NPR logo A Bold Soul Man Gets Bolder

A Bold Soul Man Gets Bolder

I'll Be Satisfied

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Ryan Shaw has the guts, and the powerhouse voice, to pull off a Jackie Wilson cover. hide caption

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Tuesday's Pick

  • Song: "I'll Be Satisfied"
  • Artist: Ryan Shaw
  • CD: This Is Ryan Shaw
  • Genre: Soul

To cover a song by the great Jackie Wilson takes a lot of gumption, not to mention a lot of voice. But since Ryan Shaw says people are always comparing him to Wilson — and Sam Cooke and Otis Redding — he figured he might as well try one of the late soul singer's classics on his debut album, This Is Ryan Shaw.

Shaw doesn't think oldies need to be recast in a hip new style, so his version of Wilson's "I'll Be Satisfied" lays down the same groove that set the song on fire back in the day: a frisky organ, burbling horns and a heavenly choir that lays down a cushy cloud of "ahhhs."

But when the church-trained belter from Georgia unleashes his pretty, gritty tenor, he's no mere imitator. Running down a checklist of what he needs from his beloved ("just a kiss / just a smile / hold my hand, baby / just once in a while"), he wails and growls, he swoops up an octave just because he can, and he sounds like a modern man who's hopelessly, haplessly in love. Shaw calls it the most difficult song to sing on his debut, but he never seems to break a sweat.

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Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

This column originally ran on June 5, 2007.

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