I can actually remember the day, during the Summer holidays of 1976, the hottest Summer in England since records began,when I started to look beyond Rock n Roll, and cast my net towards Soul.
I had heard Otis Redding's 'Sitting on the Dock of the Bay', and I knew that this was something very special indeed.
As a young Teddy Boy I was aware of the fact that our mortal enemies, the Mods, adored Otis, but I wanted to hear more. And so I bought, from the record shop Sounds Around in Borehamwood, a compilation album of Soul music, purely on the strength of the fact that there were a couple of Otis' tracks that I hadn't heard before.
I can even remember that the album cost me 49p, the equivalent of 2 hours pay for my part-time job filleting Cod at the Leeming Road Fish Bar (3x2 hour shifts per week - probably illegal today under child labour laws - but I loved it!)
And so, in August 1976, at the age of 14, sitting alone in my bedroom I heard Otis sing 'These Arms Of Mine' for the very first time.
When I heard it, I was instantly mesmerized, and I probably played the track 20 or 30 times in succession on that afternoon.
Otis tore his own heart out in every song he gave to us, but I had never before heard any man express himself verbally like this. I hoped so much that I would be able to explain my own emotions like this when the time came - but who could possibly do so? Otis was unique. The Byron of Soul music, maybe....
40 years later, after much joy, much tragedy, and even a couple of wars, of course I see the world in a different way from when I was 14 years old, but this performance still takes my breath away. In my opinion it is Otis' masterpiece, far superior to Dock of the Bay both musically, and lyrically. This is pure poetry.
I listen to it often, and it still catches me every time exactly as it did during the Summer heat wave of 1976.
Well done, Otis!
Listen and enjoy.....