This week on My Classic Soul podcast, hosts Bethany Dawson and David Nathan, the British Ambassador of Soul, pay tribute to Otis Redding, one of the greatest singers in modern music history.
On this first episode, they reminisce on their memories of the King of Soul, from how they first discovered him to the day of his death and all the legendary songs in-between.
ON BEING INTRODUCED TO SOUL MUSIC:
Nathan: "I'm talking around 1964 and 1965. I was a teenager growing up in London.I first became really interested in - what we now call - soul music at that time. My introduction to soul music or R&B, as recorded then, really came in a kind of circuitous way.
The actual true story is that one day, I did my hair, the Beatle cut, instead of the other way it was. I started getting into the music of the Beatles. The thing that happened listening to the Beatles, I discovered on the back of there, one of the first LPs, they would reference some of the black American artists at the time who they were influenced by.
They would mention, particularly Motown artists, like The Marvelettes, Miracles and so on. And I was always intrigued like 'Who are they?', you know? I also discovered artists through a couple of different ways of seeing music on TV, through a particular TV program called 'Ready City Go, which was very popular at the time.
ON DISCOVERING REDDING FOR THE FIRST TIME:
Nathan: "I think the first Otis Redding record I ever heard, I'm just remembering now was a song called "Pain in My Heart" and it was very, you know, emotive, very kind of hard. It's like hard, hardcore solo singing...unadulterated."
ON THE DAY OF REDDING'S TRAGIC PASSING:
Nathan: "I was at home. December 1967 - I was still living at home and it was the font page of The Daily Mirror. There was a paper we got every day and it was the front page, and I was like, 'What?'
"I couldn't, and it was on the news. He was the first, well, he wasn't the first person in the R&B or soul world to die at a young age. But we didn't have the same relationship to Sam Cook in Britain that we had to Otis Redding. The fact that it made the front page and it was on the news...he was a big deal."
ON SOME CLASSIC O.R. TRACKS:
Nathan: It wasn't one of my personal favorites, but because it was popular, I guess I liked it. That came from an album called Blue. That was probably, you know, just probably one of the old time classic soul ballads of ever.
"That was "I've Been Loving You Too Long," which by the way, interestingly enough, was not written with another R&B singer Jerry Butler, who didn't have as much of a career in Britain as he did in America. So they wrote it together and it's just an amazing, amazing song."
ON SOME PERSONAL FAVORITE REDDING TUNES:
Nathan: "It's called 'Cigarettes and Coffee.' And then an image. Yeah, it is kind of this, I didn't smoke, probably did drink coffee, but it was, it's kind of one of the, it was, I said I didn't have a personal reference from me in terms of what it was about, but it was kind of like about, it's, I've got to try to remember the lyric it had, it was more like a mood piece."
Listen to the rest of the podcast here.