|1. That's How Strong My Love Is|
|2. Chained and Bound|
|3. A Woman, a Lover, a Friend|
|4. Your One and Only Man|
|5. Nothing Can Change This Love|
|6. It's Too Late|
|7. For Your Precious Love|
|8. I Want to Thank You|
|9. Come to Me|
|10. Home in Your Heart|
|11. Keep Your Arms Around Me|
|12. Mr. Pitiful|
While his next album - "Otis Blue" - was more polished, more commercial and more successful, this often overlooked record is in many ways much more staisfying. Redding's singing is quite stunning, with heart-rending deliveries that make you believe that he means what he says. And, the back up from Booker T, Steve Cropper and the Stax "house band" is consistently creative and incisive. Many of the arrangements used here became standard reference points for the flood of "soul" (or, more aptly, "not really soul") records that were to follow. But, while Sam Cooke and Ray Charles fans may argue, this was where it all came together for the first time in a glorious, unified whole.
While the subsequent soul standards - "Mr Pitiful" and "That's How Strong My Love Is" - provide the opening and closing bookends, it is the numbers in-between that make this album really stand-out. If "soul" is the ability to capture emotions through music then, here it is. The sparse, single note piano arrangement and desperate lyrics on "It's Too Late" are breath-taking - alongside Ray Charles' "Someday Baby" one of the saddest tracks ever made; if the joy of love's enfatuation is what you're looking for then "Your One And Only Man" has it; and, for believable pleading, then "Come To Me" has never been bettered.
There's no R&B and, with the exception of "Mr Pitiful" (despite the title), no dance records. What there is, is a genuinely painful heart and... that's what "soul" - a much maligned musical label - is in fact all about.
If you like the slower tracks on "Otis Blue" then buy this... it won't disappoint.
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