PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Carl Hall: You Don’t Know Nothing About Love: The Loma/Atlantic Recordings 1967-1972

Compared to the singer, one does not know a thing about love. But feel it, yes one does!

Carl Hall

You Don’t Know Nothing About Love: The Loma/Atlantic Recordings 1967-1972

Label: Omnivore
US Release Date: 2015-06-23

The most frequent comment made by fans and critics about soul singer Carl Hall was that he sounded like a girl. Not in the Little Jimmy Scott style, where there is a sexual dynamic at work, but in the ultra-masculine black music convention that posited the higher pitch a man sang, the deeper his manliness and ability to feel joy and pain. Hall reinforces this conception through his strong performance style. He belts, begs and boasts with emotive energy. The listener feels the vocals more than hears them with one’s ears. This soul is for the body!

Hall’s recordings have been hard to find, and there weren’t that many of them. This new 19-track CD includes his six 45 RPM sides and 13 previously unissued cuts from the era. You Don’t Know Nothing About Love: The Loma/Atlantic Recordings 1967-1972 proffers a wealth of wonderful Soul music from its greatest period. Hall’s four-octave range gives him the ability to go to vocal extremes. He can plead long and loud one minute and then just go deep and mull the lyrics the next. It’s as if singing was an act of strength. Taking a song to its limits served as a badge of conviction: the further Hall went, the more persuasive and sincere he became.

The material lends itself to Hall’s thrilling vocals. Even a seemingly innocuous tune like “Dance Dance Dance”, with lyrics such as “Now listen, you can do the monkey / you can do the dog / you can shing-a-ling baby”, emits a powerful resonance as the singer asks his girlfriend not to dance to close to another man when the band plays a slow song. The title track is a slow burner that would sound right at home with the classic Soul tracks of the sixties. The gospel influence on Hall’s style is clearly evident in the intensity of his supplications. The horns blaring in back announce the glory in every sense of the word. By the time Hall’s finished, the listener realizes that compared to the singer, one does not know a thing about love. Know nothing, indeed. But feel it, yes one does!

There are some familiar songs on the compilation. Hall covers the Sammy Davis Jr. hit, “What Kind of Fool Am I”, The Beatles’ “Long and Winding Road”, the Irma Thomas / Rolling Stones’ “Time is On My Side” and a version of Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love” as “Need Somebody to Love”. The last cut mentioned offers an interesting example of Hall’s style. The word “need” belongs in the song’s title because Hall declares and implores his desire for love. The instrumentation gets downright sultry as this is no platonic request. The need is physical. The need for a body. To love. That means sex. There is no hiding from the truth here. Grace Slick sounds delicate in comparison—a term not usually linked to the formidable singer—but that’s how powerful Hall’s performance it.

There has been a soul music revival during the past few years, and Brit artists like Amy Winehouse, Adele, and Sam Smith in addition to Americans such as Sharon Jones, Raphael Saadiq, and Charles Bradley, have done much to restore the music to its grandeur. This disc is part of the ur-soil from which it emerged. It’s the real deal.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





The Mountain Goats Find New Sonic Inspiration on 'Getting Into Knives'

John Darnielle explores new sounds on his 19th studio album as the Mountain Goats—and creates his best record in years with Getting Into Knives.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 60-41

PopMatters' coverage of the 2000s' best recordings continues with selections spanning Swedish progressive metal to minimalist electrosoul.


Is Carl Neville's 'Eminent Domain' Worth the Effort?

In Carl Neville's latest novel, Eminent Domain, he creates complexities and then shatters them into tiny narrative bits arrayed along a non-linear timeline.


Horrors in the Closet: Horrifying Heteronormative Scapegoating

The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.


Johnny Nash Refused to Remember His Place

Johnny Nash, part rock era crooner, part Motown, and part reggae, was too polite for the more militant wing of the Civil Rights movement, but he also suffered at the hands of a racist music industry that wouldn't market him as a Black heartthrob. Through it all he was himself, as he continuously refused to "remember his place".


John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.


The Return of the Rentals After Six Years Away

The Rentals release a space-themed album, Q36, with one absolute gem of a song.


Matthew Murphy's Post-Wombats Project Sounds a Lot Like the Wombats (And It's a Good Thing)

While UK anxiety-pop auteurs the Wombats are currently hibernating, frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy goes it alone with a new band, a mess of deprecating new earworms, and revived energy.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.


In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.


Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.


Jazz Composer Maria Schneider Takes on the "Data Lords" in Song

Grammy-winning jazz composer Maria Schneider released Data Lords partly as a reaction to her outrage that streaming music services are harvesting the data of listeners even as they pay musicians so little that creativity is at risk. She speaks with us about the project.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 100-81

PopMatters' best albums of the 2000s begin with a series of records that span epic metal, ornate indie folk, and a terrifying work of electronic music.


The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.


'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.


1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.