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Specialty Profiles: Sam Cooke & The Soul Stirrers

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Editors’ Notes

"It's been said that if you've never heard Sam Cooke sing with his first group, the Soul Stirrers, you've never really heard him sing. And while that statement may seem hyperbolic, Cooke did do some of his best work as a youngster with singers like Johnnie Taylor, R.H. Harris and Paul Foster, each of whom could quite nearly equal Cooke's show-stopping virtuosity. This album throws together Cooke's earliest attempts at going pop along with some of his last and best sides with the Soul Stirrers. Cooke's vocals on ""The Last Mile of the Way,"" ""Jesus Gave Me Water"" and ""Jesus, I'll Never Forget"" are stunning. That there is an unearthly sexuality to Cooke's phrasing with the Stirrers, that causes any single person with a heart to go weak in the knees when at the start of ""Touch the Hem of His Garment,"" Cooke sings ""Woah there was a woman (pause) in the Bible days...""

Customer Reviews

sam and the stirrers at their peak

my favorite gospel group of all time. sam cooke AND the soul stirrers were never better-before or after-than during their time together as a group. if you love sure to get the multiple disk box set of all their songs recorded on specialty. this is classic all-time great black gospel music from the 'golden era' of black gospel quartets and quintets.


Born: January 22, 1931 in Clarksdale, MS

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s

Sam Cooke was the most important soul singer in history -- he was also the inventor of soul music, and its most popular and beloved performer in both the black and white communities. Equally important, he was among the first modern black performers and composers to attend to the business side of the music business, and founded both a record label and a publishing company as an extension of his careers as a singer and composer. Yet, those business interests didn't prevent him from being engaged in...
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