Friday, 1 February 2008

Otis Redding>I've Been Loving You Too Long

Consider this quote from Nick Hornby: 'I try not to belive in God, of course, but sometimes things happen in music, in songs, that bring me up short, make me do a double take... I just mean that at certain spine-shivering musical moments - and you will have your own inevitably - it becomes difficult to remain a literalist. (I have no such difficulty when I hear religious music, by the way, no matter how beautiful. They're cheating, those composers: they're inviting Him in, egging Him on, and surely he wouldn't fall for that?)' (31 Songs, 2003)

I know what he means - there are just some moments in certain songs that connect with the divine. The lyrics become irrelevant, the people creating the music simply names and it's as though time slows down to a virtual stop for a moment and it's just you, the music and God. I can think of a number of songs that do this (or have done this at different moments in my life) for me. Strangely, now I'm thinking about it - it's often been songs with titles about death - 'Bill is Dead' (Extricate, 1990) by The Fall, 'Psycho Killer' (Stop Making Sense, 1984) by Talking Heads, 'A Murder of One' (August and Everything After, 1993) by The Counting Crows. I'm sure it's just co-incidence!

However, there's one that gets me everytime and it's in 'I've Been Loving you too Long' (Dock of the Bay, 1968) by Otis Redding. There's just something about his voice at 22secs (album version) that leads to the numinous. Perhaps it has something to do with the circumstances of first hearing this song - it came a time when love was in the air. Who knows - probably not even Otis Redding and he's with God now!

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