Carl Hall was one of the unsung heroes of soul music, a vocalist with a broad four-octave range who used his background in gospel music to fill his performances with a passion and fervor that set him apart from his peers. While Hall never scored anything approaching a hit record, he developed a cult following among soul music fans for the handful of singles he released in the '60s and '70s (especially among British followers of Northern soul), as well as for his work in movies (the 1979 film adaptation of the musical Hair) and on the Broadway stage (the original production of The Wiz, as well as the 1984 revival). You Don't Know Nothing About Love: The Loma/Atlantic Recordings 1967-1972 is a collection that brings together the two singles Hall recorded for Warner Bros. soul music subsidiary Loma Records and the one he cut for Atlantic, all three produced by noted songwriter and studio man Jerry Ragovoy. In addition, this collection includes 13 unreleased performances that further testify to the strength of Hall's voice and his ability to bring a song to life. While this is a bit short of a definitive Carl Hall collection -- it doesn't include any of his early gospel work or his secular material for Mercury, Columbia, or Martru -- the strength of these performances makes it clear he was a first-class talent who fell afoul of poor marketing, and selections like "The Dam Busted," "Need Somebody to Love," "Time Is on My Side," and the title cut are thrilling, boasting great studio arrangements and ovation-worthy vocals as Hall demonstrates the power of his high register. Hall died in 1999, and this is the first album-length collection of his work; it's a marvelous tribute to an artist more than worthy of rediscovery.
You Don't Know Nothing About Love: The Loma/Atlantic Recordings 1967-1972 Review
by Mark Deming