It’s impossible to know anything about soul music and not know Otis Redding. He’s a true superstar. No education in R&B and soul would be complete without him, so naturally he’s been on my list this year.
I’ve just picked one of my favourites from his catalogue (it’s from his first album, 1964’s Pain In My Heart, but had previously been released as a single in 1963). Great bass part, great brass part, and a couple of nice surf-y guitar licks. It’s an interesting song lyrically and thematically as well: ‘I want security,’ echoing a key desire of the democratic capitalist West, but finding it in a woman rather than in wealth. Still misplaced, sure; but a nice change from our society’s obsession with accumulating wealth to protect us (poorly!) from future risks.