Music Monday: January 24, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Saturday marked the 91st birth anniversary of an extraordinary soul pioneer. Sam Cooke was born January 22, 1931 in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Raised in Chicago, his first foray into music was in church courtesy of his father, a Baptist minister. When he was 15 Cooke began singing with a gospel group, The Soul Stirrers. In 1958 he released his first album of secular music, a mix of standards, Broadway tunes and one original track, the magnificent “You Send Me”.

Over the next six years Cooke would write & record many other songs, including “Cupid”, “Chain Gang”, “Another Saturday Night”, Wonderful World” and the civil rights inspired “A Change Is Gonna Come”. He also became an important member in the early days of that movement along side Muhammad Ali & Martin Luther King Jr. Cooke took an even bigger role in his career by starting his own record label (SAR Records) and publishing company (KAGS Music) to preserve his artistic legacy. Losing him in 1964 at age 33 was an unmitigated tragedy & one of music’s saddest moments. But more than six decades after his first hit record, Cooke remains one of the most important & enduring figures in music history. And rightfully so.

All of his songs are are wonderful beyond words but today’s song from his tenure with The Soul Stirrers is from my top five. His strong beautiful soulful and evocative vocal is stunning. I could listen to him sing the word “mile” for days and days and still not hear it enough. A suave elegant gifted performer with an unbelievable stage presence, Cooke defined the soul genre with every note he sang.

When I’ve gone the last mile of the way
I shall rest at the close of day
For I know there are joys awaiting
When I’ve gone the last mile of the way”.

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Muhammad Ali (left) in the studio with Sam Cooke (right) circa 1964. Courtesy of officialsamcooke.com. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Soul Stirrers: “The Last Mile Of The Way” (Recorded between 1950-1957. Written by Johnson Oatman, Jr.).

Stay safe & well.

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2021: Day 11

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.

day 11

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Sam Cooke is considered to be one of the preeminent soul artists in music history. During his career as a singer, songwriter, arranger & business man, Cooke was successful in nearly everything he did. He started performing as a gospel singer with The Soul Stirrers, then embraced secular music as the original soul crooner before playing a significant role in the civil rights movement. His influence was worldwide and inspired many artists, including Motown legend Marvin Gaye.

He was devastated by Cooke’s untimely death in 1964 but Gaye continued Cooke’s legacy of making stunning music with a social conscience. That extended to today’s holiday song which Gaye co-wrote in 1972 to express what his brother & others in service to our country in Vietnam were longing for every day, especially during the Christmas season.

I’d give anything to see
A little Christmas tree
And to hear the laughter
Of children playing in the snow
To kiss my baby under the mistletoe
“.

Sam

Marvin

Top: Sam Cooke circa 1960. Bottom: Marvin Gaye circa 1971. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Marvin Gaye: “I Want To Come Home For Christmas” (1990, written in 1972 by Marvin Gaye and Forest Hairston).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

Let’s Take A Moment Day 409

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

May 2021 blog

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day. And if this helps anyone else, even better.

On April 26, 1962 Sam Cooke went into the studio to record a couple of tunes he wrote himself that would go on to become two of his best known songs. Fellow R&B singer Lou Rawls provided the backing vocals on both tracks which were released less than two weeks later on May 8, 1962. The A side of the record, “Having A Party”, became a Top 20 hit that year.

Today’s song was the B side & reached #13 that year as well. Two of The Beatles-John Lennon and Paul McCartney-covered it during their solo careers and so did nearly two dozen other artists including Van Morrison, Aretha Franklin & Otis Redding, amongst others. But Cooke’s original version, based on a 1959 gospel record, was a throw back to his group in the same genre, The Soul Stirrers.

I know I laughed
When you left
But now I know
I only hurt myself”.

Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke circa 1960. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Sam Cooke: “Bring It On Home To Me” (1962, written by Sam Cooke).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.