Saturday, March 13, 2021

MR/MISS: Pitiful


purchase [Mr Pitiful]

You could read about yourself if you don't already know but I'll save you the effort: back in '64, a radio DJ called Otis Redding "Mr. Pitiful" on account of the sound of his voice. Steve Cropper, Redding's guitarist (I want to say "long-time collaborator", but sadly it wasn't very long since he died about 2 years later in a plane crash on his way to a concert) came up with the song, which they recorded more or less in a flash.

None of his work is pitiful. In fact - reading I have done this week repeatedly reminds me that even the lowliest life is not pitiful. Pitiful is a mind-set. Sure, from the outside, it ain't hard to categorize another [wo]man's life as pitiful (  defineiton here), but that's a perspective filled with bias: how you view it may not be the whole story.

I did not know (but now do) that Steve Cropper was a member of a Stax backing band that did their thing for a number of known show-names (the Mar-Keys). Known as <the Colonel>, he fronted and was a member of other bands including Booker T and the M.G.'s He was also a member of the Belushi/Aykroyd Blues Brothers Band.

Within 2 years, Redding was producing music that, as Rolling Stone magazine wrote, was impressive - a far cry from Mr Pitiful, even if his vocal style was emotional-: "fluttering horns and staccato guitar" at the Whiskey a Go Go. Songs that hit the top of the charts even after his untimely death.

Etta James twisted the lyrics to "Miss Pitiful" from Mr to Miss.

Taj Mahal recorded a version.

The Stones have played it on ocassion.

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