~ Like the ripples in a pond, the work of one man spreads out and touches the lives of others ~

From The Soul of One ~ To The Hearts Of Many
Taylor Hicks "The Distance"

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Inspired By Soul

What is soul?
It's like electricity - we don't really know what it is, but it's a force that can light a room.
~Ray Charles~

"The music that's in my heart - soul music - is the music of healing.

Music that speaks powerfully to life's pain and somehow makes you feel better all at the same time

Music has given me almost everything that's good in my life.
Mother music I call it."
~Taylor Hicks~

It was Otis Redding who first opened the doors for Taylor Hicks to the world of soul music.

Taylor was just 9 years old when he began singing along to Otis Redding's "Try A Little Tenderness" from "The Best Of Otis Redding' album.

Hearing Otis Redding sing stirred deep emotions for Taylor, the music didn't just touch his soul, he thought that perhaps it had awakened it for the first time.

It was to be twenty years later that the world finally heard Taylor Hicks perform "Try A Little Tenderness" at the Kodiak Theater on May 16th, 2006.

It was a triumphant night for Taylor with 3 perfectly executed deliveries of "Dancing In The Dark, "You Are So Beautiful" and
"Try A Little Tenderness".

Amid thunderous applause and standing ovations, these two comments still continue to stick in my craw almost 2 years later!

Paula Abdul's comment "I waited all season for you to perform this song" ... um hello ... we all know that Taylor wasn't allowed to sing "Try A Little Tenderness" when he originally chose it for Week 7 - Greatest Love Songs Of All Times.

(In a radio interview, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe even admitted Taylor had to change his song choice from Otis Redding's "Try A Little Tenderness", saying it didn't fit the week's genre)

Then there's Simon Cowel's comment "A hideous ending", he just couldn't say great performance and be done with it.
Had Simon never listened or watched Otis's version of "Try A Little Tenderness"?

In 'Heart Full Of Soul', Taylor tells us that as it turned out, he was glad the producers had made him wait for a truly dramatic moment to sing "Try A Little Tenderness" and that yes, to him it was still one classic love song.

"Try A Little Tenderness" is a standard that has been recorded by many artists, including crooners Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Bing Crosby and Michael Buble.

It was Otis Redding though who did a very soulful version that was a completely different take on the song featuring a slow soulful opening that eventually builds into a frenetic R&B conclusion.

I thought this comment at You Tube interesting
"This is by far Otis's best version of this song.
A performer who was better live and in person than restrained by a studio, Otis' music will live on."

Redding did not want to record "Try A Little Tenderness", but Stax Records executives and his friends wore him down with a constant barrage of requests.

When he finally recorded it, he did it in a way that he was "sure" that it would not be released.
The ploy didn't work.
Redding's version of "Try a Little Tenderness" became his signature song, and the biggest selling of his records released before his death.

Sam Cooke's version of "Try A Little Tenderness" was a big influence on Redding.
It was never released as a single but was one of the high points of his live
"Sam Cooke at the Copa" LP (1964), as part of a medley that started with "Tenderness" (followed by "Sentimental Reasons" and "You Send Me").

Redding idolized the man, particularly after Cooke's death, but he did not want to record "Tenderness".
He caved in after tremendous pressure from his friends and (according to one source) a family member - he didn't want to record it LIKE Cooke (in fact, he considered his version a "joke" to quiet the people who wanted him to record it).
The rest is history.


KarinP said...

Bloom, once again you have given me a wonderful music history lesson and, at the same time, reviewing so many pertinent parts of Taylor's book.

I am so grateful that Taylor was standing outside "that" door when Otis opened it for him. At 9 years old, I doubt that he would have been able to imagine what things were waiting for him on the other side.

May 16, 2006 was one of those "Wooo Hooo" moments. Fabulous performances by Taylor and I do remember jumping up and down. As for Simon's comments - you just need to consider the source.

It has never mattered to me what a critic says about anything that I like - movies, music or TV shows. I follow my own instincts and just leave the negative vibes behind me.

You also mentioned Sam Cooke! Another music great. Isn't it interesting how the "best" music stands the test of time. I suspect that neither Sam nor Otis would have ever imagined that in 2008, we would be talking about Try a Little Tenderness. Those who have sung the great tunes have definitely left a wonderful legacy for the world to enjoy.

Taylor has treated Mother Music with respect and I hope she is holding his hand as he prepares to release his second CD.

Thanks, Bloom - you always post the most interesting blogs.

Almost forgot, kudoes to you because you did remember that Mr. Buble also recorded his version of Try a Little Tenderness as well.

For the record, I love Taylor's version the best!

Anonymous said...

well said my country soul partners.......Louisiana Woman Mississipi Man must happen........

KarinP said...

Let the good times roll, Ms. P.!

Bloom said...

Karin I just was listening to "The Right Place" as I clicked on comments ... the words the door is always open were playing as I began to read and there you were talking about the door that Mr. Redding had opened for Taylor.

A woo hoo moment for sure, Taylor once again blew everybody else out of the ballpark!

I don't pay any attention to what critics have to say either, I prefer to form my own opinions ... I figure there is a reason they are 'critics' ... cause they can't walk the walk ... they just talk!

Still, they irk me!

I keep remembering Randy's comment after Taylor performed "Just Once".
It appeared to me that his comment was a rehearsed comment and had nothing to do with how Taylor actually performed.

By the way love this ...
"Taylor has treated Mother Music with respect and I hope she is holding his hand as he prepares to release his second CD"

And yes Taylor's IS the BEST!!!

Bloom said...

MissP ... we are ready ... white boots and all LOL