Silver Rather Than Platinum,
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This review is from: The Platinum Collection (International Release) (Audio CD)
Unlike other great country soul artists like Arthur Alexander and James Carr who remain virtually unknown to the general public Percy Sledge will be remembered by all for his huge hit both sides of the Atlantic, When a Man Loves a Woman.
Percy who is a cousin of Jimmy[Steal Away ]Hughes grew up like so many black southern artists listening to white country music and the nasal delivery in his voice is clearly indicative of hill-billy and honky tonk singers . A prolific recording artist he has always preferred ballads to up tempo material .
When a Man Loves a Woman which was recorded in 1966 at Norala Sound Studio in Sheffield Alabama,seemed at first listen on playback to be a bit of a dud with out of tune musicians and also Percy himself singing off key ,but by the time a vocal chorus and horns had been added Quin Ivy and Rick Hall knew they had something rather exceptional ,a phone call to Jerry Wexler at Atlantic who grabbed it straight away and with Atlantic's distribution network this oddball with it's soulful descending bass line caught the public attention and gave Atlantic it's first Gold record
Two more big one's were to follow ,Warm and Tender Love and It Tears me Up. These were superb country soul recordings and had Sandy Posey Hershel Wiggington and Jeannie Green on backing vocal ,Jeannie's husband Marlin had played the country style guitar on When A Man''.
These three big ones are included on this CD along with other stand out tracks such as Out of Left Field which a lot of Percy aficionado's think is the best he has ever cut .Percy makes out very well on James Carr's ,Dark End of the Street and but is not so convincing on Solomon Burke's I'm Hanging up my Heart for You and his take on Presley's Love me Tender is open to debate.
From a personal point of view I wish the compiler had maintained the overall slow ballad feel throughout and not included two up-tempo numbers ,Put a Little Lovin' on Me and Love me like you Mean It ,but they are placed consecutively and some listeners may welcome a lively break.
Percy Sledge can be considered to be among the top five country soul artists and with his unique tremulous voice this bargain CD is a fitting example of his work.