The Superlatives - I Don't Know How
The song opens with a single uncertain cymbal before the tempo sets in. The moment the snare locks and the vibes chime in something deep within me is like "YES". The content is mostly perfunctory, as their tight harmonies sound like the best way they could've said "i really, really need you" even as they emphatically claim they "don't know how." The drums are played with such snap and groove and the whole affair sounds so crisp and taut that goddamn if she has the nerve to walk away. At the 2 minute mark- Wait for it... "HEY GIRRL!"

Little Richard - I Don't Know What you Got pt. 1 & 2
Little Richard's foray into Southern soul after his r&b/rock n roll hits on Specialty and subsequent gospel recordings on Mercury and Atlantic. The song was released on Vee-Jay shortly before the label went under. Written by Don Covay, a young Jimi Hendrix plays on the recording. This period of Richard's career is deemed a footnote to the "Tutti Frutti" days, but this is perfectly executed Southern soul.

Tammy Montgomery - I Cried & If You Don't Think
Before she performed her monster hits with Marvin Gaye as Tammi Terrell, she recorded for James Brown's Try Me label. Both of these songs were authored by Brown (they were briefly romantically involved) and showcase a diversity and grit not apparent on Montgomery's Motown sides . On "I Cried" she's wounded and pleading. On the flip she moves between tenderness and exasperation and, in the process, crafts the perfect answer to the Godfather's signature scream - her sharp, little *ow!* - endearing and furious. At Motown she'd perfect youthful sweetness, but would never again growl and yelp quite like this.

Renaldo Domino - I'm Not Too Cool to Cry
At age 12 I got my head slammed against a wall by the school bully. I remember, between breathless sobs, looking down at my paper boy hat flung to the ground and my plaid Mossimo vest, baffled by the poverty of appearances. Then I looked up and saw that my ex (who called it off abruptly after a month of furtive hand holding) was laughing at me. Anyway, this song is great.

Sam & Kitty - Love is the Greatest
In a lot of ways this song is a pretty conventional blues based number, the b-side to a sought after northern soul cut. But there's something deeply captivating here. It's really important that you listen to this song really loud. At a certain volume the seemingly routine guitar becomes crucial and the voices get appropriately large. The song steadily goes and somewhere along the way the whole thing becomes momentous. Love is the greatest.

Allen Gauff - I Don't Want to be Alone
This is a gospel number but it works just as well as an apocalyptic love song. "Right now the world is coming to an end/ And I just a-wanna, wanna be close to you."

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