Friday, September 9, 2011

Try A Little Cheesiness

I don't think I'd ever heard the original version of Try a Little Tenderness until the other night when I went looking for it.  Sample a few of these cheestastic examples and then listen in awe and wonder to what Otis Redding and co-arranger Isaac Hayes managed to turn it into.

First up, Ray Noble and his Orchestra with the 1932 recording of the original version.  It's completely and utterly forgettable and the only miracle is that anyone else ever bothered to record the thing again.

Click forward to 1:05 if you want to skip most of the cloying instrumental lead-in. (I won't advise on how much of it you should listen to after that. You know your tolerances better than I do.)

But, for some reason, other big names couldn't resist this gem. Here's Mel Torme from some time in the '40's.

How about Bing Crosby? Bing could never resist taking a bit of saccharine and dumping in an additional heaping spoonful of sugar. And I suppose I'll always have a soft spot for Bing. Can't you just picture him crooning away while he beats the living shit out of one of his kids? (I was going to say they don't make singers like they used to, but apparently, Chris Brown has recorded the song too.)

I'll put you out of your misery. Here's the Otis Redding (and don't forget Isaac Hayes) version. The only reason the others shouldn't have their masters burned and all copies tracked down and destroyed is to demonstrate the genius of a couple of guys who could take such a piece of shit and turn it into a defining moment in music. I haven't got the first clue what gave them the idea to re-imagine the song this way, but I'm glad they did.


I wish I had more of an educated music vocabulary so I could expound a bit more on this.  If you're like me, you've found yourself screaming this song in the car at some point in your life.  And if you're like me, you've found yourself starting a phrase just a beat before or after Otis.  The song has a completely simple melody and, at the same time, it's a highly complex bit of arrangement with constant shifts in tempo and pace.

And, just for the hell of it, here's Ducky...from before Charlie was dissing him.


TimBo said...

The Otis Redding version is AWESOME!

Unknown said...

::: Deep sigh ::: Otis Redding! And here I thought the movie Commitments did the song justice. Well done, dude, well done.