There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn
January 4, 2013 8:32 AM   Subscribe

Searching for soul music songs with a particular sound - not at all peppy or perky or loving - very minor key torch songs with a boil of a beat. Songs of the scorned.

I don't know the difference between Northern or Detroit or Memphis soul and all the other descriptors. I've listened to some Motown albums and Staxx but the songs I've listened to seem too happy or sweet or cheerful or tender or crooning for what I'm looking for here.

The songs I like have a pretty similar chord progression.

Old: I like Bettye Lavette's "Let Me Down Easy"

New: Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" and the song that inspired this post, John Legend's "Who Did That To You" from the Django Unchained Soundtrack

I have seen this previous question and the Mike Mitchell / Gene King "Never Walk Out On You" is a little slow, but the right feeling, more or less.

I have also heard the Budos Band and in fact first thought of this question when I saw a show of theirs in Brooklyn and in the many many hours before they finally came onstage, the venue was playing the most amazing old sad thumping soul that I have been trying to look for ever since. Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
posted by sestaaak to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
I wonder if Frankie Valli's (oft-remixed) "Beggin" might be along the right lines?

Plus if we're talking about cuckold soul, you can't beat Marvin Gaye :)
posted by greenish at 8:45 AM on January 4, 2013

Response by poster: Yes, Beggin is absolutely the kind of thing I'm looking for.
posted by sestaaak at 8:49 AM on January 4, 2013

Perhaps Aloe Blacc? I Need a Dollar
posted by edgeways at 8:51 AM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

You might take everything you list as liking and plug them into one Pandora station and see what it brings up. It can be hit or miss, but I've certainly found some great stuff going that route.
posted by edgeways at 8:52 AM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Perhaps Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings -- "100 Days, 100 Nights"?
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:55 AM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Albert King: Breaking Up Somebody's Home
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 8:57 AM on January 4, 2013

Response by poster: Pandora's been great for the newer stuff. I should have specified in the question that it's the old stuff I'm looking for, I don't know where to begin looking. I'll stop threadsitting now.
posted by sestaaak at 8:58 AM on January 4, 2013

Mayer Hawthorne: The Walk
posted by floweredfish at 9:02 AM on January 4, 2013

Ann Peebles' I Can't Stand The Rain, maybe? (Covered by Tina Turner, Seal, and The Commitments, among others.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:17 AM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I wouldn't be surprised if the venue you mention was playing stuff from the (ubiquitous at hip indie record stores) Numero Group catalog, a company that's been releasing a lot of obscure soul from unknown and defunct record labels. Lots of this stuff has a darker, more raw quality than the likes of Stax or Motown.

Some random examples:
There is a Light Shirley Ann Lee (This is from a gospel compilation but the vibe might be close)
Potter's Field - Alice Swoboda
You Can't Blame Me - Johnson, Hawkins, Tatum and Durr
I Was Made to Love Her Theron and Darrell

Playlists are available at their official site - a few of my favourites: The Capsoul Label, The Deep City Label, The Outskirts of Deep City and Smart's Palace.
posted by Lorin at 9:33 AM on January 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

Love and Happiness by Al Green has a minor key mournful sound over a slow, steady, trance-inducing beat.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:58 AM on January 4, 2013

Best answer: This is a podcast recommendation, not a specific answer, but Downtown Soulville has a lot of dark soul, at least a couple per episode, and it's mostly obscure 45's that you won't hear elsewhere.

Bonus: the show is an instant party playlist. Just put on an episode and you're guaranteed to have people asking you what it is, a la that High Fidelity scene.
posted by Beardman at 10:01 AM on January 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

Aretha Franklin - I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:21 AM on January 4, 2013

I think you would like the entire record "Night Beat" by Sam Cooke.
posted by jbickers at 10:46 AM on January 4, 2013

I was going to recommend the Numero Group label and their Eccentric Soul series, but I see Lorin beat me to it.
posted by RabbleRabble at 10:56 AM on January 4, 2013

Literally released like 3 days ago: Walk of Shame by Clairy Brown and the Bangin' Rackettes.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:06 AM on January 4, 2013

The Impressions - You Must Believe Me
Curtis Mayfield - Now You're Gone
posted by hydrophonic at 11:17 AM on January 4, 2013

The Wailers - "It Hurts to Be Alone"
And for stripped-down wailing, soulful sorrow, you can't beat the Staple Singers in their VeeJay Records era. Here's "This Could Be the Last Time" as an example.
posted by Rykey at 12:37 PM on January 4, 2013

Best answer: Etta James Only Time Will Tell (among others - it's a little slower, but that's my favourite. SO SCORNED.)

Marie Queenie Lyons See and Don't See (though this is from a fantastic album, period)

Maxine Brown Darling Be Home Soon (or, We'll Cry Together)

Seconding Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings - as the Budos Band's labelmates, they play each others' music before sets. Try Tell Me?

Marva Whitney If You Love Me or I'm Tired I'm Tired I'm Tired

This gets a little funkier, but Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears I'm Broke

Vicki Anderson Message from a Soul Sister

and, perhaps, this version of To Love Somebody by Nina Simone?
posted by peagood at 5:30 PM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

How about a little Nicole Croiselle?
posted by d11 at 5:36 PM on January 4, 2013

Oh - and I can't recommend anything from this yet, as I have yet to watch it - but it looks like some good stuff will be in the Wheedle's Groove DVD that mrgood put in my stocking this Christmas. Because I like Little Love Affair by Patrinell Staten.
posted by peagood at 5:41 PM on January 4, 2013

Johnny Rivers - Poor Side of Town
Smokey Robinson - Track of My Tears
James Brown - Try Me
Percy Sledge - Bring It On Home to Me
Percy Sledge - The Dark End of the Street
Solomon Burke - Since I Met You, Baby
posted by maggieb at 11:08 PM on January 4, 2013

Oh my. Sort through this interesting digital dump.
posted by maggieb at 11:38 PM on January 4, 2013

Hey, good ones maggieb, but ya missed Percy Sledge's Take Time To Know Her, the ultimate in cuckold songs...

Well it looked like everything was gonna turn out all right
And then I came home a little early one night
And there she was, kissin' on another man
Now I know what mama meant, when she took me by the hand, and said
Take time to know her

and the great Misty Blue by Dorothy Moore
posted by PaulBGoode at 8:30 PM on January 5, 2013

Response by poster: Folks, thanks for all the recommendations. For anyone still reading along, I've compiled a stash of songs that fit my minor-key bill fueled by your suggestions and the Youtube wormholes of vinyl collectors that this led me down - and THANK YOU Lorin for introducing me to Numero! What a treat.

John Davis - You've Got To Crawl To Me
Renaldo Domino - Not Too Cool to Cry
Shirley Ann Lee - There's a Light
Sheila Jack - I've Got to Have You
Fred Williams & The Jewels Band - Tell Her
Tokay Lewis - What Can The Matter Be
Lynn Williams - Don't Be Surprised
Helen Smith - True Love Don't Grow On Trees
The Rising Sun - One Night Affair
Snoopy Dean - Your Love Won't Let Me Leave You
Marion Black - Listen Black Man
Velma Perkins - Yes, My Goodness, Yes
The Mist - Life Walked Out
Marion Black - Who Knows What Tomorrow Will Bring
The Moovers - Darling I'll Go
Paul Kelly - The Upset
Helen Smith - Pain In My Heart
The Moovers - Someone To Fulfill My Needs
Them Too - Am I A Good Man
Irma Thomas - Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)
Irma Thomas - Wish Someone Would Care
Bettye Lavette - You'll Never Change
The Animals - Don't Let Me Be Missunderstood
The Animals - House of the Rising Sun
Etta James - I'd Rather Go Blind
Mary Ann Fisher - I Keep Comin' Back For More
Etta James - All I Could Do Was Cry
Joe Medwich - You Little Heartbreaker
Tommy Jay - Springtime's Coming
Len Johnson - Sweet Thing
Buddy Ace - Screaming Please
Jean Bank - Jailer
Bessie Banks - Go Now
Etta James - Nobody Loves You Like Me
Mary Lou Williams and Group - You Know Baby
The Mighty Hannibal - The Right To Love You

I have all of these, some that you suggested, and some newer songs like Sharon Jones etc, in a Youtube playlist that I can share via meMail. Happy scorning!
posted by sestaaak at 9:09 AM on January 7, 2013

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