When you hear the words “soul man”, what would come first on your mind? Is it Jesus? Well, it should be. For who else can be best associated with those words than Jesus? The Holy Bible taught us who Jesus is. Conceived by the Holy Spirit, born in flesh by Mother Mary, died and rose again. But what made him a “soul man”? Listen to this hit song from American country singer Lawrence Reynolds depicting Jesus as a soul man.
Each stanza of the song encloses different illustrations of Jesus being a soul man. In the first stanza, for instance, He was likened to a figure that nowhere to be found. But the narrator affirmed Jesus’s presence in his heart.
Oh, they say He’s a square
That Jesus, He ain’t nowhere
I know better, He lives in my heart
Jesus is a soul man
His miraculous deeds were as well emphasized in the song verses. And with these, the narrator asserted in the chorus his being sold on Jesus.
He calms the waves when the storm is ragin’
Keeps me safe when the devil’s ravin’
He’s my staff, He’s my sword and my shield
Jesus is a soul man
Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego
The king, he said, In the fire you must go
He found out that the fire wouldn’t burn ‘em
They were saved by the soul man
The Song and Reynolds
“Jesus is a Soul Man” is Lawrence Reynolds’s hit single released in 1969. Selling over a million copies, the track was Reynolds’s claim to fame since he became widely recognized with it. Apart from being a featured artist at the “Grand Ole Opry,” Reynolds appeared as a guest in several TV shows. Among them were “The Tonight Show,” “The Johnny Cash Show,” the “Dick Cavett Show” and “American Bandstand.” Likewise, Reynolds performed the song live as a duet with country music legend Johnny Cash in the latter’s show in 1970.
Co-written by Jack D. Cardwell, the single peaked at No. 28 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. Stirred by this success, Reynolds released an album, with the same title – Jesus is a Soul Man, the following year (1970). The album has equally gained favorable reception among the fans. It hit No. 45 on the US Country Albums chart on the same year of its release. Meanwhile, the hit musical “Jesus Christ, Super Star” gave credit to the song being its inspiration.
Adding to the song’s success, many popular artists from various genres brought further fame to it with their own renditions. Such notable recordings included the versions of Hank Williams, Jr. in his album Sunday Morning out in 1969 and Conway Twitty on his 1973 album Clinging to a Saving Hand.
Other covers include Johnny Rivers’ 1970 single “Jesus is a Soul Man.” This was later enlisted in his compilation album Summer Rain: The Essential Rivers (1964-1975). His version also had a German translation “Schuhe Schwer Wie Stein.” Another recording of the song was made in that same year. Darell Adams made the cover for The Adams Family 1970 album Bridge Over Troubled Water. Five years later (1975), Roy Clark released his version of the song for his album Gospel: Songs of Strength.