance around, depending on the mood of the song.
Side A starts off with his most well known track called, '(SITTIN' ON) THE DOCK OF THE BAY'. Obviously this first track is Redding's biggest single and is such a sad song when you break it down. I was looking at the lyrics and following along as the stylus moved from groove to groove so elegantly. I think about these lyrics a lot, "Sittin' here restin' my bones, and this loneliness won't leave me alone, listen. Two thousand miles I roam, just to make this dock my home". The whistling at the end of this track is something that my father loves and wishes that he was able to re-create. The track rolls into my favourite track on the album called, 'I LOVE YOU MORE THAN WORDS CAN SAY'. A track that you can slow dance too with your significant other and forget all the troubles in your life. I also like that Eddie Floyd and Booker T. Jones wrote this one as I have a few of their albums too. Our kids have been really good whilst this one is playing and looking back at our first spin of Black Sabbath, I can see how much they have grown.
If you're looking for something a bit more big band sounding, then next track on Side A - 'LET ME COME ON HOME' will get you up and about. There really isn't a bad song on this album and if you have any other soul or Redding recommendations, please leave me some in the comments below or on our social pages. As 'OPEN THE DOOR' starts playing, I am thinking of the last few days with our children. Our daughter Q is currently in the middle of a 14 day growing period where the app says she will be stormy (perfect!). That explains the lack of sleep and screaming. As we listen to this song though there isn't any screaming and the song starts off with some spoken word. The guitar work from Steve Cropper is phenomenal, supporting Redding's vocals singing, "Let me in, let me in, Let me ease on in". Loving the trumpet work of Wayne Jackson too. For me this is one that you picture Redding on his knees on stage, microphone with lead tangled up all around him as he is singing his heart out to the crowd.
The start of 'DON'T MESS WITH CUPID' is very reminiscent to Aussie band, Ocean Alley before Redding comes in with strong backing from Al Jackson Jnr. behind the kit on drums. The weather is warming up and we are trying to make better use of being outside as a family. Our squashes in the Night Kat Kiz vege garden have been growing like crazy and we managed to also grow quite a few potato's. Our son K loved digging through the dirt like it was a giant treasure hunt and finding them for us. I plan to have some time off next month from work and make sure we get to the beach a bit more with the kids. The stylus runs through to the dead wax on Side A and that means that it is time to flip the LP over. What did you think of Side A everyone? If you found this as the perfect pairing for your Sunday, then grab yourself a refill cuppa and get comfy for Side B.
I've now dropped the stylus on Side B and the first track that comes through our speaker is, 'THE GLORY OF LOVE'. Lovely little song that starts with piano and trumpet but has such a sad feeling behind it too. "When this whole world, gets tired of us, we'll have each other and all our charms. When this whole world gets through with us, we'll have each other's arms, yeah yeah. Cry a little, sigh just a little. Let that old win' justa blow right by a little". Slowly fading out and then into the up-tempo sounds of 'I'M COMING HOME', this track picks up the mood. I think the saddest part of these songs all talking about 'coming home' or 'I'll be there soon', is that Redding never did. Make the most of every moment together and make sure not to fly during bad weather on small aircraft too.
'TRAMP' has Carla Thomas and Redding singing at each other and there is a clear playfulness between the two artists. It's funny when Thomas says, "You know what Otis? I don't care what you say, you're still a tramp. What? That's right. You haven't even got a fat bankroll in your pocket. You probably haven't even got twenty-five cents". To what Redding responds, "I got six Cadillacs, five Lincolns, four Fords, six Mercuries, three T-Birds, Mustang, Ooh, I'm a lover". Side B keeps rolling on through and next track is called 'THE HUCKLE-BUCK'. It was funny because as this one started playing our son came in and said "Dad, I have your cars. Your favourite ones. You play cars me". He is growing up so quickly and the other night when we were reading 'We're Going On A Bear Hunt', he was memorising the entire page. We managed to say a couple of pages of the book without looking at the words and had a laugh. I'll miss these moments as he grows older. Another big band sounding song that is very 'Blues Brothers' movie soundtrack feeling for me. This kind of music is just so good and I could listen to Soul music all day.
I didn't really take in the lyrics years ago when I first head this track but on 'NOBODY KNOWS YOU (WHEN YOU'RE DOWN AND OUT)' it is talking about being rich and having "friends". Then when you lose all your money, those "friends" are nowhere to be found. Great guitar work by Cropper and bass by Donald Dunn make this track sound so so smooth. I think it is the pace of this one with the rawness of Redding's vocals that I like so much. I think I read somewhere that he was supposed to be recovering from throat surgery whilst recording this album and thankfully he didn't listen to the doctor. We wouldn't have this album in our hands today and maybe Redding wouldn't have been as big of a star, who knows.
The album closer is 'OLE MAN TROUBLE' and you could swear that B.B. King or Stevie Ray Vaughan were guest appearing on it with the swagger that comes from this tune. Cropper is the guitarist on this album and works so well with the other house band members from Stax recording studios. This is like the 60's version of Denzel Curry's 2022 release, 'Walkin'. I just picture Redding walking through the streets of Louisiana or Georgia similar to Curry who walks through the Wild West looking towns and dessert. Sadly, all albums must come to an end but the beauty is for that small moment whilst listening, it creates an escape.
This album is a joyful listen and one that I put on from time to time when things have been a bit crap. Thank you for joining us and taking the time this Sunday to spin our 46th record from our collection. Our son, K picked this one and started boogie dancing around the room the first time I played this a year ago. He loved it, especially the faster numbers. Next week we have a pretty big album to review, so If you find yourself with nothing much to do next week, you're always welcome here. Thanks for getting involved in our MWSP guessing and remember to focus on the positives in your life. There is always going to be negatives and sometimes it's hard to look past those. Just remember to spin some records and breathe. The healthiest thing you can do is talk your troubles out loud. Even if you're the only one hearing it, it'll still help you. You are valued and the first step of being valued is to appreciate and value yourself, before worrying about others.
Until our next Spin, be Kind to people who love Soul music and be Kind to your Wax!
$60AUD+ FOR NEW / USED UNKNOWN
SPEED PLAYED AT
KING & QUEEN (1967)
THE IMMORTAL OTIS REDDING (1968)
OTIS BLUE/OTIS REDDING SINGS SOUL (1965)
I LOVE YOU MORE THAN WORDS CAN SAY
RATING OUT OF 5
WHAT'S INSIDE THE RECORD SLEEVE
1 X BLACK LP IN PAPER/POLY SLEEVE, WRITE UP AND TRACKLISTING ON BACK OF JACKET
"Sittin' in the mornin' sun, I'll be sittin' when the evenin' comes. Watching the ships roll in. Then I watch 'em roll away again, yeah ~ (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay -Side A