With a voice as undisputedly amazing as his, Carl Hall should have been a bigger deal. With a four-octave range that he first unleashed on gospel recordings and later on Broadway and film musicals, Hall recorded a handful of soul sides in the late 1960s and early 1970s that have remained in the vaults for decades. Until now, that is.
Thanks to the folks at Omnivore, we can all revel in that voice on “You Don’t Know Nothing About Love,” a 19-track release — including 13 previously unreleased cuts — that features Hall’s six soul singles from the era. The title track is the centerpiece of the 65-minute slab, but Hall also impresses with covers of The Beatles (“The Long and Winding Road”), The Rolling Stones (“Time Is on My Side”) and The Jefferson Airplane (“Need Somebody to Love”).
“The stratospheric four-octave vocal range of Carl Hall was truly a gift from on high,” musicologist Bill Dahl writes in the line notes. “No less an esteemed authority than Anthony Heilbut declared him the finest male soprano in gospel. But after establishing himself in the sacred field, Hall crossed over to the secular arena, cutting a series of mesmerizing soul singles that showcased his uncanny vocal mastery.”
Additional keeper sinclude “He’ll Never Love You,” “The Dam Busted,” “What Kind of Fool Am I?” and “It’s Been Such a Long Way Home.” Highly recommended. (Jeffrey Sisk)