THE BARGAIN BUY: Percy Sledge; When a Man Loves a Woman

 |   |  1 min read

Percy Sledge: When She Touches Me
THE BARGAIN BUY: Percy Sledge; When a Man Loves a Woman

In his 1989 book The Heart of Rock and Soul; The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made, the American writer Dave Marsh has the title track of this album in at #31.

That's more than 100 places higher than Born in the USA, My Generation and the Sex Pistols' God Save the Queen.

Yes, it is that good.

As Marsh notes, it is "barely a record at all. It's just a guy singing his song, sparely accompanied by a rhythm section . . .".

Yet out of such simplicity is genius wrought because Percy Sledge pours his heart and soul into the lyric which is more than just a song about love, but what love can do.

"Lovin' eyes can never see" he sings towards the end, and that encapsulates the idea that not only is love blind but -- coupled with the passing lyrics about having been played for a fool -- the singer himself is the victim of a love betrayed.

Released in mid '66, When a Man Loves a Woman has become a soul staple ever since, but you'd be hard pushed to find a better version than Sledge's aching original.

The greatness of that song has meant it has lent its title to a few knocked-off Sledge (and others') collections, but it is best heard in the context of this, the original album.

Sledge could reach into those deeply hurting areas of the heart and he does it again here on When She Touches Me (Nothing Else Matters) in which he is prepared to put up with the pains and betrayals just for that loving touch: "I should leave her . . . but when she touches me . . ."

He also swings through the great You're Pouring Water on a Drowning Man and You Fooled Me -- other hurtin' heart songs about lies and deception -- but he remains the optimist (Love Makes the World Go Round) because "when a man loves a woman . . . "

Although, after Success ("to me success is being' loved by you") the album ends with Love Me Like You Mean It.

Few artists could channel Southern soul like Percy Sledge.

JB_logoAnd this essential album is just $10 at JB Hi-Fi stores here in a Japanese import edition which has a replica of the original cover and liner notes, plus lyrics (in English).

One of the great soul singers here captured at a peak. And that makes the album this week's recommended Bargain Buy

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   The Bargain Buy articles index

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Monkees; The Original Album Series (Rhino)

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Monkees; The Original Album Series (Rhino)

By the merest twist of fate, the history of popular American music 50 years ago could well have been very different if just one man had got a different job. Stephen Stills -- a wonderful... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Best of Roxy Music

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Best of Roxy Music

The career of Roxy Music was a game of at least two halves, what might call the innovative years followed by a gap then the sheen'n'polish of their second incarnation. It is the latter period... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Paul Revere and the Raiders: Greatest Hits (1967)

Paul Revere and the Raiders: Greatest Hits (1967)

Yes, a greatest hits collection does look a bit like cheating for an Essential Elsewhere album. But wait, there’s a good reason. Back in the mid-Sixties after the Beatles breakthrough... > Read more

Te Vaka: Olatia (Warm Earth/Ode)

Te Vaka: Olatia (Warm Earth/Ode)

This formerly Auckland-based and socially-conscious group have now relocated to Australia, but Te Vaka rarely played in New Zealand anyway. Theirs was always a bigger calling and they spend much... > Read more