Artist: Carl Hall
Album: You Don't Know Nothing About Love
Release Date: 05/08/2015
Soul man—no, not a blues brother, but a brother with blues—singer/songwriter Carl Hall brings a strenuous inflection of soul to the tracks on You Don’t Know Nothing About Love: The Loma/Atlantic Recordings 1967-1972.
Recalling the sound and expressiveness of the legendary James Brown, and infused with the delivery of El DeBarge (with his semi-androgynous voice), Hall engulfs himself within the enigmatic subject of love like no other. We’re brought into this roller coaster of emotions right from the jump. On the first track (the title track), the love guru brings listeners to attention, explaining the sacrifices he makes in order to keep his lover around. The song sets the mood and sound for the entire album. Each song brings a different perspective to the love spectrum, but Hall’s consistent vocals make the songs cohere, sounding like one long track.
Hall’s groovy, versatile, hard-hitting, ear-filling band helps make this album a smooth and jovial listen. Pain, passion and everything in between are expressed through Hall’s four-octave vocal range, which should impress even those who aren’t extremely fond of his lyricism.
Among the downtrodden and sorrowful tracks, Hall covers a few familiar songs (“The Long and Winding Road,” “Time Is On My Side,” “Somebody To Love”) and incorporates a few feet-tapping, head-bopping tunes. “Sometimes I Do” shows off his sassy lyrics while “It’s Been Such a Long Way Home” feels like a more up-tempo version of the Staple Singers‘ “I’ll Take You There.” The ultimate standout is “Dance Dance Dance,” an ironic tune in which Hall doesn’t approve of anyone coming near his lady on the dance floor and doesn’t want you to “dance dance dance” too close to her, even though the tune itself indeed makes you want to dance.
Hall does a tremendous job incorporating as much soul and wisdom in his lyrics as he can deliver. There are points where he may come off as a bit of a screamer, momentarily going off-key; however, it doesn’t detract from the passion evident throughout this album.