Sad Bastard Songs: Classic Soul

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.)

12 comments on “Sad Bastard Songs: Classic Soul

  1. liz
    July 6, 2011 at 7:37 am #


    love love love.

  2. esposetta
    July 6, 2011 at 7:46 am #

    Band of Gold has been my jam since I saw Now and Then back when I was a little kid. Love it, know all the words, since it no matter where I hear it. My mom’s theory is that the husband is gay, but that has yet to be proven.

    • kindofamess
      July 6, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

      Oooo!!! Scandalous. I pictured him as some grifter who ran off after another big score…I might watch too much Law & Order…

  3. Virginia
    July 6, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    Love these! We’ve been working on a wedding playlist, and I can’t stop listening to the Otis Redding Pandora station…I may have a new favorite genre of music!

  4. Erin
    July 6, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    Oh Yes. Another daughter raised by a dad who knew good music sending you a high five, and thanks for my morning playlist 🙂

  5. ElfPuddle
    July 6, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    More mornings should start with Little Anthony!
    Thank you!

  6. Beylit
    July 6, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    Love it.
    Your dad mowing the lawn to music loud enough the neighbors could hear reminds me of my mom blasting Dean Martin and Nat King Cole loud enough that the entire block could hear it while we painted the back porch.
    The only music my dad ever blasted was Metallica at 6am to wake up my brothers hungover friends who were asleep on the living room floor. The sound of Inner Sandman to this day makes me think of greasy hungover teenage boys passed out on my living room floor.

  7. lizzie
    July 6, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    HOW did you get to be so funny?

  8. katiemaefritz
    July 6, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

    Three things:
    1. Nice.
    2. My dad brought me up with Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, Doobie Brothers and J.Geils… we took him to a J. Geils concert last summer and damn there were a lot of white men with no shirts on.
    3. That sketchy site is actually Dutch, not German.

    • kindofamess
      July 7, 2011 at 9:46 am #

      I assume all incredibly weird Euorpean things are German. Or Japanese, if it’s Asian.

      • Katie Mae
        July 7, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

        Fair enough. 🙂

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