Certain Songs #1417: Otis Redding – “Demonstration”

Album: Tell The Truth
Year: 1970

Sure, on the fourth posthumous album that was assembled from the songs that Otis Redding recorded in the year prior to his death, the seams were probably showing a bit: Tell The Truth is a step down from Love Man or The Immortal Redding, but at the same time, when there were still songs as great as “Demonstration” left in the can, why wouldn’t you release them?

Maybe in the alternate timeline where Otis Redding doesn’t die, some of the songs on Tell The Truth show up as bonus cuts for a future box set excavation of the amazing album he would have released in 1968, but not “Demonstration.”

Opening up with a Booker T. Jones piano part that pushes and pushes, as well as the usual Duck Dunn bass magic and an Al Jackson, Jr deep deep pocket snare, “Demonstration” is all Otis bragging about, well, just how great he’s gonna fuck you.

I was born to be a lover
Disappointment I don’t do
I’m the best thing in town, girl
I wanna demonstrate my love to you, yes I do, cause

The great thing about “Demonstration” is that anybody can talk up their prowess, but Otis is willing put, his, er money where his mouth is. And he’s guessing that you’re gonna end up liking where is mouth is.

Also, there’s an absolutely great contrast between the horns, which are pure soul, bordering on funk, and the beat — which is pure rock ‘n’ roll. And in fact, “Demonstration” has a shitload of Chuck Berry in it, especially on the chorus.

Good lovin is my occupation
I want to satisfy your situation
Let me give your good demonstration
I wanna give you good demonstration

One of the things about Otis Redding in 1967 was that was just coming around to the fact that the words he sang might actually matter some, so while “Demonstration” is nothing but a come-on, it’s also a come-on that rhymes “occupation,” “situation” and “demonstration,” which probably wouldn’t have occurred to him previously.

“Demonstration”

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