Wednesday, June 26, 2013

SAM COOKE WITH THE SOUL STIRRERS "The Complete Specialty Recordings"

SAM COOKE WITH THE SOUL STIRRERS "The Complete Specialty Recordings": This is a fascinating document. Presented in chronological order (aside from a few live songs tacked on to the end), it charts the growth not just of Sam Cooke as an artist, but the slow birth of secularized soul from 50's gospel roots. All the recordings sound great, and credit most be given to the folks at Specialty for preserving the masters - outtakes included - with such obvious care. The earliest material here, from 1951, would probably be considered "pop gospel" for the time. It flows nicely, isn't much for histrionics and makes for smooth listening. If you didn't know better, it might take you a song or two before it becomes obvious that it's Sam Cooke singing, and not just some guy who maybe sounds like him. But by 1953, Cooke's vocal style is impossible to mistake; he dominates the songs, and when Paul Foster pops up now and then, the contrast between his "blacker" gospel voice and Cooke's velvet tone is amazing - and it's not that Foster isn't amazing too, by the way. By the third disc, the line between gospel and pop has become utterly blurred - a song like "I'll Come Running Back To You" has as good a claim to be the first "soul" song as any. It's obviously gospel-influenced, and the lyrics are ambiguous enough that you could make a claim for it being a gospel tune, but . . . something, somehow has changed. Aside from historical importance, it's a riveting song and possibly Cooke's single best performance.
The attractions of this box are its completeness, great sound and nice packaging. If you're inclined to by anything of Cooke's beyond a simple greatest hits collection, I'd urge you to buy this package - there isn't really one single-disc distillation of this material that covers all the bases covered here, so by the time you buy the two or three that might, you'd pay about as much as you would for this.
There are only a few rare packages that convey so beautifully an important aspect of important American music, whether it's the Nuggets box or the Anthology Of American Folk Music. This is clearly in the league; any music fan with expansive tastes should own it. (Amazon)

trax CD 1:
01 Come, Let Us Go Back To God 02 Peace In The Valley 03 I'm Gonna Build On That Shore 04 I'm Gonna Build On That Shore 05 I'm On The Firing Line 06 I'm On The Firing Line 07 Joy, Joy To My Soul 08 Until Jesus Calls Me Home 09 Jesus Done Just What He Said 10 sam Cooke - Jesus Gave Me Water 11 He's My Rock (Wait On Jesus) 12 How Far Am I Canaan 13 Christ Is All 14 It Won't Be Very Long 15 It Won't Be Very Long (Take 1 Alternate) 16 It Won't Be Very Long (Take 2 Alternate) 17 Jesus Will Lead Me To That Promised Land (Incomplete Take 1 Alternate) 18 Jesus Will Lead Me To That Promised Land (Incomplete Take 2 Alternate) 19 Jesus Will Lead Me To That Promised Land 20 Just Another Day 21 Let Me Go Home (Take 1 Alternate) 22 Let Me Go Home 23 Jesus Paid The Debt 24 Jesus Paid The Debt (Take 2 Alternate) 25 How Far Am I Canaan 26 How Far Am I Canaan (Incomplete Take 1 Alternate) 27 How Far Am I Canaan (Incomplete Take 2 Alternate) 28 Someday Somewhere 29 Someday Somewhere
trax CD 2:
01 Come, Let Us Go Back To God 02 Peace In The Valley 03 I'm Gonna Build On That Shore 04 I'm Gonna Build On That Shore 05 I'm On The Firing Line 06 I'm On The Firing Line 07 Joy, Joy To My Soul 08 Until Jesus Calls Me Home 09 Jesus Done Just What He Said 10 sam Cooke - Jesus Gave Me Water 11 He's My Rock (Wait On Jesus) 12 How Far Am I Canaan 13 Christ Is All 14 It Won't Be Very Long 15 It Won't Be Very Long (Take 1 Alternate) 16 It Won't Be Very Long (Take 2 Alternate) 17 Jesus Will Lead Me To That Promised Land (Incomplete Take 1 Alternate) 18 Jesus Will Lead Me To That Promised Land (Incomplete Take 2 Alternate) 19 Jesus Will Lead Me To That Promised Land 20 Just Another Day 21 Let Me Go Home (Take 1 Alternate) 22 Let Me Go Home 23 Jesus Paid The Debt 24 Jesus Paid The Debt (Take 2 Alternate) 25 How Far Am I Canaan 26 How Far Am I Canaan (Incomplete Take 1 Alternate) 27 How Far Am I Canaan (Incomplete Take 2 Alternate) 28 Someday Somewhere 29 Someday Somewhere
trax CD 3:
01 The Last Mile Of The Way 02 He's So Wonderful 03 Touch The Hem Of His Garment 04 Jesush, Wash Away My Troubles 05 Farther Along 06 Must Jesus Bear This Cross Alone? 07 Pilgrim Of Sorrow 08 Happy In Love 09 I Need You Now 10 I'll Come Running Back To You 11 Lovable 12 I Don't Want To Cry 13 That's All I Need To Know 14 Forever 15 Lord Remember Me 16 That's Heaven To Me (Take 1 _ Alt.) 17 That's Heaven To Me 18 Where You There _ [False Start] (Takes 1-4) 19 Where You There _ (Take 5 _ Alt.) 20 Where You There? 21 Mean Old World (Take 3 _ Alt.) 22 Mean Old World 23 I Have A Friend Above All Others 24 Be With Me Jesus 25 Nearer To Thee
...served by Gyro1966...