Live At The Harlem Square Club – Sam Cooke (1963)

Album no. 38/1001

Sam Cooke, sometimes known as the king of soul! This album was recorded in 1963 but not released until 1985 because Sam’s record label thought it was ‘too gritty’ and might damage his pop image. IT’S GREAT.

The Harlem Square Club was actually in Miami, which is confusing because Harlem is in New York. Sam Cooke grew up in Chicago and initially sang gospel music before jumping over to sing/invent ‘soul’ with stuff like ‘You Send Me’ and ‘Another Saturday Night’.

Sam Cooke was shot and killed in 1964 at the age of 33(! 😦 !!!) by the manager of a hotel he was staying at in LA. His death is still viewed as suspicious by some, and it makes you bloody furious because who knows what he could have gone on to do, the talented bastard.

Have you listened to this album before?

NK: I have never heard this, but Sam Cooke is a favourite of my mum, so I know a lot of the songs. I am VERY excited to hear them live, I think this is going to be dope.

CL: I haven’t. I don’t know much about this Mr Cooke character. He looks aiight on the cover though, so that’s something.

Standout track

NK: This is a properly hard choice. Every song rocks! This version of ‘Cupid’ is sensational, ‘Feel It’ and ‘Chain Gang’ are sweet as, ‘Twisting the Night Away’ is awesome, and then ‘Having A Party’ brings it all home. I think I have to go with ‘Cupid’. In all honesty though it doesn’t matter which song I listen to, I just wish I was there at the gig.

CL: The guitar sounds seriously out of tune on ‘Feel It’.

NK: Something definitely goes wrong at the start doesn’t it? They sort it pretty quick.

CL: I think my favourite is ‘Chain Gang’ – I liked that one a lot – and the medley ‘It’s All Right/For Sentimental Reasons’! “Is everybody in favour of getting romantic?” YEAH! (but yes, Mr Cooke, yes I am). He also promotes a very powerful NO VIOLENCE MESSAGE.

“I want you to remember one thing – don’t go home hitting on her and that stuff.”

Number one pop star feminist. Thanks.

NK: THAT MEDLEY IS DOPE AF.

When would be the best time to listen to this?

NK: To be honest, my advice isn’t about the best time, it’s about the best way. You should listen to this LOUDLY. Seriously, as high as your speakers will go. This is SO GOOD.

CL: You’re bloody loving it aren’t you! I think this would be an excellent album to put on when you’re trying to woo someone. It’s definitely a bit cheeky, a bit romantic – everything you want.

Why has this album been included on the list?

NK: Sam Cooke was the king of soul, paving the way for Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett, Dianna Ross, and even the Jackson 5. Also, this album has got a guy playing saxophone called King Curtis, who did the version of ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ that plays at the start of Withnail and I, and I mean GODDAMN WHY COULDN’T I BE ALIVE IN THE 60’S? Scrubbers! Little tarts, they love it.

CL: I can’t believe I’d never heard of this guy before! It really shows my total lack of knowledge in certain genres.

Will you be listening again?  

NK: YOU ARE GODDAMN RIGHT I WILL BE.

CL: Wow. Big words from Big Kuhne. I reckon I’ll be keeping it on standby. It was certainly an enjoyable listen, but I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to play it on repeat. It’s still good though! Do give it a listen.

Rating

NK:This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums. Fuck it. This is dope.

CL: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

Listen to Live At The Harlem Square Club on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.

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