My father, a cranky Guyanese man we lovingly call the Tyrant, brought me up to appreciate good music. Well, more like he played good classic soul in the house on a regular basis and frequently told me my music sucked. (To be fair, it sort of did sometimes.) And so, because he blared Sam Cooke and Clarence Carter while mowing the lawn, the latter of which horrified my mom, I learned to listen to appreciate a lot of the greats. (Plus, playing “Strokin'” loud enough for the neighbors to hear and embarrass my mom? HI-LARIOUS.”)
So here are my favorite Sad Bastard classic soul songs. Hipsters think they have angsty pain music cornered, but these folks have been doing it and doing it better for years. And they don’t wear awful skinny jeans while doing it.
Little Anthony & The Imperials – Going Out of my Head
Oh, this one is one of those car songs that I get busted at the stop light with, belting out the lyrics and totally oblivious to the carful of teens staring in horror and amusement.
Suck it, kids. Me and Anthony, we got pain.
Otis Redding – I’ve Been Loving You Too Long
This could be one of those songs like “Every Breath You Take” that seems romantic, but totally isn’t.
BUT, I refuse to believe that. Otis would never do me wrong.
James Carr – To Love Somebody
Y’all think this is a bee-Gee’s song. And it is, sort of. Barry Gibb wrote it for Otis Redding before he died. (*SNIFF*) But this is a close version.
Donny Hathaway – I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know
How can you not go back to a man that sings to you like this. HOW?
Aretha Franklin – I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)
I heart Re-Re. (I can call her that, we’re close.) She does sass and sadness all in one song so well.
Does anyone else get the impression that she might be holding a gun on the guy she’s singing to?
Whatever, you know he deserved it.
Shirley Bassey– I Who Have Nothing
Broadway level angst. This actually isn’t my favorite version of this song; my favorite is by Ben E. King (What, you thought he only did Stand By Me?) and the only copy of the version I like is on this very slow-loading German site that looks sketchy. But it’s actually worth taking a look just for the crazy GIF’s in the video….
Ray Charles – Drown in My Own Tears
There’s no way I was going to leave Ray out of this.
Freda Payne – Band of Gold
To leave you on a high note. Even if it is a sad song about marriage gone wrong. But look! Bouncy ryhthms! Fun 70’s clothes! Terrible lip-synching!! Pretty pretty Freda Payne!! (Seriously, though, she’s gorgeous even with giant hair.)