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Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Otis Redding - "Chained and Bound"

It's true, I know, that men are born free but are everywhere in chains. It's a small consolation that a few of the many kinds of chains that bind us are paradoxically liberating. For instance, for some, including Otis, the chains of fidelity don't so much narrow the parameters of the possible as they do shift them to encompass something deeper. Yeah, Otis has been bound by the chains of his love, but the last thing he wants is his freedom, or the oppressive chains of untetheredness that he knows come with it.

It's kind of like how men are born naked, but are everywhere in clothes. Or how men are born stupid but are everywhere much smarter than when they were born. Or how men are born ten inches tall, but are everywhere at least six times taller than that. Or how I was born yellow (jaundice), but am everywhere beige. You know?

"Chained and Bound," is not a perfect song; it is merely very good. Otis Redding was freed of the chains of this world shortly after he recorded "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay," a song that promised so much. What he left behind are a great many vocal performances that far exceed the quality of his songs. This is one of those. When he first sings the words "chained and bound," someone - is it the drummer? an idle hornblower? Otis himself? - lets out a small "woah." It's a statement of wonderment, of genuine astonishment that something so insignificant as this lyric, as flawed as this little ballad, as limited as this human voice, as imminent as these waves of sound (all chains), can set so much in us free. [Buy]


Alfreda Brockington - "Chained and Bound"

Because women are born free too, and are also everywhere in chains. Because they too are born naked, but are clothed. Because women babies are just as stupid as the others, and grow to be just as smart. Because female hatchlings are also extremely small people who grow to be "taller than the tallest pine, sweeter than a grape on a vine." [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at September 19, 2006 1:19 AM

very nice.
as i rock myself to sleep.

Posted by su at September 19, 2006 3:11 AM

wow what a nice addition to tonight's journey. thank you. both tracks are awesome.

Posted by Anonymous at September 19, 2006 3:36 AM

"It's true, I know, that men are born free but are everywhere in chains." is to " It's kind of like how men are born naked, but are everywhere in clothes." as J.J.'s most famous line is to a witty and enjoyable twist on a famous line of Rousseau's. Also, a=c; b=d, just so you know.

Posted by Joel Taylor at September 19, 2006 10:52 AM

Teeber - You're preaching to the converted (i.e. Don't tell a nudist what a nudist already knows: Men are born free, but are everywhere in clothes. Which is to say that it is not I to whom your message pertains: Men are born naked, but are everywhere in chains).

Posted by Jordan at September 19, 2006 12:57 PM

jordan, don't you have a band? will you guys ever write a song called "chains of freedom"? it could be about how freedom is like cahins.

Posted by george at September 19, 2006 1:59 PM

and how cahins are like chains.

Posted by george at September 19, 2006 2:00 PM

band of horses also do a very nice cover of this song.

Posted by s! at September 19, 2006 3:48 PM

S! - Which one? These are two different songs.

Posted by Jordan at September 19, 2006 4:30 PM

In a sense, of course, s! is quite right; the two songs are one song, the song is s!'s post, s!'s post is this blog. Unity! Why is a raven like a writing desk?

Posted by Joel Taylor at September 19, 2006 9:27 PM

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Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

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our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)

Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
Petites planétes
Gorilla vs Bear
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In Focus
WTF [podcast]
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet

things we like in Montreal
st-viateur bagel
café olimpico
Euro-Deli Batory
le pick up
kem coba
le couteau
au pied de cochon
mamie clafoutis
tourtière australienne
chez boris
alati caserta
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c

drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c

casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
le cagibi
cinema du parc
pop pmontreal
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe

Cult Montreal
The Believer
The Morning News
The Skinny