Doing a quick album review of Otis Redding’s Pain in My Heart reminds me how absolutely frightening it truly is regarding how much I don’t know about what I should know. For example, I still have only heard 50% of Otis Redding’s work and know maybe 1/3rd of his story. It’s even worse for Sam Cooke & Ray Charles. Let’s not even talk about Delta Blues – stuff I should know like the back of my hand. So, I’m working on it starting…NOW.

First, the Artist: Otis Redding.

I’m compiling and research a bunch of his facts, notes, and artistry in my Otis Redding section. It’s making good progress. Check it out.

Otis Redding’s first studio solo album: “Pain in My Heart,” (1964)

Pain in My Heart album cover. 1964

Side 1

  1. Pain in My Heart
  2. The Dog
  3. Stand By Me
  4. Hey Hey Baby
  5. You Send Me
  6. I Need Your Lovin’

Side 2

  1. These Arms of Mine
  2. Louie Louie
  3. Something Is Worryng Me
  4. Security
  5. That’s What My Heart Needs
  6. Lucille

On Spotify

More about Otis Redding’s debut album, “Pain in My Heart”

Everyone has to start everywhere. According to Wikipedia, the album didn’t chart on the soul charts in 1964 and didn’t crack the top 100 in the US markets. Did hit 28 in UK. The good news is that I’ve heard more of this album than I originally thought. The standard, “These Arms of Mine,” is on every compilation album made as well as, “Pain in My Heart.” I’ve heard a few live versions of “Security,” and I’ve heard the album cut of Otis’ cover of the Ben E. King classic the ballad, ‘Stand By Me,” thanks to Pandora. UPDATE: I’ve heard Otis’ cover of Chuck Berry’s, “Lucille” on Pandora too. Both takes on these classics are absolutely vintage Otis with his timeless backing band.

The Nearly Knows the Words Cover

As for, “Louie Louie,” if you’ve ever heard him cover a song when he doesn’t know the lyrics, it’s an absolute treat. All Otis does after while is sing the first two lines and then makes up stuff about a girl on his mind. I’ve also heard him do this covering the Beatles’ “Day Tripper,” the Temptations’ “My Girl,” and James Brown’s “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.”

The Never Before Heard Gem

Right now, I’d have to say the Never Before Heard Gem on this track is “Something is Worrying Me.” It’s a soft, up-tempo B side with light, quick, rhythmic yet self-conscious lyrics similar to how the Beatles made B-sides on their middle albums like Help, Rubber Soul & Revolver. “Something is Worrying Me,” a nice pulsing 4-bar riff where the piano plays lead with a little stride flavor, the jazz guitar offers a little sound with a soft, quick, Spanish downstroke and horns provides reinforcement and the end of the riff. Then the B would be a bridge with a little intro with a snare march to stir the coffee and reinforce why “something’s driving him to misery.” What’s that something: his girl is lovin’ another man & movin’ on.

That’s Why Something Is Worryin’ Me

Overall:

If civil rights and racism was less of an issue in the US at the start of 1964, this solid 30-minute album would have been better than 103 on the charts. Beatles took templates to albums like this and songs like, “Something Is Worrying Me,” and made gems like Rubber Soul. In fact, there’s a walkdown riff in “Security” that the Beatles stole (I’m gonna remember the song. I think it’s on Beatles for Sale. And for the record, I’m sure the riff has been stolen several times).

Now I’m going to go back through those old Beatles albums looking for that riff, after I listen to this album a few more times. And after I stop listening to “Something Is Worrying Me,” – which might be awhile.

All in all, a great debut offering for Otis Redding’s first album.

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