When someone mentions the great music of the ’60s and ’70s do you think of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Who? Some of the greatest songs recorded during those important decades didn’t originate from across the pond, but instead can be found in the R&B and soul music that came from Memphis, Detroit, Chicago, and Philadelphia. These soulful songs haven’t grown old and can make today’s music seem sterile and formulaic by comparison. We’re going to take a look at some of the grooves that helped make these songs unforgettable and timeless.
“Try A Little Tenderness” By Otis Redding
Otis Redding’s perfect interpretation of this song could make a dead man dance. The incomparable Al Jackson Jr.’s drums enter with a double-time rim-click feel propelling the groove accompanied by nearly inaudible eighth-notes played on the hi-hat. Later, there’s a surprising drum fill played on the snare and a driving Motown groove with quarter-notes played on the snare and a funky bass drum pattern underneath that builds the intensity throughout the song. At eight-bar intervals, the bass drum part simplifies to a single quarter-note played on count 1 that very subtly emphasizes the word “Tenderness.” The end of the transcription shows the drum break down: sixteenth-notes played over 2 and 4 on the bass drum and a simple fill that leads into the fade out. If you haven’t heard this song and Redding’s incredible vocal performance lately, do yourself a favor and listen to it. Every second is a pleasure.