Percy Sledge

Take Time to Know Her

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After "When a Man Loves a Woman," "Take Time to Know Her" was Percy Sledge's biggest hit, and it leads off this 1968 album from the great Southern soul singer. Like "When a Man Loves a Woman," "Take Time to Know Her" was a mid-tempo soul ballad in which Sledge tells a tale of love that hasn't gone quite the way one might wish, and this musical template dominates much of the album, though to his credit Sledge had a gift for bending songs to his style with such skill that he finds new paths even when he seems to be going in the same direction. Sledge does offer a few interesting change-ups on this album -- there's an insouciant edge to his cover of "Spooky," he edges into his falsetto register on "Come Softly to Me," sounds downright jaunty on "I Love Everything About You," and revels in a rare opportunity to rock the house on "Baby Help Me." But most of Take Time to Know Her is classic Percy Sledge, with the singer pouring out loss, hurt and pleas for mercy while a crack organ-led and horn-enhanced studio band stirs the soup behind him, and the results are a blessing to anyone who loves classic soul of the '60s. Sledge didn't have the broadest range, but it's hard to imagine anyone not being affected by the skill and emotional potency of his work, and this album captures him in excellent form.

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