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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Live At The Harlem Square Club

Sam Cooke

1963

Wikipedia

Live At The Harlem Square Club

Rating

3.81

Votes

3623

Reviews

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5

My favorite moment on the album happens during "Somebody Have Mercy" towards the end when Swingin' Sam wails about how there's something wrong with him. "It ain't that leukemia," Sam answers. "That ain't it." This album never fails to put me in a great mood. It's just an all-around joy, and Sam Cooke is having such a good time that he encourages everyone in the audience (and by association, everyone listening) to keep the party going well beyond the final song. When the pandemic started all the way back in March, 2020 and it became obvious we were all going to spend an extended amount of time quarantining, I bought digital copies of this album and Sam Cooke at the Copa. It's not an exaggeration to say both albums got me through that first part of the pandemic. I longed to be at those performances with people singing every word and having the time of their lives. God bless the late Sam Cooke. Dude found a way to enthrall listeners who weren't even born - hell, people who wouldn't even be a dirty thought for decades to come - when he played the Harlem Square Club. That's the mark of a true legend.

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3

Good goddamn, I wanns be in that room, sloppy drunk, right next to the sax player. Josh may not be a live album guy but I'm hoping if there's any album that can convince, it's this one. Or maybe Cornell 77. I love that live albums recorded back in the mid 60s didn't isolate the music from the audience. Soundboard recordings sound great and clean but miss the whole premise of a performance for an audience, and this one is rowdy as hell. All I could wish is that his songs were a little more varied than the pop doowoppy swing stuff and this could be one of the best live albums around. B

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5

Totally electrifying live performance, raw and raucous but still note-perfect — breathes new life into songs I've heard to the point of fatigue

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5

This is the album that convinced me that I like live albums. Breakneck pace, just an absolute amazing, iconic performance

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3

I like the small amount of Sam Cooke I've listened to (like on anthology collection, and my wife blasting "A Change is Gonna Come"). However, I hate live albums so not really the target audience for this. It sounds like it was on hell of a night. Sam gives it a raucous soul feel. Lots of hyping up the audience and getting everyone dancing. I can see the value of the release, since you don't hear this energetic, unrestrained style of singing on his studio material. Also interesting back story (recorded in 1960s, shelved until 1980s for not being friendly enough for white customers). I still don't really see the appeal of sitting around listening to a recording of a concert. And soul is not a genre that particularly does it for me.

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5

I can only imagine how great he was live. Would have loved to see him

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5

This was fantastic. Sam Cooke has an incredible voice - so much soul and feeling going into every song. Well worth multiple listens.

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5

First time listening: 10/10 songs liked I rarely save live songs, so this won't add to my gigantic list, HOWEVER. I will save this album as a consideration to listen to constantly, because it's a beautiful treat to behold. The raw energy of sam cooke and the crowd play together so well. No songs saved

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5

Favs: Cupid, Twistin' the Night Away, Bring It On Home to Me, Having a Party, Chain Gang Mehs: Medley: It's All Right/For Sentimental Reasons I'm usually not much for live albums, but the energy of the crowd here and his crowd-work makes this one incredible (crowd-work is especially fun on "Chain Gang," a song my mom used to sing all the time). “Having a Party” and “Cupid” just make you feel good. Cooke's raw but smooth voice is a favorite. I always sit and feel impressed that this is his voice live. Great soul; great sax.

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5

Wow. Familiar with many of Sam Cooke's songs, but not with this album. Love the grittiness and power, plus it's easy to hear how incredible he was as a performer. I read the Wikipedia entry on the album and then the one on Sam Cooke. Fascinating and tragic personal story. Back to this album: can absolutely hear why this album is consistently high up on so many lists. Can absolutely hear how his sound influenced countless artists who followed.

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5

Holy shit. I have been sleeping on Sam Cooke. This album is so amazing, definitely one of the best live albums I've ever heard in my life. If not the very best. His vocal quality, his interactions with the crowd...what a gifted performer. The magnetism shines through so well that it feels like you're there even without a visual. Amazing. Definitely would re-listen to the entire setlist.

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5

I know Sam Cooke but had never heard any live recordings. This is an absolute belter. An amazing band and his voice is sixties soul perfection. Had to play this twice as didn’t fully focus the first time and wanted to make sure it really was that good. This is how music should be - full of energy, emotion and refined talent let loose on great tunes. Loved it.

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4

It started pretty decent, but every subsequent song got better and better, culminating with an amazing live version of Bring it On Home. Close to a 5, but a few "live album-isms" hold it back.

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4

I didn't expect this to be this fucking awesome. Chain Gang is a real banger. I'm very impressed with this.

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5

Better than I expected. Has a really enjoyable mood.

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5

Love it, would buy.

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5

So fun, so catchy. Sam Cooke is wonderful.

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5

Brilliant exactly what you would expect

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5

Oh hell yes. Best soul singer of all time.

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5

Now I'm getting this whole including live albums list, this one is amazing.

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5

I'm soul. This is soul. This is life

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5

I love this album. 10

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5

A gold standard for live records. Soulful, fun, and the energy between Sam, the band, and the crowd is out of this world.

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5

i like live albums and this rocks, 10

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5

just an amazing live album. would be a 9/10 so 5 stars from me. bring it on home to me *adore*

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5

Fucking love Sam Cooke.

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5

Excellent

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5

This album is so good. I put it on and it was over before I even realized it. This thing really moves!

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5

Loved this album also listened to more of his stuff and have listened to a lot more Sam Cooke than had previously thought.

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5

One of my favorite live records ever. Sam’s got the audience in the palm of his hand.

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5

Loved this, would like the LP. Really upbeat, make you smile kind of music. Yay!

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5

Лайв, по качеству исполнения подобный студийнику. Не будь звуков толпы - даже в студийноси бы не засомневался особо. Хотя, помнится, кто-то промышлял тем, что поверх сырых студийных записей просто звуки толпы накладывал. Но да не суть. Слышно, что Сэм Кук просто горит тем, что делает. Ни один трек не перетягивает одеяло на себя, и ни один выкинуть не хочется. А сам Сэм своими партиями будто стремится взять за яйца каждого посетителя клуба. Этот подход же из баптистских хоров пошёл, где через душевную энергетику существует стремление показать на чувственном уровне, что бох есть. И ведь негатива не вызывает, честный приём же. Когда веруны в качестве аргументации приводят существование "духовных переживаний", "особого опыта", что не доступны неверунам, хочется сказать что-то типа "Йоу, пацаны, го слэм". Сама суть искусства ведь восполнять все потребности внутреннего мира. Тут мы имеем, что мощный кусок верунской культуры откололся от своей основы и стал частью культуры общей, разумистической. Ну утратив при этом своего созидательного начала. И это очень хорошо.

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5

Only 8 years in the business. This album is raw and his showmanship skills are evident the way he interacts with the crowd. Love this album.

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5

Hoo boy, I'm not the biggest fan of live albums but I'll listen cuz it's on the list. Actually ya know what, this is good so far. I'm into it. This is just the first song. This was a fun album and it perked me up while listening since I've been stressed today. That deserves a 5.

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5

Amazing album, truly. I felt the animation of the atmosphere as well as the late Sam Cooke. Emotional really

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5

Great. Awesome live album. Bring it on Home is the highlight for me.

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5

felt like being there! what a party!

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5

Loved it.

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5

bastante energico

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5

Favorite Tracks: Chain Gang Cupid Twistin' the Night Away

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5

Amazing soulful voice.

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5

Sounds like the best party ever

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5

Jazz. Great concert vibes.

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5

Pedazo de directo. Un torbellino de soul sin descanso...

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5

Loved listening to this and feeling like I'd been transported to Harlem in the 60's. His voice sounds even better live.

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5

Gospel, soul and pop mixed together in an intimate sounding live album. Great stuff

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5

Incredible album. Such a fun performance.

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5

Rating: 10/10

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5

This energetic show features heavy Chubby Checkers and Isley Brothers influences along with 1950's soul and R&B in general. Sam Cooke's delivery is incredibly charismatic. One of the great joys of this performance is just how much fun Cooke and his audience are having. It sounds like an absolute frenzy. Cooke's voice seemingly does not tire. It is truly a remarkable performance.

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5

Really fun album. Looking forward to listening to this again.

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5

Enjoyed it. Fun performance and like the live crowd environment. That sax was great.

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5

Amazing albums from a legend

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5

Over a decade ago i downloaded a live version of Bring It On Home To Me from a livejournal community. I never knew the source. Today i found it!

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5

This album is fire! 🔥🔥🔥

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5

tasty jazz

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5

Great discovery. 5/5

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5

Tellement bon, un plaisir fou a ecouter cela. Ca vaut le detour et une reecoute. Un super artiste et album et d’habitude je n’aime pas top le live en audio. 5*

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5

One of the great live albums of all time - and yet they sat on it for 20 years before releasing it?!? Madness. What a voice, what a man, what an album. I'd have given everything to be in the audience. Bliss.

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5

Amazingly good. So much energy and spontaneous live feel but also polished and delivered with pinpoint accuracy.

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5

A tour de force from one of the greatest male vocalists of all time.

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5

How have I not heard this album before. Feel It is a banger. Excellent setlist. Very danceable.

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5

4.5/5. Very raw performance, lot of energy. Very very good.

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5

'Course I Feel the Feelin

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5

Great fun, some nice classic rock and roll

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5

The king of R&B, killing it throughout the entire album. Brilliant, and perhaps the best live album I've ever heard.

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5

soulful genius, swinging and raising the roof

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5

Absolute heaven. Imagine being there that night.

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5

Absolute classic

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5

Just smooth and fun to listen to

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5

Songs had me up grooving

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5

Best Sunday morning.

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5

fucking swinging

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5

muito bom

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5

It’s Sam Cook. It’s got to be great.

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5

Raw and tight - the live versions are far superior to the studio recordings. What a voice. You feel that Sam was constrained on record.

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5

Growing up my parents had several Sam Cooke records that I used to commandeer and play on my record player (I think manufactured by Fisher Price). I was singing along to “Chain Gang,” “Cupid,” “Twistin’ The Night Away” and “Having a Party” from a very early age. I was very excited to have this live album come up, and after listening I’m not disappointed! Sam Cooke is incredible and this is one hell of a One Night Stand. It’s a grittier performance than his studio albums that really surprised me - an amazing performance in front of a really exciting, raucous audience! Besides wishing it was longer (where is “You Send Me” - there’s just that tease at the end of track 7 - and “Another Saturday Night”?) I loved every minute of this.

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5

This was just great. Soulful and energetic. One of the best.

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5

This one was a great listen. I had fun and Sam Cooke's vocals were right on the mark! I have my handkerchief ready!

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5

This was pretty incredible. I am realizing how good a live album can be. This was such a very alive performance, and hard to imagine that it was shelved for 20 years for being too "raw." I loved it.

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5

I would have loved to see Sam in person. What a soulful and talented singer. Great album!

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5

Lot of Sam Cooke's popular songs were on this and live. Loved it.

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5

very cool

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5

Now this is what I’m talking about - shagadelic baby

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5

Wow. This was an ELECTRIC performance. I'd heard a few songs by Sam Cooke before, but I'd never given him a proper listen. This was outstanding. I love live albums and this must have been outstanding to see live. This entire album was absolutely rocking and Sam Cooke was a tour de force.

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5

Best Song: For Sentimental Reasons. When the crowd starts singing along and Cooke still soars over top... To be in that room. Worst Song: Twistin' the Night Away. Just not a fan of the twist. Overall: The live setting really works well here. The recording sounds very close, as if the band is grouped tightly together in the corner of a small bar or club. And there's just something about the way you hear idle chatter in the background, the way Cooke rambles and adlibs these little bits. It feels like the audience isn't all stuck, shoulders squared to the stage, watching the music, but are letting themselves enjoy the music and each other. It feels like I can hear dancing. A surprisingly romantic album.

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5

I knew some Sam Cooke, but this album made me a Sam Cooke FAN. This is easily one of the best live albums I have EVER heard. Sam is just as magical and energetic on a live album as he is in studio recordings. If anything, he's even more so in a live environment, where he is able to have these amazing interactions with the audience. He mixes a powerful, electrifying presence and untamed, raw vocals in with all of the quintessential Sam Cooke qualities that already made him great. It's a crime that this album was shelved for 20 years before it was finally released. In a world full of questionable live albums, this album shines as a prime example of what a live album should be. It has big energy, but feels intimate; I really felt transported to the moment. It made me wish I could have physically been there!

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5

All day long!

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5

What can I say here. Sam Cooke is the greatest singer of all time. Bring It On Home to Me is the greatest song of all time.

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5

It is worth noting that, while recorded in 1963, this album did NOT get a release until 1985. According to wikipedia, Cooke's label RCA Victor "viewed the album as too gritty and raw and possibly damaging to his pop image", which is why they didn't put it out at the time. Which is absurd, if you ask me. Sam Cooke is such a natural performer, his charisma and personality oozes out of this record. Him and his band keep the good times rolling through the entire runtime, an incredible feat. The essence of this record is that Cooke is playing so much to his audience, who plays an important part by matching Cooke's energy. This is what really makes the album so great, having the audience and Cooke playing off one another in a vibrant live show that feels so real when listening to it. It is a shame that, almost two years after this performance, Sam Cooke's life would be cut short in a frankly puzzling altercation. This album is a relic, one of Cooke in his prime doing what he did best. Incredible.

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5

fantastic !

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5

Hollywood's contemporary model for the music biopic means we won't get a film of Sam Cooke's life in the foreseeable future. The current template emphasises the redemptive nature of their music, of musicians who battled their demons successfully and performed exquisite music that justifies all the torment they suffered (e.g., Ray, Walk the Line, Bohemian Rhapsody). With Sam Cooke, the outstanding pioneer of soul music, his unfortunate, sordid end precludes your standard music biopic. The only way it could happen is if it ends with a triumphant performance of A Change Is Gonna Come, and just puts a small note at the end saying he was shot through the heart by a hotel manager after an apparent drunken brawl with a prostitute. Still, I neither want nor need a Sam Cooke biopic, and I am rather glad that Sam Cooke won't be contorted through the Hollywood sausage process. Anyway, this album is wonderful for the extremely simple reason that Sam Cooke performs wonderful songs in a wonderful fashion. That's it. That's enough. I had earlier reviewed James Brown's coeval Live at the Apollo, to which I gave 4 stars. I stand by that rating; the album is great fun, if perhaps not quite a masterpiece. I have no such hesitancy with this. It's pure pleasure, pure joy. That it was shelved for two decades just bewilders the modern listener. The record label deemed it to be a bit too passionate and heartfelt for its initial release. Yes, the money men behind the label have always ruined everything with their valueless stupidity. Thankfully, you're now in a position to treat yourself by giving this a blast, so you should take advantage of that right now. Now! I mean it!

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5

Best live album

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5

I wish I could give this 10 stars. Sam Cooke is a legend. Listening to this live show is incredible. It's more than a concert. It's like a variety show. The call and response is so uplifting that you leave listening, feeling optimistic about the world and how it might be better. Even though you know what's coming next, he is able to infuse an air of suspense that is palpable. I also love the conversational tone of his banter with the crowd. It pulls you in as if you were an old, close friend. The standout tracks for me were "Twistin' The Night Away," "Tennessee Waltz" and "If I Had A Hammer." However, there is no song I would take off and so many gave me goosebumps, like when he croons "give" on "When I Fall In Love" and when he says "away" in "Blowing In The Wind." Such a special album.

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5

Wonderful -like sinking into a warm bath

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5

Such a great album. The classic songs, amazing energy of this live performance and passionate signing from Sam Cooke! This will be in heavy rotation for years to come.

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5

This is brilliant. Loved it.

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5

Timeless

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4

King of soul… very good live album!

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4

This was awesome

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4

yeeeess

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4

7.5

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4

If I had a time machine, I'd go back to be at shows like this. How fun that must've been. Ahh time machines.

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4

Heerlijk live soul album, wat een stem heeft die man

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4

Lots of fun. What a great voice!

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4

Very enjoyable smooth blues.

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4

4.5 - wow such incredible energy. great tunes and electric atmosphere. amazing

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4

One of those live albums where not only is the "room" present, but a huge part of the captured experience. Great performance, and infectious to listen to.

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4

Man, this is so good. It's like you're there in the club listening to this amazing performance. Excellent.

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4

Solid fun album with lots of great songs in a live setting. A touch of sexism from a bygone era, but overall a really enjoyable listen.

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4

this is such a jam. I can't imagine how good this would have been live. You can feel the energy.

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4

Another live album that is pretty darn fun, and doesn't overstay its welcome. Low 8.

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4

wow he has some energy!

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4

Love a live album. This was really good, will definitely relisten. 8 for me

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4

Can’t go wrong with a bit of Sam

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4

Lotta nice shouts

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4

Fun energy, good time, would have been a fun show to go to

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4

from what i hearrrd it was just grweat for a live! album 4.0

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4

What a voice this man has! Enjoyed the album, great vibe.

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4

☆Notatki//Przemyślenia☆ ~Chciałabym iśc na taki koncert do takiej kawiarnii jak w latach 50/60🥺 ~KLIMAAAAAT CUDOOO ~Szanuje lata 60, serio

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4

Really fun album to listen to, full of messages about love, forgiveness, and trust. Though, I wouldn't do what Sam Cooke recommends and wake up your partner in the middle of the night to tell them you love them.

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4

A fantastic live album that highlights Cooke's magnificent charisma and vocal command. 8.2/10

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4

Really catchy and so much energy, perfect for dancing to

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4

Nice upbeat soul/jazz music

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4

I enjoyed it. I'm not really a big fan of live albums so that's the only real negative. High quality recording.

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4

Fantastic singer, just not for playlist

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4

Proper music that

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4

Good songs. No need for the live album version

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4

An amazing live album, crazy it wasn't released for ~20 yrs because RCA was scared of ruining Cooke's image.

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4

So. Much. Soul. Loved it.

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4

I'd heard Twisting the Night Away before, so it was a cool experience to hear the rest and get a fuller context. I liked the romantic jams.

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4

7.5/10

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4

While I have mixed feelings about live recordings in general its clear when you listen to some that the musician we know from the studio is only a pale comparison to what they must have been in person. Beautiful stuff.

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4

Great album. A great voice with some top arrangements.

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4

En la presentación tuve una sensación de "qué pedo con este disco?" Y 6q cuando fue avanzando y entrando en ambiente la fiesta hasta me sentí en ese lugar. Esa agresividad en las canciones hasta en las baladas es brutal, el soul en general me gusta pero con este disco se voló la barda

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4

Siento que cada que sale un disco en vivo prueba equivocados a los que insisten que no debiera haber en vivos en la lista (hasta ahora al menos). Crudo, fuerte, una fiesta completa y lleno de energía, es totalmente sorpresivo para lo que esperaba. A quien cree que no conoce a Sam Cooke, sí conoce a Sam Cooke, tiene una cantidad enorme de canciones clásicas de R&B y pop románticas y fue instrumental en el crecimiento del soul. Retaría a cualquiera a escuchar las versiones grabadas originales de estas canciones y compararlas con este disco. Es como si le hubieran quitado un bozal y la correa y ahora realmente se sintiera libre para ser él mismo. Pasa de canciones que suenan al muchacho de balada clásica de la época cantándole a la novia a un personaje activo, duro, que si bien sigue cantando esas canciones de letras romanticonas ahora lo hace con una voz mucho más real y rasposa, platicando con el público y sudando alegría pura. No, quizá no sean canciones que me hayan llamado mucho la atención en su gran parte desde antes, pero en estas versiones sin duda que es un disco que no solo vale la pena escuchar por su valor histórico sino por lo agradable del ambiente que puede crear. Por cierto Sam Cooke, una muerte extraña... quizá no era la mejor de las personas pero en este disco pasó de ser un músico que conocía y "respetaba por su importancia" a ser un proyecto que genuinamente disfruté.

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4

So much fun!! Some real bangers

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4

Amazing look into an icons best live recording. It really give you a sense of the time and what he was to perform. As most live records from the time it was too short

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4

Electrifying, urgent and insistent sweat dripping live show carried by great performances from the band and Cooke’s showmanship. His voice is smooth like butter, but also raw and guttural, simultaneously sacred and profane, whipping the audience into a frenzy. If I could fire up the old DeLorean, this is the live show I’d go all the way back to 1963 to see.

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4

Nice live jazz album, traditional value, classic 50s sounding black album

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4

I would dance to this . Why not. Also Sam Cooke is a very amazing singer in the soul genre. I can imagine him singing this live when I am listening to this. I felt like I was transported to the 1950s

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4

Great stuff! Really enjoyed the energetic performance and the music was a good time as well.

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4

A tight, exciting live set full of energy

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4

Fuckin and fuckin and fuckin and fuckin

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4

I could listen to this every single day

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4

3.5 for sure but which way to go... I really like this style of "oldies" for lack of a better term. And the energy in the live performance make it a lot of fun.

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4

Really great for a live album! Several hits, great vocals and energy, great ad-libs and crowd interaction. Would definitely listen again!

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4

This is another one where I think I would've benefited from listening to it when hanging out with friends instead of walking to my boring geography class and then while looking over my homework for the week. It's a lot of fun, but it is a lot of the same. I seriously wish that live albums weren't a part of this list, but whatever, this was pretty good, if very repetitive.

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4

Great voice, and sounds like he was an excellent performer for the crowd

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4

Great stuff. Would have liked a bit more.

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4

Not usually a fan of live albums, and don’t usually feel like I’ve missed out on anything, but this sounded like a hell of a night. You can almost smell the cigarette smoke. His voice is absolutely unbelievable.

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4

Man he's on fire here. So good to hear some familiar tunes of his given a lightning bolt shock of energy. The band are cooking, he's throwing all he's got at it, and the audience are lapping it up. What a legend. Love it.

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4

Enormt stemningsfuldt! Ikke nødvendigvis fordi det er god lyd, men stemningen når helt ud igennem højttalerne. Det er bare skide fedt.

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4

Absolute class.

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4

Soul at it's best here. Probably the best "Live" soul album. Real raw soul at it's live best. You can hear the influence of Sam here on Rod Stewart et al. Brilliant sax on "Somebody Have Mercy" but my Favourite here is definitely "Chain Gang" Top Notch Influential Soul Music.

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4

this is very fun

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4

Det svänger katten! Blev förvånad över att det var så kort. Var rädd att det skulle vara för live-stämning men det körde på bra. Är det CA att vilja va med?

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4

Rätt kort och gott album, inte allt för långdraget och otroligt livlig energi som verkligen kommuniceras. Otrolig publikkontakt för tidigt 60tal. Bra 'geometrisk' balans i lurarna gällande instrumenten, Sams röst ligger liiiite till höger vilket är lite störande men ingenting man tänker på om man inte anstränger sig. Lite tråkig och statisk inspelning där visserligen sången plockas fram snyggt men instrumenten smälter ihop och fastnar lite i de lägre registerna. Definitivt den största nackdelen med albumet men är väl rimligt för en liveinspelning från 60-talet, lite synd bara när sången plockas upp så fint och har stundvis strålande ljudbild. Perfekt balans mellan publik och artist, strålande track list och ett medley i mitten gör det till ett toppen livealbum. Perfekta låtval, perfekt energi, perfekt längd. Undermålig kvalitet sabbar ett annars helt perfekt livealbum.

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4

High energy and Jazzy. Pretty simple themes but super fun listen while riding in Asilomar. Banger

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4

It does an incredible job of making you feel like your actually at the club. Usually, when I hear live albums, its more contemporary rock bands playing in stadiums. While the experience is different, it never really makes you feel like you're there like this album does.

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4

Love Sam Cooke. Lots of little laughs

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4

I never knew there was a king of soul until now. And I did see why Sam Cooke was crowned the King of Soul. Whew! Right after the King of Pop I got to listen to the King of Soul! This album is exploding with energy. And it's not even rock. It's soul! Cooke's raspy vocals, the dynamic band, and the audience interaction all powered the album. I'm not a big fan of live albums, but this one is definitely one of best of them. It might get repetitive after a while. But it has a solid pace. It's a nice thirty plus minute party album.

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4

Ég hefði viljað vera á þessum tónleikum.

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4

Yo, this dude and his band bring it on this one

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4

👍

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4

Well, I feel similarly to this album that I feel about the majority of live albums, in that listening to the live recording doesn't simulate the live experience for me. This album has more character than a lot of the live rock albums that I've heard because of the amount of character that Sam brings to the show and the audience participating in the show. Given that the original songs weren't recorded in tremendous quality in the first place, it's hard to fault the live recording quality. Given that, this is a cool listening experience. The recording being done in a club rather than a stadium just feels more intimate. It adds a lot to this recording. Somehow I feel more like I'm there than a normal recording. With that being said, some of Cooke's banter would be best left in the 60s, like the casual reference to domestic violence (though in his defense, he said not to hit your wife), and his odd reference to leukemia in the middle of Somebody have mercy 4/5

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4

I always forget just how good his voice was. Pure sex, pain, romance, lust all condensed into one voice. Great live album. Best Tracks: Cupid; Medley: It's All Right / For Sentimental Reasons; Twistin' The Night Away

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4

Good quality Soul loves it.

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4

A much more raucous album with some extended versions of familiar classics. Cooke is very lively and gets the crowd involved. A thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable live set.

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4

can only describe as "swinging"

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4

So cute and merry

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4

Joyful and soulful, made me want to dance. Incredible rapport with the audience.

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4

This was really great, was pleasantly surprised!!!

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4

7'5/10

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4

Such a fun listen. Even during the songs you can hear the crowd hooting and yelling. It makes it feel more authentic and not just a worse quality recording of the actual studio songs like many live albums sound like. 7/10

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4

Aww. This album was sunshine on this gray, snowy day. My favorite track was Medley: It’s All Right / For Sentimental Reasons. When the audience started singing along at the end, my heart melted. SO, my fun fact about this album is that even though it was recorded in 1963, the record label thought it would be damaging to Cooke's pop image because it was too "gritty and raw", so they archived the recordings. It wasn't actually released until 1985, when an exec found the tapes and made sure they be released asap. And now it's widely regarded as one of the best live albums of all time.

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4

The energy and vocals really make this a great live album. Really enjoyable. Favorite Songs: Feel It (Don't Fight It), Twistin' The Night Away, Bring It on Home to Me, Somebody Have Mercy

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4

first listen sounds like an electric crowd

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4

Back to 1960' Harlem. Love it.

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4

What a fantastic voice. Sounds like a fantastic performance.

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4

Cupid is going to be stuck in my head for the next couple of months. I am completely okay with that.

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4

This recording has all the attributes of a good solid live album. The recording is clear and upfront, the crowd is engaged, loud and present (not too screamy loud, like a Beatles concert), the vocals are raw and emotional, the songs don't sound exactly like the studio versions, a great setlist and it actually sounds like a live concert. This surprised me because I had only heard the studio versions of Cooke's songs and live they are transported to another level. The raw, raspiness of Cooke's vocals is reminiscent to Rod Stewart's vocal delivery and obviously Stewart was heavily influenced by Cooke. Stewart's cover of Twisting The Night Away is clearly a tribute to Sam Cooke. I love this record, one of the better live concert albums out there, it's crazy it took so long to get a proper release!

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4

I'm not a big fan of live albums, but I might make an exception for this one. Where I know Sam Cooke normally from his smooth and somewhat boring studio work, this is something entirely different. There's a lot of soul, swing, power and music in this. It sweats, it cracks, and his voice is great. If I would now have to recommend someone to listen what Sam Cooke is, I'd refer them to this album, and not to any of his studio albums. It has changed my perspective.

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4

would give it a 5 if it was not "live". I feel the quality of the recording is not great

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4

What a voice, and what a set!

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4

This is what a live album used to be and is supposed to be. Sadly Harlem Square was recorded in 1963, it wasn’t released until 1985. (7/10) FT: It's Alright, Bring it on Home to Me

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4

Great voice and classic soul songs

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4

Great fun! I wanted to be there jigging away. I liked the bit where he basically said 'if your wife is annoying you don't go hitting her, go home, wake her up and give her a kiss'

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4

This was a really great listen on a sunny Monday morning. Really joyful music and loved hearing it as a live performance - I think you could tell he was enjoying it too! I feel you could hear him smiling. Enjoyed hearing what I assume is the original of a song Amy Winehouse covered - Cupid. Will listen again!

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4

I think some 60s soul is exactly what I need on a dragging Friday with a sore head. Cupid is fulfilling this. Sam's voice is delicious and I love the fact that it's a live recording - would LOVE to have been there dancing. It sounds like they're really having so much fun. Ah the medley with For Sentimental Reasons popping up, I love that song! Great performance it really made me smile.

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4

Sam is a mighty fine musician and from what we can hear on this nine an excellent performer. We did lose him way too early.

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4

Live albums can be tough, but Sam Cooke has such an infectious energy live and it was captured well here. He's having fun and you can feel it. Fuck, Sam Cooke was so great. Wish he never got wrapped up in the chaos of his time period. Trouble souls can make the best artists, unfortunately.

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4

Excellent, must have been a great concert to be at

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4

Beautiful voice and it was like being wrapped up in cozy songs that I already knew.

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4

This is another one where I think I would've benefited from listening to it when hanging out with friends instead of walking to my boring geography class and then while looking over my homework for the week. It's a lot of fun, but it is a lot of the same. I seriously wish that live albums weren't a part of this list, but whatever, this was pretty good, if very repetitive.

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4

sam cooke died too many years before i was born, and this wonderful live album makes me feel closer to the experience of seeing him live! the audience's cheering, cooke's rapport with audience, his attention commanding presence. no one does soulful, romantic songs like sam cooke. what a legendary voice. how he combined certain songs was masterful--i literally felt like i was one of the screaming audience members when cooke sang a few words from "you send me" during "bring it on home to me". this album was certainly a treat!

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4

Good album. Made me wonder what I would have listened to if born in another era.

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4

catchy feel good oldies. gospel-y Chuck Berry. Cooke really knows how to work a crowd

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4

Love Cooke's voice, backing band and the crowd's interaction from the opening track. Twisitin' the night away and Having a party were especially lively and exciting. I'd say it was unreal to be in attendance. 4.5 stars?

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4

I absolutely love Sam Cooke. He's wonderful, and the energy of this album is wonderful. I was dancing in my seat.

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4

I love Sam Cooke! And enjoyed this live recording. Wish I could have seen him perform live.

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4

Great soul music and a fun early live album

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4

Would've loved to be in the room - sounds like a hell of a night was had by the crowd! Sam Cooke makes it all seem effortless, and has a ball in the process. Weird that this is his only album in the list... Fave track - "Chain Gang", maybe, or "Somebody Have Mercy"

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3

Definition of jazzy

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3

Nice

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3

Has some of the sam cooke greatest hits. Chain Gang, Cupid, and more

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3

I might be rating harshly, and I love me some Sam Cooke, but I feel there was nothing that stood out on this. Would have been amazing being there live.

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3

Pretty fun. Lot of energy, but some repetition (maybe that's just the genre and the time period). I did like the crowd participation--you can just tell everyone's having a great time.

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3

Nice to have listened to this performance in my birthyear. I can remember this music being played on the radio in my youth.

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3

Schon nett, insgesamt eher so ein Partyding

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3

Really enjoyed this. Makes me want to get up and dance.

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3

3/5

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3

"Don't fight the chip" (Feel it) "You know we sang so many notes So many fan songs We get it twisted a little while" (It's alright/ For sentimental reasons) La gente que fue a este concierto se lo tuvo que pasar SÚPER BIEN.

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3

It's fine, not my favorite concert to listen to, but I found it really funny that Sam Cooke would end every song by saying the song's name right after as a kind of inbetween songs talk

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3

Sam Cooke was definitely a showman, I laying to the audience and pumping them up throughout, seems like this would’ve been a fun show to be at. The energy is palpable in the build up intro of “Bring it Home” they’re eating out of his hand. The show seems to be relentless, once one song ends, the band picks up and starts playing the next one—the showman work ethic is apparent. Loved “Having a Party,” hypnotic and made you want to party. The album is fairly one note, but it’s surely toe tappin.’ I’ve always found Sam cook’s voice to be just okay, velvety, but lacking something other soul singers like Otis Redding have. But this show has a raspy edge to it that you can only barely usually hear. I think he’s got some more hits to come and this isn’t his best work. Fun album though. 3.

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3

Enjoyed as background music, but to listen to I found that I was distracted by the chatting etc.

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3

Ok if you’re in the mood.

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3

Chill, old school classic. 3/5

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3

Good, but dont love the recordings of live performances as much as studio recordings

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3

половина альбома состоит из доёбов солистом до публики. Заебал, честно. Причем я понимаю, почему так делается, и какую атмосферу это создаёт, но мне, как интроверту, эта атмосфера полностью чужда. Завали ебало уже и исполняй свои быдло-песенки, хватит в тамаду играться. Сами песни ниче так, впрочем, 5/10 по эмоциям

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3

This album was good, I enjoyed the sound despite not usually listening to similar stuff. However I didn't like that it was a live show recording- there was too much sound from the audience and it was distracting. It also wasn't super memorable, although it was nice to listen to for a bit.

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3

Didn't do much for me.

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3

Must have been a great live experience, very soulful and passionate

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3

Oooooh fuck yeah this is gonna be good. I've heard songs from this but haven't done the whole thing all the way through. I liked it! I don't know if I'd listen to it a ton on its own really but I loved hearing the audience participation. Woulda been dope to be in that small club.

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3

A fantastic performance and great songs. It brings home why he's regarded as such a legend. Still, for me, it was lacking anything to really hook me in. Just 10 minutes after listening for the 2nd time I've already forgotten about most of it, and I'm feeling no urge to listen to it again.

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3

An energetic (if somewhat dated) performance with style and personality.

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3

They say it's one of the best live albums, I dig it.

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3

I'm rating the album not the artist. Sam Cooke is one of the most influential soul singers of all time, the Bob Dylan of soul, but there's no way I could rate his work. What I will say is that this album does reflect his energy and enthusiasm. He sings some of his best songs, including Cupid and Bring It On Home. The recording is clear and crisp. But I feel like a voyeur overhearing Sam Cooke interacting with his rowdy audience. None of the songs are amazing by today's standard, just some are classics. But the majority does get repetitive and shallow. It feels more like I'm hearing Sam Cooke perform rather than hearing great compositions.

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3

- Bring It On Home to Me - It's All Right / Sentimental Reasons - Nothing Can Change This Love

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3

Excelente álbum en vivo, con grandes canciones y mucha energía en todas ellas; sin embargo no me gustó hacía el final, cuando canta y a la vez “le dicta” al público cada frase de la letra, porque ya ni siquiera continúa con la tonada real.

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3

Sam Cooke inspired the great rock bands, and I like his band, songs, and voice. But I do not like live albums.

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3

Pretty good classic songs. Missing something. Don't quite know what. Ok live album, sound quality isn't the greatest. Enjoyed it.

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3

Not the kind of music I'd probably ever ask for, but nice enough to listen to.

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3

Great fun to listen to on a Sunday afternoon.

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3

Fun, energetic, and wild.

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3

Es pot respirar el carisma de Sam Cooke a l'escenari, encara que sigui escoltant-lo enllaunat gairebé 60 anys després. Tota una personalitat del soul. I quina veu. I quina banda. He de dir, però, que fa poc em va tocar el 'Live at the Apollo' de James Brown... I bé, les comparacions són odioses...

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3

America, 60s, Soul + Funny, Dancin = Male, Live - Old-fashioned, Alike {1/10} [3/5]

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3

Бодрый, динамичный, отражает дух эпохи. Немного становится скучным и однообразные к середине.

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3

Great voice.

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3

Energiek, swingend en een fijne stem.

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3

Straight out of the first act of Goodfellas. Nice vibe. Don't think I'd revisit but the energy is great.

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3

I'm still not sold on live albums being in this list... but this is better than most of the late 60s/early 70s garbage it usually throws at me. And the guy wrote his own songs, so that's a plus - this sorta soul rock stuff is usually "standards". 3/5.

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3

It's okay, I guess? Not something I expected to say about a live album by one of the most exciting soul singers at the height of his powers. He does the hits and it all sounds very professional by which I actually mean that he sounds a bit like he knows his taxi is standing outside of the venue ready to take him to the next club where he will do the same set. 6/10

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3

Så svinger det, soul, kærlighed, simpelt, live

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3

eh - not my style but kinda neat for 1963

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3

3.5/5 i'll have to relisten!

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3

Enjoyed this quite a bit. Fun album

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3

Good for a listening, probably won't listen again.

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3

Raucous, fast paced fun. This style of music feels a bit repetitive now but the energy really makes up for that

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3

good vibes, vill ligga m sam cooke

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3

Good fun.

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3

Strong as an oak, comes from a time I’d love to be a fly on the wall of dance halls back in the day.

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3

I like live albums like this where you hear the raw performance, some are recorded live and 'enhanced' in the studio. This is a good archive of a performer that did not get to stick around to prove his value as one of the greatest singers around. Bonus points for King Curtis blowing on the sax, you can tell the influence he had on players like Clarence Clemmons. 3.5/5

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3

bit stop start, doesn't quite carry through

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3

A Change didn't come. :-( I think I prefer the studio albums. Still, Sam Cooke, what a star!

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3

7/10

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3

I count Sam Cooke among the greatest soul singers of all time, and he's responsible for one of my favorite songs ever written, "A Change is Gonna Come." That's not on here though. This is a live album that I believe predates that song entirely. Why the list makers chose this is beyond me. Sure, it's a great live performance, but if you're only going to include one Sam Cooke album how can you overlook his crowning achievement? And why are guys like Sam Cooke and James Brown limited to one, live album on this list while we get unlimited nondescript British rock albums? Sus. Sam deserves better. Favorite tracks: Feel It, It's All Right, Somebody Have Mercy, Twistin' the Night Away. Album art: Wow, a picture of Sam onstage. Hooray. 3/5

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3

ooo a live album, good for sam cooke! I listened to a little bit but I'm not a big live album guy.

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3

Liked his music just it a fan of Live recordings

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3

ganz nett. in so am Club irgendwie sicher nice. So aber nebenbei Mukke

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3

Eh ganz cool. Nebenbei voll ok, würd ich mir aber so nicht anhören

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zwischendurch tolle, aufwendige elemente. für mich aber nur was zur berieselung nebenbei

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3

Sam Cooke is great. Understatement of the year. I don't understand why the editors of this list have a problem with best of albums while also including several "live from a night club" entries. I want to hear the music, not the banter between artist and crowd. He had plenty of studio albums. At least one of those should have made the cut instead. Best track: Medley: It's All Right/For Sentimental Reasons

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3

The album with the studio version of For Sentimental reasons was definitely 4 stars.

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3

A lovely live recording bursting with energy. Cooke clearly enjoys being a conduit on center stage, leading the crowd in call-and-response refrains while providing a healthy dollop of banter on top.

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3

Super fun. But, well, a live recording from the 60's, so also somewhat frustrating. It did send spotify off on quite a tear of fantastic music.

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3

Apresentação ao vivo de soul bem expressiva.

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3

Never been a big fan of the live album, rather have a studio record. The album is good though. Great voice and some good songs. Favourite songs: - Feel it (don’t fight it) - Twistin’ the night away

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3

There are a few Live Concerts where it would be remembered for the rest of your life. I think this one would be on that list. Sam Cooke is just a fantastic vocalist and he made such happy songs that folks love to sing along to.

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3

I didn't realize until now that Sam wrote all of these big hits! I'd just assumed that they got churned out by the boys at the Brill Building. This is a raw & energetic performance with a crowd who are madly in love with him. He's very talented all-round. This music isn't exactly my cup of tea so it's hard to assess, but that's the charm of 1001.

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3

Die Songs plätschern so etwas dahin, Band und Frontmann sind gut bis sehr gut. Schlechte drei.

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3

Альбом - настроение. Не самая изобретательная или инновационная музыка компенсируется подачей.

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3

This was not quite my style, but I enjoyed listening to it.

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3

enjoyable listen

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3

Such a great gig: blistering performance from Sam and his band. Songs are too samey for it to be a great album for me but most enjoyable nevertheless.

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3

I like Sam Cooke and it's great to hear a genuine live performance with the bits in between. The production and vocals aren't as crisp as a studio recording but it's great that these were preserved. I would argue that this is his ONLY album in 1001 and that there are better albums of his. There seems to be a slant towards live albums in this chart which is ok if that's your thing but it's not what people primarily listen to and they only like the live albums off the back of the studio albums.

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3

I’m sure much is to be made of his voice, but the real takeaway for me is the really great preparation of his band. They keep the party moving like a skilled DJ might! Without the crutch of easy cues and a tempo fader. I don’t think I’d listened to much of him at all before, if any, but it’s cool to take in the raw crowd pleasing power and charisma even if he doesn’t make me, personally, swoon.

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3

I wish I could have been there live, but I wasn’t digging the recording because the singing just never stopped. Would have liked some space in there so instruments could shine. Cooke’s voice is outstanding but too relentless.

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3

Sure!

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3

I like this style of singing for a few songs, but a whole album is too much.

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3

If you've heard one song on this album, you've heard them all

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3

classic

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ok

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3

INTRODUCTION - Coolt. FEEL IT (DON'T FIGHT IT) - Bluesig. Modern melodi särskilt på refrängen. Sam kan ju sjunga. CHAIN GANG - Sam kan sjunga. Helt okej låt. Måste säga att denna skiva hittills är mer behaglig att lyssna på än den förra (bananplattan). CUPID - Den här var väldigt lik chain gang. Ungefär samma tempo, startackorden är samma fast i annan tonart. Kärlekslåt. Mmmmm. Snyggt slut. MEDLEY: IT'S ALL RIGHT - Shake them up som han säger så skakas man när man hör detta. I alla fall om man levde på 60-talet. 60-tals powerballad. Let's get romantic. Sam vet hur man underhåller publiken i alla fall. TWISTIN' THE NIGHT AWAY - Dags att twista till denna. Refrängen har bluesform. Annars är versen klassisk I-vi-IV-V ackordgång. Folket älskade nog detta back then. SOMEBODY HAVE MERCY - Allt var fan blues back then. Så inflytelserik. Börjar bli sömnig. BRING IT ON HOME TO ME - Ja. Vad ska man säga. Soul i små doser tack. hmmm. Men rösten goddamn. NOTHING CAN CHANGE THIS LOVE - Alla låtar lät fan likadant och Sam skriker mycket. HAVING A PARTY - Off with a bang. NON STOP ACTION. GE MIG ETT BREAK!

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2

Bit repetitive and not my scene

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2

Un disco en directo con la calidad que se podía conseguir en 1963. Lo mejor la intensidad y el ritmo. Interesante pero poco más.

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2

Sounds a great gig to be at but the production makes it a difficult to rate highly.

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2

под настроение чисто. у меня его не было

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2

Meh

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2

Niet onaardig maar toch echt niet mijn ding om vaker te luisteren.

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2

Mjah, best leuk een keer gehoord te hebben. Maar wel een beetje veel van hetzelfde.

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2

klassisk old school soul

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2

Probz pretty cool 1963, men inte jätteintressant idag (fight me)

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2

No me gusta el swing.

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2

Catchy, didn’t like the live audience part

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2

Nice, some great songs, some too naive. Not an album I will find myself listening to in any circumstances

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Sensational voice. It's a fun album, but the songwriting isn't all that interesting to me, so I'm torn. A lot of the songs are the the band jamming between 2-4 chords in the same order for the entire song. The medley was a bit more interesting, with dominant 2nd and 3rd chords. All the tracks are good on their own I'd say, but they're all so similar to one another that as an album it doesn't have much impact on me. My verdict: fun, enjoyable music to dance to, but not impactful to me as an album. I really liked the sax solo in Twistin' Even though I didn't love this album I'll always love his song "A Change is Gonna Come"

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2

Nice horns, not my musical taste probably would not listen again.

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This is the second live album from Sam Cooke, recorded in 1963. The record company thought the album was too raw and potentially damaging to their image, so they kept it in their archive until release in 1985. Sam Cooke was firstly a gospel singer that transitioned into soul and pop music. This album displays his talent as a singer and crowd entertainer - as he gets them to sing along. This album is regarded as one of the best live soul albums. It revealed a rougher Sam Cooke that was exploding with soul and gospel energy. I agree that the live recording must have been a lot of fun to witness and listen to, but this music has aged over the years and is not my cup of tea. To each their own, I still think it's a great live album.

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2

Another live album. The music is good. The songs are familiar, the players are very good. The singing is decent. But it's yet another example of a recording that would have been better with some production. Do not need audience participation.

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2

Not my cup of tea

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2

I don't like the live aspect of the album. I think it distracts from the music, and doesn't recreate the live atmosphere in my lounge.

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2

Not much of a fan of live albums.

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1

Ugh. A live album. I like Sam Cooke, but this is still just a live album.

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1

“Live at the Harlem Square Club” by Sam Cooke (recorded in 1963, released in 1985) Sam Cooke was great. He is rightly called the “King of Soul”. Now here’s an album that, to be generous, gets beneath the manicured artificiality of studio production and provides a raw, free expression of live performance. But it still has the weaknesses of all live recordings, which are considerable. So as an album, it fails on a fundamental level. Nevertheless it does offer a glimpse of something beautiful. “Live at the Harlem Square Club”, as a collection of songs, serves as a partial answer to the question “Why is soul music called ‘soul’ music?” Cooke’s songs are soulful, which is to say they magnify the passions. Each song is focused on a particular feeling, without the distracting consideration of counter-feelings, equivocations, internal contradictions, rational coherence, or systematic analysis. Hence they do not prompt deep or complex thought. Most frequently, they avoid treating of the feelings of others as well, so while they are intense, they are conceptually simple. But most importantly, they lay bare the passions. “Don’t fight it, we gonna feel it.” In other words, don’t let the mind or the will get in the way of the emotions. The lyrics of these songs provide a discursive foundation for a wonderful musical elaboration that evokes feelings in the listener. The best expression of this may be found in the second track, “Feel it (Don’t Fight It)”. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Sometimes there is a bit of a mismatch here, like Cooke’s verbal intro to “Chain Gang”, which he says is “designed to make you feel good”. I’m sorry, Sam, but a song about men sentenced to hard labor doesn’t exactly make me feel good. Rather, it makes me feel sympathetic, and perhaps angry at the possible racial inequities and other potential injustices. I’m not particularly enthusiastic about the virtues of ‘re-education through labor’, as practiced in Stalin’s gulags, Mao’s laogai, or American chain gangs. This is not to say that virtues cannot be found and cultivated in these contexts. But that’s not the first thing that comes to mind (or soul). If I had been present at the live concert, I would have been reluctant to join in the festive “Hoh ah, hoh ah”, as Cooke encouraged the audience. Solzhenitsyn was rarely in a festive mood. Musically, these tracks are far, far inferior to their studio versions. It’s painful to listen to “Cupid” or "(I Love You) for Sentimental Reasons". This inferior quality is not merely a function of the unavoidable limitations of recording in a live setting. It is also reflected in the vocal and instrumental flubs (and the seriously out of tune guitar and saxophone) which cannot be corrected through dubbing or ‘one more take’. The key feature of live performance is live presence. You can’t (yet, anyway) capture that on a recording. [I recently watched a virtual attempt at this with a mini-concert event by Ariana Grande on the interactive online video game Fortnite. It was, to say the least, disappointing.] Cooke’s jabbering between (and even during!) songs pitifully begging the crowd to get more ‘into it’ is embarrassing. But even worse is his ad lib (at 2:53 on “Somebody Have Mercy”): “Somebody have mercy and tell me what is wrong with me (I ain’t got leukemia, Hah-hah).” There’s a reason why RCA Victor kept these tapes in the can for 22 years. I’m sure the 1963 audience got the feeling. But I wasn’t there. 1/5

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1

Problematic gaur, gat ekki notið tónlistarinnar.

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1

no

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1

fuck soul and rnb

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1

Lo trovo abbastanza noioso.

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I'm always wary of albums with the tracklisting on the cover, but this one's pretty good. Read the Wikipedia page and the guy was a scumbag. Next.

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