Percy Sledge – When a Man Loves a Woman/Warm & Tender Soul (Edsel 5063)

27 tracks, highly recommended.

Percy Sledge.  The name conjures memories of the country soul classic from 1966, “When a Man Loves a Woman”, a song so achingly beautiful that it defies description.  But there was so much more to the man than that crossover masterpiece, as this two-LPs-on-CD set will attest.  Contained here are Sledge’s first two Atlantic albums, When a Man Loves a Woman and Warm& Tender Soul, both from 1966.  Recording in Muscle Shoals Alabama with musicians from Rick Hall’s FAME operation, Sledge lent his expressive voice to a mixture of then-recent soul hits and local writer material that made up the former album, the natural result of a hit single as massive as the title song.  While “Love Me All the Way” and “When She Touches Me (Nothing Else Matters)” are fine examples of the country soul Sledge excels at, it must be said that the musicianship on some of these songs is not up to the Memphis/Stax (or indeed the usual Muscle Shoals) standard of R&B quality control.  But that doesn’t stop “Success” from being a showstopper near the end of the album.  The follow up LP, like the first, was built around a (lesser) hit of the (sorta) title song, “Warm and Tender Love”.  However, the bigger hit was the impassioned “It Tears Me Up”, which kicks things off splendidly.  This time, the bulk of the material are covers (exception: “Heart of a Child”) which are hit (“I’m Hanging Up My Heart For You”, “A Sweet Woman Like You”) and miss (“That’s How Strong My Love is”, “Try a Little Tenderness”; neither is a patch on Otis).  Especially strong are Sledge’s versions of Jerry Butler’s “I Stand Accused” and Goffin/King’s “So Much Love”.  Taken as a whole, Warm and Tender Soul was a worthy second LP.  Naturally, with compilations of this sort, there’s gonna be bonus tracks; the ones here include the remake version of “When a Man Loves a Woman” (which was commissioned by Jerry Wexler when he deemed the original released version to be inferior, but it was never used), and “Sugar Puddin’” (the B-Side of “Warm and Tender Love”).  With the excellent liner notes and sound quality, this is as good a reissue of Percy Sledge’s first two platters as any R&B fan could possibly wish for.

 

  1. When A Man Loves A Woman
  2. My Adorable One
  3. Put A Little Lovin’ On Me
  4. Love Me All The Way
  5. When She Touches Me (Nothing Else Matters)
  6. Pouring Water On A Drowning Man
  7. Thief In The Night
  8. You Fooled Me
  9. Love Makes The World Go Round
  10. Success
  11. Love Me Like You Mean It
  12. It Tears Me Up
  13. I’m Hanging Up My Heart For You
  14. You Really Got A Hold On Me
  15. That’s How Strong My Love Is
  16. A Sweet Woman Like You
  17. Love Me Tender
  18. Warm And Tender Love
  19. Try A Little Tenderness
  20. So Much Love
  21. I Stand Accused
  22. Heart Of A Child
  23. Oh How Happy
  24. When A Man Loves A Woman [remake]
  25. Sugar Puddin
  26. You’ve Got That Something Wonderful
  27. (With) Every Beat Of My Heart

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