Pickled Priest Mixtape: Our Favorite Songs of 1966
For this mixtape, I'm going way back to the mid-1960s, an era where I didn't have major life events (unless you consider being born a major life event) running parallel with, and accentuating, my musical intake. My experiences with all of the songs listed below came long after the fact. This series of mixtapes is my continuing effort to reconcile which songs have stood the test of time, survived extensive repetition, and not managed to get burned-out by being used in a toothpaste commercial. Predictably, many so-called classics have worn out their welcome, but others have persisted. Why? There's only one way to find out.
As always, ranked for maximum drama.
26 "Yellow" | Ken Nordine
Ken Nordine's 1966 album, Colors, ranks with my favorite unusual albums ever. It featured recordings of jazz-accompanied, spoken-word color poems, ranging from chartreuse to flesh to turquoise to azure and all points in between. In a stroke of genius, the Fuller Paint Company enlisted the impossibly deep-voiced Nordine to be-bop his way through their ten hottest paint colors for a hipster ad campaign (Don Draper with the pitch?). Soon, the ads became so popular, the concept expanded into a full-length album. Nordine gave each color its own set of distinct personality quirks. Insecure Olive "doesn't realize it is about to be named Color of the Year." Flesh "is as close to a problem as a color can get" (racism cleverly defined in a tidy 90-seconds). Azure "is bored with just being blue." Magneta "has her own gossip column." It's an brilliant concept and, once you've listened to them all a few times, your paint trips to Home Depot will never be the same.
You may wonder, with 31 other options available, why I settled on bland, uneventful yellow as my color of choice for this mixtape. I like it because Nordine's "Yellow" is surrounded by conflict. The color green wants more spectrum space to himself, but yellow desperately wants in on the action. Green refuses to yield any ground until our devilish friend blue steps in and casually points out that at any time they desire, yellow and blue could join forces and make green on their own. Suddenly green is willing to compromise. The final terms are ironed out and announced in a soothing, highly rational baritone:
Naturally, by a sudden change of hue, green saw the light.
Yellow got in. Worked out fine.
Yellow got lemons and green got limes.
25 "Don't Look Back" | The Remains
"Don't Look Back" is one of thee classic Boston-based rock & roll songs of the 1960s. Somehow the Boston Red Sox haven't beaten this song into submission yet like they did with the Standells' "Dirty Water," which is also among the most beloved songs to ever emerge from Beantown. For me, that glass of "Dirty Water" is half-full and the Bosox are partially to blame. Bottom line, I sadly no longer get excited when it comes on the radio. (The team has done the same thing with Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," unfortunately, a song with no geographic or thematic ties to the team whatsoever.*) Nonetheless, fellow Bostonians, the Remains, are more than able substitutes and, in my mind released a better song in 1966. Interestingly, both the Standells' and the Remains' songs shared space on the same LP six years later, Lenny Kaye's legendary 1972 Nuggets compilation of lost psychedelic rock songs from 1965-1968 (which also included the inspiring single, "Moulty," by another Boston band, the Barbarians).
*Long story short: "Sweet Caroline" was played one day in the late-90s by the music director at Fenway, apparently to celebrate a friend's new baby named Caroline. The song, admittedly fun to sing along to, caught on with the crowd. Team executives found that, when cranked up during the 8th inning, it injected some life into the crowd. Initially, it was used only when the team was winning (as a good luck charm), but later it became a staple at every game, much to the consternation of many. Amusingly, a local sports columnist for the Boston Globe called the incessant playing of the song during the team's dismal 69-93 season in 2012, "a national disgrace." The irony is that Diamond, as he sings in "I Am...I Said," is "New York City born and raised." So, of all songs to pick, they went with one from enemy territory! (At least his name is Diamond, which has a baseball tie-in.) Sadly, that's not where the story ends. Like the uncreative lemmings we are in America, every venue in the world now plays the song to get the crowd going, as if there are no other fucking choices. The same goes for Ozzy's "Crazy Train," the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army," and worst of all, the devil incarnate itself, Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer." The state of sporting event entertainment is at an all-time low these days, and the Boston Red Sox are not alone in perpetuating the problem. But they didn't help matters either.
24 "All Or Nothing" | The Small Faces
"All or Nothing" is basically a 60s R&B number done by a band of white dudes from London. The opening drum roll was reportedly inspired by Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour," which was a nice homage, but it's Steve Marriott's powerful pipes that deliver the song's Nike-slogan messaging with soul-belter panache, simmering to a boil not once, but twice over the final 70-seconds of the song. In love, you've got to give it your all or you may as well not go into it at all. The sentiment conveniently applies to just about any aspect of life from climbing a mountain to dunking on a Nerf hoop or going to all you can eat rib night. We've got too many people in this world giving half an effort. Either commit fully or go home. Here's your motivation.
Editor's Note: Released on a compilation album (From the Beginning) in the U.S. in 1967, this was first released as a single in August of 1966 where it managed to torpedo the Beatles insufferable "Yellow Submarine" off the top of the British pop charts. In other words, it qualifies for this year's mixtape with honors, no quibbles accepted.
23 "Les Playboys" | Jacques Dutronc
Nope. I checked. There's not a moment of "Les Playboys" that I don't love. It's a wildly entertaining lark with a jaunty sashay and savoir faire out the wazoo. Favorite parts: the barbershop backing vocals at the beginning (and throughout), his cocktail bar banter, his downshift to a lower register when he wants to sound sarcastically debonair, the handclaps (!!), the way he appears to neigh like a horse for no reason near the end, and the shambolic last twenty seconds where he seems to be looking around for more things to bang on before the song ends. Oh, and it's about a guy who doesn't need all the usual "Playboy" trappings to get his women.
22 "Solitary Man" | Neil Diamond
This song sounds like it was recorded on a cold, overcast day, not a ray of sunshine to be found. That dreary atmosphere is complemented by a defeated vocal that perfectly reflects its melancholy subject matter: living in a world without love. What would you expect from a guy who breaks up with two different girls in the song's first six lines? In real life, this was a ballsy first single from Neil and it contains a world within its 155-second run time. The only thing that strikes me as odd is the choice of Melinda and Sue as the girls names in the lyrics. I've tried to find if these were based in reality or made up to no avail. If anyone knows, please advise. Melinda is not a name you put into lyrics. It just isn't.
Note: This song has, predictably, been covered countless times over the years. Johnny Cash and Chris Isaak did it justice, but most others fall flat for me. Nothing quite captures the same pop-song-in-a-peacoat vibe of the original, collar flipped up to defend against a chilly, loveless wind.
21 "Straight Shooter" | The Mamas & The Papas
On a classic debut with timeless songs like "Monday, Monday" and "California Dreamin'," I still find myself gravitating toward "Straight Shooter," mainly because it opens with a Beatlesque guitar lick, features amazing harmonies (of course), and just rocks harder than the aforementioned standards. And it sounds incredible pumping out of a quadrophonic car stereo during the summertime. Sometimes it's as easy as that folks.
20 "For What It's Worth" | Buffalo Springfield
It's one of those timeless songs that defines a specific era for many. A musical date stamp on a postcard from 1966 sent to any future society, warning us of the imminent danger of only seeing issues from one side—your own. As relevant today as it was then.
19 "Cool Jerk" | The Capitols
In the 60s, people were literally living in the "Land of 1,000 Dances" (stay tuned), and the "Cool Jerk" (or "Jerk") was, and remains to this day, one of the easiest dances to execute for rhythmically challenged commoners. It's about 20x easier than the "Mashed Potato," nowhere near as physical as "The Watusi," and not close to the pipe dream known as "the Skate" (especially if 40+). A cursory review of any wedding reception will prove my point. It's mostly arms and doesn't require very much from the lower body to qualify. But don't tell that to the Caps, who bring a sizzling energy to these proceedings, complete with a mid-song recipe for dancefloor success that also surely inspired Jim Carrey's character in The Mask. "Smooookinnnn'!!!"
18 "Les Filles C'est Fait Pour Faire L'Amour" | Charlotte Leslie
I love French girl-pop (aka yéyé) from the 1960s. It always cheers me up. I just like the joyful sound of it. I don't even require a translation of the lyrics in most cases because these songs are a vibe more than anything else for me. If I'm surfing the web, perhaps I'll make the effort to see what the song is about, but that's rare. Well, that's what happened when I first heard this track. Charlotte Leslie cut the song in 1966 and then faded away, a distant memory by 1970. But she left behind this ebullient fuzzball that initially scans as a feminist manifesto, but wraps up with a shocking turn of events that surely would've caused Simone de Beauvoir to choke on her morning croissant. Let me explain. The translated title of the song is "Girls are Made for Making Love," which for some is already problematic. The lyrics go on to refute that antiquated notion; this girl wants to work first, earn her keep, succeed, and then maybe she'll think about fucking you, you presumptuous bastard. Take a letter: the power dynamic has shifted. All moves along according to plan until the final stanza, where we hear Leslie admit she's failed her exams, isn't interested in her education anymore, and has seemingly abandoned her ambition: "Yes it's true, you were right / Girls are made for making love." You can almost hear the air being sucked out of the room. What did she just say? The moral of this story is use Google translation at your own risk and don't blame me if your expectations get blown out of the sky like a Chinese spy balloon.
Sidebar: I would be remiss if I didn't point out a delightful coincidence. The bouncy melody of Leslie's song was borrowed from an American R&B song titled "We Got a Thing That's in the Groove" by none other than Detroit's very own soul favorites, The Capitols, of "Cool Jerk" fame, our #19 song of 1966!
17 "Maid of Sugar - Maid of Spice" | Mouse and the Traps
I have the greatest amount of affection possible for Lenny Kaye's legendary Nuggets compilation that was released in 1972, but despite being a nearly flawless collection of late-60's garage-rock, it wasn't quite perfect. For one, he included the Cryan' Shames toothless "Sugar and Spice" when he could've included Mouse and the Traps' nastier, spicier "Maid of Sugar - Maid of Spice" instead (hyphen and "maid" stylized for affect, I guess). To compound the problem, he picked the wrong Mouse and the Traps song for his compilation. He opted for the crying shameless Dylan ripoff, "A Public Execution," when he could've snagged this 160-second stretch of tightly-coiled, electrified barbed wire instead. Without a doubt, this is the real Nugget deserving discovery.*
*Credit where credit is due: Rhino Records did include the song on their expanded dour-disc Nuggets box set, released years later in 1998.
16 "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" | Nancy Sinatra
Swingin' sounds of the sixties
Sell 'em on the T.V. late at night
Wish I had a time machine
She's stone cold out-of-sight
She's so hot-ta
Take all I got-ta
Just to be in the company of Miss Nancy Sinatra
—The Bottle Rockets, "Nancy Sinatra"
Guys, if you can make it through this video without a retro rub out, you've seriously got some willpower. Heck, probably you girls, too. It's pretty risqué stuff for the mid-60s. One run through also reveals why the song has gone on to become an iconic feminist anthem, too (despite being written by Lee Hazlewood—a man!). The song tells it like it is for the most part even if it is a little hard to believe that anyone would two-time the incomparable Nancy Sinatra. Don't you know her dad coulda had you whacked with one phone call?
15 "Holy Cow" | Lee Dorsey
If you don't have Wheelin' and Dealin': The Definitive Lee Dorsey Collection get the fuck on Amazon right now and snap up a copy. And don't fuckin' stream it either—this is music to own and cherish, a borderline American institution! You need this sauntering, swaggering New Orleans R&B in your life right now. And if you thought sauntering and swaggering were mutually exclusive concepts, you had that wrong. Just check out "Holy Cow" and tell me it ain't happening at the very moment this song plays. Dorsey was no dummy. He grabbed ahold of fellow Crescent City genius Allen Toussaint and did...not...let...go. One collaboration after the next, creole gold. If you want to get your spirit lifted, make this happen for your damn self.
14 "I Am a Rock" | Simon & Garfunkel
I took a class in college called Interpersonal Communication because I thought it would be a fucking cakewalk and instead I spent the whole semester dissecting movies, TV shows, books, and songs with a bunch of deep sons of bitches who took me to places I didn't really want to go. We spent a whole class listening to "I Am A Rock" one day and I was alarmed at how much I identified with its smothering ennui. This is one of those songs that can open up the floodgates and let suppressed emotions run free. No, I've never been as bad off as the guy in the song, but holy shit, all I wanted was some easy credits, not a window into the darkest parts of my soul. I've never been quite the same since.
13 "Psychotic Reaction" | Count Five
This is a song that needs to live up to its title. Otherwise, don't fucking bother—let someone else take a crack at it. If you choose to move forward, the song has to channel psychosis, the song has to take the brown acid, and the song has to take you on a journey to the center of your mind. Thankfully, you know it, I know it, and the American people know this song to be the definitive soundtrack to a psychotic reaction, a psychopharmacological freak out recorded in a steamy Hollywood garage (or it sounds like it, at least).
12 "A Quick One, While He's Away" | The Who
In mixtape circles this could be considered cheating as this mini rock opera clocks in at just under 10-minutes, far from optimal when the objective is to move briskly from one artist to the next. The song seems nowhere near that long due to the number of unexpected transitions and musical styles present. And while we're on the subject of cheating, that's the main premise of the song—infidelity and forgiveness. But how do we get from point A to point B, you ask?
We begin the six-part opera in the form of a folk song belted out by the seemingly pissed patrons of a neighborhood pub. It has an informal feel, complete with side chatter, that sounds like it wasn't meant to be heard beyond the pub rail. They tell us that a woman's lover (perhaps husband) has gone off to war and hasn't returned as scheduled. We presume the worst. After a short instrumental transition, we hear that the woman is now beyond despondent, wailing so loud she's heard down the street, around the town, and all over the world. Strangely, this part of the story is told in a manner I can only describe as "Dylanesque." (Dylan did play his famous gig at the Manchester Free Trade Hall the same year, and the band had been listening to his music for years, so surely his style influenced them along the way.) The song then breaks out in a series of "la la la la la's" to mark the passage of time, I assume. The Who's equivalent to Seinfeld's "yadda yadda yadda" if you will. The story resumes with the news that some local workers have come up with a "remedy" to ease her pain. You guessed it: the solution is to "fill in" for her husband until he returns. Flowers are mentioned, but we all know where this is really headed. The answer to all male problems is always a quick shag, especially if you want to keep your mind off your problems for a while. How magnanimous of them! The plan is set in motion during another extended "yadda yadda" instrumental passage and when the curtain rises again, we find the winner of the shag derby, Ivor the Engine Driver (Entwistle, perfectly cast), sensitively placating the woman with the clear intent of getting a little side fanny. She submits. As this happens, the action sharply cuts to the husband, slowly but surely making his way home from the front on horseback as the music assumes the tempo of a Gene Autry cowboy number from the late-1930s. He returns, the woman is overjoyed, but she admits to indiscretions while he was gone. He understands and forgives her. And not just run of the mill forgiveness; a bold, brash, loud, epic forgiveness as only the Who in full spectacle can deliver. It's a powerful yet touching conclusion and I always look forward to sharing the moment with them.
Note: Extra, extra credit goes to the band, who after being told cellos weren't in the recording budget just sang the words "cello, cello, cello" about a hundred times where the cello part was supposed to go. Brilliant!
11 "Making Time" | The Creation
This is the song I hear in my head when I'm out zipping around on my scooter like Jimmy from Quadrophenia. "Real" men with Hemis or Harleys may dismiss me and my underpowered friend (Gladys, if you must know), but I actually relish the attention, for I'm perfectly content with the alternative narrative I've created for myself. The immediately cacophonous "Making Time" seems the perfect way to inject a little danger and menace to a trip that general tops out at 35-mph. If not for the Who's "My Generation," "Making Time" could've been the Mod National Anthem. It's reckless and noisy, like it was recorded in a scrap yard. The opening, instantly identifiable riff announces its arrival, followed by some Keith Moon-approved drum fills and just the right amount of vocal snarl. It's the great lost single of its era and I hold it right up there with the best rock songs of the 1960s. I'm pleased it has since gained a growing cult following, thanks in part to its prominent inclusion in the 1998 film Rushmore.* There are enough of us out there that have shown love for it and it might be more appreciated now than it ever has been. Making up for lost time, so to speak.
Sidebar: I would be remiss if I didn't point out the second delightful coincidence on this tape alone. Songs #11 and #12 both appeared on the Rushmore soundtrack. Not planned, I assure you.
10 "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" | The Kinks
Observation: I seem to have a tendency to pick songs that the artist has grown to dislike over time. While Dave Davies notoriously can't stand this song, I think it's a wonderfully whimsical example of my favorite kind of Kinks song—the ones about British society that show a keen eye for the small details you might expect from an proper author, but certainly not from the pen of a vile rock and roll band. The list of Kinks songs that qualify are many ("Well Respected Man," "The Village Green Preservation Society," "Autumn Almanac," "Two Sisters," et al), but I always get a hoot out of "Dedicated Follower of Fashion," which could mean I've spent too much time watching Project Runway or Austin Powers, but I like to think it skews more toward my love of Fawlty Towers, Monty Python, and No, Honestly. Mainly, because it's cleverly written with glib references to cross-dressing (four years prior to "Lola" no less), an affection for polka dots and stripes, and the wholly-invented "Carnabetian Army," which gives a name to those titular snobs who inhabit London's famed fashion district.
09 "B-A-B-Y" | Carla Thomas
There are more "baby's" on this song than there are on Nick Cannon's family tree. At some point, Stax Records songwriting duo nonpareil Isaac Hayes and David Porter heard Carla coo the word "baby" (by the coffee machine, in the lunch room, we can only speculate) and said "Man, the way she says "baby" really gets me hot. Let's write her a song where she has to sing it pretty much non-stop." And they did. And singng it wasn't enough apparently. They made her spell it, too. And to this day, I can't think of a better "Baby" song. Not from Aretha, not from Diana, not from Donna. And don't come at me with Britney. Or Bieber. Priest don't play that.
08 "Knock on Wood" | Eddie Floyd
When you believe in things
That you don't understand
Then you suffer
Superstition ain't the way
-Stevie Wonder, "Superstition"
Eddie isn't superstitious, but he doesn't want to lose his lady so, just this one time...let's try everything. Have you ever hopped over a crack, thrown salt over your shoulder, or avoided getting your haircut on a Tuesday? Then you know what he's talking about. The message of "Knock on Wood" couldn't be clearer. Don't tempt fate. And if you're gonna write a song about knocking on anything, let the drummer simulate said knocking with a tap on a snare drum or cowbell, whatever sounds best. They'll love you for it. Actually, if you must know, the key moment of the song for me is the "Your love is better than any love I know / It's like thunder, lightning / The way you love me is frightening" pre-chorus. It's what sells the need for such desperate measures in the first place. Nobody should be knockin' on wood for boring, vanilla love. Wood knocking? That's reserved for the sky-quaking, earth-shaking, borderline scary kinda love. Thunder buddies for life.
Note: Strangely, the cover of Floyd's Knock on Wood album pictures Eddie in a forest with an axe ready to fell a tree. Since when does chopping down a tree mean the same thing as "knocking on wood" you say? Answer: It doesn't.
07 "Land of 1000 Dances" | Wilson Pickett
I normally don't include live videos of songs, but this is an exception because, to fully appreciate the force that was "Wicked" Wilson Pickett, you need to see him in his element—onstage in front of an adoring audience. He was a real crowd killer and he left a trail of sweaty bodies in his wake (including his own). He embodied every song he sang, a man-and-a-half whose motto was ninety-nine-and-a-half won't do. His manliness incomparable in modern society (adjusted for inflation, in 2023 he'd be the equivalent of about 2 3/4 men). Just look at him in all his feral magnificence and that's all you'll need to know.
06 "Cigarettes and Coffee" | Otis Redding
I consider "Cigarettes and Coffee" to be one of the greatest late-night soul songs of all time. It would have to be in order to bump "Try a Little Tenderness" out of the Otis Redding spot on this 1966 mixtape, a song featuring one of the greatest vocals in music history. But this is a mixtape of personal favorites and Otis's late-night conversation—and I mean conversation, not a love-making session or a preamble to one—finds him intent on spending the night with his lady, hanging on her every word, unrushed and content. That's when you know it's for real, gentlemen.
05 "But It's Alright" | J.J. Jackson
Sporting the greatest opening guitar hook in soul music history (courtesy of British jazz musician Terry Smith), J.J.'s "But It's Alright" is so much fun you might miss out on the "karma is a bitch" undertones of the song. While the most difficult Jeopardy category of all time would be Other J.J. Jackson Songs, he at least left us with one drop-dead, all-time classic. And that's alright.
04 "Paperback Writer" | The Beatles
This is the closest the Beatles ever got to the affectionately quirky style of late-period Kinks. A humor-laced slice-of-life narrative with a great hook, clever lyrics, and a desperate, hopeful, but ultimately delusional, protagonist. They just don't write songs like this anymore. It stands out from the Beatles esteemed catalog for this very reason. The lyrics unfold like the plot of a jaunty novel—ironically, there's a book to be written based on the limited information supplied to us in the song.
The song starts innocently enough, with an amateur author looking for a publisher. He's developed a tidy pitch that sounds reasonably plausible. Then he reveals what would surely scare all but the most daring publishers. The book is already 1,000 pages and there's more to be written in the coming weeks!! With no apparent grounding in reality, our author mentions that he could make the book even longer if they like. As if a paperback publisher in any universe would actually want more than a thousand pages from an new unproven author. It's a sad plea from a writer clearly running out of options. I do, however, appreciate the blind ambition, the sheer audacity of the inquiry. But it doesn't last long, as our aspiring writer makes his case, he backpedals with a statement of resignation: "If you must return it you can send it here." It's almost as if he already knows his fate. If ever a sequel to a Beatles song needed to be written, this is it. Any young songwriters out there want to take this on? If you pull it off, it could make a million for you overnight
03 "Visions of Johanna" | Bob Dylan
Lights flicker from the opposite loft
In this room the heat pipes just cough
The country music station plays soft
But there’s nothing, really nothing to turn off
At one point, this song didn't exist; it had to be created from scratch. Sometimes it's hard for me to come to grips with stuff like that, especially when words and ideas assemble in ways previously not imagined by conventionally-wired brains. That Dylan did this on the daily in the 60s still boggles my mind. So, for a song to stand out from such an esteemed and celebrated body of work means something is happening here even if you don't know what it is. And nobody, perhaps even Dylan himself, knows exactly what's going on in the song. There are lots of Dylan songs which deserve, and have received, an in-depth, multi-page dissection by real writers with proper qualifications, but I know this: there may not be a song in existence with a more enticing opening narrative than this one. After that, there is enough lyrical mystery present to blow the heads off about 25,000 Taylor Swift fans. Swifties, be thankful her lyrics aren't this difficult to parse. Over 50 years later, we're still staring at this song, marveling at lines like "The ghost of ’lectricity howls in the bones of her face" while being teleported to the Chelsea Hotel, spying on Louise like we're Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window, trying to figure out exactly what the hell is going on in the opposite loft.
02 "Stay With Me" | Lorraine Ellison
If I made a list of recorded moments for which I would've loved to be present while they happened, the session for Lorraine Ellison's "Stay With Me" vocal would be near the top. This is, without a doubt, one of the most jaw-dropping uses of the human voice in the history of verbal communication. You don't get to this vocal unless you've been hurt, and hurt badly. It's quite simple. You've loved with all your heart and soul and now that person is leaving you. That feeling alone has launched a thousand emotional ships into the harbor for long, painful, rudderless mourning. For my money, no other song captures that agony quite like this one. This is spine-tingling, hair-raising, physiology-wrecking stuff. This is the sound of a woman on her knees, begging and pleading for her man to stay, the sky crashing down in little pieces around her.
01 "Hold On! I'm Comin'" | Sam & Dave
Undoubtedly the greatest song ever inspired by someone sitting on the toilet (with Isaac Hayes famously prodding songwriting partner David Porter to get off the can and back into the studio), "Hold On! I'm Comin'" is also one of the finest examples of that Memphis thing; the tight grooves, bawling horns, and gritty vocals found echoing off the studio walls of Stax Records. Like their Northern counterparts at Motown, Stax songwriters were often inspired by the unintentional poetry of everyday communication; common words and phrases became timeless song fodder in the right hands, from Motown's Smokey Robinson ("I Second That Emotion") to Stax's dynamic duo of Hayes and Porter. So, when they came up with "Hold On! I'm Comin'" (I would've put another exclamation point at the end), it made sense that they'd offer it up to another of Stax's dynamic duos, Sam & Dave, also known as "Double Dynamite." The song was inspired by back-and-forth banter, and no artists in music history embodied that reciprocal approach with quite the same zeal as Sam & Dave. Their energy on the song is loosely intuitive, and like their best work, seemingly caught live in its natural habitat—the stage. But let's face it, without the meaty backbone of Booker T & the MGs and the ascending, circulating horns of the Mar-Keys, which come out of the gate positively sizzling from second one, this song doesn't soar to the triumphant levels is achieves for the next, sausage-tight two-and-a-half-minutes. So, there you have it: one prolonged trip to the Porter-Potty birthed one of music's defining slabs of sweaty, steaming soul. This is what heaven sounds like to me.
Note: If this song has taught me anything, it's that you really should think long and hard about using a song as your ring tone. This has been my ring tone for many years, with no threat of replacement (it's undeniably perfect in this context), mainly because I knew it would catch my attention every time. It has however, caused me endless confusion over the years, what with the ubiquity of the song in public places, advertisements, etc. And please note: if you call me and I don't answer right away it's because I'm letting the song play until the end.
See ya soon, same time, same place, different year.