A visit to Memphis’ Stax Records Museum last month sparked an interest in a genre I’ve never paid enough attention: southern soul. To correct my listening flub, I’ve decided to spend some time with the expansive Stax-Volt Singles 1959-1968 box set and write about some note-worthy selections. The predictable place to start is with Stax’s — first known as Satellite Records — first recorded single, the Veltone’s 1959 tune “Fool in Love,” and since predictable is my middle name, this is where I’ll begin my weekly series Soulsville U.S.A.
The trebled blues guitar that opens “Fool in Love” sends a soft breeze that persists throughout the entire tune. More doo-wop than early soul, the Veltone’s light and easy tone undercuts the song’s ostensible despair. “Love was a game/ By your own rules/ I’m just a another one/ Of your fools/ I’m just a fool/ A fool in love with you.” The track’s brevity — running less than two minutes — helps to imply that the despair won’t last longer either. But maybe it will, since even small moments in life can have everlasting effects.