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These Arms of Mine - Otis Redding

A little piece of history.

The legend goes that Otis was only at this recording studio as Atlantic were taking a look at guitarist Johnny Jenkins with a view to signing him and Otis had driven him there as he (Johnny) didn't have a driving licence and Otis did. They finished early and as there was studio time still booked and as Otis sang in a band with Johnny they decided to use it up by playing a couple of songs that Otis had written himself. The backing band, hired for the session, just happened to be Booker T and the MG's, Steve Cropper playing piano (as Jenkins was on lead guitar), Booker T on organ, Lewis Steinberg on bass, and Al Jackson on drums.

What you get is the first time musical meeting between the greatest backing band ever with perhaps the greatest singer ever, live, on record. They say that this is the first take, the first time they ever played together.

At the beginning of the song, Otis starts uncertainly, feeling his way, as are the band who have no idea who this 21 year old is, or whether he's any good:

"These arms of mine, they are lonely

lonely and feeling blue..."

very cautious...

"....these arms of mine

they are are yearning

yearning from wanting you..."

but then, as the quivering guitar by the one band member that knows him kicks in, he gains confidence and the band becomes less tentative

and if you would let them hold you

oh how grateful I will be

and we're away, they realise how good he is, and he is leaning back on them, allowing them to support his plea of seduction.

Long before he reaches

"Come on, come on baby

just be my little woman, just be my lover

I need me somebody, somebody to treat me right

I need your arms, lovin' arms to hold me tight

and I need , I need your, I need your tender lips......"

the best band the world has ever known has been born.

And it works for the song too, creating a short masterpiece, the young would-be lover gradually gaining confidence as the song unfolds, and by the end his persuasiveness has surely won her over - after all, you can hear it in his voice.

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