Since Salvation South editor Chuck Reece began joining GPB every Friday, one of his most popular commentaries was about the great legacy of Southern soul music. This week, we’ve asked Chuck to treat us to some soul music that maybe we haven’t heard. He’s got two songs about desire that he believes we all ought to add to our libraries.

James Carr Album cover
Credit: File/Stock Image


Chuck Reece: Since Georgia Public Broadcasting invited me to spend a little time every Friday talking to you, dear listeners, about all things Southern, it turns out that my single most popular commentary was about the lasting legacy of Southern soul music. More people have listened to that little chat than anything I’ve said on any other Friday.

Now the last time we addressed soul music, we talked about legends like Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin. But beyond those legendary names, there is a world of Southern soul music that most folks have still never heard, so I figured: It’s time to listen to some!

Now, I’ve always thought that the best soul music is about desire — desire satisfied and desire unsatisfied. So today, we’re gonna visit both sides of that equation.

You know that feeling when you fall for someone who also falls for you — but you know it can’t go on, because, for one reason or another, it’s just wrong. But even so, you just can’t quit it, which means there’s no place left to see each other except …

MUSIC: (James Carr – “The Dark End Of The Street” )  “At the dark end of the street, that’s where we always meet, hiding in shadows where we don’t belong…

Chuck Reece: That’s the late, great James Carr, the son of a preacher man from Coahoma, Miss. That song is probably my favorite underheard soul tune of all time. Those lyrics put you right in that place where desire can never be truly satisfied.

Now, let’s flip the coin to the other side: desire satisfied. You know that feeling when the one you love — and will always love the most — has been away from you? And you just can’t wait until that moment when they get back home? What’s that gonna feel like?

MUSIC: (William Bell – “Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday”)  “Every day will be like a holiday when my baby, when my baby comes home.”

Chuck Reece: Nobody has EVER captured that feeling better than Mr. William Bell. He was born in Memphis, but he’s lived most of his life right here in Atlanta, Ga. And still, at 83 years old, Mr. Bell is writing great songs and making records. In fact, in April, he’ll release a brand new album called One Day Closer to Home. I can’t wait to hear it.

Now, I’ve always believed it’s really important to tell the story of that period in the early 1960s when young musicians — Black and white — had the courage to cut records together when most of Southern society condemned what they were doing. And how they made hits that the world still dances to today.

I encourage you to dig through all the Southern soul music and look for your own hidden gems. And do come visit us at

Salvation South editor Chuck Reece comments on Southern culture and values in a weekly segment that airs Fridays at 7:45 a.m. during Morning Edition and 4:44 p.m. during All Things Considered on GPB Radio. You can also find them here at and please download and subscribe on your favorite podcast platform as well.