He may not have been the most prominent soul singer of the 1960s and 70s but Percy Sledge had a distinctive country soul or southern soul style and a pleading voice with spiritual undertones. He made a lovely, flowing type of R&B with his stirring vocals and exceptionally melodious songs like the timeless When A Man Loves A Woman, Dark End Of The Street, Take Time To Know Her and Out Of Left Field.
This is authentic music from the heart, full of yearning and romanticism expressed in gripping imagery. The backing is similar to the sound of the great Stax artists, and his voice is often framed by lovely female vocals. These songs are all tuneful and moving compositions demonstrating the prowess of the Muscle Shoals musicians.
Highlights on this compilation include the aforementioned masterpieces plus Put A Little Lovin' On Me, Warm And Tender Love, True Love Travels On A Gravel Road, Push Mr Pride Aside and Cover Me. Worst of the omissions are My Special Prayer and Keep Your Arms Around Me.
This Platinum Collection is a good introduction to Sledge, but people who are really into deep soul are advised to investigate further as he was a prolific artist and there are many more, lesser known, but equally excellent tracks available elsewhere. Together with a couple of legendary artists on the Stax/Volt label, Sledge was the best exponent of this gripping type of country-soul, and his voice gave him the edge!