I Can Love You Better Than Him

‘Hard to Handle’ was written by Allen Jones, Al Bell, and Otis Redding and it was released on his 1967 album The Immortal Otis Redding.  This song charted #15 in the UK and it reached #51 in the US.  Al Bell was a career music industry affiliate, as a DJ, producer, songwriter and record executive.  He is best known for co-founding Stax Records.  Allen Jones was also a record producer, a writer and recording engineer at Stax records.  Redding had a career total of 11 Top 40 hits in the Billboard charts, an astounding achievement for somebody who did not live to see his 27th birthday.

Otis experiments with James Brown-style funk in this song backed by Booker T Jones on piano, anchored by percussive horns and driven by a groovy Duck Dunn bass guitar.  Otis is essentially selling his sexual prowess to a woman in this song, bragging about how good he is in bed.  During the song he is aware that this woman is with another man, but he tells her that he is far superior, he is a man of action rather than one of words, and if this lady decides to go home with him, she will find this out for herself.  The chorus leaves little to the imagination with Redding talking about lighting this woman’s candle and then calling on the song title to insist he truly is “hard to handle.”  In summary, the narrator is telling us that he is a player and since he is not charging for love lessons, she needs to catch what he is throwing at her.

‘Hard to Handle’ was a mainstay of the Grateful Dead’s live set from 1969 to 1971, where it was sung by Ron “Pigpen” McKernan.  There is not all that much left to say about this song, unlike my usual posts, but I have some great videos for you to watch.

Baby here I am
I’m the man on the scene
I can give you what you want
But you gotta’ come home with me

I have got some good old lovin’
And I got some more in store
When I get through throwin’ it on
You gotta’ come back for more

Boys will come along a dime by the dozen
That ain’t nothing but ten cent lovin’
Pretty little thing, let me light your candle
‘Cause mama I’m sure hard to handle now, yessir’am

Action speaks louder than words
And I’m a man of great experience
I know you’ve got another man
But I can love you better than him

Take my hand don’t be afraid
I’m gonna prove every word I say
I’m advertising love for free
So you can place your ad with me

Boys will come along a dime by the dozen
That ain’t nothing but ten cent lovin’
Pretty little thing, let me light your candle
‘Cause mama I’m sure hard to handle now, yessir’am

Yeah
Hard to handle now
Oh baby

Baby here I am
I’m the man on the scene
I can give you what you want
But you gotta’ come home with me

I’ve got some good old lovin’
And I got some more in store
When I get through throwin’ it on you
You got to come a-runnin’ back for more

Boys will come along a dime by the dozen
That ain’t nothing but ten cent lovin’
Pretty little thing, let me light your candle
‘Cause mama I’m sure hard to handle now, yessir’am

Hard
Hard to handle now
Oh yeah, yeah yeah yeah

Boys will come along a dime by the dozen
That ain’t nothing but ten cent lovin’
Pretty little thing, let me light your candle
‘Cause mama I’m sure hard to handle now, yessir’am

Yeah
So hard to handle now
Oh yeah

Baby
Good lovin’
Baby, baby
Ohh, good lovin’
I need good lovin’
I got to have it, oh yeah
Yeah
So hard to handle, now, yeah

Written for Song Lyric Sunday where the prompt is Best/Better/Good/Great.

37 thoughts on “I Can Love You Better Than Him

      1. Maybe. My musical knowledge I pretty crappy these days and doing the Pop Quiz on the radio over here I;m lucky to get three or four questions right! New bands I haven’t a hope on at all, and as for today’s charts, I can only remember The Sausage Song being the Christmas Number 1 in 2018!

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  1. Well this is special. I only ever knew the Black Crowes cover. The Otis & company version is better IMO. Very cool to see everyone else playing homage. Awesomeness!!!

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  2. It was fun to see the videos of the same song. That girl on the talent show was so good! I like the Otis Redding one and had never heard it. I’d heard the Black Crowes one a long time ago, and never liked it, probably because I didn’t care for the band. Haha – love the Mae West video, though. 🙂

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  3. Great coverage of this song, Jim. Love everyone of these covers! We watched Courtney Hadwin hit that stage when it first aired that night from the comfort of our sofa and were blown away. She went on to the finals and killed it when she did Janis Joplin during one of her other performances. Loved the post! 🙂

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  4. Great selection of covers!

    This was never a favorite Redding song for me and as I got older, he actually did sound like James Brown to me…and even though I liked the King of Soul, that’s not a compliment. 🙂

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  5. The very first CD I purchased was Otis Redding’s greatest hits. If you ever get the chance watch the documentary about STAX records. It’s really good. Really nice choice, Jim.

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  6. The first time I heard it was by the Black Crowes and then Otis Reading…and then the Pigpen version. I’ve come to like one the most.

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  7. Black Crowes was the first time hearing it so that one sounds best to me. Otis does it so well as does the girl on AGT. I cracked up over the Mae West video. Looks like a fun, campy movie. You saw it? Is it as bad as wikipedia says? I find it hard to believe it could be so bad with that song in it. Mae must have been about 80 years old there 🙂

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