my favourite voice of all time, it's soothing, powerful, somber - but most of all, his personality and warmth comes through every note he sang. i'm gonna talk about some of my favourite sam cooke things, ok? ok.
there is a definitive sam cooke release, it's not the anthology, or a studio album, it's a live album. recorded at harlem square club in 1963, it's just straightup bursting with joy. sam and his band are on amazing form, the crowd are going wild and you can really put yourself in the room; the sense of everybody just letting go and, to quote the final track, having a party. sam constantly interacts with the crowd, and it's so charming. In the middle of It's All Right/For Sentimental reasons he can't contain his happiness, and says "oh, i like this song!" and then gets an incredible singalong going.
i think it's my favourite album of all time, it doesn't take much to see why. some youtube moments:
bring it on home
LET ME HEAR YOU SAY, YEAH!
it's all right/for sentimental reasons
I DON'T CARE WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT YOU BABY
there is another sam cooke live album, at the copa 1964. this one's more of a showcase for sam's voice and the atmosphere is far more subdued. i think it's a worthy companion to harlem square club because his voice is always an incredible thing. here's a choice cut:
blowin' in the wind
he started out in the soul stirrers, a gospel group. there's about a million compilation albums of their stuff.
sam released two great albums in the 60s, night beat and ain't that good news.
i lost everything (from night beat)
and, of course, a change is gonna come (from ain't that good news)
there's a very good retrospective package called portrait of a legend which covers the soul stirrers and his later stuff, but personally i think ain't it good news is equally as consistent and wonderful.
an incredible voice.