These Arms of Mine - Otis Redding (live at the Whiskey A Go Go)
Some songs sneak up on you, but not Otis Redding songs. He’s not interested in subtle seduction or passive-aggressive mumbo jumbo. No, this man wants you to know right now how much he needs/wants/loves you. He wants you to know that this desire hurts him on a deep, gutteral level, that it is literally breaking his heart to care about you as much as he does. And he means every goddamn word of it, too. You can take that to the bank.
The original version of this song, released in 1962, is perfectly good (good enough, in fact, to earn a spot on our wedding reception playlist, a playlist that, honestly, you don’t even want to know how much time I spent on). But as good as that version is, this live version is a hundred times better. Redding might have been feeling it in the studio when he tore off the original version - he certainly injected that recording with a good deal of heart and soul - but a song like this simply isn’t meant for the studio, it’s meant for the stage. So, when ol’ Otis gets up there in front of all those people, feeding off them while they feed off him, he gets himself worked up and writhing, and the song becomes spine-tingling in its urgency.
It’s somewhere in the snap of the snare drum at 0:49, in Redding’s soulful growl at 1:56, in the horns that rush in for support around 2:39. It’s the sound of something worth putting down whatever it is you’re doing right now - yes, you - and stepping into Otis’s world for just a little while.