Percy Sledge


Band members                             Related acts

- Percy Sledge - vocals

 

 

- none known


 

Genre: soul

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Warm & Tender Soul

Company: Atlantic

Catalog: 8132

Year: 1966

Country/State: Leighton, Alabama

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: mono pressing

Available: 2

Catalog ID: not listed yet

Price: $20.00

 

I'd love to be able to put my finger on it, but to my ears Percy Sledge has a unique soul sound that's completely different from any of his contemporaries. There's something about his slinky voice and the sense of desperation he injects into tracks like 'I'm Hanging Up My Heart for You' and 'That's How Strong My Love Is' that's irresistible.  

 

Reuniting with producers Quin Ivy and Marlin Greene, 1966's "Warm & Tender Soul" offered up a priceless mix of pop and soul hits.  While it lacked a mega hit like Sledge's debut album, the only real disappointments were a needless cover of Elvis Presley's 'Love Me Tender' and a half hearted cover of 'Try a Little Tenderness' (that simply can't stand up next to Otis Redding's version).  Propelled by material such as 'A Sweet Woman Like You', 'Warm and Tender Love' and 'So Much Love' the other eleven selections were classic soul. Elsewhere Atlantic pulled a couple of single from the LP:

 

- 1966's 'It Tears Me Up' b/w 'Heart of a Child' (Atlantic catalog number 45-2358 )

- 1966's 'Warm and Tender Love' b/w 'Sugar Puddin' (Atlantic catalog number 45-2343)

- 1967's 'Love Me Tender' b/w 'What Am I Living For' (Atlantic catalog number 45-2414)

 

"Warm & Tender Soul" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) It Tears Me Up   (Dan Penn - Linden Oldham) - 2:46

2.) I'm Hanging Up My Heart for You   (John Berry - Don Covay) - 2:35

3.) You've Really Got a Hold On Me   (William Robinson) - 2:50

4.) That's How Strong My Love Is   (Roosevelt Jamison) - 2:00

5.) A Sweet Woman Like You   (Joe Tex) - 2:30

6.) Love Me Tender   (Elvis Presley - Vera Matson) - 3:00

 

(side 2)

1.) Warm and Tender Love   (Bobby Robinson) - 3:17

2.) Try a Little Tenderness   (Harry Woods - Jimmy Campbell - Reg Connelly) - 2:42

3.) So Much Love   (Jerry Goffin - Carole King) - :55

4.) I Stand Accused   (Jerry Butler - William Bell) - 3:20

5.) Heart of a Child   (Marlin Greene - Bruce Gist) - 2:45

6.) Oh How Happy   (Edwin Starr) - 2:39

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Take Time To Know Her

Company: Atlantic

Catalog: SC 8180

Year: 1968

Country/State: Leighton, Alabama

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1334

Price: $40.00

 

How good was this album ?   Well, as far as I'm concerned, it would be on my desert island dozen listing ...   Produced by Quin Ivy and Marlin Greene, 1968's "Take Time To Know Her" may not have been the most diverse collection you've ever heard and it may have lacked a hit as big as 'When a Man Loves a Woman', but song for song, this was one of Sledge's most impressive release.  Admittedly Sledge didn't have the broadest musical palette you've come across.  Add to that, his voice was fairly limited and probably too gruff and quivering for many folks.  Similarly, he had a strong preference for ballads.  Exemplified by material like the heartrending title track, 'Feed the Flame', 'Out of Left Field', and 'Sudden Stop', his aural meat and potatoes remained the slow burn, heart on his sleeve ballad.  The thing about Sledge was that in spite of all those limitations he somehow managed to pull it off.  The guy sang with such a heartfelt sense of pain and loss, you could overlook the fact the album lacked much in the way of diversity.  There simply weren't many folks that could pull that trick off.   Giving Sledge credit where due, the album included a couple of surprises.  Sledge's cover of the old Fleetwood's hit  'Come Softly To Me' revealed a seldom heard falsetto.  His cover of the Classics IV's 'Spooky' was a surprisingly pop oriented tune.  Perhaps the biggest surprise - Sledge's cover of Bobby Womack's 'Baby Help Me' demonstrated he could handle up-tempo material with the same grace and enthusiasm as the ballads.  Three word summary ... buy this album.

 

"Take Time To Know Her" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Take Time To Know her   (Steve Davis - Al Gallico) - 2:55

Classic old-school heartbreak tune ...  classic Percy Sledge with that instantly recognizable warble in his voice and the  kind of old-fashion story-lyric that made you ponder the lyrics.  Shame more of us don't pay attention to such lessons.   Released as a single, it was one of Sledge's biggest hits.   As you can see from this 2008 performance at The Mountain Arts Center in Kentucky, Sledge was still in good form and the tune's still in his concert repertoire: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zM79SH0Zgg     rating: **** stars

2.) Feed the Flame   (Dan Penn- Spooner Oldham) - 2:20

Killer slow dance tune that should have been a massive hit for the man.  With that stabbing organ, the sound was instantly recognizable as a Sledge ballad.  rating: **** stars

3.) Sudden Stop   (Bobby Russell) - 2:45

Pretty, surprisingly pop-oriented ballad that served to showcase that instantly recognizable Sledge voice.   rating: **** stars

4.) Come Softly To Me   (Gary Troxel - Gretchen Christopher - Barbara Ellis) - 2:55

Nice cover of the old Fleetwood's hit.   Interesting to hear Sledge shift into a Little Richard-styled falsetto on this pretty ballad.   rating: *** stars

5.) Spooky   (Mike Sharpe - Harry Middlebrooks - Buddy Buie - J.R Cobb) - 2:50

Okay, The Classics IV original remains the classic performance (The Atlanta Rhythm Section turned in a decent over).  That sad, while it didn't stray to far from the original melody and arrangement, there was something charming and disarming in Sledge's cover.   Not sure if it was his drawling delivery, or the hyper upbeat backing vocalists.   Regardless, I love this cover.   rating: **** stars

6.) Out of Left Field   (Dan Penn - Spooner Oldham) - 3:09

You had to wonder how a pair of then-young white guys like Penn and Oldham could repeatedly come up with so many deep soul classics ...  Of course Sledge's guttural, Gospel-drenched vocals didn't hurt when it came to turning this into one of his best ballads.   rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)

1.) Cover Me   (Marlin Greene - Eddie Hinton) - 2:56

The leadoff single and one of the album highlights - there was just something special in the way Sledge delivered the lyrics; few singers can deliver the same mix of desperation and gratitude in the same breath.   The only flaw here was the song's short running time.   rating: **** stars

2.) Baby Help Me   (Bobby Womack) - 2:30

I've always been surprised that Sledge didn't record more up-tempo tunes.  This one was also interesting to hear given Sledge sounded like he been gargling with razor blades.   Great tune.  rating: **** stars

3.) It's All Wrong, But It's Alright   (Marlin Greene - Eddie Hinton) - 2:53

Country-soul ballad that was the album's only mild disappointment.   rating: *** stars

4.) High Cost of Livin'   (Donald Fritts - David Briggs) - 3:00

Stark, but pretty ,if second tier ballad.  rating: *** stars

4.) Between These Arms   (William Jenkins -  Howard Evan) - 2:40

Relatively breezy ballad with a killer organ solo.  rating: *** stars

6.) I Love Everything About You    (Dan Penn - Spooner Oldham) - 2:15

Another atypically upbeat tune with a touch of Dixieland jazz to the arrangement.  rating: **** stars

 

The three US singles were:

 

  

 

- 1967's 'Cover Me' b/w 'Behind Every Great Man There's a Woman'  (At:15lantic catalog number 45-2453)

- 1968's 'Take Time To Know her ' b/w 'It's All Wrong But It's Alright' (Atlantic catalog number 45-2490)

- 1968's 'Sudden Stop' b/w 'Between Two Arms' (Atlantic catalog number 45-2539)

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  The Best of Percy Sledge

Company: Atlantic

Catalog: SD-8210

Year: 1969

Country/State: Leighton, Alabama

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring, edge and corner wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: not listed yet

Price: $10.00

 

Given he'd only released four studio albums up to that point, 1969's "The Best of Percy Sledge" was probably slightly premature, though understandable from a marketing and sales perspective.  That opinion was underscored by the fact quite a few of the twelve selections weren't actually commercial hits.   That criticism aside, the compilation stands as a "must own" soul album. While you could grumble about the track lineup, the set served an invaluable purpose in compiling Sledge's isolated radio hits, as well as some of his classic album tracks (among them his cover of Bobby Robinson's 'Warm and Tender Love' and Chips Moman's 'The Dark End of the Street'). In keeping with the technology of the times, 'Warm and Tender Love'  and several other tracks were presented in re-channeled stereo.  For folks who keep track of such things, the album included one track off the debut LP; two performances off "Warm and Tender Soul";  three from "The Percy Sledge Way", and six from "Take Time To Know He".   A modest seller, the album reached # 133. (Always loved the goofy cover photo of Sledge ...)

"The Best of Percy Sledge" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) When a Man Loves a Woman   (Cameron Lewis - Andrew Wright) - 2:51
2.) Out of Left Field   (Dan Penn - Spooner Oldham) - 3:28
3.) Take Time To Know Her   (Steve Davis - Al Gallico) - 3:02
4.) Warm and Tender Love   (Bobby Robinson) - 3:14
5.) Just Out of Reach (Of My Two Empty Arms)   (V.F. Stewart) - 3:31
6.) The Dark End of the Street   (Chips Moman - Dan Penn) - 2:45

(side 2)

1.) Cover Me   (Marlin Greene - Eddie Hinton) - 2:47
2.) Sudden Stop   (Bobby Russell) - 2:44
3.) Baby Help Me   (Bobby Womack) - 2:20
4.) It Tears Me Up   (Dan Penn - Spooner Oldham) - 2:47
5.) My Special Friend   (Joe Simon) - 3:03
6.) You're All Around Me   (Eddie Hinton - D. Fritts) - 3:06

 

 



Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  I'll Be Your Everything

Company: Capricorn

Catalog: CP-0147

Year: 1974

Country/State: Leighton, Alabama

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: promo sticker on cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4839

Price: $15.00

 

1974's "I'll Be Your Everything" found Percy Sledge signed to Phil Walden's Capricorn Records.  Recorded in Muscle Shoals with former sidekick Quin Ivy in the production seat and backing from the cream of Muscle Shoals sessions players, the album marked a return to Sledge's musical roots.  While the collection didn't exactly top any of Sledge's mid-1960s masterpieces and his vocals occasionally came off as a little flat (''), the overarching results were seldom less than enjoyable. In fact the only real misstep was a needless cover of Kenny O'Dells' 'Behind Closed Doors'.  Unfortunately by the time this album was released public tastes had already begun to mutate towards more uptempo disco fair.  In hindsight it seems kind of strange, but on tracks like 'Walkin' In the Sun' and 'The Good Love' Sledge's country-soul sound simply sounded old school.  Clearly not a problem today since in hindsight this stands as a pretty impressive return to form.

 

Elsewhere, though neither did much commercially, Capricorn pulled a pair of singles from the album:

 

- 'I'll Be Your Everything' b/w 'Blue Water'  (Capricorn catalog number CPS-209)

- 1974's 'Behind Closed Doors' b/w 'If This Is the Last Time' (Capricorn catalog number CPN-220)

 

"I'll Be Your Everything" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Walkin' In the Sun   (Jeff Barry) - 3:37

2.) Behind Closed Doors   (Kenny O'Dell) - 3:47

3.) Make It Good and Make It Last   (Pete Carr - Wilson Pickett) - 3:53

4.) The Good Love   (Wendy Waldman) - 4:34

5.) I Believe In You   (Phillip Mitchell) - 3:06

 

(side 2)

1.) I'll Be Your Everything   (George Soule) - 3:19

2.) If This Is the Last Time   (Dallas Frazier) - 3:22

3.) Hard To Be Friends   (Larry Murray) - 3:12

4.) Blue Water   (Mark James) - 4:06

5.) Love Among People   (Phillip Mitchell - Ernie Shelby) - 3:15

 

 

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