Rata-tat-tat, the content rolls off, Linda.
Today, we’re looking at (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay, Otis Redding’s iconic R&B milestone, released posthumously on the 1968 album of the same name. Check the video below:
It may not be the most subversive pick of Redding’s tragically cut-short discography, but there’s something totally encompassing about this soul staple. Everything, from the instrumentation to the lyrics to the production, is so sublimely executed, that I find it difficult to believe that anyone could listen to it and not find something to love.
The centrepoint is, of course, the singer’s unmistakeably soulful and understated performance, conveying overwhelming emotion without overbearing even a fraction of an inch. The lyrics are simple but so aesthetically vivid that the imagery couldn’t be lost on anyone, especially with the perfectly placed (and surprisingly not gimmicky) wave crashes. However, surrounding this song is a deceivingly complex and layered instrumentation, deceiving through it’s simplistic structure. The base melody is immediately infectious, and the bass groove that pervades the song, in co-operation with the steady backbeat, gives the song a lulling toe-tapability. There is a richness that develops even further as the song progresses, with an almost triumphant horn section aroused by the second verse, shining over the track like rays of sunshine, and the subtle guitar licks embroidered onto the mix.
Lots of hugs, kisses and lacerations