Sam and Dave – Soul Man

Most of the obituaries of Isaac Hayes focus on the three S’s: Scientology, Shaft and South Park. But his biggest contribution was being half of the best song writing duo (along with David Porter) at the greatest record label of all time (Stax). He wrote the most underrated song in history The Soul Children’s The Sweeter He Is and the legendary Soul Man as recorded by Sam and Dave. With Hayes’s death, Sam Moore of Sam and Dave is one of the few remaining soul legends.

Soul Man works very well on the ukulele – the syncopated rhythms certainly help – but there are a lot of parts to it, so pay attention.

The intro goes like this:

Then it’s into the main riff.

The basic chords for the chorus are just G and F. The brass break is:

But you could play it strummed like this:

The high guitar part can be played like this:

And the low guitar part at the end of the chorus:

For the ‘Grab the rope…’ section, the chords are Eb – Bb – C – C# – Eb. That provides a key change, so now you have to play the intro one fret higher:

And the riff, which is quite tricky:

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  1. todd August 12th, 2008 6:58 pm


    I’m so glad you cover stuff like this on your page…..

    the early stax and motown stuff is great……….

    I tried selling the diversity of the ukulele to an upright bass player and drummer the other week who are totally addicted to the early ska stuff………… :)


  2. Woodshed August 12th, 2008 9:33 pm

    I’m a massive fan of soul music. There’s so much music I love that I rarely cover on here. Just because I can only do so much.

  3. JCMcGee August 13th, 2008 2:07 pm

    That’s a lovely wee bit of writing….and a great bit of TAB….how do you work this all out?

    Love that SOUL CHILDREN song…cheers for all this!

  4. Woodshed August 14th, 2008 10:01 pm

    Jimmy: That Soul Children song is fantastic. The whole of Dave Godin’s Deep Soul Treasures is just incredible.

  5. Ed August 28th, 2008 12:43 pm

    I absolutely love this song, but it’s been a long time since i’ve heard the Sam and Dave version, as i’m used to hearing some of the various covers of it, so thank you for a great tab of a brilliant song

  6. Woodshed August 28th, 2008 7:57 pm

    Ed: I don’t think any of the covers of this song come close to the Sam and Dave version. Even James Brown. Those two were great together.

  7. Darco October 10th, 2010 3:50 am

    You are the greatest person on earth.

  8. Woodshed October 12th, 2010 9:14 pm

    Darco: Ha ha ha. If that were true we’d all be doomed.

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