Listen to "Tramp" with Carla Thomas ( I REALLY have to strain my ears on that one)...you can hardly make out what they're saying and singing. Mr Pitiful is another...vocals somewhat muffled. Otis DID remix (and/or recut) several of his tunes for re-release at one point. I have two of Otis' Greatest Hits CD's and several of the songs were remixes...some of them even recut...including two distinct basslines on Respect and I've been Loving You Too Long was re-released with two entirely different tracks to name a couple. I just think that it took Otis some time to learn the engineering process as a producer...and I also believe that the recording equiptment he used may have improved over the years...but those horns...those parts are always right out front.
I gave "Mr. Pitiful" another listen, and while I don't think it's a big problem, it probably would have been better if the voice had been mixed a little higher.
I consider Otis' version of "A Change Is Gonna Come" one of the most emotional records I've ever heard. That, my preference to horns over strings on rock records, and my being an Otis fan cause me to prefer his version to Cooke's, even though I think Otis' changes to the lyrics are changes for the worse. Objectively, Cooke's version is of course greater.