Tuesday, December 25, 2007
I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now), Otis Redding (1965)
Technically, Otis wasn't a "group," but any artist backed by the virtuoso musicianship of the Stax/Volt house bands - Booker T & the MGs and the Mar-Keys - well, I'm saying he was.
Stax was known for spontaneous arrangements, with the vocal artists working hand-in-glove with the session musicians, and the results were more often than not minor miracles.
Written by Otis and another giant of soul music, Jerry Butler, this is a prime example of the kind of ballad that regularly soaked into my pores as a young teenager growing up in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., where soul music reigned in the 60's.
As young as I was in those days, I could only imagine what the passion and pain Otis sang of was all about. And imagine I did, because he made it so easy to go there.
Deemed a sound recording that is "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress' National Recording Preservation Board, it was inducted into the 2003 registry with the words "Redding's recording for Volt Records exemplifies the brilliance of his vocal expressiveness and the spare but powerful instrumental accompaniments of the much-acclaimed Stax/Volt studio musicians."
Because it also was culturally significant, I direct you to his live performance of the song at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, only 6 months before he died in a plane crash at 26 years old. This show-stopper of a performance among many was the first time a large, predominantly white audience was exposed to him and this masterpiece. If you've never seen it before, or even if you have, get ready to lose all composure.